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Playing the Nazi card? - Comments

josephor's Avatar Comment 1 by josephor

Somewhat puzzling how this conclusion is drawn, but these people puzzle me anyway!

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:05:02 UTC | #617998

phodopus's Avatar Comment 2 by phodopus

Wasn't he the guy who helped analyse the various incarnations of the of pandas and people textbook back in the Dover trial days? Maybe he feels entitled to the monopoly on criticism of religion now... He sure seems to have issues

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:09:05 UTC | #617999

Chrisss212's Avatar Comment 3 by Chrisss212

Firstly, Dawkins didn't call religious people Nazis. He called the Pope a Nazi. Which Pope? Can you get done for libel for calling Ratzinger a Nazi?

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:12:05 UTC | #618002

vjohn82's Avatar Comment 4 by vjohn82

Nick has been trying to backtrack a little. He has pointed out that something occurred in 2009 where he made a tenuous link between a slide and the talk Richard was delivering. Clearly the guy has long all sense of proportion because the claim that Richard is routinely calling the pious "Nazis" is something which could harm or cause damage to reputation.

If Richard felt it so, legal action would be a good recourse and justice would certainly demand it. I feel a full and frank admission that Nick has got this wrong would be better and intellectually honest.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:23:59 UTC | #618004

vjohn82's Avatar Comment 5 by vjohn82

Comment 3 by Chrisss212 :

Firstly, Dawkins didn't call religious people Nazis. He called the Pope a Nazi. Which Pope? Can you get done for libel for calling Ratzinger a Nazi?

I don't think the Catholic Church has enough money to take people to court for libel or slander owing to the compensation clinics they are setting up across the world ;)

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:25:07 UTC | #618005

louis14's Avatar Comment 6 by louis14

He called the Pope a Nazi. Which Pope? Blockquote

Pope Pius XII

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:28:25 UTC | #618006

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Hanson

Not all instances of Nazi or Hitler comparisons automatically invoke Godwin's Law. The current Pope WAS a member of the Nazi youth, for instance. Bringing up Hitler to mention that he was a Roman Catholic who was never excommunicated, rather than being an atheist (which on the other side would like people to believe). The Pope during WWII was in bed with the Nazis (~just not the Nazi youth...those fanatical children would have fought back quite viciously, I imagine).

Near as I can tell, it's just another example of someone not having a legitimate argument, and resorting to an ad hominem attack...which, of course, only helps our cause.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:37:24 UTC | #618011

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 8 by Roger J. Stanyard

I've looked at this debate over at Jerry Coynes's WEIT blog and it frightens me. I take the view that Nick Matzke has over done it on the rhetoric but the attack on him is well over the top; I saw him described there as "vermin". Talk about off putting!.

Nick can defend himself over the claim but the attack on him looks like a bunch of 1970s Trotskyites falling out over whether Trotsky was killed with a pick axe or an ice pick.

Like it or not, Nick Matzke is not a Gnu Atheist; his rack record is in defending science from just one arm of religion - creationist fundamentalists. He's not an arm-chair atheist; he was an employee of the National Center for Science Education, a single issue organisation and he has a first class track record of actually doing something (very, very successfully), unlike most of the atheists here (Richard being a very obvious exception).

The debate on WEIT about Nick smacks of the "revolutionaries" in Monty Python's Life of Brian, a bunch of 1970s British shop stewards at British Leyand falling out with each other (splitters!) and incapable of doing anything except fight each other. Not clever by a long way.

If you want to fight a "war against religion", split you enemy, not yourselves. Otherwise you will lose, and deserve to. Strikes me that what is happening on WEIT is an exercise in the tntellectual masturbation of a bunch of ****** who couldn't organise the proverbial bunk up in a brothel. It's a terrible advertisement for Gnu Atheism. Defending science by attacking Nick Matzke as "vermin"? No thanks.

Happy Good Friday. :-(

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 09:39:32 UTC | #618012

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 9 by Ignorant Amos

Well the eedjit obviously doesn't know Goodwin's Law......

Godwin's law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions. The law and its corollaries would not apply to discussions covering genocide, propaganda, eugenics (racial superiority) or other mainstays of Nazi Germany, nor, more debatably, to discussion of other totalitarian regimes, since a Nazi comparison in those circumstances may be appropriate. Whether it applies to humorous use or references to oneself is open to interpretation, since this would not be a fallacious attack against a debate opponent.

Incidentally, wasn't it the Pope who invoked the Nazis first, when he compared secularists to Nazism in its scourge on the nice world, ironically, by a former member of the Hitler youth who is now leader of a theocracy. The Pope's attempt as smoke and mirrors in an attempt to deflect attention from all the child rape carried out by his minions and himself by association and cover up. "Goodwin's Law", then, was first raised by the RCC.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:08:25 UTC | #618016

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 10 by Alan4discussion

Wasn't the Vatican state set up and separated from Italy by someone called Mussolini? Well! Who would have thought that that or Ratzinger's membership of the Hitler Youth could be associated with the Nazis?

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:09:12 UTC | #618017

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 11 by debonnesnouvelles

very nice to see this site up and running again, now that's a "good" friday! On comment 10 of the discussion on WEIT this guy posts a lecture by Richard as his new "evidence", it is useful to look at that if you want to know the full depth of Matzkes arguments. His claims are unfounded in my view. It is good that the internet does not allow us to make some superficial remark and get away with it - someone will read it and, if the comment was out of bounds, challenge it. 2 thoughts come to my mind about this whole story:

The article by Mooney includes "If you want someone to accept new evidence, make sure to present it to them in a context that doesn’t trigger a defensive, emotional reaction."

Matzke comments "I’ve done a lot of speaking to general audiences.... Not once has it seemed even mildly likely that provoking a defensive reaction was a good idea.... it’s extremely debatable if it does anything other than get people mad and shut down and repel the very people you would like to reach."

My question is this: If Matzke believes his own argument, and fully endorses Mooney's point, how come that he makes this claim about Richard based not on any facts but his own personal opinion, and not realize that by doing so, all he can ever achieve is a defensive reaction?

The second thing I wonder about is the validity of personal opinions. I do enjoy reading all the information on this website, and if a thought occurs, dropping it as a comment. I generally like reading Richard's comments and some other regular contributors usually make me think. But are most of the comments, mine included of course, not mainly redundant? Trying to read through all the comments on the WEIT, one can spend the whole morning, and the more comments I read, the more depressed I felt. Is it worth gathering everybody's brain output in order to harvest a few gems, something useful that one would not have thought about?

Or does commenting on articles and other peoples' comments encourage not only the rendering of good arguments based on facts, but also outbursts of gut feelings, which are almost always wrong (so I have heard recently on here ;-) and would have been better kept to oneself? In the case of Matzkes original statement the answer seems clear.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:32:55 UTC | #618023

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 12 by Cook@Tahiti

I've heard John Lennox (in a debate with Michael Shermer in Sydney) blame the holocaust on the Jews for not following Jesus' path.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:58:17 UTC | #618027

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 13 by Roger J. Stanyard

Comment 12 by Rtambree :

I've heard John Lennox (in a debate with Michael Shermer in Sydney) blame the holocaust on the Jews for not following Jesus' path.

I would love to see that debate - it's a staggering revelation of bigotry. Strange, isn't it, that Germany was deeply religious in the 1930s and that Christianity had nothing to do with the holocaust, no siree Bob.

Anti-semitism was rampant amongst European Christians (and others) in the 1930s and 40s.

But then, I've never believed Lennox ever escaped the Northern Ireland absolutism religious mentality of his youth. CS Lewis, another Ulsterman, once quipped that he never met a Christian until he left Ireland.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 11:19:30 UTC | #618038

Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 14 by Nick LaRue

OK I read the discussion over at WEIT twice, watched both videos and saw the slides. (yeah it's been a slow day) Going on the evidence presented Nick Matzke is full of it. His whole attack is invalid and ridiculous. He appears to be overly sensitive to the idea of Nazis and religious affiliation in any regard. The fact that there was no affiliation during the talks just adds to the absurdity of the whole thing.

Nick has yet to provide any real proof that Richard has labelled "all religious people as Nazis". Not to mention Nick has gone quiet on the topic as appears to be his normal mode of operation.

No Nazi card was played, Richard didn't do what Nick said he did. The guy is lying. He needs to apologize.

Also as someone has pointed out already in this thread and the one at Jerry's site, Richard was referring to Pope Pius XII when he was answering that question.

Richard has also clarified this whole thing back when it happened 13 months ago. Talk about not paying attention.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 11:52:06 UTC | #618044

The Plc's Avatar Comment 15 by The Plc

Comment 12 by Rtambree :

I've heard John Lennox (in a debate with Michael Shermer in Sydney) blame the holocaust on the Jews for not following Jesus' path.

Wow. Is this true? We now know that Lennox is an unashamed liar and creationist (search for Dawkins' exposure of his flagrant dishonesty on YouTube), but this seems just too far.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:11:03 UTC | #618047

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 16 by TheRationalizer

Page 1 full spread of false news, followed by a small sentence revoking the story next week on page 12. Nobody ever gets to see the "we made a mistake" follow-up.

The law should be changed so that any retraction should cover the exact same volume of paper as the original story - that would make papers choose their stories more carefully! The same for retraction on other news outlets such as TV, where the retraction should also be the main story.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:45:50 UTC | #618054

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 17 by nancynancy

A few days ago, I listened to the lecture, and like several other posters, I thought Prof. Dawkins was referring to Pope Ratzinger, who did join Hitler Youth during WWII. Prof. Dawkins did not call all religious people Nazis, and it is a bald faced lie to suggest he did.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:45:54 UTC | #618055

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 18 by Richard Dawkins

A few days ago, I listened to the lecture, and like several other posters, I thought Prof. Dawkins was referring to Pope Ratzinger, who did join Hitler Youth during WWII.

I hope it is clear now that I obviously could not have meant Ratz because he is still alive and therefore not a candidate for sainthood.

Richard

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:07:21 UTC | #618057

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 19 by JumpinJackFlash

Joseph Goebbels was excommunicated for...marrying a Protestant. See, we do have our standards!

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:15:34 UTC | #618061

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 20 by God fearing Atheist

Predictable, so predictable.

As far as I recall, Richard's first ref. to the "Nazi pope" was about 18 months ago in a tent in Oz. He was referring to Pius XII, whose name I think he had genuinely forgotten, and was referring to Pius' cooperation with the Nazis. He did it in that latest Oz talk as well, but this time deliberately. Perhaps it is now an "in" joke between Richard and Oz audiences.

On the first mention, someone here groaned something of the ilk - "You can't say that, it will cause all sorts of shit".

All I can say to Prof. Dawkins is - "Everything you do say will be taken down, will be contorted, and may be used in evidence". Welcome to the sleezy world of politics.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:15:38 UTC | #618062

pasadena beggar's Avatar Comment 21 by pasadena beggar

Stanyard, Jebus.

The discussion at WEIT is about Matzke's misrepresentation of Dawkins. There are a hundred or more comments there that attempt to correct the misrepresentation, and call Matzke to account. Suddently you pop into the thread, basically say "leave Matzke alooooooooone", and then you castigate the people who aren't putting up with Matzke's lying. Do not now pop over here to Dawkins place with your underpants in a wad, all innocent and whining about people who called him names.

This was not your fight, and I can't begin to imagine why you thought that inserting yourself into the midst of it was at all helpful.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:17:16 UTC | #618064

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 22 by Scruddy Bleensaver

Comment 10 by Alan4discussion :

Wasn't the Vatican state set up and separated from Italy by someone called Mussolini? Well! Who would have thought that that or Ratzinger's membership of the Hitler Youth could be associated with the Nazis?

That's true about Ratzinger of course, but I always thought it was a bit cheap to hold his membership in the Hitler Youth against him. Such membership was not voluntary at the time, and there's no reason to believe he in any way associated himself with the aims of the party or the regime. In any case, he was around 16 at the time. What it does show however, is that Catholics were in no way critical pariahs and victims of the Nazi regime at the time, as many revisionists have since claimed.

Personally, I detest Ratzinger for his opposition to birth control in the third world, but I would give him a pass even if he'd actually been an enthusiastic nazi at the age of 16.

It's fun to point out sometimes, though.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:27:42 UTC | #618065

mmurray's Avatar Comment 23 by mmurray

Comment 12 by Rtambree :

I've heard John Lennox (in a debate with Michael Shermer in Sydney) blame the holocaust on the Jews for not following Jesus' path.

Was that this debate

http://www.sydneyatheists.org/node/257

There are links to youtube. I can't find a transcript though.

Michael

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:34:02 UTC | #618067

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

That's true about Ratzinger of course, but I always thought it was a bit cheap to hold his membership in the Hitler Youth against him.

I believe that it was reasonable in this context because the Vatican includes people who were baptised Catholic in its membership of their Church. If they are going to count people like me as a Catholic, then it is only fair for us to count Ratzinger as a Nazi.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:34:43 UTC | #618069

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 25 by Steve Zara

Well, I have seen Richard Dawkins address large general audiences and quite deliberately, but ridiculously, play the Nazi card against religion. It’s an instance of Godwin’s Law, and it’s no better when Dawkins does it than when anyone else does it.

In the situation it is entirely right and correct for Richard to mention the Nazis. When the Catholic Church claims to be a beacon of morality in an increasingly corrupt and secular world and claims that secularism could cause society to revert to tyranny, it's entirely appropriate to point out the support for the Nazis from a previous pope. It's not 'playing the Nazi card', it's correctly pointing out papal hypocrisy.

Also Godwin's Law is not a fallacy, it's merely a humorous 'observation' that any sufficiently long internet debate will end up mentioning the Nazis. It's a point about overuse of comparison, not a sign of a mistake. Richard was not participating in a debate.

So this complaint is silly, ignorant and utterly mistaken.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:43:53 UTC | #618072

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 26 by Roger J. Stanyard

Comment 21 by pasadena beggar :

Stanyard, Jebus.

The discussion at WEIT is about Matzke's misrepresentation of Dawkins. There are a hundred or more comments there that attempt to correct the misrepresentation, and call Matzke to account. Suddently you pop into the thread, basically say "leave Matzke alooooooooone", and then you castigate the people who aren't putting up with Matzke's lying. Do not now pop over here to Dawkins place with your underpants in a wad, all innocent and whining about people who called him names.

This was not your fight, and I can't begin to imagine why you thought that inserting yourself into the midst of it was at all helpful.

It is part of my fight. I'm in the same business as Nick Matzke, defending science. You're damaging it.

You should mind your manners as you're giving your cause a bad name - same as describing Nick Matzke as "vermin".

My name is Roger Stanyard, btw.

Who are you?

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:46:14 UTC | #618073

designsoda's Avatar Comment 27 by designsoda

Comment 26 by Roger J. Stanyard : You should mind your manners as you're giving your cause a bad name - same as describing Nick Matzke as "vermin".

Nick Matzke lying gives your cause a bad name. I'd say lying is a worse offense than calling a liar "vermin." Wouldn't you?

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:51:09 UTC | #618075

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 28 by AtheistEgbert

I'm beginning to understand a bit more about accommodationism, and where they fit in the cultural spectrum.

It is a sad fact to acknowledge, but this is not a matter related to atheism, but about how prejudice has been handled by our society over recent decades.

Prejudice is based on ignorance. Raising consciousness about prejudice, even in its most subtle forms, results in the realisation about how inequalities persist in society. Once those inequalities are acknowledged and changed, then prejudice begins to disappear.

Unfortunately, some activists began to confuse prejudice with hatred, and that confusion has worked into the complete opposite of a conscious raising project. The confusion between prejudice and hatred is itself a prejudice. And that malign influence has turned the consciousness raising project into a witch hunt for scapegoats.

Hence why political correctness turned away from a positive consciousness raising project to it's complete opposite and to outright discrimination.

Now, people are discriminated for being ignorant, or saying anything that remotely sounds like political incorrectness, and labelled bigot, racist, etc., and duly silenced and censored. Now they're not only being sacked but beginning to be put in jail.

What this does is not make prejudices disappear, it only makes it more prevalent and bitterly entrenched. It actually increases inequalities in our societies.

That is the root of the accommodationist movement. It confuses criticism with prejudice or hatred, and thus views the new atheism as a prejudicial movement toward religious people, when in fact it's a conscious raising movement attempting to point out inequalities and ignorance.

Accommodationists are themselves prejudicial, because they view the new atheist movement as haters, and therefore such atheists must be bigots or racists that must be censored. And this bigotry has gone beyond this, describing the new atheist movement as akin to the tea party movement (which is itself labelled racist and bigoted etc.), or much worse, labelling it as evil and dangerous.

It is time to reverse this destructive trend, even among the atheist community, which is obscuring the very important positive project of raising awareness about inequalities in our societies.

We must all recognise this myth between prejudice and hatred, and begin to remove our own prejudices, otherwise this is working completely opposite to the enlightenment project that we all supposedly so want to promote.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:51:17 UTC | #618076

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 29 by bendigeidfran

lol. It's a great card to play. And you don't just win by 'snap'. It unifies the magihysteria. I played it last night in another place. They don't like it up 'em.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:56:18 UTC | #618078

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 30 by bendigeidfran

Stalin card's a trump too. They are very much for the lower tables, but that's where most of the punters are playing.

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 14:01:19 UTC | #618081