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Foolish Fulwiler fantasizes

Jennifer Fulwiler is a treasure. She’s a former atheist who doesn’t have a clue about atheism, a naive Catholic convert, and someone who pities us atheists because “we’re trapped in a prison of reason“. She never makes sense, so she never disappoints.

And now she’s done it again. Fulwiler is babbling about the Global Atheist Conference. She’s not making sense again.

She lists a number of ‘first impressions’.

Hemant Mehta ought to worry. She likes him a lot, and is mystified that he’s not going to be at the GAC.

Where’s Hemant Mehta? He must have been busy that weekend. The blogger/author is a major up-and-coming voice in the modern atheist movement. Given the perspective he’s gained from the discussion on his blog, I would think that he would add a lot of value to a conference like this.

Yes, I agree. But you know, there are a lot atheists out there, and we can’t all go to every conference. It’s just weird to pick out one random atheist among many and wonder why they aren’t at one particular conference among many. So? Would you like me to list a few dozen other prominent atheist speakers who weren’t invited or couldn’t make it?

Just look at these headshots! With that number of speakers you’d expect at least a couple unflattering, obviously-take-with-an-iPhone shots, but they’re all gorgeous. Lookin’ good, atheists.

That’s just weird. It’s like she’s baffled that we look human.

Since I’m sure he doesn’t want to say it himself, I’ll say it for him: PZ Myers should have gotten top billing in the ads, and it’s crazy that he wasn’t mentioned at all in the audio spots. When he saw that, he had to be all like, “Do millions of blog pageviews per month count for nothing?!”

Not for nothing, but why would anyone in their right mind think that’s the most important characteristic to promote? The audience either reads my blog and knows who I am and don’t need to advertise me, or they don’t read it and I’m effectively a nobody to them. I have a realistic perspective here; my number one job is as a teacher at UMM, and that’s generally not a huge selling point, sad to say. And Dawkins/Dennett/Harris are a much bigger draw, and to an Australian audience, the local atheist celebrities are going to be much more interesting.

And then Fulwiler gets “clever”, I think…at least clever for someone gullible enough to fall for Catholic bullshit, which isn’t very. Look at this clumsy setup:

I like the part about basing laws on rational thought and evidence. It echoes a sentiment that is a driving force in the atheist community right now, namely the idea that society must develop a set of moral values that is not rooted in any kind of supernatural belief system. I think it could end up being a really good thing that the leaders of modern atheism are coming together to discuss this, because this is an idea that needs a lot more exploration.

She doesn’t believe a word of this. I think it’s quite right that not only do we need to develop a fully secular morality, but that it’s the only kind of morality there is, because her supernatural tyrant doesn’t exist. Catholic morality is not built on the supernatural, but on lies and fear, tools of priests for all time, and a secular morality is built on truth, as near as we can get to it.

How do I know Fulwiler doesn’t believe this? Because she next brings out a great big strawman on strings and dances it around on the stage of the convention.

I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves, thus ushering in a glorious age where only the most superior genes remain in the gene pool. Everyone in the crowd will gasp and fidget uncomfortably…and then realize that they cannot argue against it without stepping outside of their own atheist-materialist worldview. They’ll find themselves tempted to appeal to the transcendent to make their case, wanting to have blind faith in the fact that love should be prized above all else, believing that self-sacrifice is always better than selfishness, regardless of what the latest scientific studies say.

Riiiight. You all know what would happen if a speaker started promoting a totalitarian tyranny and demanding that we start persecuting the “weak” — they would be ripped apart rhetorically. These are the kinds of arguments that are advanced for a theocratic monarchy, you know, and we’re entirely familiar with them. At the GAC, Sam Harris would rise up and argue for an egalitarian morality without bringing in anything transcendent. Richard Dawkins would dismantle that ridiculous argument for social Darwinism with ease, and it wouldn’t be by claiming that self-sacrifice always trumps altruism.

Morality is an attribute that is only relevant in interactions between individuals. A group of interacting individuals is a community. Morality is defined within that community; the desires of a hypothetical invisible entity have no relevance to the rules that regulate that community…except when parasitic individuals use the carrot and stick of supernatural rewards and punishments to mislead the members of that group.

Fulwiler has written a bizarre fantasy that is exceeded in crudity by Chick tracts like Big Daddy. Sure, imagine some absurd caricature of an atheist getting trounced by some clever religious person — but it simply doesn’t have any relationship to reality.

Speaking of fantasy, here’s how she imagines an atheist convention ending…with all the atheists flocking to the church afterwards.

I hope that these events really will provide a forum for questioning assumptions and asking tough questions as much as they claim they will. Because when they do, the nearby churches will be flooded with post-convention crowds.

I don’t think so. Dream on, deluded lady.

Oh, if you all want a real treat, read the comments on that article. I think Fulwiler might just be the intellectual among the Catholic community that reads her drivel.

Whoa! Catholic women are much prettier than atheist women. I feel bad for all the atheist men. =(

I feel unclean now.

Comments

  1. llewelly says

    Just look at these headshots! With that number of speakers you’d expect at least a couple unflattering, obviously-take-with-an-iPhone shots, but they’re all gorgeous. Lookin’ good, atheists.

    Our deformities are in our souls.

  2. katkinkate says

    My view of morality: Morality of a society is defined and redefined by the whole society. With the government in the back struggling to keep up and the religions trailing behind wailing, kicking and screaming for the morality we left behind 50-100 years before.

  3. says

    I hope that these events really will provide a forum for questioning assumptions and asking tough questions as much as they claim they will. Because when they do, the nearby churches will be flooded with post-convention crowds.

    As an antidote? As examples of the enemies of reason? As the places that never question assumptions or ask tough questions?

    There might be some tough questions, indeed. Does religion actually provide unique–and meaningful–answers to any of them, or even to easy questions?

    Glen Davidson

  4. says

    wanting to have blind faith in the fact that love should be prized above all else

    Considering the “love” theists show towards atheists, LGBT people and others, I’d be happier if they had blind faith in minding their own business.

    Oh, if you all want a real treat, read the comments on that article.

    Why are atheists so ANGRY? Why do they need to parade the sins of a small minority as if they represent the values of the many? Why do they need to attribute the murderous nature of men to our God? […] But the most mind blowing of all, (and even worse if they are scientists)—How on earth can Atheists look at the fantastic perfection of nature, and think it all happened from NOTHING. Randomly. If atheists can believe THAT, how do they even know for certain that THEY exist.

    We took the red pill. Okay, that’s enough of the comments. Yeesh.

  5. lexie says

    Hmmm odd, we I finally became an atheist I felt like I had escaped from a prison of nonsense into a wonderful world of rationality, logic and freedom. If this is my prison (which I dispute) then I happily accept because I am now free to think for myself, look at evidence, make my own decisions and live my life for myself.

    Also PZ, I’m really glad that your coming to the GAC you are also a reason to go, though there are so many great speakers.

  6. says

    My goodness, they seem to be a little on the superficial side and obsessed with physical appearance.

    “Whoa! Catholic women are much prettier than atheist women. I feel bad for all the atheist men.” Did what’s-his-butt from the comments in the other thread gravitate over there scouting out women who know their rightful place and are accustomed to being treated like shit/second-class citizens?

  7. says

    If that speech actually happened we’d see half the audience walkout and half the audience stay so that they could disemvowel the argument on their blogs ;p.

  8. says

    I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new version of the same old bullshit “moral code” that religious and political groups have been selling for centuries, in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves, thus ushering in a glorious age where only the most superior people triumph. Everyone in the crowd will gasp and fidget uncomfortably…and then realize that this is the same bullshit that churches and cults and political groups have been pushing for-fucking-ever, and they’ll laugh the speaker off the stage for being a fucking nitwit.

  9. says

    She can’t think of any reason to oppose a genocidal totalitarian dictatorship other than “God wouldn’t like it”? These arguments always scare me. Not in the least because there have been, and still are, plenty of totalitarian regimes based on “Actually, God is totally cool with this.”

    Whoa! Catholic women are much prettier than atheist women. I feel bad for all the atheist men.

    I grew up Catholic. Did I turn ugly when I stopped believing in God? Yeah, probably.

  10. Crudely Wrott says

    I like the part about basing laws on rational thought and evidence. It echoes a sentiment that is a driving force in the atheist community right now, namely the idea that society must develop a set of moral values that is not rooted in any kind of supernatural belief system. [my emph.]

    Right now?

    As opposed to when? When then, Jen?

    I’m so tired of the lost golden age that we could still be languishing thoughtlessly in if only we hadn’t learned how to think . . . independently . . . as individual agents . . . that can cooperate and evolve and get better at stuff.

    I can only suppose that in her little lost world none of these principles would ever have come into play. Picture it: six billion people staring silently at the sun, each believing they are being granted insight and a clearer vision. In the span of moments, all are blinded. Later, in the retelling of that day, the children hear how that day, the day that every eye went dark, was the day that that mankind first saw . . .

    . . . something, ahh, c’mon. without eyes and all what would every person perceive? oohhh, man, what’s the word I’m looking for?

    This is my stop. I get off here. I don’t need to ride any further.

  11. says

    regardless of what the latest scientific studies say

    huh? which scientific studies show that selfishness is better for a social species? and by which definition of “better”, anyway? Cuz all the sociology papers I’ve seen pretty much show that cooperative societies tend to be healthier and happier that, and what I know of biology shows that members of social species tend to survive/procreate better when they’re not completely selfish.

    the nearby churches will be flooded with post-convention crowds.

    stuffing churches with all these straw-atheists with straw-moral-dilemmas sounds like a fire hazard

  12. bionichips says

    What was really scary were the comments – with a rare breath of fresh air from commenters who took on the hopeless task of educating the willfully ignorant, they were the most amazingly ignorant comments I have seen – even by religious standards.

  13. Catnip, Shameless & Impudent says

    I grew up Catholic. Did I turn ugly when I stopped believing in God? Yeah, probably

    To another catholic, very possibly. To an atheist, your mind took on a whole new dimension & you became much more attractive as a person. IMHO

  14. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I thought we were supposed to pity atheist men because atheist women are all ball-busting man-hating lesbian harpies.

    I guess that’s the same thing as being ugly in her world, eh?

  15. sweko says

    Her first remark actually has a point. It’s a silly juxtaposition of global and a unilingual website.
    Australia itself is a multicultural / multilanguage community, so even if the speakers will all speak English, it’s a nice feature to have the website and other materials available in multiple languages.

  16. says

    I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves

    What does she mean, new? That’s an accurate description of the existing moral code!

  17. says

    Why would a load of scientists start talking about the strong exterminating the weak? Isn’t one of the running jokes that scientists are of the nerdy variety? Do you look particularly combat ready in these photos? Isn’t in fact the whole point of science about working together?

  18. V says

    I don’t think Catholic women are prettier; but, unfortunately for me, the religious do have more females in their ranks.

  19. Agent Smith says

    What a vapid woman. Speaking of Jack Chick, she’s gonna need Jesus to hold the gluons of those suppositions together.

  20. mnb0 says

    “self-sacrifice is always better than selfishness”
    Yeah, that’s what the popes for centuries have told their herds. It’s remarkable but not unexpected that they hardly ever, perhaps even never, followed their own advise.

  21. says

    A tortilla has been found bearing an image in the shape of the face of Richard Dawkins.

    Atheists from around the world have united in claiming this as an important sign. “It’s a sign of pareidolia, which is what it’s called when you see faces in random things — clouds, the moon, Mars, tortillas. Truly, this is a miraculously improbable confluence of random chance.”

    Over 35,000 atheists and sceptics have flocked to the town, bringing photographs of sick loved ones so that the image of Professor Dawkins may have no scientifically detectable effect upon them. Atheist irreligious nonservices have been packed out with people coming together to fail to worship a lack of God. Sales are at an all-time high of “WWDD” bracelets (“What Would Dawkins Do?”), which atheists look at when confronted by superstition and irrationality. (The usual answer is “Lalla Ward.”)

    Agnostic apparitions are most often associated with skeptical tradition, wherein there is a special emphasis on tangible examples and replicable proof. Today, scientists are usually quick to dismiss such images, one physicist wisely attributing them to “prosaic imagination.” However, they remain intensely popular among the practical faithless, as evidence of the cosmic rule that “stuff just happens.”

    Plans to sell the tortilla on eBay have unfortunately been delayed after it was eaten by a particularly religious poodle. After its emergence, the face on the tortilla now resembles Andrew Schlafly.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fun:Richard_Dawkins%27_face_found_on_tortilla

  22. Lord Mawkscribbler says

    One rather telling thing Fulwiler says:

    “The Global Atheist Convention has 5,000 Likes on Facebook; World Youth Day has 63,900. Just an observation.”

    I think that this shows quite how petty this character is. She is gloating about being part of a movement much larger than ours, it’s a bit like the ‘Argument from Popularity’, but even more stupid. It’s the playground bully’s ‘I’ve got more friends than you – hah!’

    And it manages to ignore the number of people leaving the Catholic Church in the USA – but I suppose that that was to be expected, somehow!

  23. fmitchell says

    Just yesterday I wondered how many “ex-atheists” were Lying For Jesus(tm) and how many mistook a period of being “angry with God” or “rebellious” or just a selfish jerk for becoming atheist. Looks like I have one data point now.

    BTW, I finally read the University of Minnesota paper ‘Atheists as “Other”‘ which revealed atheists are the most distrusted minority in the U.S.; it used its survey data to suggest reasons why. (Short answer: atheists are convenient boogie-men for an increasingly pluralistic in-group to define a necessary out-group.) Very enlightening.

  24. littlejohn says

    I don’t care whose ladies look better to her. Atheist ladies will do really fun stuff and not feel guilty about it. That trumps Barbie doll looks any day of the week.

  25. sharon says

    …the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves.

    Been there, done it. Refer to Deuteronomy.

  26. Pierce R. Butler says

    Catholic women are much prettier than atheist women. I feel bad for all the atheist men.

    Fulwiler (or her commenter, I can’t tell) seems to have missed a major memo. We’re doing fabulously, dahhling.

    Someone please upload a picture of Brownian…

  27. yoav says

    The comments are full of references to so called judeo-christian values, a phrase I always find extremely funny when it comes from catlicks, whose little cult have spent almost 2000 years systematically vilifying, prosecuting and occasionally mass-murdering jews.

  28. truthspeaker says

    She sees bars between her and us, and concludes we are in a prison of reason. She doesn’t see that she is on the inside of the bars, and we’re on the outside.

  29. truthspeaker says

    “self-sacrifice is always better than selfishness”

    And that’s why I told my friend to stay with the partner who’s beating her. It would be selfish to look after her own interests. Far better to sacrifice herself.

  30. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    the fantastic perfection of nature

    LOLWut? Yah, those parasites and cancers and auto-immune diseases and crappy eye ‘designs’ and so on are really good indicators of ‘perfection’.

  31. says

    Full Viler

    They’ll find themselves tempted to appeal to the transcendent to make their case, wanting to have blind faith in the fact that love should be prized above all else…

    Would this be the “love” that resulted in countless children raped by men of “god,” and not a few of them, as it turns out, castrated for reporting it?

    Jadehawk:

    huh? which scientific studies show that selfishness is better for a social species? and by which definition of “better”, anyway? Cuz all the sociology papers I’ve seen pretty much show that cooperative societies tend to be healthier and happier…

    She’s quoting straw studies in order to position Gawdless Librul Academics and their Deadly Rationality against the Lurve of Jeebus.

    Sally:

    …I guess that’s the same thing as being ugly in her world, eh?

    Consider the type of sleazebag who hits on a woman in the street, then, when she shoots him down, snarls, “I wouldn’t have fucked you anyway, you ugly bitch!”

    V:

    I don’t think Catholic women are prettier; but, unfortunately for me, the religious do have more females in their ranks.

    Women are, apparently, interchangeable to you.

    Pierce:

    Someone please upload a picture of Brownian…

    Is that proof of atheist men doing well, or of atheist women? Because I’m guessing his SO isn’t a believer…

  32. Pierce R. Butler says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform @ # 36: Is that proof of atheist men doing well, or of atheist women?

    For some reason, an earlier version of this reply doesn’t show up when I refresh the page, and now a duplicate-message alert popped up when I try to point you to the technical literature at pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Memes#Gay_Sex_with_Brownian.

    What matters above all is not gender but one’s number.

  33. Pierce R. Butler says

    3rd try to reply: Apparently the FTB/Pharyngula software does not allow references, linked or not, to the wiki_a page which informs the world about how all any of us wants or needs requires Brownian…

  34. cowalker says

    I nominate David Gerard for the winner of today’s intertoobs.

    David Berard: “Sales are at an all-time high of ‘WWDD’ bracelets (‘What Would Dawkins Do?’), which atheists look at when confronted by superstition and irrationality. (The usual answer is ‘Lalla Ward.’)”

    I’ve posted three times on Fulwiler’s blog on this subject. Two of my posts begged for an explanation of the value of “revelation”, since recognition of “revelation” has resulted in U.S. Catholics taking positions that range from “Yeah, laws that allow gay marriage and abortion are OK with us” to “A law that requires a Catholic university to offer an insurance policy that covers the birth control pill is non-negotiable.”

    What the heck good is revelation that allows that kind of latitude? Can you imagine a real, legal statute that could be interpreted so fuzzily? Me neither.

  35. DLC says

    That woman is as dense as a brick of plutonium, and twice as poisonous. Yes, lackwit, all of a sudden Atheists will stop questioning things, stop thinking critically, and completely stop thinking. Then we’ll be halfway on the way to being “Good Catholics” like you.

  36. Lord Mawkscribbler says

    cowalker:
    “What the heck good is revelation that allows that kind of latitude? Can you imagine a real, legal statute that could be interpreted so fuzzily? Me neither.”

    One might almost think they made it up as they went along…

  37. truthspeaker says

    And just for the record, this atheist does not think love should be prized above all else. Respect, maybe, but not love.

  38. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

    “I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves”

    As opposed to the moral code of Catholicism? The Catholic Church executed heretics and confiscated their possessions for centuries. These were not isolated decrees, they were repeated in Church Councils and Papal Bulls, which are allegedly “infallible” on moral issues. The Catholic Church may not do this anymore, but that only goes to the point; their “moral code” is useless and their Church is not infallible but based on the same whims as any secular morality.