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Feb 18 2012

And another one, and more, and more

This one also from the Telegraph, by someone called Stephen Bayley (by which I mean, as you may remember, that I haven’t heard of him before, not that he’s obscure or beneath my lofty notice). It has no content, it’s just a brief volley of abuse.

…Richard Dawkins, a fanatic disguised as a scientist. And surely, in the powerful counterproductive sway of his noisy arguments, proof of the existence of God? Terrible to awake in that groggy matutinal state when things lodge in your addled brain and hear shrill, ugly, cruel arguments on the radio. Atheists seem to be very good at dogma. Dawkins seems not to understand that his own zealotry is itself a sort of religious quest. And he applies the “logic” of science, itself a fallible human construct, to a beautiful mystery. Sure, organised religion has caused appalling conflicts. But it has also caused Michelangelo, Milton and Bach. Organised atheism has produced North Korea. There is really not much more that needs to be said.

It’s dispiriting, seeing how willing and eager people are to say really filthy things about someone who doesn’t admire their religion. It’s dispiriting to see how eager the major media are to publish this kind of shit-throwing, and to commission more and more and more and more of it. It’s dispiriting to see that Andrew Brown has yet another entry, as inaccurate and intemperate and illiberal as the others. It’s dispiriting to see all this lying rage pouring out of people who should know better and published by media outlets that should do better. It’s stupid, it’s nasty, it’s coercive, it’s dishonest. It’s dispiriting.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    I read Andrew Brown’s piece. He makes his living by setting up strawmen and ineptly knocking them down. I did like this bit from the comments section:

    BTW, still waiting for Andrew Brown to refer to the Pope as “militant theist”. I don’t hold my breath though; apparently being open about your position on religion and criticizing others is only militant if that position is atheistic.

  2. 2
    otrame

    Ah, yes, another shrill voice shrieking about how shrill famous atheists are. They are really getting quite scared, aren’t they?

  3. 3
    Steersman

    otrame (#2),

    They are really getting quite scared, aren’t they?

    I think that’s exactly it. Sort of like an old dog with an old bone: nothing much left on it, but they’ll be goddamned, get quite vicious actually, if you try to take it away from them or even try to point out that fact.

    Interesting, and anything but dispiriting, the flip side of that which is the set of facts showing the decreasing attendance in churches – maybe the pews aren’t quite as comfortable as of yore – and increasing allegiance to secular, humanist and skeptical viewpoints.

  4. 4
    Ken Pidcock

    Terrible to awake in that groggy matutinal state when things lodge in your addled brain and hear shrill, ugly, cruel arguments on the radio.

    Unbelievable that he can get away with characterizing Richard Dawkins’s arguments as three things that they never, ever are. The cruel, though, seems particularly revealing. From his little bio there, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Mr. Bayley regards most of humanity as in need of myth.

    I wish that Stephen Bayley were a houseguest. My own matutinal (had to look it up) routine typically includes a good piss.

  5. 5
    Saikat Biswas

    Why? Why? Why do newspapers give space to these grade A morons? Why?

  6. 6
    Ray Moscow

    There was a similar swipe at Dawkins in the weekend’s Financial Times, of all places: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c37c9048-596e-11e1-abf1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1mno874Ie

    The writer takes on Dawkins’ ‘hysterically secularist attack’.

    These journalists are like sharks, sensing blood in the water, but without the brains to distinguish what they ought to attack. Dawkins is today’s easy prey, apparently.

  7. 7
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Saikat Biswas wrote:

    Why? Why? Why do newspapers give space to these grade A morons? Why?

    It may well be because their readers are morons. I know I wouldn’t continue giving my money to a publisher who printed such utter garbage by a unabashed liar.

  8. 8
    James K

    And he applies the “logic” of science, itself a fallible human construct, to a beautiful mystery.

    Ah yes, the “Beautiful mystery” canard again. I think Eliezer Yudkowsky said it best:

    nothing is inherently mysterious – nothing that actually exists, that is. If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about my state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon; to worship a phenomenon because it seems so wonderfully mysterious, is to worship your own ignorance

  9. 9
    Steersman

    Dawkins seems not to understand that his own zealotry is itself a sort of religious quest. And he applies the “logic” of science, itself a fallible human construct, to a beautiful mystery.

    Another one of those “mystery mongers” that Heraclitus warned us of some 2500 years ago.

    And while atheism might reasonably be construed, metaphorically speaking anyway, as a religion at least in the sense of being an “a cause, principle or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion”, he seems not to comprehend that some principles, causes or activities are more worthy and credible than others. Or maybe he thinks that Nazism and genocide are on par with humanism.

    But that “science as a fallible human construct”, as well as being another egregious example of postmodernist horse manure, serves only to highlight his own abysmal ignorance. While there are certainly some subjective and problematic elements to that pursuit, if there weren’t some substantially real and objective elements to it the Internet that he cavils about, and that he presumably relies on for his daily bread, would not exist: science works, religion and postmodernism don’t.

  10. 10
    Bruce Gorton

    Saikat Biswas

    They’re cheap.

  11. 11
    Egbert

    Now we can see how corrupt the UK media is.

  12. 12
    Rosie

    The commenters beneath the article are of one mind in treating it with contempt.

  13. 13
    'Tis Himself

    Stephen Bayley was once described as “the second most intelligent man in Britain”.

    Whoever wrote that description didn’t know what they were talking about. Either that, or they were trying to get Bayley to do a really big favor for them.

  14. 14
    sailor1031

    “Sure, organised religion has caused appalling conflicts. But it has also caused Michelangelo, Milton and Bach”

    Typical religiot bullshit. Sculptors sculpt; writers write; composers compose. And they all do it mostly independently of the religio-political environment. Did paganism give us Praxiteles? Did the roman gods give us Vergilius? Did soviet atheism give us Shostakovitch? Did the late JC really give us WA Mozart? Evidence please (he said with a weary sigh…..)

  15. 15
    Skeptico

    OTOH the comments to that article are rather encouraging.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Which is surprising (and encouraging), since it’s the Telegraph.

    I really am getting into a towering rage though. There’s a vile piece in the Times as well.

  17. 17
    'Tis Himself

    The only people who seem militant and strident in the last few days are newspaper writers, politicians and clergy whining about aggressive secularism trying to wipe out religion.

  18. 18
    peterh

    “But [organized religion] has also caused Michelangelo, Milton and Bach.” (emphasis mine)

    There must be something to this Gepetto-in-the-sky business after all.

  19. 19
    Svlad Cjelli

    “Sure, organised religion has caused appalling conflicts. But it has also caused Michelangelo, Milton and Bach.”

    A callous thing to say. I should know, I can say such things precisely when I don’t care about other people.

  20. 20
    tmaxPA

    Dispirited? No, no, no. Take heart! These things get published because they illustrate social contention. Social contention which was not allowed previously. Social progress is measured by how loudly the pigs are squealing, and the better our position, the nastier they get. This wave of people throwing up their hands and launching everything they can think of at Dawkins is a signal achievement, not a cause for becoming dispirited. So long as he reacts correctly (which is to say, not at all) it will indicate a new level of power and prestige that he has acquired. And through him, established for atheists everywhere. Soon the days when one could assemble a panel to discuss morality while excluding all secularists will be history.

  21. 21
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Organised atheism has produced North Korea. There is really not much more that needs to be said.

    Best to not say anything more, facts just might destroy this “beautiful mystery”.

  22. 22
    Sili

    Why? Why? Why do newspapers give space to these grade A morons? Why?

    Duh. Who reads papers these days?

    Old, reäctionary doods who’re scared of dying.

  23. 23
    machintelligence

    Sili @ 22:

    I resemble that comment!

  24. 24
    dirigible

    And surely, in the powerful counterproductive sway of his noisy arguments, proof of the existence of God?

    Now that’s what I call confirmation bias!

    But if this argument is logical then the noisy arguments of theists are proofs of the non-existence of God. And since there are more of them, and they are noisier, they must constitute a far greater proof for the non-existence of God…

  25. 25
    Saikat Biswas

    And now Rod Liddle joins in as well

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/rodliddle/7662063/dawkins-exposed.thtml

    Exasperated as I am, I just don’t feel the urge anymore to protest against these travesties. As a class, journalists (most of them anyway) nowadays are so overwhelmingly uneducated, so completely devoid of making a rational argument that to expect otherwise would be to strain endurance.

  26. 26
    Aratina Cage

    Outrageous! Liddle actually compares Dawkins to an evolution-denying priest, Wilberforce, who was busy “haplessly flailing” against the fledgling evolutionary theory.

    These people arguing against science don’t strike me as being all that liberal themselves. After all, they are the ones cheering for ancient falsehoods and jeering scientific knowledge. What’s liberal about that? It seems like it would fit very well into any right-wing political orthodoxy.

  27. 27
    Art

    … “caused Michelangelo, Milton and Bach”.

    As I understand it those men could have as easily brought forth works outside a religious context. But when religion is allowed to pervade a society, and to be such a major holder of wealth, and source of finance, it is perhaps not such a free choice as to what subject you produce works of art about or who you work for.

    Religion shaded their works but religion cannot claim to have “caused” them to be, or to be as creative as they were.

  28. 28
    lolo

    This site is admittedly attention-grabbing i’m longing for is there the other examples? however anyway thanks considerably as a result of I found that i used to be probing for.

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