Atheists Behaving Badly

By Keith Kloor | August 14, 2014 4:43 pm

When evolutionary biologist and atheist superstar Richard Dawkins recently stepped into (yet another) sinkhole of his own making, fellow evolutionary biologist and all-star atheist PZ Myers shook his head sadly. (It was not the first time that Myers had chided Dawkins for “callous indifference.”) Dawkins, true to form, could not recognize the sinkhole he created. That led Myers to shake his head again, sadly.

As Myers wrote about the latest Dawkins sinkhole, “it hurts to see him say obnoxious things on Twitter, like rating different kinds of rape and pedophilia.” Even worse, Dawkins didn’t understand “why that’s objectionable,” Myers noted.

Earlier this week, it was Myers turn to step into (yet another) sinkhole of his own making, with a post that began:

I’m sorry to report that comedian Robin Williams has committed suicide, an event of great import and grief to his family. But his sacrifice has been a great boon to the the news cycle and the electoral machinery — thank God that we have a tragedy involving a wealthy white man to drag us away from the depressing news about brown people.

A collective groan could be heard in the atheist community. The tone-deaf sarcasm from Myers led many of his fans to mumble: “Why, why, why…”

Some went further. Fellow evolutionary biologist and equally abrasive atheist all-star Jerry Coyne was unsparing:

This is one of the most contemptible and inhumane things I’ve ever seen posted by a well-known atheist. It reeks of arrogance, of condescension, and especially of a lack of empathy for those who loved and admired Williams not because they knew him, but because he brought them happiness and made them think.

Myers, true to form, could not recognize the sinkhole he created.

It’s a quirk of human nature that some people can only see when others are behaving contemptibly. Of course, lack of self-awareness is not unique to prominent atheist scientists. Still, I wonder if Dawkins, Myers, or Coyne could give me an evolutionary explanation for obtuseness?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: atheist, science
  • blueollie

    Atheists behaving badly consists of people saying stuff that isn’t PC? Hmmm, I suppose we had better up our game to catch the theists.

    • Cheri

      There is a massive difference between the arrogant, ignorance Myers exhibits and that simple statements Dawkins shared.

      • JH

        That’s funny! My thought was the exact opposite. Myers’ statement, is a little off color, but not comparable to Dawkins’ bizarre musings.

    • Buddy199

      What do you mean “up” your game?

  • mem_somerville

    It’s nice to see others–from their own tribe–call out the bad behaviors. It would be great to see more of that from religious folks. I was just watching “Philomena” this week, and I was seething at the collusion of silence around the bad behaviors on so many fronts. At least among atheists nobody’s afraid of a hierarchy.

    • Buddy199

      Dogmatists of any stripe are basically the same: closed-minded, condescending and intolerant. There are atheists as well as religious people who think they know it all, they’re two sides of the same coin. Ironically, not recognizing that is the hallmark of being one.

      • Judy Weismonger

        But, Atheists are 100 percent correct. There is NO proof of god or Jesus…no proof of supernaturalism. Its easy to prove there is no such thing as a magical, religious god. Just pray and ask these magical gods to do something…and it never happens. Nothing has ever interrupted the laws of physics…ever.

        • fosterkatt

          Aaaaand your post just proved Buddy’s point about close-mindedness, condescension, and intolerance from dogmatic people. First, “atheist” is not a proper noun. Second, it’s impossible to prove a negative. Therefore, the lack of existence of a deity or deities can never be proven. Third, there have been trillions of prayers made to various gods by billions of people over the millennia. How do you know that none of them have ever been answered? Answer: you can’t and you don’t. Fourth, believing in a deity does not necessarily conflict with the laws of physics.

          You’re welcome to your atheistic faith, just as others are welcome to whatever their faiths are. But that doesn’t entitle you to be arrogant and condescending…especially when your arguments are baseless.

          • Jeff Clothier

            If Atheism is a “faith,” why are you people of “faith” so uncomfortable with it?

        • Steve Willy

          “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving toward depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.”
          Blaise Pascal, quoted in The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage (Page 170).

    • Steve Willy

      Well you just bought into the atheist hierarchy by believing a single word in that bigoted propoganda piece.

  • lucia liljegren

    Myers needs to learn a very simple rule: When someone you have no interest in dies, you should simply remain silent. If other people discuss the death, continue to remain silent. Say nothing. This is not difficult.

    • nunyabidnessfoo

      But how else will he preen his moral superiority to other “white” people

  • http://introductorymicroeconomics.com/Pod/ James D Miller

    Let X be something bad, let Y be something worse. I think X is not as bad as Y. Have I just written something offensive?

    • Yeltsew Nairb

      Wait a minute… men are XY and women are XX!

      I don’t cotton to your implications!

      • http://introductorymicroeconomics.com/Pod/ James D Miller

        Oh no, you figured out my secret misogynist code. I’m now probably going to get fired from my academic position.

        • Faris Cornell

          You got that backwards.

    • lucia liljegren

      You may have. What if X and Y are both equally horrible. The person who suffered X may have a right to be offended. Or if, despite your opinion, X is actually worse than Y, a person who suffered X may have a right to be offended.

      Beyond that: if there was little point in bothering to bring the subject up and you just threw that out there in the presence of people who suffered X or Y, you may offend either group.

      So, the answer to your question is: You may have.

      Did my answer make the point you intended to make by asking your (likely) rhetorical question?

      • http://introductorymicroeconomics.com/Pod/ James D Miller

        Yes

    • Tod Coulson

      Your commment has been removed by me for offensive language–Keith Kloor

      • Tod Coulson

        I really dont care who I offend by this. Bieng offended does not make anyone right.

        • Keith Kloor

          Your previous comment was removed by me for gratuitously offensive language.

        • Wil Post

          He was deciding for others how they should feel. If you can’t see the problem with that then I don’t want you near me.

    • Mike Row

      everyone has an opinion of what is bad, and what is worse. So not offensive but potentially a point of debate.

    • Wil Post

      If all you say is X is bad in your opinion, and Y is worse in your opinion then nobody would object.

      What you shouldn’t do is assume Y is worse for everyone else.

      Everyone’s experiences are different and therefor you should let them decide for themselves which is bad and which is worse.

      • Cheri

        Perhaps read past the headline. It will help.

        • Wil Post

          I’ve read all of the articles and tweets. I have been following this back and forth for more than a week now. Butterflies and wheels on freethoughtblogs has a good take on Dawkins as well. Maybe you should do some more reading.

          • Solomon Peters

            I think we presume too much on a fool who says in his heart that there is no God.

  • Judy Weismonger

    Yes, when one is an Atheist, it is hard to not be arrogant and look down on all those poor little Christians and believers who live in fear, cowardice, and ignorance.

    Death is as natural as breathing. Once you get past that idea…then, death is nothing to fear. Who misses us when we die are the survivors, we don’t know a thing…

    • Adam Miller

      cowardice? id like to see an atheist go to the stake singing hymns, or face off against wild animals in an arena when all they had to do was say a few words recanting their belief. i would also remind you that the most prestigious universities were found by christian theologians, not atheists. ignorance? as a christian i find that i have taken up many subjects in defense of the faith that i otherwise would have ignored.

      • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

        Honey, you were not there are as well… none of us were. Please do not try to pat yourself on the back for something other people did who just happen to be religious, because that does not fly. However, I can call as an example are: Turing, Kopernik, Galilei… every aspect has people who were abused for what they believed in… idiot comes in all shapes, sizes and ideas, difference is to what I can see, atheists in this situation at least some recognize such a behaviour is problematic… U.S. public religious individuals… not so much.

        • Judy Weismonger

          You might like to see the List of Scientists and Thinkers murdered by Christians:

          http://markhumphrys.com/science.religion.html

          The very invention of science itself was in the face of religious opposition. Studying the world was considered a waste of time, or at worst forbidden sorcery.

          A succession of Popes issued orders forbidding the study of nature, and even supporting the killing of those who did.

          Theologians like Aquinas championed a useless mix of armchair philosophy and scripture-quoting theology, while the experimental method, the only actual source of knowledge, was forbidden for centuries. The theologian Bonaventure had the heroic pioneer of the modern world Roger Bacon forbidden from teaching in 1257. Bacon, worth a thousand disposable medieval pseudo-scholars like Bonaventure or Aquinas, was imprisoned for 14 years.

          Other References:
          History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874) by John William Draper (andother copies)

          The Warfare Of Science With Theology (1896) by Andrew Dickson White.

          The historical conflict

          The burning of part of the Library of Alexandria

          The martyrdom of Hypatia

          The scientist Marco Antonio de Dominis

          Marco Antonio de Dominis was tortured and murdered by Rome in 1624 for his investigations in the phenomena of light, in particular because of his explanation of the rainbow.

          The erection of lightning rods was opposed.

          The world is round (The antipodes)

          By c.500 BC, the Pythagorean school in ancient Greece had come to believe that the earth was round.

          Spherical Earth

          The astronomer and professor at Bologna Cecco d’Ascoli

          Cecco d’Ascoli was burnt alive by the church in 1327 for daring to suggest that men may liveon the other side of the world.

          The church has revised its earlier opinions and now believes that the earth is round.

          The earth goes round the sun (Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo)

          Around 1513, Copernicus first wrote down his discovery that the earth goes round the sun. This discovery, one of the greatest in the history of human thought, would be violently opposed by ignorant Christian churches for the next three hundred years.

          Heliocentrism

          Giordano Bruno

          The philosopher and dreamer Bruno was burnt at the stake by Rome in 1600 for daring to suggest that the earth goes round the sun.

          The weasel words of the Catholic Encyclopedia.

          Giordano Bruno: The Forgotten Philosopher by John J. Kessler

          Giordano Bruno by John Patrick Michael Murphy

          Infidel Death-Beds

          Galileo

          The persecution of Galileo – This great human thinker was imprisoned, threatened with torture, and forced to recant his beliefs because they disagreed with Christian superstitions.

          The weasel words of the Catholic Encyclopedia.

          The thinker and writer Campanella was tortured for subscribing to the Copernican theory.

          While the Catholic opposition to Copernicus is well known, less well known is the violent Protestant opposition to Copernicus’ evidence that the earth goes round the sun. Apparently, though, the Protestant churches now believe that Luther, Calvin and Wesley may have beenwrong, and the earth may in fact go round the sun.

          The idea that the earth goes round the sun was explicitly prohibited in the church’s Index of banned books in 1616 under Paul V, again in 1664 under Alexander VII and again in 1761 underBenedict XIV. Unbelievably, the Copernican theory remained on the Index until 1835. Apparently, though, the church now believes that the earth may in fact go round the sun.

          One of Giordano Bruno’s supporters ends with the words: The “Church” will never outlive him. – Interesting point. After all, who now worships Zeus? Yet we still revere the ancient Greek philosophers. Humanity’s gods are mortal and temporary, and fade over time as new memes arrive. Mathematicians and scientists and philosophers are immortal, and transcend religions and cultures.

          The movie Giordano Bruno (1973).

          • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

            Thank you for the history lesson… really, it is an interesting read but I do wonder… did you think I do not see it that way? I actually argued that “yeah but there were christians murdered for their faith” is not serious, since they kind of did the same thing to other people… so?

      • Judy Weismonger

        Adam…you have no idea what kind of bravery it takes for an Atheist to live in a town where the majority of people are Christians who verbally assault,, insult, and harass Atheists for nonbelief. Its like being a Jew at a KKK convention. Its like being a Black Person at a NRA meeting. Its like being a Republican at a Young Democrats rally. WE Atheists are the brave ones.

        Daily, Christian radio and TV programs “blame” Atheists for everything that’s wrong with the world from the beginning of time. Say the word “Atheist” and immediately they are associated with Stalin and HItler…of which neither were Atheists. Funny how Christians just make stuff up.

        I’ve listened to over 1000 hours of the Christian American Family Association radio stations as I traveled through the South late at night. Christians who called in to their talk programs and with unbelievable “hate” in their voices…these Christians want to “round” up all us Atheists and shoot them. Chilling.

        It takes more bravery, and moral and ethical conviction and courage based on no proof of your gods and religious magic…to come out as an Atheist than you will ever face in your life time. How easy it is for you as a Christian…to be in the majority…whereas a heretic, infidel, and an Atheist has to listen to the vile “hate mongering” of your preachers.

        Let me also give you a history lesson: There is NOT one single bit of actual evidence that Nero specifically “picked” on Christians. He may not have even known they existed. As part of the Roman Catholic Forgery Factory…this is just another fabricated Christian myth. Nero went after “everyone”…

        And let us get real…shall we. Your poor, beleagured Christians and “defenders of the faith” murdered 35 million people…They murdered other Christians, non Christians, and non believers. It has ALWAYS been the Christians with their various versions of god…who demand religious purity and used the verses in the bible to murder, torture, rape, and enslave human beings who don’t believe in your imaginary gods.

        http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

        And may I suggest you look at the LIST of SCIENTISTS you Christians have murdered…who refused to give in, no hymn singing here, to the idea there is a magical god…even upon pain of torture and death:

        http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html

        The most interesting factor in your tome was your claim that Christians went to the “stake” singing hymns…. which means to me, that as “faithful” Christians their imaginary god and the mythical Jesus did not save them. If anything PROVES your gods do not exist…you just made my case.

        All though out history, up to and including today…you Christians are trying your best to block science…and infuse your myths and irrational preaching into public schools. You are packing yourselves on school text book committees and trying to throw out proven, data-driven science and replace it with the Creationist myths. You have even gone so far (Texas) to remove Thomas Jefferson from student text books because he was not a Christian. Unbelievable.

        You should ask yourself exactly “what” you are defending before claim to be a “victim.” More importantly, ask yourself (and be honest, if that’s possible) if you can understand WHY 1 in 5 Americans no longer qualifies themselves as religious, or state their are an Atheist, agnostic, or non religious.

        Honestly ask yourself: WHY are so many people concluding they are Atheists? What is it about Christianity and religion in general as of “today” that a growing number of people no longer find it credible?

        Christians are taught from nearly birth, to lie to themselves and others and NOT pursue either truth or verification of any kind “if” Christianity or a belief in god is based on fact or reality. This IS the Cowards’ Way of Life….

        Bub, it takes a lot more spine to confront you Christians and your myths…than it does to give in and live a lie. Atheists ARE the adults in the room…who as grown ups demand proof of your claims and will not morally or ethically submit to such peer group pressure and mass hypnosis.

        The majority of wars all throughout history and today…are about religion. If there is no religion…and people’s minds are grounded in reality, proof, reason, logic and science to solve real problems using “real” information instead of religious myths…this world would do a much better job of being on the same page, and removing all the irrational “emotions” and pursued myths of Christianity, Islam, etc. Its almost funny if it were not the fact that so many deluded people are willing to die or be murderers for the claim that they represent the only “one true” imaginary god.

        They day is now gone…at least in the Western World, where you Christians can murder the heretic scientists who have brought so much progress, health, well being, technology, longer lives, prosperity, rights of human beings and especially “women” to the front of human consciousness and finally such “human rights” are enacted into law.

        No, we are NOT going to go backward in time when you Christians could imprison such people as Galileo for what was factually “true.”

        List of scientists murdered by Christians:

        http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html

        • http://macromanjr.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

          Just to be fair (like a fair logician should), would you like a list of millions of religious and many other people who were indiscriminately destroyed by atheistic leadership?

          Because that list is pretty prominent as well. Like, hundred of millions died, just from militant atheist communist despots alone.

          Just Mao Zedong alone destroyed around 40 to 80 millions lives–many religious included. Never mind the contributions of Pol Pot, Kim Il-sung, Lenin, Mengistu Haile Mariam, and several other atheist despots who were responsible for the wrongful deaths of millions–many religious included.

          Though, my point here isn’t that some religious in history haven’t destroyed lives, including scientists. My point here is that shifting blame to the religious for this kind of ideology-led murderous bullshit is grievously one-sided.

          Atheist depots might not have had as long of prominence in the world with politics as theistic despots, but they certainly left their mark with some of the highest death tolls in recorded history.

          To this day, Mao Zedong still has the record for leading his nation to the deadliest famine in recorded human history, where 20 million people starved to death, due in part to bad farming conditions, but due larger to his inhumane campaign policy.

          China’s government is still officially atheist, and state persecution of religious minorities, neighboring racial minorities, and women still today occur commonly in China–a direct result of Mao Zedong’s legacy.

          The world’s largest national population still undergoes persecution lead by an atheist government, and has for more almost more than 60 years. See? Even atheist leadership can be a plague among humanity.

          And just like how many atheists would disassociate themselves from the likes of such state atheism, some religious in life are likewise disapproving of persecution done in the name of “religion.”

          Religion just simply enjoyed the benefit of being around longer. If the past century is any indication, if national atheism had been around as long, it too would’ve seen its equal share of blood. As long as somebody wants power over other people, you’ll always see this, atheist or theist.

          But one thing they all have in common was shifting blame to one side, which often lead them to self-justification of “fixing” whom they view as their opponents. This stuff always starts with everyday people like you who shift the blame one-sided, and before long, someone comes along to radicalized the blame-shifting. .

          Oh, and for the record, Josef Stalin was indeed an atheist. Look it up–his atheism is pretty well-documented. And he was one of the bloodiest dictators in recorded human history. Including destroying many of the intelligent people of the land, who opposed his views. And yes, that would include scientists. (Search “the Great Purge.”)

          Just saying. You point out that theists have some serious bastards in history and today? Well, atheists have had ‘em, too. You can’t blame issues all on one side. Many religious leaders have done wrong, but so have many non-religious leaders.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Brian….just WHO was this Atheistic Leadership?

            Certainly not Hitler. He was a Roman Catholic, he was NEVER excommunicated by the Vatican. The Vatican issued passports so that the Nazis could pass themselves off as priests and escape at the end of WW II. And EVERY German soldier had a belt buckle that said “Got Mitt Uns”…meaning, “god is with us.” Sorry, but no cigar on that so called Atheist.

            Stalin went to seminary. He too was never excommunicated. For the entire time Stalin was in power, the churches never closed. I was in the USSR when it was still communist controlled and went to a number of “open” Russian Orthodox Churches. You can complain that they were “controlled” by government, but sweetie pie, ALL such churches are in league with the “government,” kings, and dictators. One hand washes the other hand. (Rolling eyes at your idealism and hero worshipping).

            And both socialism and communism ARE classified as religions. Instead of worshipping god, you worship the “state.” Something that’s often lost of the Left in this country. Hitler and Stalin were just as much the high priests of the religions of socialism and communism, as is the pope is the high priest for the RCs.

            And I really, really, really hate to break it to you, but Mao Zedong was no different than ALL the OTHER CHINESE EMPERORS in history. They ALL murdered millions, often in their name, or the name of a new set of gods. And do try to do a little study of comparative religions. Many ASIAN religions qualify as Atheist anyway, duh. i.e. Buddhism.

            Lenin never persecuted Christians specifically…he persecuted EVERYONE as did Nero.(Christians being specifically persecuted by Nero is another myth made up by the Roman Catholic Forgery Factory…as there is NOT ONE single “original” document by either Christians or corollary sources to indicate Christians were persecuted). True theological scholars and archaeologists have no reason to lie…but Christians do, and do lie a lot.

            I KNOW you would like to be considered a martyr for jesus, but that’s one of the methods of psychological warfare and manipulation in Christianity…to make one feel ‘special’ and to resist any kind of outside change.

            Today, if a Christian hears one sentence that says “prove that your god is real”…they go into terrified spasms of terror and claim they are being “persecuted.” Oh well.

            Christianity has a very high percentage of paranoid schizophrenia attached to it. Go review the psychopathology of paranoid schizophrenia and get back to me.

            Christianity in its present form today…is quite pacified, and had its literal nuts cut off disabling it from “persecuting” different or nonbelievers…. when the Functional Atheist Founders of the US wrote OUT and REMOVED all religious law, the divine rights of kings, the idea that only the KING and god determined government and your rights…and that one man/one vote was paramount which is IN DEFIANCE of the bible which demands obedience to god…and by fait accompli… those who speak for god, whereby YOU must obey them, because they speak for god.

            In obedience to god were the enforcers, the popes and priests, and later Christian preachers….who most bizarrely “spoke for god.” Just how one “speaks for god” is beyond my imagination. If you can explain and prove how someone can ‘speak for god’ and how they were chosen, then you might win a prize. From my psychological perspective, when someone claims to be able to speak for god, they are narcissistic and mentally ill…

            Christians murdered some 35 million people in all their religion-driven wars and would have murdered more if they had the money, weapons, and transportation available. Forget about “proof” someone is a heretic…Christianity does not like the concept of “proof.” Proof through science eliminates any conceptual possibility of a god.

            Below: You might want to review the Victims of Christianity…and stop feeling so sorry for yourself and those of “faith.” http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

            Ancient Pagans

            As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.

            Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.

            Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.

            Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.” [DA468]

            Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. [DA468]

            Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
            According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”

            In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.

            In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]

            The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
            [DO19-25]

            Mission

            Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]

            Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]

            Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered. [DO235]

            15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. [DO30]

            16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
            Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]

            Crusades (1095-1291)

            First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]

            Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]

            9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]

            Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]

            after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
            Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]

            Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine “the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians” said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]

            Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
            (In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”)

            The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79]

            Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”. One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]

            Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. [WW45]

            Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]

            Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]

            Note: All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.

            Heretics

            Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]

            Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]

            Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. [DO29]
            The Albigensians…viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
            Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (greatest single pre-nazi mass murderer) in 1209. Bezirs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbours and friends) 20,000-70,000. [WW179-181]

            Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed. [WW181]

            subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated. [WW183]

            After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324. [WW183]

            Estimated one million victims (cathar heresy alone), [WW183]

            Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).

            Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada alone allegedly responsible for 10,220 burnings. [DO28]

            John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. [LI475-522]

            University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna. [DO59]

            Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.

            Witches

            from the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.

            in the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged. [WV]

            incomplete list of documented cases:
            The Burning of Witches – A Chronicle of the Burning Times

            Religious Wars

            15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]

            1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]

            1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]

            1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]

            17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.” [SH191]

            17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.” [SH191]

            17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]

            Jews

            Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.

            In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]

            17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]

            The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]

            First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]

            Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]

            Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]

            Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]

            1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]

            1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]

            1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]

            1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]

            1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]

            1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]

            1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.

            1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]

            1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]

            (I feel sick …) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.

    • Buddy199

      You apparently have no problem being obnoxiously arrogant and condescending, just like the religious types you despise.

      • Judy Weismonger

        Yes, Buddy199, its very hard for me to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, because a) I’m right, b) very few people and certainly not churches or Sunday School teachers will teach Christian history…or what bible verses Christians would use again to murder non or different believers if they gained enough political power. To continue in your education:

        Native Peoples

        Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.

        Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, “ought to be good servants … [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion.” [SH200]
        While Columbus described the Indians as “idolators” and “slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order,” his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as “beasts” because “they eat when they are hungry,” and made love “openly whenever they feel like it.” [SH204-205]

        On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

        I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.” [SH66]

        Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.” [SH235]

        In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” [SH109,238]

        On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]

        The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.

        As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.” [SH69]

        The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]

        What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
        “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” [SH72]
        Or, on another occasion:
        “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” [SH83]

        The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”. [SH72-73] “In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.” [SH75]

        “And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.” [SH75]

        Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).

        “When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.” [SH95]

        Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of Amerikkka.

        Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: “Their Warres are farre less bloudy…”, so that there usually was “no great slawter of nether side”. Indeed, “they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children. [SH111]

        In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown – “being idell … did runne away unto the Indyans,” – to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).
        “Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: ‘Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe’.” [SH105] Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow englishmen: “This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia” methods were different: “when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community” down. [SH105]

        On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the “Peqout War”. The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.

        When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief’s pledge they attacked.
        Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.
        The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: “And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished … God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies”: men, women, children. [SH113-114]

        So “the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”. [SH111].

        Because of his readers’ assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
        “Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” (Deut 20)

        Mason’s comrade Underhill recalled how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers” yet reassured his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”. [SH114]

        Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists’ own words: “blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them.” (This was inspired by spanish methods of the time)
        In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near. [SH107-119]

        The surviving handful of Indians “were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for ‘a share’ of the captives, specifically ‘a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.” [SH115]

        Other tribes were to follow the same path.

        Comment the Christian exterminators: “God’s Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!”
        “Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!” [TA]

        Like today, lying was OK to Christians then. “Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians ‘grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie’, advised the Council of State in Virginia, ‘we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne’.” [SH106]

        In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. [SH107]

        In a single massacre in “King Philip’s War” of 1675 and 1676 some “600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a ‘barbeque’.” [SH115]

        To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive – a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 – 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 – 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive – 81% destroyed. [SH118] These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.

        All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.

        A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.

        In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today.

        More Glorious events in US history

        Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, in “1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs ‘to hunt Indians as they do bears’.” [SH241]

        Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church (“I long to be wading in gore”) had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs’ waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.
        From an eye-witness account: “There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed …” [SH131]
        More gory details.

        By the 1860s, “in Hawai’i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands’ native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to ‘the amputation of diseased members of the body’.” [SH244]

        20th Century Church Atrocities

        Catholic extermination camps
        Surpisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveli, a practising Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!

        In these camps – the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar – orthodox-Christian serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi “Sicherheitsdient der SS”, watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them. [MV]

        Catholic terror in Vietnam
        In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters – the Viet Minh – had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican’s spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam “Soldiers of Christ”, a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam. [MW16ff]

        Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.

        The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:

        “Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp.”

        Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in “detention camps.” Out of protest dozens of buddhist teachers – male and female – and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded – mostly in street riots – 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps. [MW76-89].

        To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI’s lost their life….

        Rwanda Massacres
        In 1994 in the small african country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

        For quite some time I heard only rumours about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.

        Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany – a station not at all critical to Christianity – the following was stated:

        “Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees – women, children, old – being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.

        According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.

        In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on fire and burn their victims alive…” [S2]

        As can be seen from these events, to Christianity the Dark Ages never come to an end….

  • Willa Spatz Cartwright

    I suppose disappointment is the natural result for people who discover that their heroes are not perfect in every circumstance.

  • Jeff Clothier

    Why is it only the theists get to be assertive? When free thinkers speak their mind plainly, even those who are supposedly supportive turn on their own like high school girls.

    By all means comment if a statement offends you personally. Being proactively offended on other people’s behalf is passive aggressive and self aggrandizing.

    • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

      “school girls”… really? Being critical is not being a turning on someone like “school girls”. Careful there, your view for the world is showing…

      Also… rating which is more important (death of a person who killed himself and suffered from depression) or “brown people” (I am quoting here), reeks to “I-am-holier-than-though” attitude which is absurd.

      • Jeff Clothier

        There is critical, and there is bitchy. Atheists piling on Dawkins for not being nice enough to theists is just bitchy, and only serves as an excuse for lesser lights to associate themselves with Dawkins in print and other media.

        • LewisDeane

          Well said

        • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

          There is no comparison between rapes… this is what Dawkins does not get… getting raped at knife point is horrible… the same way getting raped by a friend in your own house when you have invited him/her over is… It is not something you overcome more easy in either of the cases. It huts, it is hard… and it has consequences… It is like comparing loosing your eye in a freak accident including a golf ball or when in a car crash. Either way, the eye is gone.

          • Wil Post

            ^this^

          • Jeff Clothier

            The analogy is flawed, but I have no wish to argue with you.

            But are you not concerned that you are placing yourself in the position of speaking for all women in all circumstances?

          • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

            Did I say that? What I said is “rape should not be compared, because there is no comparison”… unlike Dawkins, I KNOW that rape is rape, regardless… he dares to speak for ALL rape victims, regardless male or female.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Its not just rape of the body, its rape of the mind that lasts forever. Rape destroys whatever good you thought about your self.

            I’ve counseled rape victims… it is something that affects them for the rest of their lives in every way. All rapists should be executed.

            Child rapists should be executed but it should take days for them to die. Public service announcements should proclaim…”If you are thinking about raping or molesting a child….let us castrate you, and remove your compulsion before you destroy a child’s life.” The penalty for child rape is slow death. There are no exceptions.”

            Also know that there is no such thing as successful counseling for a rapist or child molester. It does not work. Psychologist and counselors who make money counseling rapists and molesters… lie at their success rates. Most often, such sexual therapy is at the tax payers’ expense, ordered by the court.

          • http://eneya.wordpress.com/ Eneya Vorodecky

            Interesting, yesterday I read a very long text about a boy who realized at 16 that he is a paedophile and started searching for help. Interesting read… and to be honest, I think it gives a very valid point… what can we do to help people who have not hurt anyone and seek the help they require?

        • Judy Weismonger

          Why SHOULD we be nice to theists? Why? Do you realize what is IN the bible? The bible states in more than 1000 bible verses to kill ALL non believers and different believers.

          What if it was Kill the Jews for not believing in Nasism? Would you want to be so tolerant then?

          Get your fill of bible verses that state to kill non and different believers, and all their children, and whole villages if one nonbeliever lived there:

          http://www.evilbible.com

          We don’t have to be tolerant any more nor should we. Exercise your first amendment rights, speak up, challenge them and know this:

          The Internet is where Religions go to Die.

    • Judy Weismonger

      It is powerful and devastating when we Atheists and Freethinkers confront the theists. We ask them very simple questions such as:

      Where is your proof your imaginary god exists? No answer.

      Show me one single “original” Christian document or artifact from the first or second century to prove that either Jesus or Christianity existed. Silence. Why? Because there isn’t any.

      When told we are going to hell…. I ask “where is hell?” What’s the address? if you are going to threaten me with hell, shouldn’t you at least know where it is? Silence

      They say: Well, Jesus said, or God said. I say…how do you get to speak for god? Or, did Jesus call you on the phone, or send you an email and say, “hey dude, I’m sick today, can you speak for me?” or, why can’t your imaginary god or jesus speak for themselves. Oh, I get it, poor Jesus/god doesn’t have any lips. Poor Jesus. And poor Jesus didn’t write the bible either…guess Jesus couldn’t read or write, or didn’t have any fingers. Poor Jesus, no lips and no fingers, so YOU have to speak for Jesus… (When Christians realize how stooooopid they sound…when their gobblygook is repeated back to them…they just shut up…or issue another nonsensical threat).

      I say: And you want me to believe in this religious garbage why? (Now this important to ask, because not once in 10 years I’ve been at this…has any Christian just come out and clearly stated…”I want you to be a Christian because ________________.”

      Or, I state: Let me get this right.

      You want me to believe Jesus is a god for whom there is no proof he existed in the first or second century, who then committed suicide, wearing a diaper…during a Jewish High Holy day, after being tried at night, and then executed. Excuse me, but do you realize that everything you claimed especially the Cruci-fiction was against Jewish Law? No wonder Jews are so hard to convert into Christians. Jews must find this stuff just laughable.

      Its amazing that Christians have not a clue why they ARE promoting Christianity and trying to talk you into being a Christian. This proves they are in a state of unreality, self hypnotized, and unable to get a handle on what they are doing or why.

      When threatened by theists that the Rapture is coming soon, and I’ll be Left Behind,and Gabriel will sound his trumpet and then I’ll suffer on earth and then suffer in hell forever. I say, “Really, that’s the very best you can do? You think that I, as a moral and ethical person who demands proof of such claims is afraid of someone like you whose last resort is extortion, blackmail, and threats?!!! Bring it on.

      They say: This is a Christian country and we are going to ‘take it back for Jesus.” Then, I say…the Functional Atheist Founders of the US Bill of Rights and the US Constitution removed ALL religious laws from American government. Now if you can show me where in the bible it supports or recommends democracy in any form such as rejection of the “divine rights of Kings (Paulinean doctrine)”…or the bible promotes, one man, one vote, or the sanctity of individual rights, not being killed for either being a non or different believer…etc.’ll send you a check for $10,000. Silence.

      Prolifers say:You are killing a “child.” I say, its not a child by any law, by any tradition, or in any historical or medical/scientific document until it can live outside the womb. You are exaggerating to make women feel guilty for having control over their own bodies and the tissue that grows FROM their bodies.

      You ProLifer Perverts have proven that you think women are nothing but two-legged incubators involved in some kind of rape and B and D sado masochistic ritual where you can force women to be pregnant at your command. You are a bunch of perverts thinking about what goes on underneath women’s dresses. Just go by some porn and mind your own business, you perverts. Silence…

      In my point of view, these are the basic arguments for Atheism and secularism based on the current Christian themes they use to intimidate and MF us. But, it does not work if you know how to confound them with what they are actually stating and wanting…which is a Christian police state. They get on a power trip if they can make you submit to their fear tactics, feel ashamed, or guilty…for having a ‘thought crime.’

      The US was founded on Atheism. And to date, I’ve completely dominated most of the Christians up in the forums, chat and debate rooms I am in…since they have no comebacks…and especially no proof. I did not stumble upon my comebacks out of the blue, its taken a lot of discussions to find what works. The overall message I want Christians to take away is…Atheism is powerful…because it demands proof. You have no proof. You lose.

      If you listen to Christian American Family Association radio, you will witness the idea that they are the superior, overtly moral, and chosen operators and purveyers of god’s word. Like groupies, they bask in the idea they are the special and the ‘chosen ones’ and all the rest of us, especially Atheists are not just unsaved, but evil, criminals, Communists, just wait to become like Jeffrey Dahmer and kill little children for the fun of it. I rub that idea in their faces… I remember they are neither more moral, or intellectually superior…just the opposite.

      I especially like putting them into a bind and reminding them that every time they use electricity, or turn on their computer, they are using Atheist science, created by Atheists: Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, etc. and funded by Atheist Warren Buffett. I say, you don’t want to be perceived as a Christian liar and a hypocrite…throw all those Atheist inventions away…and go live in the dark. Again, silence.

      How can anyone with half a mind argue with what is true…they cant, and because they are arrogant, narcissistic, paranoid schizophrenic-types, who believe they speak for god..and have a right to control “women” while pregnant and take away their citizenship until they give birth….they set themselves up to be verbally punched in the head every time.

      Tell them what they sound like, and who and what they are. Spare nothing. I took Christopher Hitchens’ advice when he said he would NOT respect anyone who said that he would go to “hell” to suffer forever…for a thought crime. How insulting.

  • JR48

    Here’s the explanation for being obtuse, being arrogant and lacking empathy: narcissism.

  • Ser Baristan Selmy

    If you had read Dawkins Tweets, you would have noticed that the idea of one kind of rape being better than other is irrelevant, for the point he made is that an opinion of right and wrong does not endorse a practice.

    About PZ Myers, I totally agree with him. I case you guys didn’t read the very first idea on his article (which you didn’t post completely) was to say the was sorry and to acknowledge the importance of the matter. Then he does develop his political opinion in a very incendiary way.

    You, Mr “scientist” seem to think that language is as unmistakable as math or chemistry. Or may be your deadline for an article was at 5:00 pm. In any case I did not find any science in your article.

    Excuse my english, it is not my native language.

  • Brian Freeman

    Funny! I would have taken Myers comments as tongue-in-cheek criticism of American culture. Inappropriate, absolutely! True? Absolutely! Leave it to Discovery’s Ultra-right-wing Creationist Commentator Keith to make an issue of it.

    Could someone get him a job at Fox News? PLEASE!

    OH! That’s right! He ALREADY works for FOX news via Discovery!

    • Keith Kloor

      You might want to have a look at the name of the magazine that hosts my blog.

      • Brian Freeman

        You might want to discuss science more than politics and personalities. The name is not “Science for the Right Wing.” (Which would be an oxymoron, anyway.)

      • mudfud27

        Not for long if you keep posting tripe like this on it, Adjunct Professor Kloor.

    • DrDenim

      Creationist? what are you high on?

  • Wil Post

    PZ’s second post was specifically about comments and flames on his own blog wrt the first post. Your reading comprehension needs work, Kloor.

    I see you specifically quote his opening paragraph but not the body of the post, which lays out his exact reasons for making said post.

    It continues “I mean, really: young 18 year old black man gunned down for walking in the street vs. 63 year old white comedian killing himself? Which of those two stories gives you an excuse to play heart-warming and funny video clips non-stop on your 24 hour news channel?”

    Kloor, you are the one behaving badly.

    • Judy Weismonger

      Today….unbelievably in the 21st century, after we have visited the Moon and are just now exploring Mars and outer space…Christians are still fighting against Darwin.

      Even more astounding are Christians who have created “museums” (Ham and Morris) showing a child on the back of an animatronic dinosaur…and who still make claims that the earth was covered by a flood, that evolution did not happen and that this planet is only 6000 years old. Now do the Christians have one iota of data to support these claims? No, but that does not stop their immoral and mentally ill pursuit of Christian myths and the rejection of fact-based, and data-driven science. Worse is the idea by Christians they can put these myths into public schools and destroy the minds and thinking abilities of children.

      Christians have launched court filings, law suits, gotten on text book committees…to block science once again and impose Christian myths. Below is small history of Christian delusions regarding science:

      As pioneering scientists in Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries discovered that the Flood never happened, the Earth was not just a few thousand years old, animals had existed formillions of years before humans, and the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve never existed, religious people had to come up with an explanation as to why such nonsense was in their holy book.

      Their first reaction was spluttering denial of science, as in Pope Pius IX, who called the descent of humans from non-humans “a tissue of fables”. But soon they had to come up with better replies. The one they settled on was that these stories aren’t meant to be taken “literally”, but rather are myths or allegories. Only a simple-minded fool would think these stories were meant to be literal history.

      This is all very well, but ignores the fact that every single Christian thinker before the 18th century appears to be just such a “simple-minded fool”, including Jesus himself:

      Jesus believes in Noah and the Flood.

      Paul believes in Adam and Eve (also here).

      The author of Hebrews believes in Noah and the Flood.

      Peter believes in Noah and the Flood.

      All of these people, including Jesus, would have been very surprised if you pointed out to them that these are just stories, not meant to be taken “literally”.

      In reality, the idea that these stories aren’t meant to be taken “literally” is a modern, 18th-19th-20th century invention, made to try desperately to save their religion against the onslaught of science. No one ever thought they weren’t meant to be taken literally before the 18th century. Or so I think. But I am open to persuasion:

      THE CHALLENGE:

      Some religious thinkers claim that taking the Bible literally is in fact a recent invention, that in the distant past it was always treated as myth and allegory, not as history. I don’t believe this, but I am open to persuasion.

      If you believe this is true, show me any quote from any Christian thinker before 1700 saying that some Bible stories are just myth or allegory, and aren’t meant to be taken literally.

      Allegorical interpretations of Genesis collects some interesting quotes:

      Origen (3rd cent. AD) denies the Garden of Eden existed: “Who could be so silly as to think that God planted a paradise in Eden in the East the way a human gardener does, and that he made in this garden a visible and palpable tree of life … I do not think anyone can doubt that these things, by means of a story which did not in fact materially occur, are intended to express certain mysteries in a metaphorical way.” He denies the world was made in 6 days: “we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world”.

      Does Origen deny the existence of Adam and Eve? Send quotes to me here.

      It should be noted that Origen was declared a heretic by the church in the 6th cent. AD.

      Does anyone apart from Origen state clearly that the literal meaning may be false? Something like: “The Flood may never have happened” or “Adam and Eve may never have existed”. It is true that other ancient Christian thinkers considered “6 days” as indeterminate periods of time, but this is not as dramatic as saying that some event never occurred at all. Did anyone apart from Origen say that? Send quotes to me here.

      Jesus and the New Testament authors did not know these stories (the Flood, Adam and Eve, etc.) were allegories.

      The fact that Jesus did not know they were allegories is strong evidence he was not a god.

      Views like Origen’s were not mainstream. I would still claim that if you went back before 1700 and told almost any Christian cleric or layperson on earth that the Flood never happened, they would be very surprised.

      I would imagine, for example, that every single Pope before 1700 believed the Flood happened. Is this true? Send quotes to me here.

      “Science vs. Norse Mythology”.
      In the end, it turned out that none of the world’s religions knew any more about our origins than Norse Mythology did.

      Humans evolved from animals (Darwin)

      In 1844, Darwin first wrote down his discovery that humans arose from other animals by a natural process. The obvious consequences are (a) that humans are physical things, the soul is mythology, and there is no afterlife, and (b) therefore our destiny is to discover how the brain works, and then to become immortal on earth. This discovery, perhaps the greatest ever in the history of humanity, is still opposed or watered-down by ignorant churches of every creed today.

      For almost all of the history of Christianity, the church preached that the earth was less than 10,000 years old.

      Archbishop James Ussher

      Lucilio Vanini was burnt alive in 1619 for daring to suggest that man has risen instead of fallen.

      Isaac La Peyrere was imprisoned, and his book burned, for claiming in 1655 that humanity must be older than Genesis implies.

      The pioneer naturalist Buffon was humiliated by the Church in the 18th century, and forced to declare “that I had no intention to contradict the text of Scripture”.

      The anti-science views of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church. Even though it was the 18th century, this ignorant man supported a raft of beliefs that would not be out of place in the Middle Ages. He disputed that the earth goes round the sun. He defended the witch superstition (admittedly after most of the murder had ceased). He believed that disease and insanity are caused by demons. He held the obscene belief that earthquakes are God’s vengeance for human sin.

      Mainstream church opposition to Darwin in the 19th century. See the quote from the ignorant Pope Pius IX, who calls the descent of humans from non-humans “a tissue of fables”.

      Guinness ad: “noitulovE” (“Evolution” backwards).
      It gets our actual ancestry all wrong, but is still great.
      It is actually quite moving, if you think how far we have come and how long we have struggled.
      See the ad nicely reversed.
      Search for clips of noitulovE and Evolution.

      Medicine

      Medicine itself had to struggle into existence against the opposition of theologians, who have spent most of the Christian era massively prolonging human suffering with their stupid superstitious theories of disease, namely that:

      Disease is caused by sin (also here).

      Insanity is caused by demons (also here).

      The struggle for medicine

      Pope Boniface VIII caused the outlawing of dissection for more than two centuries.

      The pseudo-medicine of Aquinas

      Theological opposition to innoculation and vaccination

      The invention of anaesthetic in childbirth was opposed (because of this passage).

      In 1591 a mother was burned alive for seeking pain relief from childbirth in Edinburgh.

      Superstition about the new survives today:

      The Catholic church bans contraception, essentially because it is new.

      The Christian “Scientists” still deny the germ theory of disease, simply because it is new.

      The Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, even unto death, because they are new.

      And it is not just ignorant religious groups. The Green movement threatens science and medicine today. At one end are the violent animal liberation terrorists, costing human lives by stopping medical research. At the other end are politicians of all parties making laws to artificially restrict medicine because of their own prejudices. For example, the supposedly secular state has made human cloning a crime, again basically because it is new.

      The medical pioneer Michael Servetus was burnt at the stake by John Calvin in 1553.
      Image from here.

      Science means life. Lack of science means death.
      From here.

      The modern conflict

      The conflict between science and religion continues today. The major area of conflict today is probably brain science and artificial intelligence. Religions are simply in denial about the consensus in modern science that the mind is a physical machine and the soul does not exist.

      That classic fuzzy-headed thinker, Stephen Jay Gould

      Rocks of Ages contains his idea that religion and science occupy Non-Overlapping Magisteria, and are not in conflict.

      When Religion Steps on Science’s Turf: The Alleged Separation Between the Two Is Not So Tidy – Richard Dawkins comments on Gould’s “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”.

      I’m on Dawkins’ side. It seems to me that religion and science have always been in conflict, and still are in conflict (for example, on the workings of the mind and free will). It seems to me that Darwinism does lead naturally to atheism. It seems to me that religion has nodomain in which it is qualified to tell us things about the world.

      God and Evolution – Similar bland, unsubstantiated assertions about the value of science and religion, by Warren Kurt VonRoeschlaub.

      Dawkins’ hilarious parody of Gould’s tedious (and incomprehensible) baseball analogies.

      John Polkinghorne

      The idiot Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams show us his complete lack of understanding of nature (making a change from showing us his complete lack of understanding of politics). “God doesn’t do waste”, he asserts, Jan 2008, ignoring the unbelievable waste of 3 billion years of slow, painful, evolutionary selection and extinction. Lives are wasted by thetrillions in nature. Beautiful species are snuffed out in pointless mass extinctions. Billions of intelligent, sensitive humans have died young and in pain. Uncountable human potential has been squandered and lost because of nature’s cruelty and indifference. And Rowan Williams understands none of it.

      It is simply untrue that religion is not in conflict with science. They always have been in conflict, they are still in conflict today, and there is no sign of that conflict ever ending:

      Humani generis (1950), an encyclical of Pope Pius XII, claims that Adam existed. See text:”original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”

      “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth” (also here), address by Pope John Paul II, 1996: “theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the[mind] as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.” This is a scientific assertion, an assertion about the physical universe. And it is wrong.

      “Communion and Stewardship” (and search), issued by the International Theological Commission under the future Pope Benedict XVI, 2004, makes more scientific assertions:”An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist.”

      The limited intellectual standards of Christian theology are illustrated well by the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on atheism, which refuses to even take atheism seriously. The fact that God may not exist at all is a taboo that is clearly lurking beneath the author’s mind, as he furiously fights all his life against ever for one moment entertaining it.

      The Vatican, always at the cutting edge of human thought, declared in 1992 that the earth may go round the sun.

      Then in 1996 these pioneers of human knowledge declared that life on earth may have evolved.

      Theologians have pre-scientific minds

      Most “theologians” still fail to understand how nature really works, and fail to understand the ideas of evolution that were introduced in the mid-19th century. James Mackey provides a particularly ignorant example of this.

      Dawkins’s survival of fittest theory unfit to serve as moral code for human race, James Mackey, Irish Times, 19 July 2011. An appallingly ignorant article by Irish “theologian” Prof. James Mackey that simply assumes Dawkins and Darwin think evolution is a good thing, and human society should be run according to survival of the fittest. Of course, no quotes by Dawkins or Darwin are ever presented to show they allegedly believe this. How does such rubbish get printed?

      A comment says: “This series has been truly appalling, and is a blot on the record of The Irish Times. … This is the sort of opinion piece that belongs in the Alive magazine, not in a reputable national newspaper.”

      I wrote a letter in reply. It was not published:

      Letter to the editor: Dawkins and evolution

      Sir

      Prof. James Mackey’s attack on Richard Dawkins (“Dawkins’s survival of fittest theory unfit to serve as moral code for human race”, 19 July) is based on a gross error. He attacks Dawkins for saying human society should be run by survival of the fittest. But oddly, no quote is presented showing that Dawkins believes this. Mackey also claims Darwin believed this. But again no quote is presented.

      In reality, Dawkins and Darwin never said what he attributes to them. They say that evolution is how nature works, not that it is good. Society can simply ignore nature and run itself along entirely different lines – such as taking care of the weak. This is fine with Darwin and Dawkins. The very conclusion of Dawkins’ book, The Selfish Gene, is a call to rebel against evolution: “We have the power to defy the selfish genes of our birth … We are built as gene machines … but we have the power to turn against our own creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.” And Darwin often expressed horror at his discovery of the brutality of nature. In 1857 he said: “What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!”

      It is fairly outrageous for Mackey to attribute ideas to Dawkins and Darwin that they never expressed. And equally absurd for a theologian to sneer at the unifying theory of biology, given biology’s mountain of evidence and long track record of successful predictions.

      The fact is that many religious people have the same problem as Mackey (e.g. Jesus in Luke 12:24, who thinks God feeds the birds). They cannot get their heads around the idea that nature is cruel and brutal and we should not copy it.

      Yours

      Mark Humphrys

      • Wil Post

        Did you mean to post that treatise as a response to my comment?
        None of it applies to my comment.

        And it is entirely irrelevant to this discussion but I am a secular humanist and I do not follow or believe in any of the myths you wrote about.

  • Frode

    An atheist thanking God was funny. Just sayin.

  • Mike Power

    What we see here is a complete inability to understand what these people were actually saying. Dawkins wasn’t in fact rating different forms of rape and paedophilia, he was talking about the use and misuse of language. And Meyers was not being disrespectful, he was pointing out the priorities of news outlets and the way that news presentations are sometimes skewed for political advantage. The sad thing about all this is the inability of so many people, including the writer of this piece, to understand what was actually being said.

    • nunyabidnessfoo

      A beloved American actor died of a terrible scourge and Meyers chose to use the death as a podium with which to shame other “whites” for not being sufficiently concerned about “brown people”.

      We all understood exactly what was going on here.

      • Mike Power

        Meyers wasn’t trying to “shame other whites”. If you read the piece properly he is pointing out just how enthusiastic the news outlets were to provide 24 hr coverage of the life and death of a celebrity, but was a little more reluctant to provide proper coverage of what was going on in Missouri. And he didn’t restrict his criticism to the media: “And think of the politicians! Midterm elections are coming up. Those are important! So people like Barack Obama need to be able to show their human side and connect with the real concerns of the American people by immediately issuing a safe, kind statement about Robin Williams, while navigating the dangerous shoals of police brutality and black oppression by avoiding them. Wouldn’t want to antagonize those lovely law-and-order folks before an election, you see.”

        Yes, we certainly do understand what was going on here. Well, some of us do.

        • Judy Weismonger

          Isn’t it time that “brown people” grow up and stop acting like “children” who need to be taken care of by the uber intelligent Left Wing Progressives who will tell you “they know best” what’s good for them.

          If “brown people” are ever going to enjoy broad range respect then they no matter if they are poor or rich, they act like grown up, self respecting, self regulating ‘adults’ who understand what IS civilization and democracy and “justice” does not mean stringing someone up who you have “prejudged” as guilty.

          • Mike Power

            What on earth has your comment got to do with the issue here? It seems like just a general rant at “brown people”. What are you smoking? Or drinking?

          • Judy Weismonger

            Do not smoke or drink. The subject of behavior is thoroughly studied by science and involves genetics, culture, and religious beliefs.

            There were lots of current topics, pick one.

          • Mike Power

            WTF?! I suggest you see your health practitioner as soon as possible and get your meds increased.

          • Judy Weismonger

            And I suggest Mike that you get a brain enema and electro shock therapy ASAP.

          • Mike Power

            Yeah, whatever. Jeez.

          • Judy Weismonger

            I see your avatar reflects how confused and out of your league you are. Poor thing.

          • Mike Power

            So what does your avatar say about you? FFS. Let’s play the “who is going to have the last word” game. I’m winning!

          • Judy Weismonger

            Nah, you just need EST and a brain enema. You are just too full of it.

          • Mike Power

            I’ve just seen a comment you posted elsewhere a couple of days ago. I notice on this thread you don’t refer to “brown people” as Africans and “savages” as you did then. I think I understand where you are coming from now. You won’t be getting responses from me again. I will leave you to the, long, tedious, boring cut and paste comments you seem to be so fond of.

  • Viva La Evolucion

    When atheist behave badly feelings get hurt. When religious fanatics behave badly heads get removed.

  • Ivo Temelkov

    i don’t think it’s correct to asosciate atheism with temporal faults in logic (by some of the smartest people alive – they’re still human though). I mean, what’s the connection between atheism and opinion of rape? People try to categorize everything and we wish for some sort of supreme category to exist which explains everything. Such category however doesn’t exist. It’s like saying “He’s a Vergo. That explains everything.” No, it doesn’t! These things are unrelated. Making such asosciations is simply bad journalism.

    • LewisDeane

      ‘what’s the connection between atheism and opinion of rape?’ Eh?

      None, I suppose.

    • Jeff Clothier

      Agreed. Simply because Dawkins is known as an evolutionary biologist and atheist, not every statement he makes necessarily falls under one or the other of those rubrics.

  • LewisDeane

    Nice post – a kind of think piece. I would like more of this – tease people until they learn to laugh at themselves. Of course, the ‘Atheist’ cult is a bit like being a belieber, a weird, white fad! A middle-class mutual-onanism of smugness and snobbery! Whatever happened to ‘Agnostics’, the Socratic position of ‘I know I know nothing’? As Nietzsche once put it – the hypothesis that is ‘God’ might be true but it is about as useful as knowing that water is H2O to a drowning man!

  • LewisDeane

    And isn’t so typical that Myers mourns the suffering of so called ‘brown people’? Wow!! Who are these ‘brown people’? Not anyone, I suggest, that Mr Myers knows!

  • BigDad13

    I keep reading the article and can’t find where their lack of belief in a god has anything to do with anything.

    If a theist with comparable notoriety makes similar statements, do we call them “Christians behaving badly” or “Jews behaving badly”?

    Their lack of faith has nothing to do with this issue.

    • LewisDeane

      True. It is merely a ‘grouping’ by their own self-identification. But isn’t it ironic that that ‘self-identification’ really does distinguish a ‘type’? White, middle class, smug (probably from Academe) and, ultimately, unreflective? And isn’t it ironic that their bogey men seem somehow more sympathetic, human? God (!) forbid that one might show a sympathetic light on ‘Godly’ people! But what is this ‘Atheism’ itself but a rather sterile desiderata of a very Anglo-saxon version of Protestant Christianity. As the man said, just because you’ve got rid of ‘God’, it doesn’t mean you’ve got rid of your religion. Perhaps ‘Atheism’ is merely the non plus ultra of a very particular theism? A nihilism where one would rather believe in nothing, x, rather than believe in nothing, than not believe? For, surely, the belief that there is no God is as irrational as belief in general?

      • Jeff Clothier

        Wow, could you have possibly wedged one more condescending ten-dollar word into that dissertation, Professor? Must be a Jesuit.

        • nunyabidnessfoo

          Butthurt atheist found

          • LewisDeane

            And Jesuit, too! Jeff, how was that condescending? I was merely asking questions, posing thoughts? Perhaps, I was merely posing? Or do you believe I am a belieber?

          • LewisDeane

            I’ll put that differently – perhaps belief in God, or, that there is no God, is as irrational as belief in general?

          • Jeff Clothier

            If so, it’s possibly from being treated verbally as a Catholic priest might treat an alterboy physically.

          • LewisDeane

            O come on! But me no buts!

          • LewisDeane

            And now, Sir Cliff Richard is accused, the very Pope of bad taste! (A UK thing)

          • Steve Willy

            Good, good. Let the butthurt flow through you. Let it consume you. It makes you stronger. It gives you focus. It brings you closer to Dawkins.

      • nunyabidnessfoo

        Well said

      • Jeff Clothier

        Vocabulary aside, you veer into cliche’. Just because Atheism is organizing where it generally has not before does not make it a “religion.” Atheists acknowledge there would be no word for their position without the backdrop of theism – a state we might prefer.

        • LewisDeane

          Cliché is possible. But I did not say that ‘Atheism’ is a religion – I’m only suggesting that those who self-identify as such are not quite as ‘rational’ as they would like to presume. And that, for instance, Myers and Dawkins are a very pecular, Western, anglo-saxon version of ‘Atheism’ which, perhaps, has it origins in Christianity itself? For an alternative, try Buddhism!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Amd religion has not changed throughout the centuries? Atheism has a rich history that has only recently begun to be explored and acknowledged. Its evolution far from invalidates the forms it takes in the present.

            Still, those of us who, like the boy who announced the Emporer was naked, refuse to take others’ say-so about an omnipotent, invisible wizard, generally share the value that if Yahweh shows himself and proves his power, we’d be forced to acknowledge him. Belief absent evidence simply makes no sense.

            Less so as an organizing principle of an entire culture.

            What all gods have in common is their stubborn refusal to actually manifest themselves. One person seeing things that aren’t there is mental illness. A million men seeing things that aren’t there is a religion.

          • LewisDeane

            ‘Belief absent evidence simply makes no sense.’ Bravo! That is why all believers, including believers that there is no God, are no scientists (in their peculiar fetishisms, that is).

            No ‘evolution’ invalidates a proposition, just as no biography invalidates a proposition. That is why one excludes ad hominem. But it does not prevent one from pointing out a particular history. That ‘Atheism’,of the type we’re talking about, is not born immaculate, as it were, leaping out of the head of Zeus, is a given? No?

          • LewisDeane

            I mean do you not agree with the proposition that belief there is no God is as irrational as the belief there is one? If one said, the evidence, so far, shows that very likely the hypothesis of a God, as Christianity states, is unproven, then yes, that is rational?

          • LewisDeane

            What the theists bet on is Pascals wager – all the evidence points to there being no God but would you bet your soul on it!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Pascals wager cuts both ways. What if YOUR god turns out to be the wrong one, and the real one is pissed off at your infidelity?

            Perhaps better to remain neutral on the matter until evidence presents itself.

          • LewisDeane

            Ah ha – You caught Pascal out! :)

          • LewisDeane

            A good discussion, Jeff. Now if only it was always like that! Ha ha!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Indeed!

          • Jeff Clothier

            I think I acknowledged that, did I not? But you mischaracterize atheism as a “belief there is no god.” Believing in not-god would require abject denial of objective evidence that the old boy actually exists. We simply say, “show us the evidence,” absent which we see no need to bend the knee or play as if the Emperor was well-dressed – to go along with your delusion, in other words.
            To characterize that merely as an alternative belief system is a convenient absurdity intended to help believers feel better about themselves when their noses are rubbed in the ridiculousness of their behavior.

          • LewisDeane

            I’m not saying it’s an ‘alternative belief system’ but it can seem so, as such, sometimes? Think of poor old Dawkin, tweeting his irritations as he sits on the loo – he comes from a very specific history, an honourable one, all the way back to Darwin and Huxley (not the novelist). And, in between, Bertand Russerl A.J.Ayer etc. Very ‘English’, oxbridge etc They do have an evolving set of beliefs not because they’ve thought about them, but because ‘they are the facts’, to quote Wittgenstein, who taught in the same institution?
            But, surely, what you are describing is not ‘Atheism’ but agnosticism?

          • Jeff Clothier

            No. Agnosticism studiously takes no position. Balancing on the fence, now THAT takes work. Being a mugwump on the matter disregards logic and fails to see that the burden of proof falls squarely on the believer’s side.

          • LewisDeane

            I understand that argument and still, at my age, I’m not quite certain about it. Let me put it this way. A proposition is a positive statement of truth – for instance, the moon is made of cheese. That can be disproved (or proved!) relatively easily if expensively. But is the proposition ‘there is a God’ the same nature. What is testable? Only a scientific proposition of the nature ‘there is a God, therefore…’ such and such will happen. Surely you cannot test a belief, only a hypothesis?

          • Jeff Clothier

            Part of the problem, I think, is that these questions predate the scientific method, and, that the scientific method is not well understood nor well applied by laymen.

            Dawkins asserts, and I agree, that the question as to the existence of god is essentially a scientific one – either He is or He is not. Neither the number of people who *believe* in Him nor the intensity or sincerity of their belief really enter into the question at all. It is the believers, however, who assert the positive case, therefore, it is for them and them alone to present evidence, assuming, of course, they have any interest in convincing those who do not equate belief with information.

            Until and unless they do, atheism is the only scientifically valid position.

          • LewisDeane

            They do ‘predate the scientific method’ by a long way. But let us not fetishise the ‘scientific method’ which, after all, only goes back to the 16 hundreds. ‘Rationality’ predates it by a long way. What is ‘new’ is the need for ‘honesty’ and ‘truth’. A Protestant and Christian invention!!! Prior to that, one believed that ones ‘poetic’ inventions were the ‘Truth’! Our ‘civilisation’ and ‘belief’ in it is a tiny speck in history. If ‘rationality’ exists (which sometimes I doubt) it is an atoll liable to be overwhelmed by the enormous seas of ‘irrationality’!

          • Jeff Clothier

            I bow to Professor Indiana Jones when making a distinction between “Truth” – poetic or otherwise – and *fact.*

          • LewisDeane

            However, as Dawkin knows, you cannot disprove a negative – rather, an empty proposition cannot be disproved. That is why the best of British Positivism was about analysing the nature of ‘statements’ ( I think it was A J Ayer who really said ‘it depends what ‘is’ means’?) and trying to distinguish between ‘true’, ie testable ‘statements, and ‘false’, ie untestable. Neitzsche once said, in his more ‘Positivist’ period, ‘Give me a theory that I can test, that I can ‘prove’ either false or true’! Propositions that are merely an ‘Ought’, an imposition that one must bow to (along with the whole baggage – I mean, let us say, one concedes one element of a religion, ‘the left foot is not right’, why should one concede all the rest, ‘toads must be shot because they’re green’!) are anathema! No one is excommunicated (anymore!) for saying 2+2=4!

          • LewisDeane

            Agnosticism says, quite plainly, I don’t know. It does not forbid one saying “I’m fairly certain that this or that is not true…”. Perhaps it involves itself in the confusion between ‘knowing’ and ‘this is certain’ but it’s not about sitting on the fence. I think the possibility of an agnostic Christian is proven by the Anglican ‘faith’ everyday!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Hmm, it’s debatable whether the Anglican church can be said to be either a faith or a religion – more of an historic convenience, really. Nevertheless, I am certain there are plenty of agnostics and atheists dutifully pew-sitting in many a church sanctuary, as well as at the altar-rail.

          • LewisDeane

            I:)

          • LewisDeane

            Hypocrites all! Or just the rather sad fact that all humans, when you prod them, are ‘practical’, ‘unthinking’ and somewhat animal?

          • mudfud27

            So full of wrong. Really, just stop. It’s embarrassing to read your misconceptions.

          • Jeff Clothier

            Care to elaborate, or is that the best you can do?

          • mudfud27

            The person to whom I responded (i.e., not you) apparently is unaware that an atheist simply lacks belief in any gods. That the idea of “atheism flavors” is nonsensical, misunderstands the entire concept of Pascal’s wager, has no concept of the origin of the scientific method… do I really need to elaborate? It’s pretty clear.

          • LewisDeane

            ‘The person to whom I responded’! I love it! :)

          • Steve Willy

            Rim to shut your pseudo-intellectual, neck bearded face.

          • LewisDeane

            Your right about the history of atheism – but which atheism? Hobbe’s and Hume’s, of which, Myers and Dawkins are the heirs? Or Epicurus and Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura, a Greek and Roman atheism? Or Kung Fu Tse and his ‘I will not intrude on their madness’ kind of atheism? Or Buddha, knowing all is not true, only emptiness? Atheisms have a history that few have known how to write.

          • Jeff Clothier

            What of it? I am in favor of an Atheism that suits the world we live in now, and counters the cultural and political hegemony of both Religion and Belief writ large, whose madness threatens to tear this world apart.

          • LewisDeane

            I’m with you there – we know of what we speak – but a little subtlety, a little ‘salt’ in our diet, prevents us from aping the very thing we hate!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Agreed.

          • LewisDeane

            :)

          • Steve Willy

            How about the atheism of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot?

          • LewisDeane

            ‘What all gods have in common is their stubborn refusal to actually manifest themselves.’ There is, also, what the Ancient World, so called, called the ‘spiritus loci’, which was perhaps merely an acknowledgement of being alive, a ‘projection’. The fact that this wood or tree felt alive meant merely that you did? The nymphs of the wood and the sea, the mountainside a kind of harmless poetification that could, quite easily, sitting alongside the very difficult acts of thought. The deification of ‘things’ is very real and perhaps impossible to escape?

          • Jeff Clothier

            Dawkins himself posits neurological, evolutionary bases for a bias for belief in the supernatural – a null concept in and of itself.

            But being human, and intelligent, means we need not always be slaves to nature in all things, even human nature.. We can observe and evaluate, diagnose a misfiring genetic impulse such as the tendency to believe what authority figures tell us regardless of the facts. Our failure to utilize that faculty does not constitute proof of the supernatural.

          • LewisDeane

            By definition! I merely meant to point at a possible origin of the ‘religious psychosis’

          • Steve Willy

            “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving toward depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.”
            Blaise Pascal, quoted in The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage (Page 170)

          • Steve Willy

            Wow, this comment really opened my eyes. I mean, this is powerful stuff. I mean, we are all atheists towards Thor, right? Some people are just enlightened enough to take it one step further. And we all know Darwin has already explained how the entire universe can function without any need for a creator. Except, well … the Kalaam Cosmological Argument, teleological argument, First Cause / Unmoved Mover, the impossibility of infinite causal regress, the necessity of at least one unconditioned reality, the Argument from Reason, Fine Tuning of Universal Constants, irreducible biological complexity, the argument from morality, Plantina’s modal ontological argument, the free will defense to the problem of evil. … Your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. Otherwise, thanks for this steaming nugget of regurgitated, pseudo-intellectual blather, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling, faux-analytical, GNU-Reditt obsessed asshat.

          • Steve Willy

            “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving toward depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.”
            Blaise Pascal, quoted in The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage (Page 170)

      • JH

        “But what is this ‘Atheism’ itself but a rather sterile desiderata of a very Anglo-saxon version of Protestant Christianity”

        Oh so true. The atheists are even resorting to prophecy about the end of the world (starvation, climate change) – an end which is frequently portrayed as punishment for “sins” against nature (energy use, industrial development). Straight out of the Old Testament.

        “A nihilism where one would rather believe in nothing, x…than not believe? ”

        You’re off the track there. IMO, most atheists have a surprisingly well-defined set of beliefs and a substitute “god” – Gaia – which is viewed as an all powerful organism which can inflict pain on man for his sins. Again, very Old Testament. Biblical. The characters are a bit different, but the theme is the same.

        “For, surely, the belief that there is no God, as much as the belief there is a God, is as irrational as belief in general?”

        Nope. There’s no rational reason to believe in a god of any sort. There is every reason to believe that there is no and are no gods of any sort. Not even Gaia.

        • Jeff Clothier

          Atheist and Gaia-worshipper – two vastly different things. Climate science and Gaia worship likewise.

          Could it be, possibly, that there are, perhaps, existential consequences to human abuse of our limited natural resources and environment that may resemble Apocalyptic myths – those myths, themselves, often deriving from natural cataclysms?

          Or could it even be that naturalists might borrow thematic material from popular religious culture in order to better communicate their ideas?

        • Buddy199

          Actually, from physics we now realize that the universe in structured in a way that would be impossibly unlikely to be due to random chance. A multi-verse is postulated as a solution to that improbability. However, since it is impossible to prove the existence of any hypothetical universe separate from our own by means of the scientific method, the multi-verse concept is not a matter of science; ironically it is philosophy or dare I say faith, though its proponents like Neil deGrasse Tyson would cringe at the thought.

          • LewisDeane

            I’m sorry to say, buddy199, but your wrong – randomness is at the very heart of modern physics. We no longer live in a 19th century, Newtonian, deterministic and, hence, simplistic world. The universe is only well designed in retrospect and it is only in retrospect that humans feel vaguely comfortable in it. The ‘argument by design’ is just one more fallacy.

          • Buddy199

            Thus is an argument about science and logic, not faith or philosophy. The likelihood of the various physical values that exist having occurred by random chance has been compared by physicists to that of throwing a dart across the span of the entire visible universe and hitting a target 1 mm in size: 1 in 1×10 to 179. In other words, impossible due to random chance. Hence, the invention of the multi-verse theory as a way around that conundrum. But since physicists also follow by stating that any hypothetical universes would be forever cut off from each other it is scientifically impossible to prove their existence. Leading the scientist to conclude by elimination that we can only be sure of the existence of our one universe, and the question it begs by the mind boggling improbability of its physical values.

          • Steve Willy

            Thanks for that steaming nugget of regurgitated, pseudo-intellectual, neck bearded blather, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling, faux-analytical, GNU-Reditt obsessed stack of human butthurt.

        • Steve Willy

          Wow it sounds like you’re pretty smart, AND an atheist too? You must have read a lot of books. I guess God is imaginary then. Check mate, monothesim! Religion flies people into the moon! The Jesus story was stolen from Thor! If only believers just understood evolutionary cosmology better! Aquinas’ Five Ways were disproved by cosmic background radition. Oh, you don’t know about cosmic background radiation, you poor ignorant theist. Something about Zeus, Baal, Apollo… One step further! Dogs and bees can smell fear…. Baah! Allah also died and resurrected. Oh, you say he didn’t, well why should I have to know theology if God is imaginary. Baaah, the emperor has no clothes. Existence is not an attribute. We know now from quantum mechanics that nothing has a cause. The human head weights 8 pounds. Yada yada.
          Did I just pretty much sum up your entire view of reality?

      • mudfud27

        Although possessed of a reasonable vocabulary, it is apparent you don’t even know what an atheist is.
        It would be best for you to understand that before bloviating. Good luck.

    • DrDenim

      I wish the news would name coverage of Gaza “Jews behaving badly”

      • Judy Weismonger

        How about Moslems behaving “worse” using their own children and women as shields. The Jews don’t use human beings as shields.

        What would you have the Jews do?Stop firing back using targeted weapons…as opposed to Moslems just shooting unguided rockets without caring where they land?

        Now ask yourself…what would happen if:
        1) Jews opened their borders
        2) Allowed the Moslems to have an unguarded port with unfettered access to Chinese, North Korean, and Russian weapons…and travel by every terrorist in the world to Gaza? duh
        3) Stop firing back or using the Iron dome to defend themselves
        4) Gave the Palis state hood?

        What would be the consequences?

        Hint: Look at every instance where the Jews ‘gave in” and gave the Palis what they wanted. What did the Palis do?

        Hint: What did the Palis do with all the concrete they were given by Israel? They built tunnels to infiltrate Israel and kill people

        Amazing that someone who claims to have a PhD…drdenim, cannot fathom the consequences either historical or the future…of what would happen if the Palis were given all that they want?

        And do you agree with the Palis that the Jews should all be exterminated or driven into the sea?

        I’ve never known a Jew to kill people who didn’t believe in their Hebrew god. Funny, how the Koran is filled with instructions from Allah to kill all infidels, kafers, non, or different believers.

        Let us know.

        • DrDenim

          “moslimes are bad, therefore we can kills kids too!”
          Awesome reasoning there, can’t argue with that!

          Also some great false dichotomy assuming that since I think jews killing children is bad, I must therefore be 100% behind Palestinians. How about nobody kill children? …No that would be crazy..

          Thank you for weighting in Netanyau.

          ps: I don’t have a PhD, I prescribe denim without a license.

  • Cheri

    Myers shows his ignorance in his statements. Kloor does as well.

  • lump1

    The Jezabel response to Dawkins seemed to me far worse than what Dawkins said. They argued that the badness of rape is so gosh darn subjective that it is simply impossible to quantify its badness.

    Don’t they realize that by this logic, it becomes impossible to say that rape is bad at all? After all, zero badness is just another quantity, and their skeptical argument says that any comparative measure of rape’s degree of badness is impossible. From this follows that subjectivity prevents us from saying that the badness of rape is higher than zero. In other words, you can’t actually say that rape is bad. That is seriously messed up! So where’s the outrage?

    But at least Jezabel made an effort to articulate a reason for why they think that Dawkins said something false. Everyone else is simply saying “Aaaaa!!! Baaad Dawkins!”

    I have a feeling that the response to Dawkins is from the kneejerk reaction caused by someone daring to even address this subject, and not from any good reason to think that what he said was false. His tweets forced us to think about something horribly unpleasant, from an unpleasant perspective of comparing degrees badness, and we must admonish him for this.

    • Jeff Clothier

      Very neat analysis. The law itself acknowledges differences of both degree and kind between statutory and forcible rape. Dawkins made true statements. Jezebel didn’t care for those true statements being made, and felt the matter merited column inches of text. A questionable choice.

  • DrDenim

    Myers is criticizing the media. But oh noes, he wasn’t PC enough! Shame on him!

  • LewisDeane

    Dawkins and his interlocutor Myers made, both, the same mistake: That their opinions are interesting because of their status. A kind of reverse ad hom. Both tweeting from their toilet, their arses firmly planted on the golden thrown, they must (must!) tell us what are the right and what are the wrong thoughts. I bet neither of them has read Aristotle, Leibnitz, Hume or Kant, Hegel or Kiergegaard!

    • mudfud27

      That “mistake” is no more or less than the same one anyone on Twitter makes. Or, for that matter, the one that you made in polluting this very thread so frequently.

      Can someone please tell me what Dawkins’ or Myers’ tweets had to do with science or atheism, or for that matter what atheism has to do with science? This is a disaster of a blog post.

      • Michael Phillips

        Dawkins’ made a point about no-go, taboo subjects in social media as an impediment to critical thinking, choosing rape as an example. I wish I could say the world proved him wrong. Keith has repeatedly stated his interest in media coverage of science and environmental related topics. Broadly construed, both seem on topic.

  • mudfud27

    What is the point of this? Are you planning to similarly highlight any obnoxious tweet a theist makes?
    Please explain what this has to do with the science that Discover magazine is supposed to cover.
    It’s sad to watch the decline of a once-great publication.

    • http://macromanjr.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

      Thank you! I get tired of this kind of irrelevant click-bait nonsense going on with publications nowadays.

    • LewisDeane

      What is wrong with it? I don’t understand your objection. Were you forced to read it? Ah diddums! Or were you ‘click-baited’ through? Serves you right for being a click-bait ‘victim’! Don’t complain, don’t click!

      • http://macromanjr.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

        Actually, I was the one to call this “click-bait”–be sure to accuse the right individual. And no, I thought this would perhaps have something to do with a science-related fuck-up–not some spot feature of “Atheists Say the Darnest Things.”

      • mudfud27

        What’s wrong with it is that it has precisely no relation to the topic Discover is concerned with. That much should be obvious.

  • Michael O’Leary

    “Still, I wonder if Dawkins, Myers, or Coyne could give me an evolutionary explanation for obtuseness?” ANSWER: It’s a byproduct of sociopathy – which we know has evolutionary benefits (at the expense of social benefit).

  • http://macromanjr.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

    I get the strong feeling that my longer post won’t be approved, so I’ll post the short of it here:

    Just because Dawkins and Myers are atheists, this aspect of their lives alone doesn’t merit a place of this tabloid-esque feature in Discover.

    You’re simply not helping the easy-going mentality of the average Joe who reads this publication, and takes this kind of article to heart as some sort of relevancy to the nature of science.

    These men having “atheists gone wild” moments weigh nothing in the matter of science. This is social and political and philosophical, but not science.

    Hell, not even the aspect of their atheism matters here, really. One may use science to help decide their perspective, but science is not in the business of personal philosophy. Science is a tool, not a view. Only people provide their views.

    You don’t have to feel like some sort of ambassador or representative for atheism just because some people who happens to be prominent atheists do what humans in general do best: Do something thoughtless.

    Assholes come in all kinds in life and atheism is by no means any exception. But unless the matter is truly a science issue, it has no place here.

    • Snookz

      I agree. This Outrage blogging all over the most science related sites is most tedious and the educational value is exactly zero. Yes, i am aware, all this has happened, but i come HERE to read about science, not about the bruised egos of some scientist.

  • Felipe Blin

    The problem is that suffering of human being is itself unmeasurable. You can compare because suffering is proper to each human being.
    One dead person is as bad as million. Don’t you see it? Check your empathy

  • Bonnae Waldron

    Maybe I’m crazy but Dawkins made sense to me.

    • Steve Willy

      So, why haven’t you shot yourself in the face yet? No atheistic position can be taken seriously until two threshold questions can coherently be answered. 1. Why is the atheist even engaging in the debate. On atheism, there is no objective basis for even ascertaining truth; there is no immaterial aspect to consciousness and all mental states are material. Therefore, everyone who ever lived and ever will live could be wrong about a thing. By what standard would that ever be ascertained on atheism? Also if atheism is true, there is no objective meaning to existence and no objective standard by which the ‘rational’ world view of atheism is more desirable, morally or otherwise, to the ‘irrational’ beliefs of religion. Ridding the world of the scourge of religion, so that humanity can ‘progress’ or outgrow it, is not a legitimate response to this because on atheism, there is no reason to expect humanity to progress or grow. We are a historical accident that should fully expect to be destroyed by the next asteriod, pandemic, or fascist atheist with a nuke. In short, if atheism is correct, there is no benefit, either on an individual or societal level, to knowing this or to spreading such ‘knowledge.’ 2. Related to this, why is the atheist debater even alive to participate. If there is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife at all, only an incredibly window of blind pitiless indifference, then the agony of struggling to exist, seeing loved ones die, and then dying yourself can never be outweighed by any benefit to existing. As rude as it way sound (and I AM NOT advocating suicide) the atheist should have a coherent explanation for why they chose to continue existing. Failure to adequately address these threshold questions should result in summary rejection of the neckbeard’s position.

  • Steve Willy

    This is exactly the sort of behavior I would expect to see from people whose world view, at bottom, recognizes no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

    • Jeff Clothier

      If you require a mythical wizard to impose meaning and morality upon your existence and behavior by all means. But that says a lot about you.

      Speaking for myself, I am perfectly capable of recognizing good from evil, and acting accordingly. An aspect of evil I recognize is expecting others to conform to belief systems they do not share, forcing it upon them politically or violently if they resist.

      Seeing my life as meaningless and without purpose UNLESS I CHOOSE TO LIVE MEANINGFULLY AND PURPOSEFULLY, motivates me and brings me joy.

      • Steve Willy

        Thanks for that steaming nugget of regurgitated, pseudo-intellectual, neck bearded blather, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling, faux-analytical, GNU-Reditt obsessed stack of human butthurt.

        • Jeff Clothier

          Careful. Yahweh is keeping score. WWJD, baby!

          • Steve Willy

            Wow, this comment really opened my eyes. I mean, this is powerful stuff. I mean, we are all atheists towards Thor, right? Some people are just enlightened enough to take it one step further. And we all know Darwin has already explained how the entire universe can function without any need for a creator. Except, well … the Kalaam Cosmological Argument, teleological argument, First Cause / Unmoved Mover, the impossibility of infinite causal regress, the necessity of at least one unconditioned reality, the Argument from Reason, Fine Tuning of Universal Constants, irreducible biological complexity, the argument from morality, Plantina’s modal ontological argument, the free will defense to the problem of evil. … Your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. Otherwise, thanks for this steaming nugget of regurgitated, pseudo-intellectual blather, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling, faux-analytical, GNU-Reditt obsessed asshat.

          • Jeff Clothier

            Jesus is magic, and magic explains everything. I’m sure you plan to repent of your harsh words on your deathbed – just in time to have lived a lifetime of sin and still get away with it. I forgive you regardless. Mostly because you’re just so much fun.

          • Steve Willy

            Wow Harry, you sure have read a lot of books. I guess God is imaginary then. Check mate, monothesim! Religion flies people into the moon! The Jesus story was stolen from Star Wars! If only believers just understood evolutionary cosmology better! Aquinas’ Five Ways were disproved by cosmic background radition. Oh, you don’t know about cosmic background radiation, you poor ignorant theist. Something about Zeus, Thor, Apollo… One step further! Dogs and bees can smell fear….

          • Jeff Clothier

            Ah, a Pentecostal, I see. Speaking in tongues…

          • Jeff Clothier

            Why are theists so angry all the time?

          • Steve Willy

            Why don’t you ask the millions of Christians who were persecuted during the Soviet era – oh wait, you can’t – atheists killed them all!

          • Jeff Clothier

            Ah, yes. The Christian Persecution Complex. Actually, no. Those unfortunates, and millions more including Jews, Gypsies, Tatars, Chetniks, various Muslim ethnicities, Mongols and Han Chinese disappeared into gulags and Siberian prisons for various reasons ; mostly for challenging first the Tsarist and then the Bolshevik and Stalinist regimes, where the State was the religion. It was not to promote atheism.

            Nobody kills for *lack* of a belief system.

          • Steve Willy

            Denying the atheistic motives behind these atrocities is like trying to dissasociate National Socialism from the Holocaust . You should be ashamed. If you believed in anything beyond your own hedonistic solipsism, you would delete this comment, plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. But then again, you probably are not ashamed. ‘Without God, all things are permissible.’ Even this crap apparently.

          • Jeff Clothier

            Embossed on the belt buckles of NAZI Wehrmact and SS. “Gott Mitt Uns.” “God With Us.”

            What are Bolshevism and NAZIsm if not belief systems? Cults of personality?

            Nontheism is a lousy organizing principle. Takes religiousity to justify atrocity.

          • Steve Willy

            Well your first comment is totally irrelevant because I never argued the Nazis were atheists. So, nice try with the neck bearded diversion there. Way to follow the Internet atheists playbook. As to the second part of your comment, you don’t see me to be denying that the Soviet Communists were atheists and killed Christians specifically for that reason. Did you think your mon-sequitur about Nazi belts was such a show stopper that no one would notice that you don’t have a point. Shame on you for your Soviet genocide denial. Atheism poisons everything.

          • Jeff Clothier

            You have not established or in any way supported your blind assertions vis Soviet = atheist = the *specific* rationale for whatever specific atrocities you’re referencing. Thus, nothing to deny. Your claim has no historic merit. Stalin *might* have used his own personal belief system to justify his killing, but if so, it was an excuse, not a reason. In other words you’re simply doing what most god-besotted magical-thinkers do: Make… Sh*t… Up.

          • Steve Willy

            “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving toward depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.”
            Blaise Pascal, quoted in The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage (Page 170)

          • Jeff Clothier

            Look, I empathize. I really do. Yours was pretty much the consensus view once. Most of us never bothered to question whatever mythology our parents handed us, which was handed to them, and so on.

            Because we didn’t know any better.

            It never occurred to us to question our basic assumptions, or that we might have to defend them intellectually. Now there is simply too much actual information available that it’s a constant effort to tune it all out and continue to believe; a constant game of plugging our ears with our fingers and chanting “lalalalalalala.”

            I was a standard Lutheran once, then an Evangelical. Then I realized I was not being true to myself and doing myself intellectual damage. So at first when I suggested in my own way you are entitled to your beliefs – and their consequences – I meant it.

            But I am under no obligation to respect them, defer to them or priviledge them in any way.

          • Steve Willy

            Thanks for another steaming pile of pseudo-intellectual, neck bearded non-sequitur. Is this supposed to distract me from for borderline criminal misrepresentation of history. Does your personal faith journey somehow change the fact that over 100 million people were murdered in the 20th century by militant secularists who shared your world view? Is your inner struggle supposed to justify your denial of some of history’s greatest crimes?

          • Jeff Clothier

            “Militant secularists?” That is rather a unique turn of phrase. I’d like to see the history text it came from.

            And what was the rallying cry? “Onward in the name of Darwin?” “Win one for not-Jesus?” What did the secular flag look like? The uniforms emblazoned with a big, red “A”?

            No. I’m sorry. Now you’re simply making stuff up.

          • Jeff Clothier

            What are Bolshevism and NAZIsm but cults of personality, political religion? Carved on Wehrmacht and SS beltbuckles was the motto “Gott Mitt Uns,” (God With Us.)

            Nontheism by itself simply isn’t a strong enough organizing principle. “It takes religiosity to perpetrate atrocity.”

  • Jeff Clothier

    The one thing all gods have in common is their stubborn refusal to positively manifest themselves in such a way that “belief” is not necessary.

    I have never met Richard Dawkins; only read his Word and heard his Message. I can choose to believe in him or not – Until the moment I am personally introduced and his identity established beyond reasonable doubt, or objective evidence falsifies his existence.

    As it is, the preponderance of evidence supports the idea that Richard Dawkins exists, so, my confidence in that theory is high.

    This is all I ask of any deity. So far, I have been disappointed.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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