All those links

In another turn of the screw, Dawkins called Adam Lee a liar. So now I have to read Adam’s piece again to see if I can find anything that can possibly justify that announcement.

The atheist movement – a loosely-knit community of conference-goers, advocacy organizations, writers and activists – has been wracked by infighting the last few years over its persistent gender imbalance and the causes of it. Many female atheists have explained that they don’t get more involved because of the casual sexism endemic to the movement: parts of it see nothing problematic about hosting conferences with all-male speakers or having all-male leadership – and that’s before you get to the vitriolic and dangerous sexual harassment, online and off, that’s designed to intimidate women into silence.

Is that it? That’s not a lie. There are people who think that, and say so – and there certainly is vitriolic and dangerous sexual harassment, online and off. It is designed to intimidate women into silence – many of the people who engage in it say so, regularly. [Read more...]

Not unlike thought police witch-hunter lynch mobs

Adam Lee sums up the most recent outbreaks at Comment is Free.

He was, like me, a big fan of Dawkins. Now? Not so much.

Neither of us just plunged into this not so much state randomly or on a whim, nor did we do so as an exciting new way to draw attention to ourselves. It had to do with reasons, with things he said and did.

But over the last few months, Dawkins showed signs of détente with his feminist critics – even progress. He signed a joint letter with the writer Ophelia Benson, denouncing and rejecting harassment; he even apologized for the “Dear Muslima” letter. On stage at a conference in Oxford in August, Dawkins claimed to be a feminist and said that everyone else should be, too. [Read more...]

We’re the thought police again

More managing disagreement ethically from Richard Dawkins.

daw

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins
The “Big Sister is Watching You” Thought Police hate @CHSommers’ Factual Feminism, and you can see why.

That’s ethical disagreement all right – calling feminists who don’t respect Christina Hoff Sommers ‘The “Big Sister is Watching You” Thought Police.’

What would the other kind look like?

Provoking outrage

I made another attempt to talk reason. I’m absurdly optimistic, aren’t I.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 13h
Can it be true, some bloggers are paid by the click, and consequently fake outrage, or play the bully, in order to attract clicks? Hope not.

2h
Answer to my question seems to be yes, and on-line newspapers may be worst offenders – deliberately touting for clicks by provoking outrage.

Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson
.@RichardDawkins What about you, Richard? 2 million TGD sold, yes? Outrages many, yes? So…what is your point? You good we bad? That’s it?

@RichardDawkins Haven’t you been – often laudably – provoking outrage for years now? Why rebuke other provokers? Are you being consistent? [Read more...]

Setting a place for emotion

I’ve been very critical* of Richard Dawkins’s recent Twitter dictats on abortion and Down syndrome, but now I get a chance to defend him, and from some of his own ardent supporters at that.

As you all no doubt know, he posted an apology plus explanation yesterday. What I want to take issue with here is not the post but a comment replying to a pair of comments pointing out the importance of emotions and persuasion in discussions of moral issues.

Do you have a list of topics at hand about which we should avoid talking logically? That would be most convenient for everyone concerned. Even if you can’t see the absurdity of that, consider that your list would differ from everyone else’s list of sensitive topics and we’d end up with very little that we could indeed discuss rationally.

You say that you marveled at the Blind Watchmaker and were thrilled by the God Delusion. Did you find them to be well balanced between rational argument and emotional sentiment? I, personally, did not find any patronizing emotional arguments in those two, and if there had been they would not only be unreadable, but insufferable. Why should your sensitivities trump those who are offended by analyzing religion too closely?

[Read more...]

Trending

Dawkins is trending on Facebook again, thanks to his Most Recent Tweet of Infamy. At the top of the list I see (I assume the list is different for different people, because of their different Facebook histories) there are a lot of mainstream media stories and some Facebook posts by friends, and then after that…there is a long stream of right-wing, Christian, anti-abortion links.

Fabulous. Very very helpful.

There’s The Blaze.

There’s Christian News Network. [Read more...]

Watch that “all”

Oh lordy. Again. I should just add a little sub-blog or something: Dawkinswatch.

This time he’s trying his hand at making authoritative pronouncements about religion versus atheism on Twitter, and…well, I cringed.

Some good people are religious. Some good people are atheists. All who fight stem cell research & evolution teaching are religious.

Some good people are religious. Some good people are atheists. All who bomb abortion clinics & all who mutilate clitorises are religious.

Some atheists are bad. But all stoners, hand-choppers, abortion clinic bombers, evolution deniers, gay-persecutors are religious.

Some atheists do good, some bad. But atheism drives nobody to do bad. Raligion drives some people to do bad because they think it’s good.

Oh gawd. Somebody stop him.

I think I know what he’s trying to say; I think he’s trying to make the point that religion supplies certain kinds of motivation that are absent from atheism. But those blurts are not that point! And they’re wrong.

And it does matter, because he’s taken to be an atheist authority figure by many many many people, atheists and non-atheists alike. As a mouthy atheist myself, I’m getting increasingly restless about being “represented” by crude slogans like the above.

“Unfortunately, I phrased it poorly.”

I hadn’t heard there was a thing about a tweet of Dawkins’s (another one? yes another one). Now I have, courtesy of Fidalgo’s Daily Morning Heresy. There was a thing, and as a result Dawkins wrote a piece saying he said it wrong.

First he gives the background.

Yesterday, on Twitter, I wrote of the British journalist Mehdi Hasan’s belief that the Prophet Muhamed flew to Heaven on a winged horse. [Read more...]

Atoms in motion, or just atoms in motion?

Now it’s Dawkins’s turn to be called a bully for no real reason.

This time it’s an Australian theologian. His argument reminds me of the claim of “Froborr” last winter that Greta Christina’s aspiration for a world where religion no longer exists is “evil in one of its purest forms,” although Neil Ormerod is much less clumsy about it. It’s to do with purpose and free will and whether it’s possible to consider reason normative for humans while also considering humans “just atoms in motion.” (But does Dawkins consider humans just atoms in motion? It depends what you mean by “just,” but I think it’s fair to say he doesn’t in the sense that seems to imply. If he did he wouldn’t bother, would he.) [Read more...]

What price the golden rule eh?

Another truculent Christian who plans to go to the Reason Rally in order to interfere with other people’s event.

Richard Dawkins will be one of the  main speakers, which tells us about all we need to know. Richard Dawkins of course is the leading horseman of the new atheism with his book “The God Delusion.” This book has practically become a Bible for most online atheists today with a new fundamentalism that says “Richard says it! I believe it! That settles it!” Dawkins has spoken. The case is closed.

Never mind that Dawkins has ran with his tail between his legs from William Lane Craig and most recently has done so from a clergyman who interviewed him. In reality, most of us who are in the field of Christian apologetics would love a chance to debate the horseman.

Yes of course they would! It would be great for them. For Dawkins, not so much; he’s a busy fella with a lot to do, so he chooses how he spends his time. For him it makes a good deal more sense to debate the archbishop of Canterbury than it does to debate Craig. That’s not “running” (much less with tail between legs), it’s allocating time wisely.

Dawkins proclaims himself as a champion of science and reason, as if not believing in God automatically means you are a person of reason. Obviously anyone who is a Christian or a believer in any sort of deity has sold themselves out to delusion and abandoned reason. This assertion is not defended. It is just asserted.

That’s just a falsehood. Of course the assertion is defended; it’s defended in a book and many articles, talks, debates, and the like. Nick Peters could say it’s not well defended, if he chose, but it’s just mendacious to say it’s not defended period.

Let us keep in mind the saying of Chesterton. “There are two kinds of people in the world, the conscious dogmatists and the unconscious dogmatists. I have always found myself that the unconscious dogmatists were by far the most dogmatic.” Chesterton would see the Reason Rally as an example. While the new atheist crowd wishes to speak against dogma, they simply take one dogma and replace it with another.

Dogma is one of those terms not really understood. In reality, we all have some dogmas. We all hold some beliefs in high honor that we wish others to hold. The difference between myself and the new atheists is that I know I am dogmatic. The new atheists do not know it and in turn end up pushing their dogma the most.

Ah no, that’s not right at all. Dogma is not a belief we hold in high honor and want others to hold. No no no. It’s a truth claim from authority that must not be questioned. Makes a difference, doesn’t it.

Why not try to make a presence at Reason Rally, as I hope to do…I will be doing what I can to be there and I’d love to see you there. Let’s be there to argue not against reasoning, which we should all love, but to argue against bad reasoning. Let us replace the reason of Dawkins with what Ratio Christi is named for, the Reason of Christ.

It’s just as he admitted (apparently without realizing he’d admitted anything) – “most of us who are in the field of Christian apologetics would love a chance to debate the horseman.” They’re all excited about the treat, and not the least bit concerned about intruding on people who don’t want to be intruded on. Do unto others chiz chiz.