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

← The Internet: Where religions come to die

The Internet: Where religions come to die - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

This is brilliant. Many congratulations to Thunderfoot. This deserves to go viral in a big way. Please spread it around as widely as possible.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:20:00 UTC | #463656

TheReason's Avatar Comment 2 by TheReason

Thunderfoot has been one of my favorite youtubers for some time now. He can really call it like it is!

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:21:00 UTC | #463657

The Plc's Avatar Comment 3 by The Plc

I wonder were he gets his footage from, the religious propaganda videos, surely the makers don't mass produce them in bulk then send them to teachers and universities?

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:30:00 UTC | #463661

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 4 by phasmagigas

very nice, its true to say that when a creationist comes on board here he/she quickly realises they know nothing and/or leave screaming hell fire and scripture. So its always worth engaging a creationst, thats good to know :)

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:35:00 UTC | #463663

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 5 by Dr. Strangegod

Very good, Thunderfoot. The only problem I see is that as the scrutiny increases, those who are being scrutinized retreat further and further into a hole where their beliefs and opinions are unassailable. But then, that may lead to decreasing numbers of people who agree with those beliefs and opinions, so maybe we're okay.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:37:00 UTC | #463666

helena!'s Avatar Comment 6 by helena!

I wish I could see it but will have to wait until later.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:42:00 UTC | #463667

Monkey Man's Avatar Comment 7 by Monkey Man

I've been telling people this for awhile, Thunderf00t is a good example to any of us with equally good ideas.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:45:00 UTC | #463668

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 8 by Dark Matter

So that's why the Pope doesn't like the Net.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:47:00 UTC | #463669

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 9 by Rosbif

Very well thought out.

I had never before thought of Scientology's thuggery towards doubters as being less severe than maintream religion's threats of eternal hellfire. Probably because I never believed in hell, but I do believe in thugs.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:53:00 UTC | #463672

souper genyus's Avatar Comment 11 by souper genyus

@Wasted Tourist

Some of the footage was taken from the documentaries Jesus Camp and Inside a Cult. Both were very good films, but they made me horribly sad for the children.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:56:00 UTC | #463674

Kalex's Avatar Comment 10 by Kalex

Wasted Tourist: the footage of the children being brainwashed is from a terrifying, yet excellent documentary - "Jesus Camp." I would highly recommend it.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:56:00 UTC | #463673

TheReason's Avatar Comment 12 by TheReason

Might I also recommend a user named AronRa?

He has a series called 'Foundational falsehoods of Christianity' brilliant!

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:59:00 UTC | #463676

The Plc's Avatar Comment 13 by The Plc

@Kalex, @Souper Genyus

Cheers, I'll check out these documentaries. That footage was quite disturbing, it actually isn't too different to the kind of conditioning that occurs in the 'moderate' religions and the British education system.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:06:00 UTC | #463679

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

I just don't believe it. Where is the evidence that religion fails on the Internet? None that I can see. There are plenty of religious forums that actively work to support faith.

This is because there is no "place" called "The Internet". There are only countless groups, forums, mailing lists, blogs, websites and so on.

I remember some vague optimism when the Internet got started in the early 90s that it would bring all people together. Instead it has enabled different groups to shout at each other even more loudly.

The Internet is an unparalled provider of information. And that information can be used to support any belief system (or lack of belief).

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:13:00 UTC | #463683

DefenderOfReason!'s Avatar Comment 14 by DefenderOfReason!

Excellent video!

Religions worst enemy is common sense and logic but the problem is most people lack both, especially children who are indoctrinated and brainwashed with this bullshit!

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:13:00 UTC | #463682

Quine's Avatar Comment 16 by Quine

It seems one on Thunderf00t's observations has happened over at the First Things thread where several of us have been posting. (Our thread about it is )

They (FT) rarely get more than a couple of dozen comments on an article they put up, but this piece from David B. Hart got over 300. Basically, it was ripped to shreds and brought out many things that the site was probably not happy about. I can't say for sure that this was the cause, but today all the comments have been deleted. Just as stated in this video, the religious cannot expect to put up on the Internet the kind of things they stand up and say in Church and expect the nodding acceptance they get in Church.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:14:00 UTC | #463684

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 17 by Cartomancer

Steve, Comment #14

Have you seen Aleks Krotoski's four-part BBC2 Documentary on this subject? It seemed to come to the conclusion that the evidence wasn't really in yet on the overall impact of internet technology, and that that impact was somewhat multifarious, operating differently in different contexts and among different groups.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:25:00 UTC | #463688

LWS's Avatar Comment 18 by LWS


Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:26:00 UTC | #463689

gobes's Avatar Comment 19 by gobes

Great stuff. I must say... hearing that us non-believers outnumber the believers throughout the world is fantastic news to me.

Perhaps there is some hope for humanity after all :-)

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:28:00 UTC | #463690

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 21 by rod-the-farmer

Nice work, but the multiple typos ruined it a bit for me...

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:36:00 UTC | #463697

yanquetino's Avatar Comment 20 by yanquetino

Spot on! Thank you!

I can attest from personal experience that what both Mr. Deity and Maher's interviewees stated about Mormonism is absolutely true. It is social suicide to openly concede that science has debunked the preposterous claims of Joseph "Myth." The tales I could tell...!

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:36:00 UTC | #463696

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara


But surely that backs up what I said? Minds weren't changed-comments were deleted. That's what happens in such Internet communities.

A piece is only ripped to threads if everyone agrees that it has been ripped to shreds. What often happens is opposing groups each congratulate themselves on a major victory.

Carto- no, haven't seen it. I'll try and look it up!

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:38:00 UTC | #463698

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 23 by HourglassMemory

I remember watching this a while ago and not only was I agreeing with it but I started thinking about how many other things can be "killed" like religion, on the Internet.
Conspiracy theories, wacky medical claims creationism and on and on and on.

I really could say that the internet saved my mind. If it wasn't for communities like the JREF Forums and the skeptical community in general, I really have no idea where I would be emotionally and mentally.
I really think scientific skepticism on the internet is one of the most powerful forces to have ever manifested on this planet. And I don't think it's hyperbolic to claim something like this.
And it is SO recent! That's the cool thing about it. It means that it will very likely grow and spread. And I see evidence of that. Especially in young people. It's basically being counter-cultural, with a brain. Who, being young, wouldn't be attracted to this?
I really do hope this spreads out of the internet and jumps into the real world in a big way.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:42:00 UTC | #463700

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Carto, comment 17

That sounds right to me, and far more realistic than Thunderf00t's analysis.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:43:00 UTC | #463702

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 25 by Szymanowski

The argument is good: individualism and freedom of information benefit reason and diminish religion. Shame about the text, the graphics and the voice though.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 17:58:00 UTC | #463706

Quine's Avatar Comment 26 by Quine

Steve, I think we will have to see how it goes. I do suspect that Thunderf00t is thinking more about YouTube than the general Internet. The significant change is the two-way nature of this medium where religious organizations cannot stop criticism. For example, the abuse issues re the RCC have been held back in the major media here in the USA until it was clear that the people would stand to hear about it, whereas, it was all over the vids for some time. Attempts to get rid of Thunderf00t's latest video about South Park v. Islam have failed because others have mirrored it. (To see it, go to Thunderf00t's channel page and get sent to the mirror.)

Yes, some church-goers only are Internet-goers to closed religious areas. At the same time, most young people go all over the Net. We may suspect that makes it more difficult to keep them from hearing the criticisms, and that may make it harder for religions to keep them from thinking for themselves. Does that make it a place for religion to come to die? As I said, we will have to see how it goes.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:04:00 UTC | #463708

skel625's Avatar Comment 27 by skel625

Please spread it around as widely as possible.

Mission accepted Mr. Dawkins!!! :D

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:11:00 UTC | #463712

John P's Avatar Comment 28 by John P

Nice. I started a long comment, then figured I'd take it here.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:16:00 UTC | #463714

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

Comment #484487 by Quine

YouTube is quite a different situation, because it is one system, open to all who use it.

I admit to being seriously skeptical of what Thunderf00t is saying, to the point of thinking that the opposite of what he is saying may be true, at least for now. The Internet is empowering, but empowering to all sides in any debate. We know that because we see so many theists coming here armed with links to Internet sites, and debates here can sometimes end up as simply "battles of links". Unless both sides agree the terms of the discussion, and the nature of the evidence, that will always happen.

I'd also like to hear of one, just one, silly idea, belief, conspiracy theory, or religion that has been destroyed by exposure to the Internet. There are still faked-moon-landing believers. There are still 9/11 conspiracy theorists. And, it's easy to see why. Rather than being isolated, such people can easily find fellow believers via the Internet. The Internet is a great way to help preserve belief, as it allows "virtual" communities to form and grow. You don't all need to physically meet in a church hall if you can all get online.

You are right, we'll have to see. But that position does make Thunderf00t's claim rather premature, to say the least, and my feeling is that we should be putting forward evidence-based claims, not what we hope might be the case.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:18:00 UTC | #463715

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 30 by DamnDirtyApe

Damn right the internet is where religion comes to die!

I'm waiting for it. With a shovel.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:32:00 UTC | #463717