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← What's the Place of Faith in Schools?

Zeuglodon's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Zeuglodon

Comment 11 by Premiseless

An excellent debate all round, after the first monotone half was awoken by Richard's clear tones.

I feel guilty; I found most of it so mind-numbingly dull that I just skipped to RD's segment and the questions. None of the other speakers were as engaging or as lucid as he was. I don't know how people can drag something out so long and think it worth the time consumption.

Comment 2 by AtheistEgbert

If you want a laugh, go to 00:53:00 and listen to the Muslim idiot, from the Muslim Council of Britain, attacking Richard Dawkins.

I didn't find it funny. I found it depressing. It was supposed to be a question segment, and he took two minutes before the moderator told him to get to his point, and then he rambled on some more. The rest of the people asked were no better. Why don't they just go straight to questions?

Comment 9 by Paula Kirby

And of course, the media have also been consistent in misrepresenting Richard, as numerous other recent threads on this site attest. Right from the start, they have portrayed him as being the purveyor of rabid, hate-filled, intolerant views... I'd never heard of Richard Dawkins before then, so I had no reason to side either with or against him. In fact, all I knew of him came from the newspaper reviews of this dreadful, aggressive, militant, fundamentalist, strident, shrill, nasty, rude book called The God Delusion... Well, I got about 40% of the way through ... and quite literally went back to one of the original book reviews to make sure I'd bought the right book.

I actually came at it from the other direction - I was already familiar with Richard's written work, and I found it hard to believe the media had got his representation right based on stuff like TSG and TGSOE. So I was fascinated with the furor around TGD, since I come from a family that isn't religious at all. All the same, I felt so self-conscious about it that I couldn't even bring myself to buy a copy, and even borrowing one from the library made me feel like a subversive. Even when I'd read it, I was looking anxiously for some key rebuttal that would knock it down because I was worried I was missing some key argument, and I was worried about the stuff I'd read about atheist discrimination. But the more rebuttals I looked at, the less impressed I was with them. I went from being an implicit atheist to being an explicit one, and now an anti-religionist too.

Why the repeated, constant, endless misrepresentation of both Richard and his views? I am in no doubt that it is all part of a deliberate attempt to deflect people from actually engaging with his arguments.

One of the shocking things I discovered when I joined a debating society for the first time was that, right from the start, we were expected to focus on winning the current argument by any means necessary, not on exploring it or in trying to produce a workable answer to a question. This adversarial system seems to come from the mistaken view that to "beat" an opponent is to win the argument. Needless to say, I quit pretty quickly after that.

The good news is that, despite the best attempts of media and church, the tactics have only been partially successful... That's happening in the teeth of the most astonishing opposition. But it IS happening.

I hope it keeps happening. So long as we keep at it, we should be able to change things gradually, like we've done over the last decade.

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 19:27:36 UTC | #921600