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

← Andrew Copson and Anne Atkins discussing 'militant secularism'

Andrew Copson and Anne Atkins discussing 'militant secularism' - Comments

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 1 by holysmokes

Well played Mr. Copson.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:37:20 UTC | #918061

Ocellatus's Avatar Comment 2 by Ocellatus

Excellent and calm performance by Mr. Copson. Well done. Would maybe be nice if he'd pointed out that this is about secularism not atheism. It's a somewhat important distinction in this context since may religious people believe in secularism. It would seem Anne Atkins appeared to make noises in that direction too.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:40:52 UTC | #918063

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 3 by AtheistEgbert

I don't want to live in Anne Atkin's society, and I don't agree with her interpretation of tolerance.

A secular society based on liberal values is the most tolerant society that could possibly exist. Christians don't get to define tolerance, considering their track record.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:45:35 UTC | #918065

Jarl Carlander's Avatar Comment 4 by Jarl Carlander

More crap about Richard Dawkins being mean and angry. These people just recycle the same old nonsense in lieu of argument.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:49:45 UTC | #918067

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 5 by Cartomancer

"I want to live in a confused mishmash of a society that just about works. We wouldn't start here, but lets all just muddle through".

Says it all really. Anne Atkins has a terminal lack of ambition. I'm surprised she ever manages to leave the house in the morning.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:02:28 UTC | #918070

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 6 by Neodarwinian

I think Europe is more indifferent than confident in Christianity.

Militant secularism???? Someone needs to look up the meaning of secular.

" I don't believe it but I appreciate that other people do and it gives the culture richness "

What atheist says this?

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:09:35 UTC | #918074

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 7 by LaurieB

Interesting that she has no problem with girls going to school in burkas and spoke negatively about France.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:10:01 UTC | #918075

ukvillafan's Avatar Comment 8 by ukvillafan

Why is it that no one seems to be able to draw the distinction between secularism and atheism? I know Richard did on Newsnight but why can't even the interviewers keep people on the straight and narrow??? Grrrrrrrr

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:11:54 UTC | #918077

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 9 by Mr Blue Sky

Is it not about time that the religions were really taken to task over their unfair paractices never mind their inhuman ones.

Their privilege must be prevented from allowing their members to promote prejudice as if they were allowed to trump everyone else's rights.

Elsewhere in BBC news the Queen is now weighing in about how wonderful religion is and that we just don't understand!! Methinks 60 years is probably enough?

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:12:35 UTC | #918078

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 10 by Steve Zara

More crap about Richard Dawkins being mean and angry. These people just recycle the same old nonsense in lieu of argument.

I have always had something of a problem with Newton's laws of Gravitation. They are pretty simple, but you should have heard Newton explaining them. Here is a typical quote:

Thou fetid clodpoles, enamoured of vile fantasies, knowe you the tugge of a mass goeth as inverse square, and such is your ignorance.

Given such fury, it's no wonder so many don't know it. Einstein was just as bad - he came up with general relativity by imagining a man falling off a roof. How violent!

Nasty angry science.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:12:59 UTC | #918079

Achamian's Avatar Comment 11 by Achamian

When she says America is "incredibly intolerant" of religion, is she implying that separation of church and state is "intolerant" or is she just talking generally about the populace? The former is an utterly absurd idea, although the latter is arguable.

I'm glad the US has such clear constitutional support for church state separation and I think we'd be much worse off without it. The idea that British taxpayer money funds religious schools is just insane from my perspective.

Mr. Copson hits the nail on the head when he says it's not about secular "intolerance," but about Christian privilege.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:13:08 UTC | #918080

rationalmind's Avatar Comment 12 by rationalmind

Comment 4 by Jarl Carlander :

More crap about Richard Dawkins being mean and angry. These people just recycle the same old nonsense in lieu of argument.

It isn't anger . It is frustration at being told that we must respect nonsense about magical gardens and talking snakes and so on. If we are to have a fair and just society we must start off by not poisoning the minds of children, which is mostly how religious belief starts, with unsupportable nonsense.

Secularism, which Baroness Warsi doesn't seem to be literate enough to understand as a word, means keeping religious woo woo out of the governance of society and ensuring that rational decisions are made.Not ones made as the result of the teachings of wandering bronze-age goatheard witch doctors interpreted through the authoritarian dicatation of cognitively deficient, unelected mouthpieces.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:14:24 UTC | #918081

mmartini52's Avatar Comment 13 by mmartini52

LOL the sight of Anne Atkins having to say "I love the fact we live in a multicultural society"...priceless! She almost choked on the words.

'Schoolgirls should be able to wear burkhas to school?' Oh please. She's forced into that silliness by the weakness of her argument.

Good performance by Andrew Copson - thanks for stating the obvious. Some people need it.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:21:37 UTC | #918084

mmartini52's Avatar Comment 14 by mmartini52

Oh, and it ends with an ad hominem attack on Richard Dawkins. How sad, how predictable.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:28:14 UTC | #918087

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 15 by TeraBrat

I didn't watch the debate because I can't access it where I am.Personally I'm against militant anything. If you want to pray you have every right to do so, PRIVATELY, or in a church, not in public. There is no room for any of this in government or government funded entities.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:32:45 UTC | #918089

adzcliff's Avatar Comment 16 by adzcliff

Anyone suggest any links to RD's angry, uninspiring anti-Christian tirade on Radio 4 that Anne Atkins refers to?

Ta.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:36:48 UTC | #918090

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 17 by Mr DArcy

Notice how the believer Atkins kept well clear of God! It was all about the so-called Christian heritage, being tolerant, and of course "angry" atheists. I thought Copson handled it well. It's interesting, re the survey, that when she started off about x % of people, Copson corrected her, and pointed out that it was x % of Christians! If they don't take a swipe at Richard then they can't be true believers! And it's easier when he's not there to respond!

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:41:51 UTC | #918092

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Zara

Comment 15 by TeraBrat

There's really nothing wrong with a bit of militancy. Militant means vigorously active, combative and aggressive, it does not mean violent.

I believe we should be vigorously active and combative when it comes to getting faith out of government. Indeed, I believe we should be militant when it comes to dealing with faith anywhere. Faith is a bad thing, and often a very bad thing. It's like drink driving - bad in principle, and often very bad in practice.

Nothing wrong with being militant, just as long as you stay civilized. That's perfectly possible. One can be combative yet calm, aggressive yet not angry.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:42:53 UTC | #918094

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

This whole story is utterly ass backwards. Where is the outrage from Baroness Warsi about the increasing militancy of members of her own religion ? Shouldn't she be getting her own house in order first, before commenting on others ? If she's so keen on religion...then maybe she should consider the religious saying about casting the beam from one's own eye first.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:46:09 UTC | #918095

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 20 by Steve Zara

Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

This whole story is utterly ass backwards. Where is the outrage from Baroness Warsi about the increasing militancy of members of her own religion ? Shouldn't she be getting her own house in order first, before commenting on others ?

Well said. Atheists aren't slashing genitalia, threatening homosexuals, bagging women. We don't propose a parallel legal system where a woman's worth is a fraction of that of a man. We don't revere a book that insists on death for apostates. You are absolutely right. Warsi has chosen to be a representative of a religion whose doctrines go against freedom and fairness.

[You may note that I don't hold back when it comes to those who choose to be representatives of a faith - they are fair game]

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:07:49 UTC | #918101

I.Dodgyknees's Avatar Comment 21 by I.Dodgyknees

Well done Andrew Copson - your 'nice-boy-next-door' image brought out Anne Atkins' maternal instincts. She's bloody shrill on 'Thought for the day' though: perhaps John Humphrys winds her up.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:10:30 UTC | #918102

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 22 by Richard Dawkins

Anyone suggest any links to RD's angry, uninspiring anti-Christian tirade on Radio 4 that Anne Atkins refers to?

Here it is. The original sound file seems to have been taken down, but the text of it is here.

It doesn't seem very aggressive to me, but I fear that anything even mildly non-religious automatically sounds aggressive through the ears of an Anne Atkins.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:13:11 UTC | #918104

StephenH's Avatar Comment 23 by StephenH

edit: Ahhh, Richard just beat me to it

edit: attempted to get the audio from the BBC link - 404 not found message

Anne Atkins mentions Richard on Thought for the Day

I think possibly the one and only time he was allowed onto Thought for the Day

She claims that Richard used that to attack religion

Try to find, 'mean' 'aggressive' 'angry' in it

http://richarddawkins.net/audio/42-secular-thought-for-the-day

I heard it, back at the time of the original broadcast

I clapped my hands at the end. Absolutely brilliant

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:20:22 UTC | #918106

N-LY-10's Avatar Comment 24 by N-LY-10

Mr Copson is eloquent, concise and calm. Ms Atkins is flustered and outmatched. An effortless win by an enlightened man. We've got them on the ropes.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:21:55 UTC | #918107

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 25 by Mr Blue Sky

Mods

I hope this is considered on topic but if not please move or remove

HM receiving gifts from major religions and explaining how we do not understand the role of the church in our society

It does appear to have been planned a while back but then so would the Rome visit.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:24:04 UTC | #918109

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 26 by Cartomancer

Seems a bit rich that christians of all people should be using militant as a term of abuse, when their very own theology has used precisely that term for centuries to describe the living christians in the world at the moment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_militant_and_church_triumphant

Then again we shouldn't be too surprised. As we found out yesterday, most of them think that the first book of the New Testament is the Gospel According to Noel Edmunds and that the Feeding of the Five Thousand involved Gandalf distributing a KFC bargain bucket and two bottles of creme de menthe to the cast of the original 1996 Broadway production of Rent.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:30:26 UTC | #918111

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 27 by kaiserkriss

Just to confirm #15 Schrodingers Cat: In today's online issue of Der Spiegel there is an article about the tens of thousands of entries on Facebook demanding punishment for the Saudi Journalist Hamsa Kaschgari for insulting the prophet. The fanatics want to make an example of him. The Baroness should indeed be looking at the vile threats and shrill pronouncements of of her fellow believers and condemning them rather than the well argued rational pronouncements of prominent Atheists. jcw

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:40:49 UTC | #918114

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 28 by justinesaracen

I just read the text of Richard's Thought for the Day. It was spot on, precise, and absolutely perfect.

Then I read it again, trying to imagine myself as a believer, and I was shocked at how it struck at the very fundament of my illusion. I understand now why they keep calling us 'aggressive' and 'angry'. We are pulling away their cozy blanket, pointing out that they are in effect sucking their thumbs. They're the onese who are angry. Infantile adults don't like to be told that they are infantile.

Still, I keep doing it myself, in endless online discussions, using much of the argument that Richard makes (and many of the arguments that I absorb here at this website). The vast majority of the time I get back the accusations of anger, aggression, intolerance, all the rest. But I persist. Some do come across to the light, eventually, so it's all worth it.

I think.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:43:10 UTC | #918116

Liln's Avatar Comment 29 by Liln

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:52:59 UTC | #918121

Bob1's Avatar Comment 30 by Bob1

Comment 22 by Richard Dawkins :

Anyone suggest any links to RD's angry, uninspiring anti-Christian tirade on Radio 4 that Anne Atkins refers to?

Here it is. The original sound file seems to have been taken down, but the text of it is here.

It doesn't seem very aggressive to me, but I fear that anything even mildly non-religious automatically sounds aggressive through the ears of an Anne Atkins.

Such disproportionately putrid venom...totally uncalled for...... ;-)

The way Anne Atkins went on really had me expecting much worse than the firm, yet relatively gentle advice that 'It's time to be big boys and girls now and see the real wonder before us' which I found at the other end of the link.

Yet it wouldn't surprise me to find Anne Atkins follows the likes of Ann Coulter on Twitter........as a fan......

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 20:00:51 UTC | #918125