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Dawkins Foundation: Innovating for a Secular World. A Call to Action by Sean Faircloth, Madison, WI - Comments

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 1 by ANTIcarrot

I know that Sean Faircloth is one of us, but he just sounds so much like a slimy politician sometimes. Especially when he starts mixing truth and lies.

Over two thousand people turned up at EKU with no advertising! Really? Who'd like to bet if you actually went and looked for it, you'd find quite a lot of advertising? An obscure Republican politician wouldn't get that crowd! They wouldn't need to. They'd just visit a megachurch and get five times the number. 2000 is one half of one tenth of one percent of Kentucky's population. I'm sure it was the good event, but it was not the second coming, nor was it a sign of the second coming, and I wish he would stop pretending it was.

Also, what the heck happens at 9:52? It jumps straight to the washington reason rally mid-sentence.

Sat, 12 May 2012 09:32:35 UTC | #941162

X-Files's Avatar Comment 2 by X-Files

I like this video and here in Germany did not know of Sean Faircloth before. If this is the "slimy politician" to fear I would be absolutely happy with ;) I like the idea of becoming a "tribune of justice". This vid had put a smile on my face.

Sat, 12 May 2012 12:41:48 UTC | #941175

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 3 by Peter Grant

http://youtube.com/watch?v=_RwBd08DQpg Innovating for a Secular World. A Call to Action by Sean Faircloth

Atheists as Tribunes of Justice? Sure, who else would we expect to do it?

Excellent speech as usual Sean, I saw nothing to find fault with.

Sat, 12 May 2012 15:12:44 UTC | #941189

sean faircloth's Avatar Comment 4 by sean faircloth

ANTIcarrot. Your comment was filled with vitriol and devoid of substance. You accused me of lying. Would you say that to my face? Let me know your name and address. I'd be happy to discuss it with you in person. I never asserted any second coming so don't put those words in my mouth. I asserted that a powerful Kentucky politician would not gather such a crowd as did Richard Dawkins. That's true. Of course there is public notice of Dawkins coming to a community but, as I correctly asserted, we do not have an advance team like a major politician would, nor do we do paid advertising. All true. Your comment about some hypothetical politician going to a built-in crowd at a mega-church is utterly unrelated to what crowd the person can draw on their own. So another non sequitur. And were we supposed to be impressed by your calculation of the population of Kentucky? Another non sequitur. My assertion is that Richard Dawkins, a man with class and strong reasoning, draws a big crowd, and an enthusiastic crowd. This ability is highly unusual. Such crowds can be encouraged to organize for change to overcome strong religious forces. Or, on the other hand, people can sit at their computers and make illogical and snide comments that contribute nothing whatsoever to moving us toward a more rational society. I hope most people will choose the former not the latter.

Sat, 12 May 2012 16:31:05 UTC | #941201

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 5 by ZenDruid

No worries, Sean. The carrot seems to be the resident Contrarian here.

See you in Sacramento.

Sat, 12 May 2012 16:54:04 UTC | #941202

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 6 by xsjadolateralus

HERE HERE, SEAN!

Well said, and I am right with you advocating the former!

I think your rebuttal was accurate and will hopefully send anticarrot into contemplating his worth and values a little more closely.

I simply can't imagine anyone who would forget themselves long enough to attempt to attack such a valuable asset to the Earth and wonderful person, if they actually knew you or understood your cause. I hope more people meet you with open ears and minds. The children of this world cannot afford to NOT have more people like Sean and people supporting his good works.

Sat, 12 May 2012 17:05:55 UTC | #941204

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 7 by All About Meme

Count me in, Sean. I can't wait to start networking in the Houston area.

Sat, 12 May 2012 17:20:33 UTC | #941207

adiroth's Avatar Comment 8 by adiroth

I like this. This is great! Sean gives us something what I think the atheist movement has always been lacking, which are rallying point and long term goal.

From watching the video, I get the sense that Sean wanted us to beat the theists by beating them in their own game. The moment I heard that, 2 things popped into my mind.

  1. Is he asking us to fight fire with fire?

  2. does the end justify the mean?

Then, I started to think.

The idea that we have to resort to the church's dirty tactics repulses me, but I cannot deny that they're very effective. We have tried to appeal to reason and educate the people, but all we're doing is fighting a defensive fight while the religious are constantly on the offensive. We can repel them once, twice, and even for many more times, but if we don't do anything, they may eventually get lucky, once twice and perhaps a few more times until our rights are shredded into pieces.

Often, the best defence is offence. So, to prevent the theocrats from taking over, the most logical strategy at this point in time is to launch a counterattack. Sure, there is always a better way, the perfect way of solving a problem, however, until someone can figure out what that is, we should rely on the best course of action before it's too late.

I know that there are many other people who hates the church or may have left the church exactly because they've seen those tactics at work. I think that it's fair for them to disagree, but I know that including myself there would be many others who thinks that that the proposed mean is not unjustifiable.

What I am actually worried about is the future of the movement. After entering the political battleground, there might not be a way out. It also raises the potential for the abuse of power.

Right now, the secular movement is made up a coalition of people and organisations who believes that there should be separation between church & state, they may not even agree whether god exists or not. To prevent power struggle, disunity and potential abuse of power, I think there must be an exit strategy planned in advance so that no party is shortchanged once the objective is achieved.

Though I don't think that we could ever claim that "Mission Accomplished", we have to be able to let go. While I am an atheist myself, I do not want to see atheists become a permanent political fixture.

Sat, 12 May 2012 17:49:30 UTC | #941209

sean faircloth's Avatar Comment 9 by sean faircloth

adiroth. I suggest that we reject dirty tactics and engage in clean tactics which, in the long run, will be more effective. We should organize, and we should tell the truth -- persuasively.

Sat, 12 May 2012 17:59:15 UTC | #941212

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

We should organize, and we should tell the truth -- persuasively.

Absolutely.

Sat, 12 May 2012 18:03:47 UTC | #941213

Emmeline's Avatar Comment 11 by Emmeline

Sean is a huge asset to RDFRS - he speaks incredibly well and punches home the main messages. I find him extremely inspiring and although he's addressing US issues (quite rightly), many of us here in the UK are cheering him on.

EDIT: I see he's posted in this thread - great to see you commenting here Sean!

Sat, 12 May 2012 18:13:30 UTC | #941215

GregGorey's Avatar Comment 12 by GregGorey

ANTIcarrot,

Don't be a douche. I have talked to Sean and I will vouch that he is a good dude. .

Sat, 12 May 2012 19:06:02 UTC | #941220

zarkoff45's Avatar Comment 13 by zarkoff45

Sean Faircloth,

Not sure I understand this whole branding and strategy concept.

Your political/social goals seem redundant when compared to those of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Is that a branding problem, or are they people you should seek to work with?

Sat, 12 May 2012 20:28:51 UTC | #941226

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 14 by Katy Cordeth

I haven't seen the video, so I'm not qualified to comment about that, but I will say that I didn't detect any vitriol in ANTIcarrot's post. The 'slimy politician' bit may have been uncalled for, but many worse things are said on this site about all sorts of people who don't fall into the 'one of us' category.

Sean is a huge asset to RDFRS - he speaks incredibly well and punches home the main messages.

I'm willing to take that assertion at face value, although if his comment at no. 4 is anything to go by, I hope he manages to develop a slightly thicker skin.

Also...

Would you say that to my face? Let me know your name and address. I'd be happy to discuss it with you in person...

...sounds confrontational, a bit threatening, and not a little like something a character in Eastenders or The Sopranos might say. If ANTIcarrot does vouchsafe his address, I hope that Sean doesn't turn up with a baseball bat and a set of knuckledusters.

Seriously, is Mr Faircloth really willing to spend airfare, cross timezones and possibly continents to parley with the carrot over an innocuous comment, or was what he said just braggadocio?

Contrarian no. 2

Sat, 12 May 2012 21:04:01 UTC | #941230

GregGorey's Avatar Comment 15 by GregGorey

Katy,

Or Sean could just want to address Carrot's concerns about his own personal character.

Sat, 12 May 2012 23:15:54 UTC | #941238

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 16 by QuestioningKat

Let's not be railroaded or divided by personality differences. Yes, Sean was/is a politician, lawyer, lobbyist. Richard was a professor. I am a designer. Other atheists are working scientists, teachers, computer engineers...maybe unemployed. A few are possibly pimply faced teenagers. Some of us are buttoned up, while others are heavily tattooed. Atheists have diverse personalities and come from a variety of backgrounds. (Although most are middle-aged men which is another conversation.) As more people realize the reality of a secular society, a more diverse group will emerge. A growing atheist population is our youth. Consider the diversity within that group itself. Sean may not appeal to everyone, nor is it required. The more active people become, the more easily people can be drawn to someone with a similar temperament, life goals, outlook, etc.

I recall commenting( a few years ago) how I felt (and still do) that the atheist movement was "all head" and "no heart." I got slammed on other sites for my views, but since then a softer side is slowly emerging. Consider the podcast "Living After Faith." Rich Lyons jumped in and filled a need to help people whose lives have been poisoned by religion. He does not debate, but talks about his own life. By doing this, he gives others the '"permission" to open up and move towards healing. At times, we know we need something, but unless someone stands up to be an example, others who are similar will question themselves and remain silent. Sometimes that silence covers up pain, conflict, and a desire to live differently.

What good is a movement with only a head? It needs hearts, hands, legs, a spine... One person cannot be all these things, which is why more people need to contribute in any way that they can. Ultimately, I think this is what Sean and the RDF would like to see happen.

People will point finger, complain, and act immaturely, but there is a bigger animal to skin here, let's not stoop to the level of small mindedness.

Sat, 12 May 2012 23:55:39 UTC | #941241

adiroth's Avatar Comment 17 by adiroth

Comment 9 by sean faircloth :

adiroth. I suggest that we reject dirty tactics and engage in clean tactics which, in the long run, will be more effective. We should organize, and we should tell the truth -- persuasively.

It's probably just my personal thing, I'm allergic to idea of any serious amount of money spent to promote an issue or drive a certain point. Maybe I'm just jaded after moving into the advertising industry for over a year. It is perfectly possible to communicate facts to one's advantage, but I guess we all have different degree of persuasive flair we are comfortable with using. What I consider unfair, may be perfectly legit to others.

Using memes and appeals to emotions are usually associated with logical fallacies, but it does not mean that everybody else are pedants like me, especially the intended audience of the message. If they think basing their judgement on emotion is acceptable, then is it exploitative for us to capitalise on that or are we just addressing their concern?

Sun, 13 May 2012 01:35:18 UTC | #941249

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 18 by All About Meme

Comment 14 by katy Cordeth

The 'slimy politician' bit may have been uncalled for, but many worse things are said on this site about all sorts of people who don't fall into the 'one of us' category.

Let me get this straight. Since other people use name-calling as a tactic, you're willing to cut ANTIcarrot some slack for insinuating that Sean Faircloth is somehow "slimy"???

Are there any other pearls of wisdom and reason you wish to share on the Clear-Thinking Oasis?

I believe ANTIcarrot owes Sean Faircloth an apology. Let's see if he/she has the class to do it.

Sun, 13 May 2012 02:11:32 UTC | #941250

RDfan's Avatar Comment 19 by RDfan

Like many, I'm concerned that the venerable professor, RD, will not be with us forever. I'm gladdened, though, that Sean Faircloth will be at the helm of RDFRS for many years to come. Intelligent, rational, experienced in the relevant fields, a great public speaker, personable, and a man with vision, SF couldn't be more perfect for the job at hand: advancing the Foundation's causes in the US.

Best of luck with the cause, Sean!

Sun, 13 May 2012 02:58:33 UTC | #941251

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 20 by Katy Cordeth

@comment 18

Let me get this straight. Since other people use name-calling as a tactic, you're willing to cut ANTIcarrot some slack for insinuating that Sean Faircloth is somehow "slimy"???

No, what I was suggesting was that if Sean's reaction, some might say overreaction, to ANTIcarrot's comment is anything to go by, he'll be eaten alive if, in about thirty years' time when Richard starts to think about beginning to consider possibly retiring, Sean inherits the mantle of go-to atheist and has to deal with people like O'Reilly and Coulter; people who have turned being hostile and insulting into an art form.

Because try as I might I just can't see Richard, or for that matter the late Christopher Hitchens, responding as Sean did at no.4; even if the former was jet-lagged and the latter was in a grump.

Then again, I'm starting to think that my comment may have just been in response to all the ass-kissy stuff that has me reaching for the Pepto. I don't even know anymore.

Are there any other pearls of wisdom and reason you wish to share on the Clear-Thinking Oasis?

I'm happy to do anything which might help to clear things up for any duller-witted member of this site who isn't able to distinguish between a suggestion that someone sounds like a slimy politician and an accusation that someone is slimy (or indeed that there's a fine line between name-calling and sarcasm); but I'm afraid it may be a case of casting pearls before swine.

And don't eat yellow snow.

Sun, 13 May 2012 06:52:08 UTC | #941258

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 21 by Michael Gray

For what it is worth Ms. Cordeth, I concur wholeheartedly. I have a similar outlook, based on an emotional reaction.

Contrary views to the collective dogma seem to garner, (oddly), reactionary responses. I note this phenomenon not only on religious fora, but also on (increasingly) self-labelled rationalist/humanist fora. Fora that have progressively morphed into a sounding-board for mere lazy nay-saying.

Sun, 13 May 2012 08:42:06 UTC | #941262

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 22 by Anonymous

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Sun, 13 May 2012 11:02:20 UTC | #941268

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 23 by Anonymous

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Sun, 13 May 2012 12:56:02 UTC | #941280

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 24 by Peter Grant

Comment 21 by Michael Gray

For what it is worth Ms. Cordeth, I concur wholeheartedly. I have a similar outlook, based on an emotional reaction.

Then how can either of you expect anything but an emotional response? Considering the basis of your outlook, is an emotional response not the most rational response we can give?

Sun, 13 May 2012 12:59:41 UTC | #941281

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 25 by QuestioningKat

Comment 19 by RDfan :

Like many, I'm concerned that the venerable professor, RD, will not be with us forever.

He's got a fantastic genome. He will live to 95 providing he cuts down on the stress and lessens his hectic schedule. Yes, eventually he will retire, but he's got a good twenty or so years ahead of him. (Plus he's computer literate - communication is a click away.)

Anyway, this topic has been railroaded because of the first post...and responses to an opinion.

Sun, 13 May 2012 13:51:55 UTC | #941284

ConnedCatholic's Avatar Comment 26 by ConnedCatholic

                 @comment 18 by katy Cordeth -  No, what I was suggesting was that if Sean's reaction, some might say overreaction, to ANTIcarrot's comment is anything to go by, he'll be eaten alive if, in about thirty years' time when Richard starts to think about beginning to consider possibly retiring, Sean inherits the mantle of go-to atheist and has to deal with people like O'Reilly and Coulter; people who have turned being hostile and insulting into an art form.Because try as I might I just can't see Richard, or for that matter the late Christopher Hitchens, responding as Sean did at no.4; even if the former was jet-lagged and the latter was in a grump.Then again, I'm starting to think that my comment may have just been in response to all the ass-kissy stuff that has me reaching for the Pepto. I don't even know anymore.> Are there any other pearls of wisdom and reason you wish to share on the Clear-Thinking Oasis?> I'm happy to do anything which might help to clear things up for any duller-witted member of this site who isn't able to distinguish between a suggestion that someone sounds like a slimy politician and an accusation that someone *is* slimy (or indeed that there's a fine line between name-calling and sarcasm); but I'm afraid it may be a case of casting pearls before swine.And don't eat yellow snow.

I say that it is good that he reacted to the negative comment by ANTIcarrot rather than act like an aloof royal who won't condescend to the fact that they bother to read what is said about them as they possess a skin of a superior quality.

Mr Faircloth probably is not too concerned personally about such malicious comments as elicited by ANTIrabbit but he has committed his life to this important cause and must defend its rationale.

He is a frequent traveler and his offer to meet ANTIrabbit in person is unlikely to be "braggadocio". He is just taking his job seriously.

So, whatever "eating yellow snow" might mean, Sean Faircloth has taken on a serious challenge and ought to receive our heartfelt support and although the sort of thoughts that katy Cordeth and ANTIrabbit share on this site could be construed as intellectually entertaining it should be remembered that there is a very grave issue at stake.

Lastly ANTIcarrot if you cannot work out what the heck happened at 9.52 in the video you should really think a bit more carefully before you pen your thoughts.

Sun, 13 May 2012 14:10:19 UTC | #941285

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 27 by All About Meme

Comment 20 by katy Cordeth

I'm happy to do anything which might help to clear things up for any duller-witted member of this site who isn't able to distinguish between a suggestion that someone sounds like a slimy politician and an accusation that someone is slimy (or indeed that there's a fine line between name-calling and sarcasm); but I'm afraid it may be a case of casting pearls before swine.

Well then perhaps you and I also need to meet privately, because I would definitely like to hear you expound more on this rather provocative statement, in-person.

In the meantime, would you mind elaborating on your thesis here in this forum? Please feel free to further identify the characteristics of your asserted "fine line between name-calling and sarcasm". Because clearly you aren't referring to either me, or any of the other contributors to this website, as "swine"... are you?

Sun, 13 May 2012 15:06:25 UTC | #941288

Moderator's Avatar Comment 28 by Moderator

Moderators' message

Will users stay on the topic of the OP and tone down the notes of hostility to other users, please. If everyone thought the same way, there'd be nothing to discuss.

Thank you

The mods

Sun, 13 May 2012 15:29:11 UTC | #941290

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 29 by holysmokes

How about creating richarddawkins.net extensions for each state and country? You want grassroots organizations from each state, which I think is an excellent idea, however pooling resources for all of us may be the best way to start. Why not use your existing site as a launch point for interested parties to get them started? Perhaps you can create webpage's for each state from the parent richarddawkins.net such as:,
richarddawkins.net/alabama
richarddawkins.net/maine
richarddawkins.net/florida,
etc.

Allow these fledgling organizations to post their organizational data and any pertinent information. That way each branch can feed off each other as good ideas come along. You have a multitude of bright and articulate people on this site. It will allow them to aide in establishing many of these organizations and keep us all up to date. Such an addition should not cost you a penny more in server space. I think we call that internet evolution :o)

Sun, 13 May 2012 17:12:54 UTC | #941299

sean faircloth's Avatar Comment 30 by sean faircloth

This is Sean. This video offers specific action steps -- for you. Here's my question: Will you take action? Will you look at the list of action steps and help? Right now. Make suggestions. Be creative. We can achieve´╗┐ these goals if we organize now and collaborate. Anonymous people who make illogical or false statements may get a response. I quite publicly identify myself. I find the intellectual level of internet discourse is degraded by the temptation to engage in anonymous screeching that people would hesitate to offer if they identified themselves. I say come out come out -- as I have. I stand by my words by name, and take all comers. When, and if, I have time, I will confront anonymous illogical people.

So back to my question: Will people help with specific action steps, like those I describe in the video? I stand ready to debate and discuss HOW we move forward, but the discussion should be about action. Action now. Those who take action are the people who will create a secular society.

Sun, 13 May 2012 20:37:47 UTC | #941311