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Yet another apologist simpers feebly

Paul Wallace (who?) is declaring victory in the conflict between science and religion, with the most specious reasoning. His big general argument is that the New Atheists are old.

This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last. The New Atheists are now old (or departed).

That little dig about “departed” atheists is, clearly enough, a rather nasty reference to Christopher Hitchens, and the link goes to a religious argument about whether he’s in hell or not. It is revealing that these Christians can’t even try to make a rational argument without playing ghoul. But it’s also wrong; as an activist in the atheist movement for about 15+ years, what has been most notable to me is how much younger the movement gets every year. As has been pointed out many times, the fastest growing segment of the religious question is the Nones, who reject the whole mess.

After that little falsehood, Wallace’s arguments disintegrate rapidly. His sole tactic is to list 10 people, marginal or tangential to the whole movement on either side, and point and say, “Look! They don’t hate religion! Therefore, we’re winning.” It’s a pathetic and irrational effort. Here is his list of the Big 10 reconciling science and religion.

10. Karl Giberson, science & religion writer and former physicist, for reminding evangelicals that science is not the enemy

Right. The Karl Giberson who was squeezed out of the website he cofounded, as Biologos cozies up to fundagelical literalists? It seems to me that the real lesson here is that the evangelicals are reminding Giberson that science is the enemy.

9. Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China, former Governor of Utah, candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination for president, for decoupling conservative politics and creationism

Huntsman was the only Republican candidate for president to speak out for the scientific views on evolution and global warming. He also doesn’t stand a prayer of getting the nomination. His position is a confirmation that the Christian majority hates science. And mormons.

8. Jon Stewart, political satirist, for shining light on American Atheists’ frivolous lawsuit against the inclusion of the Ground Zero cross in the 9/11 memorial museum

I wasn’t that enthusiastic myself, but I don’t think it was frivolous. I think the “ground zero cross” highlights the stupidity of Christianity — to think, they found two metal bars that had been welded at right angles to one another in some wreckage!

7. Nidhal Guessoum, astrophysicist, for reminding us that, in the minds of nearly 1.6 billion people, “science and religion” does not mean “science and Christianity”

Somehow, the fact that they found a guy who favors good science, and is also a member of a religion that has discouraged science to the point that only 10-20% of its members accept evolution (which Wallace comes right out and admits), is regarded as a victory for religion? So to some people, “science and religion” means “science and Islam”, and the overwhelming majority of them detest science.

6. Jack Templeton, surgeon, president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, for bringing science into the church

Hmmm. Reactionary fundamentalist Christian who donates substantial sums of money to defeat gay marriage initiatives and also strains to coopt science to support his religious beliefs is supposed to be an example of religion and science finding a middle ground? It looks more like moral and scientific bankruptcy to me. He’s a guy trying to bring the church into science, not vice versa.

5. Chris Stedman, interfaith activist and super-swell atheist guy, for decoupling atheism from science, and for being the face of a kinder, gentler atheism

Fuck “kinder, gentler atheism”. Finding one smiley apologist for faith who is too craven to confront the real lies of religion does not convince me that the New Atheism is in decline at all. These pandering compromisers will always be popular with the subset of the population that dreads rocking the boat…and they’ll always be the ones fighting against change and for the status quo.

4. Rachel Held Evans, author, speaker, blogger, for making science & religion her thing, but not her main thing

Who? Wallace seems impressed that Evans is not a biblical literalist. So? That’s been common for quite some time.

3. All Those People Who Are Not Backing the Ark Park, for keeping the sure-to-be-divisive Ark Encounter from its scheduled August groundbreaking

What? The majority of Christians in Kentucky are in favor of the nonsensical giant ark, and somehow this tells Wallace that religion and science are reconciled?

2. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, for reminding us that being ethical does not depend on belief in a personal God—nor, particularly, on science

I have never been sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. Sure, he smiles a lot — that seems to be the sole criterion for thinking he’s a hero of religion — but he represents a misogynistic, theocratic tyranny that wants to get back in power in the homeland of Tibet. Charismatic tyrants may be one kind of religious ideal, but not mine.

1. Terrence Malick, filmmaker, for reminding us that art may be the most compelling way to reconcile science & religion

Haven’t seen his movie. Not really interested in seeing it, either. I don’t think an art-house movie represents the state of religion in this country, and especially since Wallace mainly seems to like it for its biblical roots, it’s not exactly a slice of scientific thought, either.

That’s it. That’s Wallace’s great groundswell of pro-religious, pro-science belief that is sweeping the country — 10 marginal characters who meet Wallace’s criterion of being nice and non-confrontational. I’m sorry, but cherry-picking the population for the wimpiest set of useless apologists (or twisting their positions to hide their actual agendas) is not very impressive.

Although I did think it entirely appropriate to see Stedman and Templeton on the same list. Both are playing exactly the same game from different sides of the playing field.

(I am not alone in finding Wallace risible. Greg Laden has commented, and Ian Cromwell tears him a new one. Expect more of the freethought to rise to point and laugh at Wallace in the near future.)


And now…Ophelia makes the interesting point that the apologists are actually divisive and increase the combativeness.

Comments

  1. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    3. All Those People Who Are Not Backing the Ark Park, for keeping the sure-to-be-divisive Ark Encounter from its scheduled August groundbreaking

    What? The majority of Christians in Kentucky are in favor of the nonsensical giant ark, and somehow this tells Wallace that religion and science are reconciled?

    I thought that the problems were monetary, not theological or faitheological.

    And that one really doesn not fit in the list. Not that the rest of list really fits together, either (even if I stand ten feet away and look through the reading part of my bifocals it still doesn’t look like it fits).

  2. rogerallen says

    I have never been sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. Sure, he smiles a lot — that seems to be the sole criterion for thinking he’s a hero of religion — but he represents a misogynistic, theocratic tyranny that wants to get back in power in the homeland of Tibet. Charismatic tyrants may be one kind of religious ideal, but not mine.

    Well, the Chinese Communist Party replaced a
    misogynistic, theocratic tyranny with an even viler and more murderous tyranny. The Dalai Lama himself isn’t a hero of religion so much as a hero of nonreligion: he delivers decent banalities about living together in peace and toleration and because he is a religious leader people admire them.
    Mind you, compared with the stuff most religious leaders come out with, the DL’s cliches are a great improvement.

  3. thomasmorris says

    Damn it, why’d he have to bring Terrence Malick into this? He’s one of my favorite filmmakers, but I like him in spite of his religious beliefs, not because of them. “Tree of Life” was good (though I realize many will disagree), but I like his previous, less explicitly religious films (especially “Badlands” and “The New World”) a lot more.

  4. Michael Zeora says

    Do they really think that once the most visible atheists drop dead that’ll be the end of the movement?

    Really? I haven’t been to a conference yet (problematic funding) but I have a decent idea that we have plenty of number to make up if all of the Older Guard dies out.

    The only difference between the well-known ones and the rest of us is simply the fact of knowing who’s who. I may not be a Christopher Hitchens or a PZ Myers, but I’m a fire-breathing baby-eating making-religious-people-uncomfortable atheist and I can easily debunk the bullshit as good any the next guy.

  5. says

    PZ,

    not that I’d be sympathetic to theocracy of any kind, but the Dalai Lama hasn’t had reinstatement of theocracy as his goal for a looooong time now. He just wants an autonomy for Tibet that deserves the name. It also seems that he wants to put a stop to the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

    They just elected a PM btw, in democratic elections. The DL has declared that he wants this PM now to lead the Tibetan people..

  6. johnkruger says

    Somehow it is often omitted that Jon Stewart is actually on the 911 Memorial Board of Directors.

    Not that this makes Mr. Stewart unable to criticize the lawsuit, but this is a fairly glaring omission that reeks of a lot of dishonesty. I am generally a fan of the Daily Show and what they do, but failing to mention his stake in the lawsuit and not allowing David Silverman to defend it on the show is really unacceptable.

    And I am not going to buy the “not a real news show” crap. The deception is what it is.

  7. Lycanthrope says

    I have never been sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. Sure, he smiles a lot — that seems to be the sole criterion for thinking he’s a hero of religion — but he represents a misogynistic, theocratic tyranny that wants to get back in power in the homeland of Tibet. Charismatic tyrants may be one kind of religious ideal, but not mine.

    It is only since starting to follow Pharyngula that I’ve heard this viewpoint at all, and I still don’t quite understand it. Can anyone explain where this sentiment comes from, or point me to some good reading material on the matter?

    I’m not arguing the point – I’m truly ignorant. I was not aware of this side of Buddhism/the Dalai Lama, but I’ve seen many fiercely critical remarks about both here by PZ and various commenters, and I’d like to understand why.

  8. says

    Who? Wallace seems impressed that Evans is not a biblical literalist. So? That’s been common for quite some time.

    Rachel Held Evans is one o’ them liberal Christians who grew up Evangelical conservative and got popular for being a blogger. She wrote a book and seems to impress everyone because of her blog. Personally, even though she gets all kinds of props from people I respect (like the Slacktivist) and know personally, I don’t get it. Every single time I read something she writes I walk away with a shrug. She’s just not interesting and not particularly deep.

  9. says

    Lycanthrope,

    it comes from any cursory reading of Tibetan history. The Tibetan theocracy was one of the most oppressive, misogynist religious regimes that ever existed.

    Of course, had it been allowed to evolve by itself, it might have ended up like Bhutan today, but we don’t know that..

  10. robro says

    Being bothered by a disagreement to the point of fabricating phony solutions does not put religious folks in a very strong position. But then, the religious are fond of fabricating phony solutions.

    About Jon Stewart—Wow! A TV personality has an opinion that this guy likes and ipso facto we’ve got reconciliation between religion and science. That’s beyond stupid. Stewart’s a funny man, but even if that was his point (and it’s a stretch to say it is), who cares what his opinion is.

  11. gshelley says

    Doesn’t seem frivolous to me either. They wanted an exclusively Christian memorial and had a religious ceremony so install it. If they had just been willing to accept other viewpoints, there wouldn’t have been an issue

  12. says

    Lycanthrope,

    for instance the economy, even in the 1950s, when the DL was pushed out of Tibet, it was mainly based on vast manors with a huge number of serfs working on them. These manors belonged to wealthy secular landowners as well as wealthy lamas/monasteries.

    Drepung Monastery had 185 manors, 25k serfs, 300 great pastures, and 16k herdsmen.

    But the DL has come a long way, and I think that PZ is partially misrepresenting him here.

  13. says

    This Wallace person – whoever the fuck he is – just proves how right I am to be incapable of having any respect for adults who still believe fairy stories, and to lack respect for any adult stupid enough to show respect to adults who believe fairy stories. I just can’t help myself!

  14. Rey Fox says

    Huntsman was the only Republican candidate for president to speak out for the scientific views on evolution and global warming. He also doesn’t stand a prayer of getting the nomination.

    He’s also been waffling on the global warming thing as of late. And it’s not like he ever really wanted to do anything about it, because that would interfere with a few people making lots of money.

  15. Lycanthrope says

    pelamun, thank you for a prompt reply. I’ll look into this more; I’m quite ignorant of Tibetan history.

    If anyone has suggestions for specific resources or reading material, I’d appreciate the tips.

  16. says

    Huntsman was the only Republican candidate for president to speak out for the scientific views on evolution and global warming. He also doesn’t stand a prayer of getting the nomination. His position is a confirmation that the Christian majority hates science. And mormons.

    A recent quote from Jon Huntsman: “I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.

    Paul Wallace (who?) is declaring victory in the conflict between science and religion, with the most specious reasoning.

    He’s right about the conflict being over with, but science won.

    My favorite quote which I copied from a YouTube video:

    If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There’s absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god.
    — Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist

  17. Lycanthrope says

    pelamun, thank you for the prompt reply. I’ll look into this more; I’m quite ignorant of Tibetan history.

    If anyone has suggestions for specific resources or reading material, I’d appreciate the tips.

  18. otrame says

    I am willing to cut people like the DL a little slack, depending on his behavior. He was told from very young childhood a series of lies about how wonderful he was and how important he was and how important it was to maintain things “the way they have always been”. The DL was forced out into the, more or less, real world and has probably learned enough now to know better. If he is using his leadership position to try to genuinely improve the lives of, say, those 25K serfs mentioned above, then I’ll let him think he is the reincarnation of whoever he wants. The next generation will be better.

    Which makes me think of Kim Jung Il. I feel sorry for him. I really do. Tell me how the hell he was ever supposed to be anything but what he was, a tool used by the men who really run North Korea? A tool used to keep the status quo status. His is a sad story and and I suspect his son will be the same. It’s a fucking tragedy to realize that the best thing that could happen for the people of North Korea is if the Chinese decide they are an actual threat and invade.

  19. says

    This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last.

    Huh? What reason does he have to give for that claim?

    I’ll grant that the sheer idiocy of creationism is unlikely to be a strong force in America forever, but the rubes are still lapping up a whole lot of BS from Ken Ham and the like. The DI’s version of creationism isn’t exactly taking over anywhere, however that was never really what creationism was about.

    Genie Scott was warning recently that another BS “academic freedom” bill is likely to pass in one of the southern states (Tennessee?), and nothing has ever caused evolution to be taught well in districts that detest it.

    Creationism can’t last forever, at least not as an intensely anti-science force against education, yet there’s no sign of any great retreat of creationism at this time. The web will probably nibble away at such stupidity, only slowly and not especially certainly.

    Glen Davidson

  20. says

    Somehow it is often omitted that Jon Stewart is actually on the 911 Memorial Board of Directors.

    Thanks for that information. I now understand his bit better.

    Stewart was one of my three favorites. He mocks atheists and this is somehow about reconciling religion and science? How’s that work?

    And Stedman:

    In a May HuffPo piece he told the story of a Christian who challenged his atheism, saying, “OK, but tell me this, Mr. Atheist: Where did we come from? How did all of this get here?”

    Stedman writes, “I answered: ‘Well, I’m not a scientist, but to be honest, that question doesn’t matter all that much to me. I’m not especially interested in how we got here; what concerns me, given that we are here, is what will we do?’”

    It is a real step forward to have a public atheist who treats atheism as a perfectly plausible philosophy that does not obsessively look to science to prop it up. Of course he may, if you were to ask him, say that science told him there is no God. But he may not.

    That’s interesting. I’d like to hear Stedman’s evasive, accommodationist answer to that characterization of his views. What does science tell you about the existence of any gods, Stedman the atheist?

    I won’t even get started about Templeton. Just appalling.

  21. says

    Certainly the Tibetan lamasery was corrupt and horrific. The DL was a child at the time of the invasion – and probably the Chinese invasion was the making of him. He was living a life of extreme regulation and brainwashing by the elder lamas. The fresh new incarnations don’t get to tell the senior priests what to do, anywhere outside of a Terry Pratchett novel (bikkit!)

    From my own superficial observation, I don’t think that Tibet would have gone the way of Bhutan. The priests were much less influential in Bhutan; they had a king. But mainly, the concentration of wealth and power in the Tibetan priesthood was too great. Tibet is full of temples with huge Buddhas made out of literally tons of gold, silver and gems. Gold does not materialise out of nowhere. There are peasants to be taxed for that. Meanwhile, in Bhutan, they’re painted wood or stone.

  22. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    A smug, bullshit-laden article at Religious Dispatches? You don’t say.

    And I agree with Ophelia. Though this dynamic isn’t exclusive to religion. There’s a certain personality type that gets quite wroth at “incivility,” so long as said “incivility” is coming from a party with a relative dearth of social power, and they never hesitate to take uncivil measures to “correct” it. You also see this with women who police other women on behalf of the patriarchy, and in toxic families in which the scapegoat is berated into “being nice” to bullying Aunt Mary or ass-grabby Uncle Fred.

    otrame:

    Which makes me think of Kim Jung Il. I feel sorry for him. I really do. Tell me how the hell he was ever supposed to be anything but what he was, a tool used by the men who really run North Korea? A tool used to keep the status quo status. His is a sad story and and I suspect his son will be the same.

    I’ll save my sympathy for ordinary North Koreans and their kin in the south, thanks. And, yes, in this case it is a resource I’d prefer to conserve.

  23. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Which makes me think of Kim Jung Il. I feel sorry for him. I really do. Tell me how the hell he was ever supposed to be anything but what he was, a tool used by the men who really run North Korea? A tool used to keep the status quo status. His is a sad story and and I suspect his son will be the same.

    Kim was a power in North Korea. He was de jure and de facto head of the armed services and party chairman. He would say “shit” and people squatted and made grunting noises. There are other powerful men in North Korea but Kim Jung Il wasn’t anyone’s stooge.

  24. says

    His big general argument is that the New Atheists are old.

    Ah, yes… argument by fashion trend…

    Oh, you know dahling, forthrightly calling bullshit bullshit is just sewwww last year now… All the in crowd, they just don’t do that sort of thing anymore. If you want to go to the good parties, we’re afraid you’ll just have to hem and haw and make gauzy noise, again, now, see…

    Mind you, I s’pose, there is, after all, a certain naked honesty about this gambit.

    And hell, let’s give credit to tradition. It’s been the central game of religion for most of forever, when you think about it. No, we don’t so much have an actual argument. As if we’d sully ourselves with such trifles…

    (/… but hey. Our point is: it’s what everyone else is doing.)

  25. says

    5. Michael Zeora says:

    … The only difference between the well-known ones and the rest of us is simply the fact of knowing who’s who. I may not be a Christopher Hitchens or a PZ Myers, but I’m a fire-breathing baby-eating making-religious-people-uncomfortable atheist and I can easily debunk the bullshit as good any the next guy.

    So true.

    Imagine my surprised delight to discover a couple days ago that an article by an angry Christian fundamentalist connected me, a relatively unknown atheist blogger, with some of the most famous atheists in the world today. What an honour it was to read my name along side Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, who all have made the list of the 50 Top Atheists in the World Today, as did PZ; see

    http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2011/12/01/50-top-atheists-in-the-world-today/

    All of us, and other atheists mentioned in the article want to protect children from religious harm, but the author, Don Hays, insists on the right to violate the rights of children because of his religious delusions. You can read Don Hays’ ridiculous rant rife with lies and personal attacks at

    http://www.publiusforum.com/2011/12/17/new-atheists-want-to-remove-children-from-your-home%E2%80%93or-worse/

    He does not link to any of the atheists he cites and he does not allow any comments unless you first register. Apparently he does not want any of his readers to be confused with facts. But if Don Hays had done a little bit more research he would have discovered my recent blog article “Respecting a Child’s Point of View”.

    If Hays had read that article with an open, honest mind (I realize that’s asking the impossible of a fundamentalist) he would realize I believe in religious freedom for everyone, especially children. Hays’ problem, like so many other dangerous dogmatists is that he does not understand the simple concept of religious freedom, which necessarily includes the right to be free from religion. The real enemies of religious freedom are fundamentalists, not atheists.

  26. David Marjanović says

    Fuck “kinder, gentler atheism”. Finding one smiley apologist for faith

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Tell us how you really feel!

    Seriously, I completely agree, you just haven’t made me laugh like this in years. :-)

    Sure, he smiles a lot — that seems to be the sole criterion for thinking he’s a hero of religion —

    What I just said!

    The Dalai Lama himself isn’t a hero of religion so much as a hero of nonreligion: he delivers decent banalities about living together in peace and toleration and because he is a religious leader people admire them.
    Mind you, compared with the stuff most religious leaders come out with, the DL’s cliches are a great improvement.

    Agreed.

    It also seems that he wants to put a stop to the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

    Really? Last time I checked (years ago), he only said he’ll probably choose to be reincarnated outside Tibet (and outside China altogether… the place where he was born belongs to the province of Qinghai now).

    Kim was a power in North Korea. He was de jure and de facto head of the armed services and party chairman. He would say “shit” and people squatted and made grunting noises. There are other powerful men in North Korea but Kim J[o]ng Il wasn’t anyone’s stooge.

    QFT.

    It remains to be seen how much of a stooge Kim Jong-un will be.

  27. Greta Christina says

    8. Jon Stewart, political satirist, for shining light on American Atheists’ frivolous lawsuit against the inclusion of the Ground Zero cross in the 9/11 memorial museum.

    And this is relevant to the conflict between science and religion… how, exactly?

    Stewart doesn’t like outspoken atheists who oppose religion. Yes, we know this. What, exactly, does this have to do with reconciling science and religion? In fact, what does it have to do with science, period?

  28. frankb says

    Do they really think that once the most visible atheists drop dead that’ll be the end of the movement?

    When FDR died there was a celebration in the bunker under Berlin. They thought there would a change of fortunes in the war. These people are just as deluded as they were back then. (Note I didn’t use the H word or the N word.)

  29. frankb says

    oops, I didn’t use the B word when I should have. That was “thought there would be a change”

  30. says

    This is my favorite(?) snippet from the article: “It is a real step forward to have a public atheist who treats atheism as a perfectly plausible philosophy that does not obsessively look to science to prop it up.”
    What could possibly be wrong with wanting science to “prop up” your philosophy?

  31. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    This is my favorite(?) snippet from the article: “It is a real step forward to have a public atheist who treats atheism as a perfectly plausible philosophy that does not obsessively look to science to prop it up.”
    What could possibly be wrong with wanting science to “prop up” your philosophy?

    Hah, those silly architects! Always looking to have some sort of “foundation” to prop up their buildings. It must be because their designs are so weak!

  32. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    It is a real step forward to have a public atheist who treats atheism as a perfectly plausible philosophy that does not obsessively look to science to prop it up

    As opposed to religion which is propped up by, what? fantasy? wishful thinking? power politics? hallucinations? phantasmagorical idiocy? How can you complain about a philosophy that is supported by reality?*

    * I mean, how can you complain about a philosophy that is supported by reality with a straight face?

  33. says

    It is a real step forward to have a public atheist who treats atheism as a perfectly plausible philosophy that does not obsessively look to science to prop it up.

    The funniest part of this is that when you remove “obsessively” it’s obvious how dumb it is. Even if you ignore the silly suggestion that atheists become atheists and then go looking for science to “prop up” our “philosophy” rather than our atheism being rooted in science, the fact is that science does completely support atheism. This is true regardless of whether we’re obsessive, or any other adhomjective they reach for.

  34. Active Margin says

    It’ll be such a waste when the old guard passes on and my critical thinking skills are rendered useless.

    Seems like such a waste of all this effort. Perhaps I should begin reconsidering…

  35. AussieMike says

    I hate the way christians slither in under the cover of pretending to agree with the atheist argument (because its just a belief systems as well) and pretending to respect its personalities like Hitch. Take this one from this dipshit in Aust that PZ has skewered before. How powerful it must feel when Hitch can’t answer back because if he did it would be a linguistic feast and a blood bath all the same.
    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/12/20/3394402.htm

  36. Active Margin says

    Both the closed-hearted scientism of atheist hardliners and the narrow creationism of religious fundamentalists kill our strange and beautiful world by flattening it beyond repair. They deny its depth and mystery.

    I’ve never understood this argument. Science detracts from the beauty, depth and mystery of the world?

    Funny, it is the science of Sagan, NdGT, Nye, Hawking, Dawkins, Feynman, et al that masterfully demonstrates that the world (and universe) is far more deep and mysterious than any religious text could ever convey.

    They also freely teach – to any and all who will listen – the skills to go out and solve the mysterious part, which, in turn, further enhances the beauty part.

  37. says

    Things that matter scientifically in determining the existence of deities: a coherent conception of the deity and evidence supporting the existence of that deity as coherently conceived

    Things that do not matter scientifically in determining the existence of deities: atheists’ civility, trendiness, militancy, stridency, interest in religion, experience with religion, liberalism, conservatism, radicalism, extremism, anger, creativity, class, level of education, age, arrogance, sex, kindness, humanitarianism, profession, happiness, appearance, marital status, nationality,…

  38. says

    I just want to elaborate on the fact that we are the largest growing number of worldview systems. Unless this guy is living under a rock he would have to be blind to suggest the Giant monstrosity of our movement is somehow fading away. Atheist organizations continue to grow. And the highest growth are among our youth.

    So if this guys intentions are to make us Atheists feel like we were just part of a passing fad he is going to have a rude awakening. Good luck to that “Atheists are departing bit”, dipshit.

  39. Ariaflame says

    @29 David. If he does still believe in reincarnation, and there is no reason to suppose he doesn’t then being reincarnated outside those geographical areas would to him mean that he could not be drawn back into the whole Lama system.

    Working from those suppositions that would end the Dalai Lama because he wouldn’t be able to be found to carry on.

  40. says

    @Active Margin:

    If anything, science made the universe even more beautiful and fascinating to me. Hell, I look at a rock nowadays with the knowledge of its history. When I used to see “just a rock” before, I now look and see a vast history of floods and deaths and heat and energy. A piece of slate is more beautiful to me than a painting.

    Not to mention the knowledge of what makes the skies beautiful. Knowing I have not even the smallest blip of impact on the universe as a whole doesn’t make me nihilistic, it makes me excited because it fills me with thoughts of how many others are there to also fill these tiny blips.

    I look at a galaxy and see not a bunch of stars or a pretty picture – as some of my family does. I see an endless expanse of possibilities and of worlds and of civilizations that fill me with hope and excitement.

    Were I able to, I would love to become a scientist, but I can’t do the math.

  41. brocasbrian says

    I think you’ve fallen into a kind of trap by arguing his specific points of evidence. Even assuming he’s right tt doesn’t matter if the culture at large thinks science and religion are compatible. Belief in a thing doesn’t make it so. Even if all his points were true they still wouldn’t prove his argument.

    Science will keep churning out new answers and new questions based on facts and evidence. Religion will keep squelching questions and churning out the same tired answers based on make believe. It simply doesn’t matter if a majority of people think they’re doing the same thing. They aren’t.

  42. jamessweet says

    Count me as another who is not fond of the Dalai Lama. He has done some good work at promoting peace and environmentalism and such, but… I’m sorry, if everybody says, “Hey, you’re God!” and your response is anything other than, “No, I am not God,” then you are an asshole. End of sentence.

  43. Ariaflame says

    So how many times a week does he get that said to him jamessweet? 100, 200? If it’s said a lot then it could get real tedious denying it.

    I must admit I’ve never actually heard anyone call him a god before. Citation? With response preferred.

  44. says

    David,

    this is what he said in the 70s

    “In the mid-1970s Tenzin Gyatso, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, told a Polish newspaper that he thought he would be the last Dalai Lama. In a later interview published in the English language press he stated “The Dalai Lama office was an institution created to benefit others. It is possible that it will soon have outlived its usefulness.”These statements caused a furor amongst Tibetans in India. Many could not believe that such an option could even be considered. It was further felt that it was not the Dalai Lama’s decision to reincarnate. Rather, they felt that since the Dalai Lama is a national institution it was up to the people of Tibet to decide whether or not (sic) the Dalai Lama should reincarnate.

    He’s been saying different things at times, but at the very least he doesn’t want to “reincarnate” within Chinese controlled territory. Funny thing is the Chinese government, while regarding much of Tibetan Buddhism as superstition, still wants Tibetan reincarnation to occur only when approved by itself. (Note: I’m well aware that the DL reincarnation thing is a political tool)

    jamessweet,

    do you actually know anything about Buddhism, or the Dalai Lama? A bodhisattva is not a god. Or show me the quotes of him saying he is one? I can only find the opposite, as in

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2005/12/Heaven-Is-A-Place-Where-You-Are-Happy.aspx?p=2

  45. anchor says

    “And now…Ophelia makes the interesting point that the apologists are actually divisive and increase the combativeness.”

    Holy shit. And here I always thought that WAS the chief characteristic of the modern breed of religious apologists, well-recognized by (just-plain) atheists from the first they wriggled out of the moist leaf litter. Next thing I know I’ll be reading something equally shocking about how it hasn’t been common knowledge amongst (just-plain) atheists that accomodationists are a negatively detracting, interfering and reactionary element fostering devisiveness and increasing the combativeness.

  46. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    anchor, are you saying that (just-plain) atheists (whatever the fuck that nonsense you obviously pulled out of your ass means) have finally realized what gnu atheists have known for years>?

  47. anchor says

    ‘Tis Himself – Oh dear. No. Just the reverse. I was making fun of apologists and accomodationists who seem to perceive a “modern breed” (or is it post-modern?) of atheist who are supposed by them to be somehow meaner than atheists have been historically. I agree it sounds exactly like nonsense, which is a hazard whenever satirizing them with their own devices. So, you see, I didn’t need to pull it out of my ass, thank you. It was much easier to reach it directly from the accomodationist shelf. If I’ve snarled it up, I’m sorry.

  48. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    I understand now.

    Unfortunately, mannerisms easily denoted in speech by tone are difficult to express with the written word. I apologize for being so snarky in my response to you.