This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by Rich Wiltshir

Go to: Richard Dawkins & Daniel Dennett. Oxford, 9 May 2012

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by Rich Wiltshir

Superb! An item I'll listen to again.

Thanks to both of the profs and organisers.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 14:37:10 UTC | #945697

Go to: The Dangerous Fallacy of Ceremonial Deism

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Rich Wiltshir

If 'ceremonial deism' is used by the religious to support, sponsor, assert credibility for their claims it has abandoned the ceremonial component: so it's deism in a cloak. That deception, misrepresentations and obscurantism are sharp impliments of in the religous' tool box is no surprise. Let us expose the carbarundum stone of rhetoric and blunt them even more.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 13:05:37 UTC | #945685

Go to: Church puts Pat Tillman on a Christian cross for Memorial Day

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Rich Wiltshir

Do we seriously hope for honourable behaviour from the religious?

Mon, 28 May 2012 23:20:14 UTC | #944099

Go to: Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss Tribute to Christopher Hitchens - 2012 Global Atheist Convention

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Rich Wiltshir

He was a star that went nova: glowing and expanding in the sky of our minds.

We all die, but few shine so brightly or create such a stellar effect as did Christopher Hitchens!

Mon, 28 May 2012 22:06:34 UTC | #944084

Go to: Sean Faircloth on The Secular Buddhist podcast

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Rich Wiltshir

I'm going to listen to this a couple more times before making any comment other than to say how positive and clearly focused Sean is. Thanks, I'll be back....

Sun, 13 May 2012 12:41:23 UTC | #941279

Go to: "We Believe" Todd Stiefel speaking at the Reason Rally

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Rich Wiltshir

Great progress and a good old American rallying call. Maybe I'm too British in my outlook to appreciate the whooops as they're perceived in the US?

Onward and upward, the dialogue continues and the cults are receding, methinks. But only evidence will demonstrate if I'm right.

Sun, 13 May 2012 12:05:47 UTC | #941278

Go to: Coming Out Campaign

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Rich Wiltshir

I've facebooked and tweeted.

" I am an atheist​watch?feature=mhee&v=jpThJn7eOu​8

I remember how reticent my wife was about coming out as an atheist: she feared the religious would offer scorn or ridicule. I know that MOST religious people wouldn't, but the sense of intimidation that many athiests feel is a key reason for my strongly vocal challenge to proslytising bigots. So, on 1st June, the eve of the 2nd aniversary of my beautiful wife's death, please think of her when you see this post appear again.

Thank you


Wed, 09 May 2012 16:00:07 UTC | #940738

Go to: From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Rich Wiltshir

A touching tale of compassion in the family, though I'm amazed at her husband's revealing comment 'god never forced anyone to believe'.

One point I should concede: athiesm doesn't say 'there is no god', it merely acknowledges there's no evidence for any of the thousands that have stalked our history.

I wish her well. She's obviously better off without the thugs who've shunned her because of her honesty.

Tue, 01 May 2012 23:33:07 UTC | #938844

Go to: Come Ye Out From Among Them, 3 former preachers talk about Coming Out.

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Rich Wiltshir

I'd like to have the patience to watch all of this, but the tone is so embedded in the cult from which they've escaped...

Truly, I wish them well but listening to them teaches me that there's a much bigger journey than the huge one I'd anticipated for them.

One massive enquiry that floods from this video is how people could be drawn in by these tones.

Maybe the culture gap is more vast than we'd thought? Have these guys made a large investment to escape the church or simply realised that the investment they'd made for that institution was wasted?

Have a happy life gents: and your friends and families.

Tue, 01 May 2012 23:18:15 UTC | #938838

Go to: Are You a Believer? Take The Dawkins Test.

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 98 by Rich Wiltshir

Increasingly, I'm drawing toward the conclusion that the question "is there a god" is almost as dumb as an affirmative answer.

How many tonnes of human grey matter have been (pre)occupied with this question?

Every active believer I've known has had a psychological drive to assert their conclusions. Like arrogant vegetarians (I've been vegetarian for almost 20 years) they refuse to observe the weaknesses of their own methods, startegies and tactics in advancing their judgement.

I'm a 6.99 and the number's getting longer.

Sat, 14 Apr 2012 17:33:00 UTC | #934652

Go to: 'Gay cure' Christian charity funded 20 MPs' interns

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Rich Wiltshir

If a car mechanic said oil pressures are optional...

It's time to halt the tax privileges for institutions that undermine knowledge, education and understanding.

Sat, 14 Apr 2012 17:08:06 UTC | #934646

Go to: Melvyn Bragg attacks Richard Dawkins' 'atheist fundamentalism'

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 163 by Rich Wiltshir

Bragg's ranting here: he's FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED and inconsistent in his own 217 second diatribe.

Maybe we're looking at the next Archbigot of Canterbury; at least he'd do a better, more assertive job than Williams.

I've always liked Mariella Frostrupp but she does appear condescending toward Richard in her interview with him about "The Magic Of Reality."

I've seen one of Bragg's tirades about the King James Buybull: all eloquently expressed, demonstrating how the principal editor (I'm sorry that I don't recall his name) had well known publications prior to KJB's publication: therebt evidencing that Shakespeare & Elizabeth 'would' have known it.

It looks like the crux of Bragg's issue is his infatuation with the KJB. As Richard is on record with great compliments about the language used in KJB, it's weird that Melvyn's so aggressive.

An entertaining 3:37 that progresses his acidic tract not one jot.

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 07:06:44 UTC | #928032

Go to: The "So" meme

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 112 by Rich Wiltshir

"So," = "Listen to me, listen to me, I've got something to say" but is a less aggressive plea for attention?

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:39:40 UTC | #924889

Go to: David Jones and the Muslim security guard

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Rich Wiltshir

Maybe we should all wear burkas when going through any form of security check?

I'm still entertained by the observation that a muslim male cross dresser gains anonymity because of the burka being standard female attire. I'm not suggesting there's a larger proportion of tranvestites within the muslim subset: neither am I inferring there are fewer.

Whether this whimsical "observation" is off topic, I'm not sure but the capacity for a style of clothing to mask some basic aspect of identity is certainly a cause for discomfort, if not concern. Believe what you want, but do not for a minute think it's acceptable, respectful or compliant with common courtesy to impose consequences on others because of that belief.

It's a legitimate enquiry: if I feined an Irish accent, donned some religious garb or symbolism, wore a maternity dress or a burka: I'd expect no special treatment because of my personal preference. If I pretented to be a Tourettes sufferer (stereotypical), autistic or deaf: I'd expect to go through the same scrutiny.

And if I weren't pretending: the same would apply.

This chap asked a relevant question and was bullied by bigots because of it.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:37:06 UTC | #924886

Go to: Jessica "Evil Little Thing" Ahlquist on CNN

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Rich Wiltshir

We need more 'evil little things'

With the qualities she's showing at age 16 is this a future US President: she's certainly a stronger candidate that GWB.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 17:59:30 UTC | #922133

Go to: "The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin"

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 270 by Rich Wiltshir

I was there. First time in the audience for one of Richard's encounters.

Before reading anyone else's comments, I must say how disappointed I was at the archbigot's performance. True, I'd expected the man to be lacking charisma and potency but his contribution was sparce and uninspired. I'd really hoped for more.

Now, I delighted when discovering that I'm wrong about something, so will read everyone's comments with interest.

Kenny was a pleasing surprise, witty and insisive, opening the conversation with clear ground rules. I felt he carried much of the role that Williams should've done.

On the premise that the archbigot is significantly smarter that all the impressions I've had of him, I've pondered what strategy he may be playing: I think he's been working on the premise that Richard will go into a Gish Gallop (the famous creationist's tendency to deliver a shotgun's volley of half facts and pseudo ponderings). This is a plausible strategy, when supported by the large number of questions fielded simultaneously by Richard. The queries weren't discourteous or aggressive, but they required the great resource of knowledge and understanding that our dear Professor has aplenty. If I were reliant on Williams as a leader, my efforts would be to find a replacement.

One audience member I spoke to afterwards thought that Richard had started to 'dig a hole or two' in the first phase of the discussion. He was referring to the point at which Richard volunteered that analysis of consciousness emerging was a similar intellectual arena to that of language (heirarchical embedment - wonderful phrase).

I've learn a lot from the 90 minutes, though the seating was quite uncomfortable. I glad that I invested the day to see this (despite losing that time on my present manuscript). I have more questions to ponder, more concepts to graps: sadly none of them are from the religious perspective. The street preacher did a better job than Williams did: and his only response was to ignore my questions and smile like a simpleton. Hey ho.

It occurs that a theologian is digging a hole on the beach, digging, digging, digging: never noticing that it's all sand. Dr of theology is equivalent to a degree in Klingon.

Thanks, Richard, for an enlightening day in Oxford.

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 19:06:54 UTC | #921594

Go to: RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI Poll #2: UK Christians oppose special influence for religion in public policy

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 175 by Rich Wiltshir

I've no doubt that you told Hitch this was in the pipeline. It's good he lived to see it.

Excellent work. I'm going to find some pennies to support RDFRS again, but give me some time please.

The religoons will surely try to muster some rancid tactical device to muddy the waters, but this is a long-term construction that diverts the flow of their assertions. Thankyou, Professor Dawkins and everyone else.

Excellent. Truly bloody excellent!

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 23:39:33 UTC | #919825

Go to: BREAKING NEWS: Atheist Professor Head of New TERROR MOVEMENT

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Rich Wiltshir

Sherlock Holmes detects this to be a spoof article because, though claimed to be of UK origin, the spelling of 'colour' is presented in US fashion; 'color'.

It would seem, therefore that Moriarti (famous for his multi-layered subterfuges) is conspiring with an alien power to use Warsi as some laughable manikin through which to instill a sense of fear. I deduce, therefore, that this puppett of the Master will draw around her a cult of co-conspirators who'll gather great wealth and spend all their energies talking absolute bollocks.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:01:35 UTC | #918736


Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 162 by Rich Wiltshir

Comment 136 by mmurray

Comment 109 by Ignorant Amos :

The poor old Bish looks like a caricature of himself. Why does he think those brows look anything other than ridiculous? Why does his family let him out of the house looking like something from the dark ages? He looks like a cross between " Catweazle" and " Gandalf the Grey".

I know it's not Cricket to ad hom, but c'mon, how can anyone expect to be

taken seriously with such an image?

The poor old bishop, like me, is at the age where hair grows everywhere but on the top of your head. The interesting thing is that his moustache, beard and (as far as I can tell) ears and nose are all trimmed. So the eyebrows are not a question of letting nature take its course. He deliberately cultivates the eyebrows for the wise old owl look. Vanity of vanities.


As one whose eyebrows are somewhat hairsuit, I hope anyone else at the event will be gentle with me???
I confess curiosity at the evolutionary advantage for working follicles' relocation to eyebrows, nose and ears during their retirement years. Perhaps such features are a simple biproduct of the adaptations that helped us survive before the more widespread increased longevity of recent centuries?

TODAY MY TICKET ARRIVED: I'm full of childish enthusiasm for my first pleasure trip to Oxford. I've a couple of questions prepared in case I get the opportunity to use a microphone from the upper gallery.

I'm so chuffed that I've made the effort to get down there. I know Richard will 'wipe the floor with him' as one sage suggested, but I truly think the archbigot's worst enemy is his positon in the swampy lowlands of mythology that give him such privileged lifestyle and status due to the bredth of anachronistic influence in our governmence and culture.
Let my dopplegange waffle, watch his weapon backfire and listen to the chuckles from the audience.

Richard: I hope you enjoy the day as much as I sincerely plan and hope to. If you're short of someone to buy you a drink afterwards...

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 15:05:21 UTC | #918035

Go to: In the Spirit: Some florists won't deliver to atheist

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Rich Wiltshir

Bigots with a bloom that can't be shared unless you're a bigot, too.

Such a wonderful culture these religion's foster, isn't it?

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 12:22:55 UTC | #918000

Go to: Britain being overtaken by 'militant secularists', says Baroness Warsi

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 103 by Rich Wiltshir

Athiests don't alienate, torture, intimately mutilate, murder, lie, misrepresent, propagate ignorance to support their view, filter evidence, subdugate reason for bigotry, use dogma as a roadblock to health and welfare, encourage population growth...

Let's have a world full of 'militant atheists' where decisions are based on a growing pool of available facts, childhood joy and enquiry is encouraged, consequences are accepted as the result of events (no matter how beautifully random they are) and people treat each other with respect and courtesy that's not corrupted by mythological sectarianism.

And Warsi can cultivate her own versatiile psyche without the poison of religion...

Everything is beautiful, but religion would have you change it...

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 12:19:45 UTC | #917998


Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 119 by Rich Wiltshir

I'm really looking forward to this, my first chair in the audience who Richard's on stage. Should be a good day out.

Quite keen to see if Williams is the patronising smarmarse that everything I've learnt about him suggests.

Now it's a fair guess that the chief bigot himself (or some of his cronies) read these pages in preparation. To those folk, I ask the question "how long will it be before you concede that your doubts far outweigh the indoctrination of childhood and self-reinforced mystique of your working like? How many of your family are fretful about declaring their disbelief, fretful and fearful of your reaction - and is this the caring, loving example you'd wish to be?"

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:57:59 UTC | #916738

Go to: Freedom of speech for street preachers

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Rich Wiltshir

Steve Zara, Comment 6 makes a valid point that modifies my view slightly:

gay people have been subject to bullying, threats and violence.

The truth and effect of his words is compounded when we consider that religion is the most experienced, practiced and intransigent of bullies, threats and violence. The track record is spewed across more pages of history, I suggest, than any other aspect of our cultural interractions.

I hate to appear flippant by referring to a fictional character, but James T Kirk said that we should take care in erradicating the monster, because the greatest danger is that we morph into it's replacement.

Nothing that the accused (please pardon my deferrence to a religiot) did to these men is defensible by any measure of reason. It's vulgar and unwise to compound primitive xenophia. There is no reason why anyone should be subject to such an onslaught.

But.... it's hard to escape the observation that society still doesn't animate individuals to stand up and say 'no this is wrong' or otherwise challenge such thugs. Let's embolden and support, even reward, those who see such events and argue with the buffoons.

Maybe I'm too disconnected from Steve's experience. I sincerely apologise if I seem patronising in the way that I'm declaring that we should allow these impeciles to stand up and do their thing. I'd shake the hand of the person who got there first and made the arrogant thug face ridicule and contempt. Surely, that's a preferred culture than one where he's simply silenced and the rest of the world is denied the lesson of reason?

It's not comparable, but those times when folk have shaken my hand or said kind words in response to my athiest badges have been great boons.

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 18:45:00 UTC | #916333

Go to: UK Christian leaders warn religion is being pushed out of public life

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Rich Wiltshir

Yup. Get the leaches out of our institutions.

There was a time when Langrish (Exeter Bish) would've claimed 100% religiosity with no dilution to other cults. I'm amused and informed by his limp and tearful assertion that an unspecified proportion of 70% is loyal to his own gang. "... talk about saying private prayer..."

The bishop's own words expose surrender to the inevitable demise of the institution that was founded on rancid, violent and corrupt bullying, torture and murder of earlier generations. The powerbase is gone, all reason to sponsor it exposed as flacid mythology and the product of boys' clubs and dominance by a few self-aggrandising families thanks to kow towing (consider the 'defender of faiths' buffoon who waits in the wings).

Prayer serves no function other than as puppeteer's string (riveted during childhood and only removed by diligent reason), and conveyor of cash to the church. Forcing kids to pray in school is blatant indocrination; grooming to maintain market share of the populace that is increasingly empowered by knowledge, reason and intelligence applied to the growing pool of information available to all.

One painful truth to these peddlars of myth is that, without countless dealers for the drug of prayer, their employer, prestige, luxuries, influence, status, wealth and esteme (self and otherwise) are undermined. So when they protest at the retreat of prayer I see a malignant version of Arthur Scargill in a frock, cankerous, malodourous and complaining that it is evil to dissemble his ancient union's stranglehold on supply of a product for which - in the case of religion - there is no need.

Within yards of a cathedral's entrance there's usually a sign. It asks for donations, reinforcing the need because 'we receive no government funding.' By the donation's box, there's 'DON'T FORGET TO GIFTAID' so they can have a tax rebate. Giftaid is government funding: whether it's for cats, culture or cults. CofE income stream = £1bn (ish) pa, tax privileged (what good could £200m do elsewhere?) £30m pa from NHS funds for priests in hospitals... military chaplains... How many cults? How many income streams from the public purse? How many avoidable costs directly attributable to religion?

Today's a good day, but there are many more enforced retreats of religion yet to be achieved. Let's keep at 'em. Religion is business model for to inspire drug pushers: let's help the addicts (Clergy Project for example) and amputate the revenue streams to the pushers.

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 18:27:02 UTC | #916326

Go to: Freedom of speech for street preachers

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Rich Wiltshir

It's taken many years to gain the confidence to challenge street preachers and cold callers peddling to the public. I challenge them every time now: asking for evidence, disparaging the behaviours of religion, it's bigotries and deceit, it's self-embellished ignorance. The reason I do this is to show that it can be done.

No coincidence, is it (sounding like Yoda), that I confront litter bugs, graffiti artists, smokers in confined places, the bully and the rude.

Gone are the days when religion and politics were taboo topics. It's good that more and more people are challenging the ridiculous.

You're right to protect their entitlement to say this drivel: we need more people to stand up and challenge them when they do.

It's distressing to think that none of the witnesses challenged this incredulous little bigot for the invasive, destructive and contemptible diatribe he (allegedly) spat at these men.

Standing up to these people bring attention (some of which may be in their support) but the dominant result is entertainment for and approval from the crowd who see that they can't handle a reasoned challenge. When four preachers in my local town couldn't answer "what evidence do you have of prayer healing amputees" they gave several folk the pleasure of telling me "get thee behind me satan"

As Dara O'Briain may suggest; 'in the feckin sack.'

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 15:09:26 UTC | #916216

Go to: Bideford Town Council prayers ruled unlawful

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Rich Wiltshir

Another step toward FULL separation of myth from state. Let's get these 26 bishops out of government, priests out of our hospitals, prayers away from schools, tax privileges for religions all out of the system.

Good news that the xtian hoteliers have lost their appeal today, too.

In both cases, is it significant that it's announced on a Friday?

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:55:23 UTC | #916213

Go to: Pope 'exorcised two men in the Vatican', claims new book

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by Rich Wiltshir

And he doesn't even look cross. Or have his eyes gone too?

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 10:56:55 UTC | #916147

Go to: Pope 'exorcised two men in the Vatican', claims new book

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Rich Wiltshir

I get it: they're laying the foundations for claims that, after the old arse dies, he cures possessed people and should be a saint.

These assholes are so transparent in their motives: 'god's the good guy, but I'm something special'

Tell Darth Ratzinger that the imams are possessed and see what happens..... FA.

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 17:23:57 UTC | #915917

Go to: Is there hope? Even after religion?

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by Rich Wiltshir

There is hope, so much more than you can imagine because there are people like you who see through the lies and deliberate confusions.

With yourself at the start of the list, add a few others: Richard Dawkins, Edzard Ernst, Brian Cox, Dan Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (his inheritance), Sam Harris, Ricky Gervais, Robin Ince, Dara O'Briain, 50% of your neighbours, Matt Dillahunty, Stephen Fry, my mate Ian, Ben Godacre, that old lady who laughs at the fortune tellers' tent, Simon Singh, Daniel Radcliffe.........

When you're in the list, maybe you view yourself as a follower? When others hear your reasoning, maybe they see you as a leader.

Keep up the good work.

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 13:52:09 UTC | #915861

Go to: Non-theistic sources of inspiration in the face of adversity

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Rich Wiltshir

First, thankyou for entering such an honourable and valued profession: it's oncology that gave my wife and I several years that we would otherwise have lost.

Inspiration, for me, comes from patterns and their ongoing discovery through the application of intelligence, cooperation, tenacity, generosity and imagination. Someone said that intelligence is a word for pattern recognition.

Alice Shepherd (@Penguingalaxy) gave a talk at Skeptics In The Pub (SITP) on Tuesday in Birmingham (the original in UK ;-p) in which she described the collaborative process of folk accessing the web to categorise over 2 million galaxies. Jo(e) Public helped discover and fuel explanations for the appearance of new groups of galaxies. From a huge dataset, thousands of individuals extruded understanding.

When a person dedicates their life to family, art, science, charity, even sport in some ways they're showing what can be done with the practiced application of skills and intent.

The sound of laughter or sobs, can move me to repeat or avoid the experience that brought them about.

Watching a calf being born, it's warm, moisture laded hooves appearing first: they're white and eerie like death, but within minutes they hold the newborn up as it seeks mother for that vital first drink.

Watch parent and child work together, the eldest allowing (though it's so tempting to intrude) their offspring to risk the mistake as (s)he learns.

A stranger's concern for the less fortunate. Mountains and valleys, moons, planets, stars and atoms, neutrons, quarks and, yes, the elusive Higgs bloody boson.

Life and death on every scale, it's variance and populations huge in one place, yet total absence elsewhere.

Even, to some twisted degree, the determination of religious bigots who fight for their ignorance to survive when so much more beauty and awe knocks at the closed door of their powerbase and comfort zone. Even this is inspiring yet saddening because it's an adversity cloak more blinding than any Harry Potter ever shrouded himself in.

Enjoy everything, share the best and race to every smile, guffaw, titter and giggle with wonder.

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 13:44:02 UTC | #915859