1. Steve LaBonne says

    I love the comments on the second TfK thread to the effect that Dawkins is somehow required to spout off on moral philosophy every time he talks, just because he rejects religion. Religious apologists come up with the cutest non-sequiturs. Must be the training in illogic they get from… religion.

  2. says

    First off, I’m not a religious apologist, nor do I have a religious background. Second, my point about moral philosophy came from the disappointingly inadequate answer that Dawkins gave when he decided to take up the topic. No one is obliged to talk about anything, but if you are going to do it, do it right.

  3. Steve LaBonne says

    Dawkins is not a moral philosopher, and no doubt feels the need to address the topic at all only because the delusion that morality depends on religion (a delusion that certainly isn’t his fault) is so widespread. If you require more enlightenment than Dawkins is able to provide, there’s two millenia of philosphical literature that should keep you busy for a while.

  4. says

    As I said in the comments at TfK, I wasn’t interested for my own sake. I’ve written my own blog posts on the topic, and feel quite comfortable deriving morality from non-theistic sources.

    My issue is that whether arguing for greater political liberties for atheists (de facto excluded from public office) or just arguing about teaching evolution in science classes, you get the same beef from people: without this or that supernatural widget, how could you be moral.

    If Dawkins wants to convince people that atheists are good guys and wants to equip atheists with the debating tools they’ll need in order to advance their/his cause, it would have been useful for him to give a better presentation of nontheistic morality than he did in his speech or his latest book. Others have pointed out that he addressed the topic of evolutionary game theory (a powerful tool for demonstrating the origins of moral systems) in earlier books, so he is clearly capable.

    I don’t know why he chose a negative approach in his book and speech.

  5. Steve LaBonne says

    People have been trying to convince stupid people that “atheists are good guys” for aeons. And we’ve made how much progress on that? Dawkins is perfectly within his rights, and in my opinion also wise, to shift the discussion 180 degrees by pointing out that there are very good reasons to regard religion as a dangerous form of lunacy, thereby putting the other side on the defensive for a change. I think it’s about damned time, myself.

  6. says

    Perhaps, but people have been making arguments against the validity of the Bible to no great effect for a long time also.

  7. Steve LaBonne says

    Dawkins goes beyond that. Few apologists for atheism have been as forceful in pointing out just how dangerous religion is. In any case, why is there not room for both approaches, why must everybody be pressed into a “positive” mold that somehow does not seem to produce the results its advocates anticipate?

  8. Mustafa Mond, FCD says

    First off, I’m not a religious apologist…


    1. a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.

    I’d have to say that you are indeed a religious apologist.

  9. Mustafa Mond, FCD says

    Or maybe you would prefer “apologist for religion” rather than “religious apologist” if it clears up any ambiguity.

  10. Steve_C says

    I think Dawkins makes the necessary point by stating that no one truly bases their ethics on the bible. Almost all the “laws” of the bible are ignored by modern society because it’s barbaric.

    The religious pick and choose what they claim they follow in the bible. I don’t see the fundamentalists stoning their daughters when they break their “promise”.

    How we come to what we follow as our own personal code of ethics is complex and
    influenced by a wide range of things including the law.

  11. DD says

    I saw Dawkins speak at the NYAS yesterday-it was great. I had no idea he is so eloquent: unlike many other agnostics, he never dismisses an argument simply because it is silly, or “because it contradicts science.” He uses reasoned-out step-wise logic to rip apart beliefs that are ultimately irrational.

  12. Steve_C says

    Over at his site there’s his interview on Alan Colmes’ radio show on Fox Radio.

    It’s funny to hear the call ins. One amount to “no way… NO WAY!”
    Another basically said without the bible he would do whatever he wanted and
    Colmes called him on it and relentlessly asked him if he would kill and rob his
    neighbor… you have to listen to it.