Christians setting a bad example »« They know

I’ve got to buy a Roku now?

They seem to be nifty little devices, and now I have one more reason to get one.

American Atheists announced Wednesday that it has set Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as the official date for the launch of Atheist TV, the world’s first television channel dedicated to atheist content, on Roku. The national atheist nonprofit will host a launch party that night in Manhattan to celebrate.

“The launch of Atheist TV is history in the making,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “There are hundreds of TV channels dedicated to religious programming, but nothing like this has ever existed before for atheists, and yet the demand is overwhelming. For the first time, atheist video content—from firebrand speeches, to stand-up comedy, to documentaries, to real science-based educational programming, and more—is now available to atheists worldwide, on the air and all in one place. Atheist TV brings consistent, quality, superstition-free programming for children and adults, on the air and on-demand, right from your regular television. This is an idea whose time has come and we’re celebrating.”

The invitation-only launch party will take place from 6-8 pm ET at the Union Square Penthouse venue in Manhattan. Well-known TV producers and personalities, atheist activists and public speakers, video content producers for the channel, and Atheist TV and American Atheists sponsors and donors will be in attendance. The celebration and launch will feature a speech by President David Silverman and a countdown to the first broadcast at 7 pm, at which time a welcome video starring several well-known atheists and science educators will air.

The channel, which provides both an on-air streaming schedule and video-on-demand, is available worldwide for free via Roku, a small device that connects to the back of a television, similar to a cable box. The on-air live streaming portion will also be viewable free on the channel’s website. See http://www.atheists.tv for more information.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    I’ve considered a Roku since I plan on dumping cable at the end of the year. The channel line up has a lot of religion (read christian) and RWNJ programming including Glen Beck’s channel. YouTube is cheaper and has a greater variety of programming.

  2. b timothycreel says

    I love my Roku. You are right about the ridiculous amount of Christian and looney channels though. I mostly use mine for streaming my Amazon Prime, Netflix, Crackle, and the crappy free movie channels. It is also great for streaming YouTube to my TV.

  3. says

    I agree with ibis3 at #1, I don’t trust the atheist community as a whole right now to want to tune in. Fortunately I don’t have a Roku, and I don’t even know if it’s available in Canada.

  4. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    I love my Roku. The only extra channel I’ve ever used is Netflix, but I really like Plex (it’s a media server and I use it on all of my devices to view my content anywhere I want) and pushing things from my devices to it for watching on my tv. If there were an interesting channel, I’d consider checking it out. Hopefully the American Atheists channel won’t be crap.

  5. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    at which time a welcome video starring several well-known atheists and science educators will air.

    Lemme guess… Dawkins, Jaclyn Glenn, Thunderfoot, and of course Silverman will have to get his own rat bastard face in there as much as he can. Don’t worry, he’ll wink so we know he’s talking to us!

  6. Stacey C. says

    I ‘ve got to agree with ibis3 as well. I no longer trust David Silverman or anything he’s a part of to reflect the kind of Atheism I’m interested in. Not after the CPAC debacle. I’m pretty disgusted by most of the national Atheism figures: Dawkins, Silverman, Sherman, Krauss, Radford, Harris, Grothe etc. etc.

  7. culuriel says

    Roku? Why don’t they just release some videos on Beta tape? It’s about the same number of people who could play it.

  8. says

    Had one since ’08. Despite the large amount of crap content. There are a few bright spots making the purchase well worth it.

  9. Alverant says

    I have a google chrome if I want to stream YouTube to my TV. There’s also downloads for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu if I ever get any of those. So my own need for a Roku is pretty minimal. But that’s just my experience, yours may vary.

  10. anteprepro says

    I too am concerned about how much of the content might be from the Asshole Atheist contingent…

  11. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Atheist TV: Where we’re ALL allies… and now, here’s “A Voice For Brave Heroes” with your host Justin Vacula!

  12. says

    I ordered a Roku — I’ve heard they’re good, my daughter has one, so it’s not just for Atheist TV. But I’ll take a look at their content, and yeah, if it’s full of Libertarian bullshit and sexist apologetics, I’ll stop watching. And let you all know.

  13. Alverant says

    Thanks PZ. I’m curious about your experience about it. If it’s better than my Chromecast, I don’t mind switching.

  14. grandolddeity says

    I’ve had a Roku player from day 1…I love it. It works better than any other player I’ve tried. I’m currently running an XS. Highly recommend it. I wish I could link to the Atheist Channel now.

  15. busterggi says

    “The invitation-only launch party will take place from 6-8 pm ET at the Union Square Penthouse venue in Manhattan.”

    Nice job reinforcing the image that all atheists are elitists.

  16. stagamancer says

    I have yet to come across anything (whether religious, atheist, or whatever) that puts ideology before art and is high quality. The atheist-specific music I’ve heard is just as bad as any christian-specific music out there. If this channel is simply a platform for programs that happen to have secular, humanist, or atheist themes, then it could be good. But if it’s specifically developing atheist programming, then I doubt it will be worth my time.

  17. Alverant says

    Is the Roku wireless? Right now I have a 4 port router and I have one spot to spare. I’d rather have a physical connection than radio.

  18. ironchew says

    @UnknownEric

    Lemme guess… Dawkins, Jaclyn Glenn, Thunderfoot, and of course Silverman will have to get his own rat bastard face in there as much as he can. Don’t worry, he’ll wink so we know he’s talking to us!

    Because god forbid Dawkins does a science segment on television! Atheists won’t stand for that.

    If 90% of the programming is Libertarian, that still makes it better than network television. Hell, I’d watch The Atheist Experience reruns on there even if the rest of it were solely devoted to Thunderf00t.

  19. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I didn’t like the sound of this, but couldn’t specify why.

    stagamancer voiced the problen:

    If this channel is simply a platform for programs that happen to have secular, humanist, or atheist themes, then it could be good. But if it’s specifically developing atheist programming, then I doubt it will be worth my time.

    Of course, I’m not American so I wouldn’t be able to watch t either way.

  20. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    I’m heavily invested in the Apple eco-system so Apple TV made more sense for me, but I still envy the Roku lineup even if I wouldn’t use most of it.

    90% of my watching through Apple TV is Netflix, with a smattering of other content like cricket matches.

  21. anteprepro says

    ironchew

    Because god forbid Dawkins does a science segment on television! Atheists won’t stand for that.

    Yes, of course plenty of atheists will stand for that. Some of them quite fervently and loudly, in a way indistinguishable from hero worship. And others quite aggressively and using very specific language, making it clear what status quo they are attempting to defend by ensuring that Dawkins remains King of Atheism. And of course, plenty of others will have no idea what the problem is at all.

    The fact that Atheists Will Stand For That is precisely the problem.

  22. says

    Alverant #2:

    Roku’s an open platform with little editorial control exercised over their channel store, so the excessive amounts of religious programming are a side effect. It’s a major annoyance looking through the new channel listings, but it beats carpet bombing the airwaves with obnoxious shortwave and LPFM broadcasts.

  23. says

    Also there’s an official Roku YouTube channel since earlier this year, although the interface is painfully un-Rokulike.

  24. ironchew says

    @anteprepro

    The fact that Atheists Will Stand For That is precisely the problem.

    I don’t see the issue here. Dawkins is successful in the marketplace of ideas and he’s a big name in atheism, so an atheist channel that specifically refused to air anything about him would just be a terrible programming strategy.

    No, I don’t think Dawkins is the King of Atheism, but I don’t get why so many people hate him. The manufactured outrage over his statements reminds me of the Christians that were so offended when he published The God Delusion.

  25. anteprepro says

    Ah, so you don’t get why Dawkins consistently being anti-feminist is a problem huh? Just manufactured outrage huh?

    Yeah, go fuck yourself.

  26. Nick Gotts says

    The manufactured outrage over his statements – ironchew@27

    Well it was his assistance in manufacturing the outrage over a woman saying “Guys, don’t do that”, that alerted a lot of people to what an over-privileged sexist turd he is.

  27. brett says

    I’m definitely going to get a Roku HD when I finally replace my television (I’ve been using the same one for over a decade). There’s no point doing it with my existing television since my Wii can do the same type of stuff, but I got one for my dad as a Christmas present and really like it.

  28. brett says

    As for Dawkins, I’ll watch anything he does on evolution – Greatest Show on Earth is still one of my favorite books. Not so much anything he does on Atheism, or Cthulu forbid gender and politics.

  29. says

    Ironchew:

    Lemme splain. First off, the manufactured outrage came from the people who objected to being told to *not corner women in order to hit on them*. Any other comments about the situation are wholly irrelevant. Second, I can speak only for myself, but to me it’s not so much hate as the kind of “I like the guy, but dammit…” feeling that a lot of early quantum physicists had towards Einstein. People don’t want to deal with someone whose head is easily removed from his ass but chooses to keep it there (unlike, say, Thunderf00t or ERV, whose heads are firmly wedged and won’t unwedge even when their careers come crashing down because no one wants to deal with their shit anymore). Dawkins’ unquestioning fanboys don’t help either – they’re stuck in “too smart to be fooled” dreamland with people like Jack Sarfatti, Free,an Dyson, and Luboš Motl. (Motl clearly has other issues, but that’s an issue that was discussed deep in Pharyngula’s past and needn’t be rehashed.)

  30. consciousness razor says

    ironchew:

    I don’t see the issue here. Dawkins is successful in the marketplace of ideas and he’s a big name in atheism, so an atheist channel that specifically refused to air anything about him would just be a terrible programming strategy.

    That’s why you don’t see the issue? Because there’s no reason to think about the quality of the programming, just its “success in the marketplace” or how “big” somebody’s name is? When people complain about the History Channel playing bullshit like Ancient Aliens, do you give the same spiel? If so, what the fuck makes you think that’s a useful or even interesting way to evaluate content? Why don’t you put the Almighty Dollar on the screen 24/7, if people simply cared about that, so they can drool over it?

    No, I don’t think Dawkins is the King of Atheism, but I don’t get why so many people hate him. The manufactured outrage over his statements reminds me of the Christians that were so offended when he published The God Delusion.

    So, you don’t get it — you’re ignorant? Is that what you’re saying? Nothing wrong with that — it can be fixed, unlike willful shitheadedness. Or is it that you do get it, and it reminds you of Christians in some way that you don’t care to explain?

    BrianX:

    Second, I can speak only for myself, but to me it’s not so much hate as the kind of “I like the guy, but dammit…” feeling that a lot of early quantum physicists had towards Einstein.

    That is so awful on so many levels.

  31. says

    ironchew:

    I don’t see the issue here. Dawkins is successful in the marketplace of ideas and he’s a big name in atheism, so an atheist channel that specifically refused to air anything about him would just be a terrible programming strategy.

    No, I don’t think Dawkins is the King of Atheism, but I don’t get why so many people hate him. The manufactured outrage over his statements reminds me of the Christians that were so offended when he published The God Delusion.

    It’s not manufactured. Dawkins is a sexist, privilege blind asshole. Yes, when he talks about science he is good. When he talks about atheism, he’s good. But when he branches out into social issues, he shoves his foot in his mouth.

    Also, who has said they *hate* Dawkins? The spectrum of possible feelings for the guy includes more than hero worship or hatred. Some people could be ambivalent. Some people could have strong dislike. Other still could like him a little.

    And if you don’t understand peoples’ feelings about Dawkins, perhaps you haven’t taken the time to listen to their concerns. Or you just don’t feel people are justified in calling out sexism, no matter how minor it may seem to you.
    ****

    It’s amazing that there are still people who don’t understand the problem with Dear Muslima, or Dawkins’ sexist comments. Oh, wait. No it’s not amazing. It’s about women after all. ::spits::

  32. says

    I’ve been to a party at the Union Square Penthouse. It’s not exactly elitist — it’s just a nice venue in Manhattan for medium-sized events. Not particularly extravagant, but the view is nice.

  33. David Chapman says

    28
    ironchew

    @anteprepro

    The fact that Atheists Will Stand For That is precisely the problem.

    I don’t see the issue here. Dawkins is successful in the marketplace of ideas and he’s a big name in atheism, so an atheist channel that specifically refused to air anything about him would just be a terrible programming strategy.

    No, I don’t think Dawkins is the King of Atheism, but I don’t get why so many people hate him. The manufactured outrage over his statements reminds me of the Christians that were so offended when he published The God Delusion.

    ‘An atheist channel that specifically refused to air anything about him’?? Where did you get that from?
    Among other things, Professor Dawkins made merry with the concept of epidemic of child and adolescent sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in this same ‘The God Delusion’, mocking the whole idea that real abuse could have taken place on that scale or that the damage it caused might be that serious, and suggesting that many of those suing the Church were either lying gold diggers or the dupes of avaricious lawyers. This latter brilliant suggestion hinged on the psychological phenomenon of false memory; but Dawkins seems oblivious to the fact that Catholic priests who abused children were in a huge number of cases serial offenders – thanks to the notorious connivance of the Church hierarchy – and there was therefore frequently little doubt about their guilt. So either Dawkins didn’t know at the time about this connivance, ( so how did he have the gall, in that case, to pontificate about these crimes, if he was that ill-informed about them? ), or he deliberately ignored it. As he seems keen to ignore the enormous psychological harm the sexual violation of the young can cause. Consult his masterpiece for yourself if you don’t believe me on that one ( pp 354-66 ).

    I rather fear that Dawkins may be happy to defend the Roman Church against its detractors, for the totally unrelated reason that it is the largest Christian denomination in the World, and that it, after its own peculiar fashion, is generally pro-science, and accepts the theory of Natural Selection. It therefore forms a bulwark against even more rationally deficient congregations than it, who fall down in these areas.
    If that were so, one of the problems with him being a spokesman for atheism is he’s not prepared to do it honestly. And we already have priests and priests and preachers to lie to us, without atheists joining in that game. This is speculation on my part, but it’s rather difficult otherwise to understand his behaviour in this matter. Quite conceivably, he’s just a prick of course.

    He issued an apology of sorts a little while ago. Now, every so often I go into a local bookshop and have a look at a nice, fresh copy of his book.

    All these jolly little snide remarks about clerical child abuse were still there last time I looked. Untouched, not a word retracted. So, he apologized, but didn’t feel any need to produce a new edition with this rubbish excised from it.
    Nothing manufactured about my outrage.

  34. ironchew says

    @ David Chapman

    Consult his masterpiece for yourself if you don’t believe me on that one ( pp 354-66 ).

    I’ve read the book a couple years ago. Dawkins wasn’t defending molester priests; rather the opposite — he was constructing an argument by analogy. The main point he was trying to make was that the threat of hell is psychologically damaging to children and Christians know this. He acknowledged the socially acceptable view that we should not harshly condemn Christians for these actions, but he implied future generations would, and they would look back on our attitudes toward the fire-and-brimstone preachers the way we look back on the cultural indifference towards molester priests.

    If you finished the chapter, you would not give such a dishonest summary of it.

  35. says

    ironchew:
    I’m looking at page 355 right now, and Dawkins is minimizing the harm of child sexual abuse:

    p. 355
    The Roman Catholic Church has borne a heavy share of such retrospective opprobrium. For all sorts of reasons I dislike the Roman Catholic Church. But i dislike unfairness even more, and I can’t help wondering whether this one institution has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America. I suppose some additional public resentment flows from the hypocrisy of priests whose professional life is largely devoted to arousing guilt about ‘sin’. Then there is the abuse of trust by a figure in authority, whom the child has been trained from the cradle to revere. Such additional resentments should make us all the more careful not to rush to judgement. We should be aware of the remarkable power of the mind to concoct false memories, especially when abetted by unscrupulous therapists and mercenary lawyers. The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has shown great courage, in the face of spiteful
    {p.356}
    vested interests, in demonstrating how easy it is for people to concoct memories that are entirely false but which seem, to the victim, every bit as real as true memories. This is so counter-intuitive that juries are easily swayed by sincere but false testimony from witnesses.”

    He thinks some of the criticisms directed at the Catholic Church are overblown. He thinks that some of the cases of child sexual abuse are false memories. Fuck that noise.

  36. ironchew says

    He thinks that some of the cases of child sexual abuse are false memories. Fuck that noise.

    People have been thrown in prison because of testimony of sexual abuse based on false memories (Carl Sagan even devotes a chapter to the phenomenon of Satanic child molester hysteria in A Demon-Haunted World). Dawkins was just issuing the standard boilerplate that the more recent allegations against molester priests need evidence beyond he-said-she-said, which is what courts are supposed to watch out for anyway.

  37. David Chapman says

    @38
    ironchew

    You haven’t addressed a single issue that I raised there. All you can do is call me dishonest. Apparently for not mentioning these other, unrelated things that Dawkins says in that chapter. That doesn’t make sense.

    I’ve read and reread that book, there are things that are good about it and things that are lamentable. But I would point out that ( embarassing though it is to admit it ) the first time I read it, the vile apologetics for the Catholic Church didn’t register with me, presumably because they are so bizarre, and were so unexpected to me, coming from that source. He starts off making what sounds like a fair-minded and important argument about the necessity of restraining McCarthyite tendencies in ourselves and others, in regard to clerics accused of these rotten and sensational offences. This sounds excellent, but if you pay close attention to how he actually develops the argument, it metamorphosizes into something very ugly.
    As I say, I had to read it a second time before I actually realized what crap he was talking on that subject; so I suggest you do the same. If you haven’t encountered any material about the people who were victims of the Churches vile activities in this regard, the documentary Deliver Us Fron Evil, which focusses on the Irish priest Oliver O’Grady is very good, although obviously harrowing. It makes an interesting comparison with, and antidote to, Dawkins weird & disturbing attempts to laugh the whole matter off.

  38. says

    @ironchew

    I was already an atheist by the time I read The God Delusion so I feel no loyalty some might toward someone who inspired them in that fashion. I had already acquired a basic understanding of evolution before I read any of his biology books, so on that score likewise. That having been said, I did really love The Ancestor’s Tale and enjoyed both The Greatest Show on Earth and (to a lesser extent, due to a kind of passive sexism), The Magic of Reality. The Selfish Gene is still on my TBR list. However, as time goes on, I’m feeling less and less like I want to bother with anything even remotely connected to the man. Every time he opens his mouth, it seems he is illustrating how little he thinks I am a full human being worthy of consideration. My outrage isn’t manufactured, I assure you. It’s been grown from a seed, fed and nurtured by Dawkins himself.

  39. says

    People have been thrown in prison because of testimony of sexual abuse based on false memories (Carl Sagan even devotes a chapter to the phenomenon of Satanic child molester hysteria in A Demon-Haunted World). Dawkins was just issuing the standard boilerplate that the more recent allegations against molester priests need evidence beyond he-said-she-said, which is what courts are supposed to watch out for anyway.

    The problem of child sexual abuse by priests is such a pervasive problem that I don’t think the skepticism on the part of Dawkins is warranted. It’s far preferable in my book to empathize with and support the victims than to worry about who may or may not be telling the truth–especially since this isn’t a court of law. By aiming for some fucked up notion of “fairness”, and casting doubt on the sexual abuse scandal by pointing to false memories, Dawkins is telling us that our anger over the RCC’s child sex abuse scandal is overstated. He’s minimizing child sexual abuse.

  40. anteprepro says

    Is that so ironchew? Let’s try to see the actual words, straight from the horse’s ass: http://knizky.mahdi.cz/21_Richard_Dawkins___The_God_Delusion.pdf

    The relevant pages in this version begin on 315 on the actual sheets, and 306 according to the scrolly bar. It goes to roughly page 317.

    What do we see?

    -Dawkins comparing the outrage over the Catholic Sex Scandal to the Salem Witch Trials. (Mmmm, Shermtastic)
    -Talks about “teachers whose affection for small boys oversteps the propriety”, and describes himself as a “victim” of one while also asserting that it was “harmless”. Very defensive on behalf of the child molesters of yore, apparently.
    -Whines about people being unfair to the Catholic Church.
    -Decides that it would be grand to bring up false memories.
    -Implies that this wouldn’t be brought up from the past if it weren’t lawyers i.e. money.
    -“There’s gold in them thar long-gone fumbles in the vestry”. Yes, Dawkins actually said that.
    -Bemoans that some priests aren’t alive to “give their side of the story”
    -Says that the doctrine of hell is MORE psychologically damage than sexual abuse. But then backtracks and clarifies that he only means that it can be in some cases, not that it usually is.

    Though you may have a point with a last one, ironchew, the rest is all consistent with David Chapman’s assessment. And the link is right there for anyone else to confirm.

  41. anteprepro says

    I think we’ve got a Dawkins worshipper in ironchew. The apologia is getting more and more inane.

  42. fraedrill says

    This is great, I guess, but it’s not something we really need outside of the USA. It’s a bit strange to me (as an Englander, albeit one who spent 2 years in Chicago) that atheists need to get as gung-ho as all this in the USA. I get it, as they do need to do this to play the religious folk at their own game, but do we have to play them at their own game? In a way, this demotes atheism to something you have to defend, rather than the default state. I get that this viewpoint won’t be popular, and I’ve been outside the USA for 3 years now, so maybe I have forgotten what it is like, but I think we surrender the moral high ground to a degree by doing this. Just My Two Pennies.

  43. anteprepro says

    ironchew

    Dawkins was just issuing the standard boilerplate that the more recent allegations against molester priests need evidence beyond he-said-she-said, which is what courts are supposed to watch out for anyway.

    He also compared it to Witch Hunts. He also said they were just after the money. He also brought up his own history of abuse in order to minimize the impact of abuse.

    But yeah, just standard boilerplate. I’m assuming that is just what Trooo Skeptics say, right? They just swarm in, wagging their fingers and hissing out “tut tut tut” whenever anyone has the audacity to think there is a major social problem that needs addressing.

    “No, no, no, just rest your fool head. It isn’t a problem. It’s all an illusion for all you know. Just sit down and let it sort itself out. And if it really is a problem, we will know for sure in a few decades, I’m sure. And as for those problems from a few decades ago? Oh, posh, such old news, just let it go already”

  44. says

    And….since it looks like this thread is turning into a discussion of Dawkins, I’d like to re-post a couple of comments I made at B&W:

    It bugs me that every time Dawkins is criticised for his cluelessness or outright sexism, a bunch of people attribute it to his age or want to give him a pass because of same. My mother is one year younger than he and has been a feminist all her life. Her mother was a feminist too. Sure, she doesn’t get everything right.* But basic diversity of representation? That she was championing back as far as I can recall. There’s no excuse for him not to be educated if women like my mother have been trying to teach him and others like him since before I was born.

    *And still, she’s open to learning and changing her mind (e.g. about gender essentialism or queer issues). A lot more than Dr Dawkins has shown himself to be.

    Dawkins is not “in his dotage”**. There is absolutely no evidence that he’s “become more loathsome with age”**. Not only is this ageism, you’re absolving him of responsibility for his words and actions. Stop giving him an excuse!

    **These are quotations from a comment to which I was replying.

  45. ironchew says

    I think we’ve got a Dawkins worshipper in ironchew.

    Hardly. Stallman worshipper, sure. I just see Dawkins get unfairly attacked too often for daring to tread in topics where people normally turn their brains off.

  46. David Chapman says

    ironchew@40

    You are now misrepresenting what Dawkins says. He makes it absolutely clear that he thinks that the Church is being unfairly treated, forced in many cases to pay out money to people who were never abused and are in it for what they can get out of it, or who never suffered that much from the abuse they suffered, or are suffering from false memory syndrome ( and may be being manipulated by unscrupulous lawyers.)
    He is not saying what out for mistakes, as you are claiming. He is deliberately creating the impression that the Church is a victim of injustice here.

    Such claims are grotesque. Contrary to the impression Dawkins tries to convey, sexual abuse of the young can cause hideous psychological damage, and there is now no doubt about that. As for the false memory theory, I told you what was wrong with that ( in these cases ) already –

    This latter brilliant suggestion hinged on the psychological phenomenon of false memory; but Dawkins seems oblivious to the fact that Catholic priests who abused children were in a huge number of cases serial offenders – thanks to the notorious connivance of the Church hierarchy – and there was therefore frequently little doubt about their guilt.

    – and you seem to have ignored it. It suggests you don’t know very much about this issue, just like ( on a charitable reading of Dawkins ), Dawkins. So I suggest you find out about it.

  47. anteprepro says

    I just see Dawkins get unfairly attacked too often for daring to tread in topics where people normally turn their brains off .

    Yeah, your invitation to go fuck yourself still applies, ironchew.

  48. says

    ironchew:

    I just see Dawkins get unfairly attacked too often for daring to tread in topics where people normally turn their brains off.

    Surely you don’t think people are turning their brains off on the subject of child sexual abuse. Bc on that subject, given what he’s written, he’s not being unfairly criticized. Also, the problem is that *HE* is often the one who’s brain seems to stop functioning properly when he treads into certain topics. See again: Dear Muslima.

  49. says

    Consciousness razor:

    Admittedly, Dawkins’ attitude towards being called out on sexism is rather more dangerous than Einstein’s refusal to accept quantum mechanics, but the thought process is close enough.

  50. says

    Also, I hadn’t heard about Dawkins trying to softpedal the RCC abuse scandal. How did he not understand the difference between the Satanic Panic and a scandal with roots going back hundreds of years?

  51. gmacs says

    Ibis @42

    The Greatest Show on Earth and (to a lesser extent, due to a kind of passive sexism)

    Thank fuck I wasn’t the only one who noticed. There’s a difference between making the comment “women shouldn’t have to worry about what men think of their breasts” and saying

    All too many women, bamboozled by the myth that breasts like melons are attractive, pay surgeons large some of money to implant silicone, with (for my money) unappealing results.

    Greatest Show on Earth p. 39.

    I must admit, the thing that disgusts me more is the note I found I wrote, douchily agreeing, in the margin when I bought it in 2010. Yes, you it’s okay preferences in attraction, but no one gives a shit about them.

    Selfish Gene was pretty damned good though and had some great quotes and arguments.

  52. David Chapman says

    55
    BrianX

    Also, I hadn’t heard about Dawkins trying to softpedal the RCC abuse scandal. How did he not understand the difference between the Satanic Panic and a scandal with roots going back hundreds of years?

    Similar crimes on a similar scale have probably indeed been going on for hundreds of years in the Church just as you say, but it would be very difficult to prove this, especially with regard to the numbers of children. It has been an enormous effort just proving the reality of these modern abuses alone, because the Church has done its utmost to frustrate and stonewall any investigation.
    The difference between this and the Satanic Child Abuse panic is that the latter was apparently largely bullshit, and the Catholic version is all too real. The reason that this is not a matter of debate, and that Dawkins’ implication that many of the complainants might be lying, or be suffering from false memory syndrome is so much garbage, is firstly, that so many of the priests who committed these acts did them to several or a multitude of kids, not just a single complainant. So there are multiple witnesses to their crimes. Secondly, the reason why these people were able to victimize so many was that the Church hierarchy refused to contact the authorities when their activities became known. ( They thought they were the authorities, of course. ) So the criminal proclivities of these individual men of the cloth were usually known to the Church hierarchy, who frequently obtained admissions from these men as to their acts. The bishops and cardinals then proceeded to follow a deliberate policy of hushing the whole thing up and moving them on to another parish where no-one knew about their ugly little secret and they were free to win the trust of other little girls and boys.
    The concept of false memory, though valid in other situations, is largely irrelevant to such deranged scenarios, which I must emphasize to anyone who doesn’t know, were very common; it was a Church-wide practise, not an exceptional abberration.
    Dawkins doesn’t even mention this mind-boggling aspect of the whole sordid affair in his book. If he did, it would totally undermine what he’s saying here, not with regard to individual cases, which might not form part of the pattern I have just described; but about the Church as a whole. What he’s doing is trying to transmit a picture of the Church as ‘Yes, sinning — but sinned against as well! Look at all the money they’ve had to fork out to these people!’ This whole despicable section of the book is a kick in the teeth for any of the huge numbers of victims of the corruption that infects this institution.

    Could any large institution based on Christianity not be corrupt? In my opinion, no. But did it have to be like this…..?

  53. saganite says

    I have to agree, I’d see nothing wrong with having Dawkins on an Atheist TV channel. Assuming he’s in the right context. Doing a science show or specifically one about evolution or something? I’d be perfectly happy to tune in. On his YouTube channel, he recently had his group release a number of nice, short clips about evolution, some filmed on location even, that I quite enjoyed. Would I want him talking social policy, equal rights or women’s issues? No, of course not. But is that reason enough to want to refrain from airing any content with him in it? Including content he is very competent about, especially as a science popularizer? I don’t really think so.

  54. anteprepro says

    saganite I’d be perfectly happy to tune in. On his YouTube channel, he recently had his group release a number of nice, short clips about evolution, some filmed on location even, that I quite enjoyed. Would I want him talking social policy, equal rights or women’s issues? No, of course not. But is that reason enough to want to refrain from airing any content with him in it? Including content he is very competent about, especially as a science popularizer? I don’t really think so.

    Yes, I suppose we could have Thunderf00t on exclusively to talk about why people laugh at creationists. We could have Sam Harris on specifically just to talk about Christianity. We could have Shermer making sure that he is only applying his True Skepticism to superstitions and not to social “myths”, like income inequality or date rape. We could have Penn Gillette talk about things being Bullshit, except for the things where he himself is the one spewing bullshit.

    Every odious atheist is just fine as long as they are prevented from talking about the things that make them odious! Problem solved!

  55. says

    @saganite

    How about finding someone to explain evolution who isn’t a sexist rape apologist? Surely there are other people out there who could do that job and become popular at it and then we (I mean you) wouldn’t feel required to rely on the same old sexist rape apologist just because he’s popularly known.

  56. anteprepro says

    On the matter of someone who isn’t asshat and could talk about evolution, a certain tentacled individual comes to mind. Or, I don’t know, any of many other biology professors out there. I mean, really.

  57. David Chapman says

    58
    saganite

    I have to agree, I’d see nothing wrong with having Dawkins on an Atheist TV channel.

    That spurious extreme position — Dawkins must not be seen!! — got edited into the debate via the magic of rhetorical exchange. I think the original sentiment expressed was simply the heartfelt wish that this new outlet for Atheist thinking does not get dominated by the usual, already dominant famous atheists, not least because they tend to be a fairly objectionable collection of human beings. ( Which says something about our intellectual culture. ) Hopefully such a channel would proffer an opportunity to show a wider spectrum of opinion, and moral character, to the public. It’s just some people here are pessimistic about that.