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Richard Dawkins is not my guru

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Gomeza, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Gomeza

    Gomeza Member

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    A few years back I wrote the man a letter saying in no uncertain terms that it was fine for him to encourage atheists to out themselves from his position in life and from the security of his social status but there are still many places in the world where this is simply dumb and unsafe advice. I did not receive a reply.

    Then I read his comments from one of his latest important speaking engagements, the so called Reason Rally, where he encourages the mocking of believers. Creating controversy through ill will is not the answer, nor was leaving the publication of, and the commentary on your words almost entirely in the hands of Christian online media particularly bright. People living in small individual cloisters amongst a believing majority outnumbering them almost 20 to 1 need to be a little more diplomatic in making their points. How can a man with so many academic credentials be so lacking in common sense?

    Utilizing an unwavering passive resistance coupled with informed civil discourse is the only safe path for most none believers. Otherwise we are inviting social ostracism, or at the very least making our own lives more difficult. Current religious trends illustrate for us that attitudes are ever so slowly changing but we must accept that patience can be our only mindset whilst observing glacial speeds . . . . patience grasshoppa.
     
  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It kind of bothers me that certain types of atheists have this offensively patronizing attitude. Maybe loosing that arrogance would be a good idea as well. This advice applies equally to certain types of theists who have a superiority complex, actually.
     
  3. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    It bugs me that diplomacy is often saved for when you are a minority.

    Both theists and atheists should mantain the "stop being an ****** " policy.

    I don´t care what you believe or disbelief, but if you cannot naturaly understand that you are not superior to everyone else, at least pretend to see this basic truth.

    You end up pretty inferior otherwise. And it is really not up to who was right in that discussion.
     
  4. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    what I think is very sad

    is how people misunderstand what he says and take it out of context.


    there is a fight or war as you will going on over OUR childrens future education. This is about kowledge and those trying to replace knowledge with mythology.



    the USA has a huge problem with creationism trying to force mythology on students minds. If you look at the bible belt and see how ignorant some of these students are, you would be ashamed to be part of the same country they come from.

    Its not only embarrassing but it puts our children at a disadvantage in the global workforce.






    and what makes you think he would ever answer hatemail. if you didnt know, he does pick out a few now and then for a laugh. But the volume he gets is unreadable as a full time position in itself.
     
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  5. Storm

    Storm ThrUU the Looking Glass

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    What in the op led you to the conclusion of "hate mail?"
     
  6. JacobEzra.

    JacobEzra. Dr. Greenthumb

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    Richard Dawkins is not my guru




    This is good. I am not sure he wants to be ;)
     
  7. Gomeza

    Gomeza Member

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    It was hardly hate mail, it was a respectfully articulated disagreement but I do appreciate the volume of mail he would receive and did not really expect an answer.

    As for the momentum in recent years of a widely orchestrated creationist movement and its affects on North American society, I completely agree. An enormous segment of our youth demographic has been effectively dumbed down with far too many of them reaching adulthood with a comprehension of the universe around them equivalent to the same age group of 4 or 5 generations prior.
     
  8. vepurusg

    vepurusg Member

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    It's the way it's always been; perhaps part of human nature.

    When one is surrounded by people just giving positive feedback and congratulating each other on being right, one tends to lose perspective.

    Minority religions and beliefs in a region always tend to be more humble and civil, because they can't afford not to be.

    There's just nothing motivating the majority to be nice.


    A very small number of the minority, seething from the injustice of having to kowtow around, groveling for acceptance and a modicum of respect, react against that and speak out against the majority in spite of the political inconvenience.

    I don't see anything wrong with people standing up for themselves (non-violently) for once.


    :rolleyes:

    That's fine in theory, but it's not like you can draw up a treaty. There's not enough organization to make that possible.

    You could personally go around kowtowing to everybody, but they're still going to be ******** to you, and treat you like human ****, so you're only putting yourself out.



    The majority of minorities, whether non-religious or of less dominant religious beliefs, have been following that policy out of necessity already.

    If the majority didn't make a habit of being *****, the minority of minorities wouldn't feel the need to lash out in return.

    It's ideological warfare- this is the nature of the beast- it's not really a fixable problem (until, and only if, a rational and moderate ideology wins out over the irrational and intolerant ones).
     
  9. Viker

    Viker Caucasian detritus

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    I don't look to others to reinforce my atheism. No "gurus" needed. It is what it is and just stands there alone.

    Mocking believers is just silly. If that is what Dawkins actually has proposed, that is.
     
  10. jarofthoughts

    jarofthoughts Empirical Curmudgeon

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    Richard Dawkins is not my guru, but then again, I don't hold to having gurus in the first place.
    I know that for many people he is Dawkins the atheist, but for me he is first and foremost Dawkins the evolutionary biologist and as a teacher I have found much inspiration in his eloquence and ability to explain complicated subjects in a clear and understandable manner.
    The fact that I agree with many of his arguments against religion is something I consider to be more coincidental than anything else.
    I would respect his skills as an educator no matter his stance on religion.

    The point I am trying to make is that we should judge arguments on their own basis and not solely on the person making them. It is, in fact, possible to agree with some of the things a person says and disagree with other.
     
  11. HerDotness

    HerDotness Lady Babbleon

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    As I recall, the point Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris have made is that atheism, but for a very few outspoken atheists prior to them, has long been too quiet in the face of blatant condemnation by fundamentalists in particular.

    You don't find those theists being diplomatic about atheism, so why shouldn't atheists be just as outspoken about how nonsensical they find religious belief?

    That's what Dawkins, et. al. are advocating and not "mocking believers" as it's been translated, the latter occurring due to too many theists regarding criticism of their deities and their beliefs as a personal attack.

    Dawkins is correct that criticizing religious belief has too long been thought of as completely unacceptable. Religion should be open to criticism just as non-belief has been.
     
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  12. beerisit

    beerisit Active Member

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    Now this I like. Well said
     
  13. E. Nato Difficile

    E. Nato Difficile Active Member

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    It's too bad the only thing Richard Dawkins has ever done in his career is give a speech at a heathen hoedown wherein he used the word "mock."

    -Nato
     
  14. HerDotness

    HerDotness Lady Babbleon

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    What really annoys me is the increasing number of people who claim that the four "Neo-Atheists" I mentioned--Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris--don't give religion credit for having accomplished anything useful or beneficial.

    I expect that the fact that so many think and say that is the result of having been told that's the case and simply believing it without having investigated to see if it's true.

    It's decidedly not true as anyone who's actually read these four men's writings or watched the video discussion Four Horsemen can testify. All four give manifold credit to religion for having done many good works as well as enhanced culture with depictions of religious belief in the fine arts and literature.
     
  15. Bob Dixon

    Bob Dixon >implying

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    My face when there are people who actually think this:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Road Warrior

    Road Warrior Seeking the middle path..

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    Agreed that Dawkins' comments were creating ill will. Mocking and ridicule are not the best tools for change. Logic and reason are the best IMHO.

    Also agreed that there are places in the world where declaring oneself to be an atheist, woman's right supporter or homosexual would be dangerous. OTOH, I think Dawkins was primarily speaking to those in civilized, First World nations in Europe and North America. IMO, people should stand up for their rights.

    I support a secular government and secular schools for several reasons. What I don't support is using bully tactics by radical theists or atheists to dominate all of those with whom they disagree.
     
  17. E. Nato Difficile

    E. Nato Difficile Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    -Nato
     
  18. Road Warrior

    Road Warrior Seeking the middle path..

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  19. Storm

    Storm ThrUU the Looking Glass

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    Dude, you couldn't even quote mine whole sentences. I've noticed that you get hyper defensive anytime anyone dares say anything about Dawkins that isn't sycophantic fawning. Frankly I don't think he'd approve, but I find your choice of sacred cows rather ironic.
     
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  20. HerDotness

    HerDotness Lady Babbleon

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    Okay, why don't we quit speculating about what Dawkins said without having examined his actual words. The reports of what he intended/meant have been so distorted that I decided to go to the source, the text of his speech.

    Here're the relevant paragraphs--

    So when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you until you tell me do you really believe — for example, if they say they are Catholic — do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?” Mock them! Ridicule them! In public!

    Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits.

    Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.


    Source

    Before you say, "Well, that clinches it. He DID say that believers should be mocked and ridiculed!", look more carefully at his qualifiers. He begins by saying it's his "first impulse" when he meets someone who states they're religious to challenge the person on an aspect of their particular religion which Dawkins considers unbelievable. That doesn't mean he actually IS so rude as to do so, nor does it mean that he is encouraging atheists to do that. He's obviously exaggerating somewhat when he says that we ought to mock and ridicule people openly on first encounter.

    This is his actual position: Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits.

    Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.


    Notice that latter qualifier--IF NECESSARY. His point and that of the other so-called Neo-Atheists is that attempting to discuss impossible beliefs calmly and rationally often is dismissed by believers' demands for "tolerance and openmindedness" if not rebuffed outright as something that cannot be done.

    What he said is consistent with the position he and his cohorts have previously stated: It's about time we all quit giving religious beliefs that we KNOW are improbable or impossible exemption from criticism.
     
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