How it’s done

I’m not against diplomacy; I don’t think you need to beat up the religious; I like nice people who represent atheism and humanism. What I can’t stand are the simpering suckups who give away the store in the name of getting along.

If you want to see how it’s done right, watch Andrew Copson, the British humanist. He’s all friendly and understanding, offering helpful, reasonable explanations, without budging an inch on principle. Can we have more American humanists like that?


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    Chris Stedman will denounce Copson as being too strident. No groveling = stridency.

  2. DLC says

    Said it on B&W, but : Well done, Mr Copson!
    That’s the kind of diplomacy I like to see.
    Polite, but uncompromising.

  3. says

    I identify as a militant humanist! I’m happy to make common cause with religious humanists, provided that they base their decision-making on humanist values. Like PZ says, as soon as faith enters the discussion, I can no longer respect the opinion on offer.

  4. Patricia, OM says

    I watched this after watching Richard Dawkins vs. Cardinal Pell, this guy was better. Richard seemed really tired of debating idiots.

  5. Catnip, Not a Polymath says

    I saw that Q&A too, and while RD was not at his most scintillating (he was jetlagged, apparently) he still out performed Cardinal Pell for obvious intellect & knowledge. Pell didn’t even come across as convincing that he believes his own claptrap. (although the look on his face when he made the comment about “preparing young boys….” & the subsequent laughter was priceless)

  6. gardengnome says

    I was reminded of this xian quote from an earlier thread;

    In that short interaction, PZ Myers was quite charming, quite polite and warm, and at the same time quite intentionally insulting and rude.

    I imagine they’ll judge Copson the same – he doesn’t agree with them therefore, however polite and warm he may be, he’s still insulting and rude.

    I think he was brilliant!

  7. Louis says

    I think Copson did a nice job here. In my experience of him he usually does.

    At the risk of rererererererereigniting the tone debate why is it wrong to acknowledge that what Copson did on that show is good, great and still only one possible method of many? The two things aren’t mutually exclusive.


  8. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    Copson does a great job. Is this an example of Atheist communication that both Gnus and Accommodationsist approve of?

    I would be unable to refrain from saying it more plainly and going on the attack “I think any claim by the Cardinal that christians are being persecuted needs to be weighed up against the facts and his own language persecuting gay people. The facts are that the Cardinal is manufacturing a controversy where none exists. He is using 2 individual cases where people have lost their employment tribunal cases to claim that all christians are persecuted in Britain. This is a ridiculous claim in a country where 72% of people self identify as christian, where the C of E is the Established religion, where Bishops sit as of right in the house of Lords. The employment rules being applied in the two specific cases to cross wearers is equally applied to all jewelry of all people of any religion or none. It’s very simple, if you are a doctor or nurse you cannot risk an item of jewelry falling off or carrying infection in a hospital or surgery theatre. The Cardinal is manufacturing this recurring annual complaint because it is Easter and it fits in well with the christian mythology of persecution. As for the Cardinal’s own behaviour, he continues to rant against gay people trying to marginalize them and deny them the legal right to marry in a civil ceremnony. If you listen carefully the Cardinal is saying that his freedom of religion includes bigotry and oppression of gay people and anyone calling him out on such bigotry is preventing him from exercising his faith. This is such a weak position that creating a claim of persecution is a way of using his religion as both a sword to strike gay people and a shield against justified criticism and outrage.

  9. Rich Woods says

    @qed #12:

    Short form of your argument: The cardinal is a self-serving bastard.

    With which I agree. Please continue.