Dawkins Fondled As A Boy?

Posted in Gnu Atheism, Quickies on  | 1 minute | 6 Comments →

I did not know that Richard Dawkins was fondled by a “Latin master” when he was 9, but if this “Latin master” was a religious figure, that explains just about everything about Dawkins’ stance on religion. Does anybody know anything else about this?

—Religion’s Real Child Abuse, Free Inquiry, Fall 2002, Vol. 22, No. 4., p. 9.

The Official Cult Of Gnu Survey

Posted in Atheism, Quickies on  | 1 minute | 108 Comments →

Howdy all. Hopefully it’s as beautiful in your part of the world as it is in mine. So, here’s the skinny: I’m looking to compile a list of New Atheist-types for an upcoming project. Who do you see as a New Atheist worth exposing? The first people that come to my mind are obviously the obvious ones like Dawkins, PZ, Coyne, Harris, Carrier and the late Hitchens (can anyone explain why Dennett is always lumped in this category? Most of what I’ve seen from him seems rational, or, at least not blatantly irrational unlike the others, but maybe I just haven’t seen enough).

1. What would you list as the defining characteristics of particular New Atheists, and/or the New Atheist movement in general?

2. Who would you list as the most competent and/or entertaining critics of New Atheism, online or elsewhere?

3. What are some of the better New Atheist exposés you’ve read online?

Just What I Needed To Hear

Posted in Encouragement on  | 5 minutes | 28 Comments →

I’ve got a whole heap of posts brewing right now, but none of them are quite ready to pour. So, seeing as how I’ll be undergoing surgery Friday and probably unable to post until next week, I figured I’d at least throw something out there for readers to digest in the meantime.

A few weeks back, Matt left this comment, which contained a link to Victor Reppert’s blog, Dangerous Idea. I had seen the name around, but hadn’t spent any time on the blog. Since the link in Matt’s comment was directly related to our Responding To Universalism discussion, I had to investigate. What I found was one of the better Christian philosophy blogs around. I added it to my links sidebar, and have made a habit to check in semi-regularly. In a nutshell, I’m a fan of Victor’s approach: he has a tendency to parse through the details and clarify things, and—more importantly—he tends to let the reader think for themselves. Victor’s style is more, “having an intelligent discussion with oneself,” than, “let me interpret the facts for you then belittle you if you disagree,” the latter being unfortunately prominent amongst (a)theist blogs.

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Religion Does Not Entail Misogyny

Posted in Atheism, Blogosphere, Daylight Atheism, Religion, San Francisco, Skepticism, Thinking Critically on  | 8 minutes | 18 Comments →

So, I was about sit down and write with a premeditated topic in mind: last week's sentiments on "evidence for God" as discussed last week at SI's. Problem was, I stopped by DaylightAtheism first, where I found the following interesting hypothesis: an inversely proportional relationship between religiosity and misogyny exists – at least – so suggests guest writer Sarah Braasch in her second essay there. I would've left it well alone, but she implied some things about San Francisco that I want to challenge from personal experience, and I feel any San Franciscan in their right mind would have to agree.

If you don't want to read her post first, it's basically a story about how some sailors took her on a cruise through the Neopolitan prostitution subculture, oddly juxtaposed against the religious beast that is Roman Catholicism. As I said, most of her post was easy to sympathize with. Sure, the moral indifference to the victims of prostitution she describes is deeply troubling, especially considering its close proximity to what is perhaps the world's leading religious superpower. Atheists aren't the only ones noting that the abject conditions of humanity ironically persist whether a culture is predominantly religious or not.  Problem is, she starts to jump the gun and get a little bit preachy for atheism right about here if you ask me:

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False Argument #26: The Emptiness Of Theology

Posted in Atheism, False Arguments, Logic, Quickies, Religion, Skepticism, Thinking Critically on  | 2 minutes | 10 Comments →

I will soon develop this into a detailed, point-by-point response to the source material, but for now, I would simply like to thank Professor Dawkins for providing me with the most easily refuted false argument in this series to date.

In a discussion concerning the "reconciliation" of science and theology, the following atheist sermon was ironically published in Free Inquiry Magazine, Volume 18, #2:

A dismally unctuous editorial in the British newspaper the Independent
recently asked for a reconciliation between science and "theology." It
remarked that 'People want to know as much as possible about their
origins.' I certainly hope they do, but what on earth makes one think
that theology has anything useful to say on the subject? …[T]he achievements of theologians don't do anything, don't affect
anything, don't mean anything. What makes anyone think that "theology"
is a subject at all?
Richard Dawkins

The first sentence is Dawkins' subjective opinion entirely, and by implying that theology is not a subject in his second sentence, the Professor reasons in a circle. If our definition of subject is the study of an actual phenomena, that theology is not a subject begins with assumptions about the very questions at hand. As someone keenly points out in the thread, even if God is not real, theology can still be reasonably considered a subject – as much a subject as art or creative writing or music.

What do you think?

Dawkins, 9/11, Special Pleading & Conflation

Posted in Evolution, Logic, Religion, Science, Thinking Critically on  | 8 minutes | 6 Comments →

So, A Huge And Hitherto Undiscovered Cretacious Beast, Part I turned into a total thread derailment. I'm really upset at Arthur and John Evo, and although I'm not going to ban them, I'm limiting the amount of comments they can make on TWIM. I don't usually punish atheists just for being atheists, but this has become intolerable…

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A Huge And Hitherto Undiscovered Cretacious Beast, Part I

Posted in Astronomy, Blogosphere, Logic, Religion, Science on  | 3 minutes | 72 Comments →

Sorry, but the title's a little misleading. This post has nothing to do with evolution. Rather, I was on a thread recently when a commenter whose name I like and would enjoy hearing an explanation of (Mike aka MonolithTMA) made a passing comment that got me thinking:

I always wonder why theists bring up Ockham's Razor as it points about as far away from God as possible, (March 26, 2009 7:44 PM)

I thought that comment was interesting, but I didn't say anything at the moment, just tucked it into the "parsing" file. A few more Ockham's Razor -related comments were subsequently thrown out, the next from the blog owner, Karla:

Ockham's Razor to go with more simple answer that fits. . . To me it would appear that suggesting infinite un-caused universes is more complex than the answer of an eternal being.

Anonymous: And, you would be wrong, as I've explained. god is the most complex "answer" anyone can propose, because the level of complexity for a god would be far and away higher than any other explanation, not to mention all the additional questions it raises, the added layer of the supernatural over the natural universe, and the fact that it can't get off the ground scientifically. You can continue to ignore all of this and erroneously assert that "goddidit" is simple, but it clearly is not.

Does anyone else see the rational difficulties here?

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Authority Effectively Undermined

Posted in Atheism, Blogosphere, Daylight Atheism, Religion, Responses on  | 7 minutes | 3 Comments →

I was cruising around the blogosphere this morning when I found this post at DaylightAtheism. Although I don’t necessarily share all of Haught’s conclusions as expressed in the source material, I felt Ebonmuse’s response was fraught with inconsistencies.

First on the list is the following peculiarity:

…Haught presumes for himself the right to judge which atheists are or are not sufficiently “serious”

Why should that be any sort of problem? After all, Ebonmuse certainly presumes which theists are sufficiently serious, for example, he says all that believe in demons are ignorant regardless of actual intelligence and should be unilaterally mocked. This makes Occam’s razor look more like a guillotine! As my heart goes out to the closet GLBT kid with a sternly homophobic and closed-minded dad, similar for the otherwise rational person who’s had experiences reasonably interpretable as psychic (‘psychic’ as in the Jungian sense of archetypal), spiritual or biblical in their ultimate nature. Such hasty generalization and harsh criticism in this regard can only effect cognitive dissonance, which is of little use in uncovering the truth.

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