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When the ain'ts go marching in - Comments

JackR's Avatar Comment 1 by JackR

Richard: you know you've made it when Bertrand Russell is being described as "...the Richard Dawkins of his day", instead of the other way around. :-)

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 15:00:00 UTC | #22931

Zero's Avatar Comment 2 by Zero

As American atheist Don Hirschberg once wrote, "Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour."

I prefer James Randi's version, partly because it doesn't compare atheists to what most people associate with baldness - elderly men:
If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 16:14:00 UTC | #22938

John Turner's Avatar Comment 3 by John Turner

I like the sound of groups like CFI, i didnt really know anything about them before. Tis promising.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 16:23:00 UTC | #22940

NormanDoering's Avatar Comment 4 by NormanDoering

Here's my favorite:

If atheism is just another religion, then health is just another disease.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 17:16:00 UTC | #22946

He-man Daunted World's Avatar Comment 5 by He-man Daunted World

A recent favorite of mine:

Calling atheism a religion is like calling "off" a TV channel

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 17:24:00 UTC | #22947

quork's Avatar Comment 6 by quork

I'm sure the other side is wondering, 'Hey, how come he's not eating children and setting kittens on fire?' "

Funny line.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 17:28:00 UTC | #22949

Luthien's Avatar Comment 7 by Luthien

I'm sure the other side is wondering, 'Hey, how come he's not eating children and setting kittens on fire?'

"Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son tomorrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him." 2 Kings 6:28-29

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 17:38:00 UTC | #22950

PeterK's Avatar Comment 8 by PeterK

.."On that level, atheists may not be so well served by finding their current figurehead in the notoriously acerbic Dr. Dawkins."
... "He learned that using logic and reason isn't enough -- you have to be a dick to everyone who doesn't think like you."

Come on. It seems to me whenever RD is is discussion with one from the "other side", it's his adversary that's acting like this--not RD.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 18:07:00 UTC | #22952

J Steven's Avatar Comment 9 by J Steven

"...the other side is wondering, 'Hey, how come he's not eating children and setting kittens on fire?' "

That's primarily because kittens don't believe in intellectually shallow tripe that they subsequently use to persecute each other. No Siamese versus Persian Crusades, or long-hair versus short-hair jihads. Food, spots in the sun, keeping clean and otherwise keeping to yourself...though we are animals we have a lot we could learn from our "lesser" brethren.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 19:05:00 UTC | #22961

Roy_H's Avatar Comment 10 by Roy_H

Comment #25193 by J Steven on March 10, 2007 at 7:05 pm
Yes the world would be a far better place without religion but, have you ever seen two Tom cats fighting? I grew up on a farm, we once had an enormous feral Tom cat used to visit our place, beat up any of our own male cats,(often inflicting terrible injuries on them if they did not run away) then, just like a male lion,he would search out and kill any kittens that he knew were not his. His reign of terror did not last long however, we shot the bloody thing!
Closer to our own kind,Chimpanzees do not believe in God, but look what happens there when two rival gangs meet.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 22:58:00 UTC | #22971

mmurray's Avatar Comment 11 by mmurray

10. Comment #25204 by Roy_H on March 10, 2007 at
Closer to our own kind,Chimpanzees do not believe in God, but look what happens there when two rival gangs meet.

But that's the point. Primates, being social animals, have a problem with wanting to divide the world into them and us and being aggresive towards them. Many religions feed on this which is a dangerous thing.


Sat, 10 Mar 2007 23:49:00 UTC | #22976

kazzaqld's Avatar Comment 12 by kazzaqld

Of course the kitties in Red Dwarf did get religion once they evolved, poor things....

"Fuchal is the Cat race's version of Heaven in the BBC series Red Dwarf, episodes The End and Waiting For God in the first series.

Fuchal was supposed to be a hot dog and doughnut stand on a farm Lister planned to open once he got to Fiji. After 3 million years (the Cat race evolved while Lister was in suspended animation and left his pet cat Frankenstein on board the ship) the name of the place got mixed up, as did Lister's name, their god now written as 'Cloister the Stupid' and depicted as having a golden doughnut crown and sausage.

There were five sacred laws, one of them involving sheep. Lister himself has broken four of them, and would have broken the fifth but there were no sheep onboard. There were also the sacred gravy marks and the sacred custard stain the Cat priesthood had to wear, and they had to renounce coolness for a life of slobbiness.

The faithful Cats were to wear sacred cardboard hats with humorous arrows stuck through them. There was a holy war in which two factions of Cats fought over whether the hats were supposed to have been blue or red. Lister announces that they were actually supposed to be green as Holly reads his translation of the Cats' Holy Book to him.

Eventually, a truce was called between the two factions and two arks were built in order for the Cats to find Fuchal, using Lister's laundry list he'd lined Frankenstein's bed with as a star chart. The first ark set off and flew into an asteroid and the next departed believing they were the true blessed ones.

The sick and the lame had been left on the ship when the two arks left. Cat (played by Danny John-Jules) was born to the cripple and the idiot (his father chewed his own feet off).

The one Cat left besides Cat was a blind priest who lost his faith on his deathbed. Just before he dies, Lister comes in wearing the golden doughnut and sausage, posing as Cloister, and tells him not to be worried because, though his faith had been tested and he renounced it, he'd actually passed. He hands the priest back the sacred hat Cat had been supposed to burn, and then the priest dies rejoicing the fact that he's just been told by Cloister that he's going to Fuchal."

from Wikipedia.

Sat, 10 Mar 2007 23:54:00 UTC | #22977

Gordon Brown's Avatar Comment 13 by Gordon Brown

A recent two-part episode of the satirical cartoon South Park paid tribute to [Dawkins'] profile, but not his personality. One character explained the scientist's success this way: "He learned that using logic and reason isn't enough—you have to be a dick to everyone who doesn't think like you."

Think instead of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Ann Coulter—minus the use of logic and reason.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 01:11:00 UTC | #22978

Roedy's Avatar Comment 14 by Roedy

Closer to our own kind, chimpanzees do not believe in God, but look what happens there when two rival gangs meet.

They mostly just hoot and rush. There is nowhere near the carnage of a belligerant human encounter.

When groups of bobobos or dolphins meet, it is excuse for a sex party. We may be the most dominant species on earth, but we are not the most intelligent in terms of assuring our long term survival.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 01:16:00 UTC | #22979

AbstractMonkey's Avatar Comment 15 by AbstractMonkey

This is quite a good article. The more that people can be exposed to high profile atheist, humanist, &c. thinking, in the mainstream media, the more likely it is to spread.

"Closer to our own kind, chimpanzees do not believe in God, but look what happens there when two rival gangs meet.

They mostly just hoot and rush. There is nowhere near the carnage of a belligerant human encounter."

This is what our advanced brains do for us. They use fists & sticks - we invent city destroying weapons :)

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 03:12:00 UTC | #22981

Logicel's Avatar Comment 16 by Logicel

"But the new wave of non-belief might be different. It's occasioned an organizing drive by groups that want to gather in the unfaithful and offer some secular equivalents of the communal and ritual functions that churches traditionally provide -- not to mention the political strength found in numbers."

We need to financially support the humanist organizations that already exist. Non-theists are notorious for not being organized--there is no excuse for it as there are many decent humanist groups available. I, myself, will check out CFI as they are apparently branched out in Europe.

EDIT: Here's info on CFIs branches.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 03:36:00 UTC | #22983

Logicel's Avatar Comment 17 by Logicel

"Another win came in 2004, when Revenue Canada reversed an earlier decision and decided to give the HAC the same charity status enjoyed by religious groups."

Way to go.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 03:38:00 UTC | #22984

cheshirecat's Avatar Comment 18 by cheshirecat

Has anyone ever been to a humanist funeral?

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 04:23:00 UTC | #22986

StewE17's Avatar Comment 19 by StewE17

Yes, cheshirecat, I have been to a humanist funeral. No gods and no worshipping.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 04:43:00 UTC | #22988

Logicel's Avatar Comment 20 by Logicel

My sister's funeral was secular--her favorite non-religious music was played, and we had permission to scatter her ashes where she wanted, close to the Pacific ocean. Friends spoke about her life, often humorously. It was very lovely, and a good time was had by all which was exactly what my sister wanted.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 04:46:00 UTC | #22989

Logicel's Avatar Comment 21 by Logicel

My sister also died in a secular setting. The hospice where she died honored her request that nothing religious would come anywhere near her while she was dying.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 04:53:00 UTC | #22990

Logicel's Avatar Comment 22 by Logicel

Here is a quote from the CFI branch in France where I live at present:

"Nowadays astrology, parapsychology, magic healing and other paranormal phenomena are trendy. Can we understand why?

In France, the very birth place of Descartes, beliefs and the irrational in a broad sense are thriving much more than one could have imagined and the situation is more than alarming."

I think that Dawkins is working on a broadcast concerning New Age irrationality to which I am looking forward.

Interesting quote from the French CFI branch's website: "Zetetics is the "method used to penetrate the reason and the nature of things" (Littré). Taught since the Antiquity, Zetetics is in fact the nonacceptance of any dogmatic statement. In brief the method could be defined as the Art of Doubting."

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 05:25:00 UTC | #22991

ajpb's Avatar Comment 23 by ajpb

I too have been to a humanist funeral. My grandfather had been an atheist for most of his later adult life, and fortunately before he died had a conversation with my grandmother about it. Although she 'can't believe she won't see him again' (I assume the implication is that she'll see him in heaven) she did think the ceremony was extremely 'fitting' and appropriate. It was what he would have wanted.

The service was unfettered with the usual bullshitty religious trappings. All texts read or speeches made were about his life and his achievements. So in that sense it wasn't "just another cookie-cutter funeral" as chuch ones tend to be. It was much more personal.


Sun, 11 Mar 2007 05:34:00 UTC | #22993

Logicel's Avatar Comment 24 by Logicel

ajpb, Cookie-cutter funeral is such an apt description for religious funerals. Religious funerals are like watching American films, you can fall asleep in the middle of most of them, and wake up and not miss a thing, and understand the ending!

Constrasting the religious funerals of another sister and of my mother, I can say, that they were disgusting, useless, stressful affairs that only padded the coffers of involved churches. While the secular funeral of my sister's padded the coffers of her favorite environmental group, and increased the mental/spiritual well being of those who attended.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 05:44:00 UTC | #22994

FXR's Avatar Comment 25 by FXR

Some months ago the well know British comedy actor Ronnie Barker died. He was buried in a humanist ceremony. This was barely mentioned on news programmes and nothing of this much loved man's funeral was shown.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 06:41:00 UTC | #23000

Jez's Avatar Comment 26 by Jez

"They're [atheists] also stereotyped as self-righteous and bitter, perhaps all too eager to trample on others' supposedly benign religious or sentimental illusions."

I don't believe in their god so I am self-righteous and bitter? According to 'them' I'm going to hell and, ergo, must be a bad person! (Doesn't that mean they are threatening me?)
Which side are you going to pick as being 'self-righteous and bitter'?

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 08:33:00 UTC | #23006

antoninus_porcinus's Avatar Comment 27 by antoninus_porcinus

10. Comment #25204 by Roy_H on March 10, 2007 at 10:58 pm

So who said Darwinism was benign?

"Real life" is tough enough to face even without the imagined terrors and false comfort offered by religion.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 11:48:00 UTC | #23024

opposablethumbs's Avatar Comment 28 by opposablethumbs

My siblings and I organised the funerals of both our parents within a couple of years of each other (a few years ago now), and it never occurred to us to do anything but choose some favourite music, speak ourselves and invite a couple of their respective friends to speak in celebration of their lives. Both scientists and lifelong atheists, it just so happens that one of my mother's close friends is a rev.; we invited him to be one of the speakers, and he gave a very moving, funny eulogy with no mention of religion whatsoever - now there's true affection and respect, both for her and for the family. I have never understood how a more-or-less standardised service delivered by someone who may barely have known the deceased could hold any comfort for anyone.

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 14:28:00 UTC | #23034

Shuggy's Avatar Comment 29 by Shuggy

I've been to several secular funerals and organised a couple (if you don't count "Pie Jesu" by Fauré, who wasn't a believer, for a particular reason associated with the deceased).

Get someone who knows how to speak and when to shut up to be MC (or just print clearly what is to happen in the programme). Get a good friend to give a prepared talk about the person. Close relatives who might break down should not have to speak. Choose music they would have liked (and which the congregation likes, if both are possible), and something instrumental to come in and go out on (the slow movements of Bach Brandenberg Concerti are good and have no religious content). Something everyone can sing is good. I recommend against inviting impromptu speech at the funeral itself. People can fill a brief period of silence their own way, including silent prayer if that's what they want. There are plenty of non-religious things that can be said about the end of anyone's life.

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 02:15:00 UTC | #23070

Mark R's Avatar Comment 30 by Mark R

"John Turner Said:
I like the sound of groups like CFI, i didnt really know anything about them before. Tis promising."

The CFI group in Toronto ( had a wonderful turn out Sat. Our Local Humanist group was in attendance and we took a few photos which are up on our website. It has some great young blood in it and i feel it will make a big impact in Toronto.

Pictures here:

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 08:45:00 UTC | #23098