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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the there's-no-offense-where-none-is-taken dept.

Science 1152

In part 2 of this video interview (with transcript), Dr. Richard Dawkins explains the function of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, headlined by his website. They're holding it up as a blueprint for similar groups: "We're trying to encourage, with some success, other organizations to make use of our facility, so that they will use our website, or have their own websites which are based upon ours, and have the same look and feel and use the same infrastructure." One of the Foundation's other purposes is to oppose organizations like the Good News Club. "What it is, is a group of Fundamentalist Christian organizations, who go into public schools after the school bell has rung for the day. So that it's no longer violating the Constitutional separation of church and state. ... And it's actually the Good News Club people masquerading as teachers, and they're being extremely effective." Dr. Dawkins also talks about his own comments, and explains why they're perceived as offensive: "Ignorance is no crime. There are all sorts of things I'm ignorant of, such as baseball, but I don't regard it as insulting if somebody says I'm ignorant of baseball, it's a simple fact. I am ignorant of baseball. People who claim to be Creationists are almost always ignorant of evolution. That's just a statement of fact, not an insult. It's just a statement. But it sounds like an insult. And I think that accounts for part of what you've picked up about my apparent image of being aggressive and offensive. I'm just telling it clearly." Hit the link below to see the rest of the interview.

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Why disagreeing with Richard Dawkins isn't rape (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804459)

Hey guys! I'm an atheist! Let me recategorize myself as a Bright Atheist Plus! BA+ for short! I'll get it tattooed around my anus for when PZ Myers rims me something fier.ce Atheism is the one true way. Let me piss all over you, even if you're not hurting anyone. What? Grandma said "Bless you" when I sneezed? Gonna punch that cunt's lights out! How ***DARE*** she!?!? Sorry, God didn't bring this hurricane down upon us. Nature and science did! Unfortunately science isn't powerful like the Holy Trinity to stop a hurricane. QED Checkmate. Let's all go to reddit, join /r/atheism, and share stories of man-to-man handjobs with le epic rage comic memes. Hey guys! I'm still an atheist! Let there be no doubt about this! Atheism, atheism, atheism! Imagine Dawkins saying this, jumping up and down like Ballmer at Micro$oft! Checkmate, closed-source programs!

Re:Why disagreeing with Richard Dawkins isn't rape (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41804507)

Do you really want to get that tattooed on you? People might think you have a Bachelor of the Arts in English and that would be embarrassing.

Re:Why disagreeing with Richard Dawkins isn't rape (2, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41804651)

No, no. That's "BA". This is BA+! It's differenter! That guy from the A-TEAM is sure gonna be ticked off, though.

Re:Why disagreeing with Richard Dawkins isn't rape (2, Informative)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 2 years ago | (#41804863)

IIRC Atheism plus is an actual thing that distinguishes itself from . . . uh . . . regular atheism. (Little known fact: the next iteration is Atheism++, which is the predecessor to Dennis Ritchie's C). There's a bunch of drama involved in the atheist/skeptic community involving them, but what good is a community if there isn't a bunch of petty drama? :P

Why? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804737)

Why is this prick on the site every few days now?

Re:Why disagreeing with Richard Dawkins isn't rape (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41804859)

Is that you, David Mabus?

Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41804477)

He made a pretty good point there. There's only solution I've found to the problem of people taking your disagreement as an insult, and that is to pose every concern as a question for more detail. I've found it's a lot easier to do such conversations one on one as well, which I think is an often overlooked component of why debates on the internet seem so pointless and shouty.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804777)

The line between religion and politics is coercion. It's important to realize (or accept) that pure religion is not coercive -- the only threats of violence one recieves in pure religion come from the immortal (god), not the mortal (other human beings). This isn't something to become angry about or fight against. It's merely something to be brushed off.

The situation is the exact opposite in politics. In politics, every opinion is essentially a threat of violence. Why? Because everything government does and could possibly do is founded on coercion (meaning violence or threat of violence). Coercion is the first prerequisite and key tool of every government, and accordingly it is the end prize that goes to the "winner" of politics. This is why people are so sensitive to political issues, whether they consciously accept it or not: if they lose, then the enemy gains the tool of violence.

The only possible way religion can threaten peace is when religion becomes intermixed with politics, thereby gaining the tool of coercion. It is therefore quite pointless to be "against" religion when religion is independent of politics -- there is no enemy to be concerned with!

In conclusion, religion is a non-issue for the non-religious. The only issue of importance is coercion, and who holds the legal "right" to wield it.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804945)

I'm pretty sure a lot of religion is heavy into the idea of sending you to HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY if you don't follow the rules.

Is that not coercive?

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (4, Insightful)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 2 years ago | (#41805085)

That would only be coercive if they take it upon themselves to send you there personally.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | about 2 years ago | (#41805111)

Not to your mortal coil, it's not.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805137)

I specifically made a distinction between a threat from the immoral (god) and a threat from the mortal (other human beings). If you don't believe in the religion, then logically, any coercive threats from their god are irrelevent to you!

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804967)

What? So, "believe what I believe or you'll end up in Hell" isn't coercion? That word must mean something different to you.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805133)

Lutherans believe everyone go to paradise. Calvinists believe it doesn't matter what you do since God already decided where you were going before you were even born. Catholics believe only god know who is going to hell and that they shouldn't try to second guess god.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41805057)

Politics is nothing else than furthering your interest within the society. Yes, even being anti-government or anti-establishment is highly political and makes you a politican (albeit probably not a very good paid one). And no, futhering your interest within the society is not necessarily coercion. You can also get along with cooperation and with compromise.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41805073)

Forgive me for being dismissive, but this is typical libertarian silliness.

My points of disagreement:
1. Governments are not the only organizations capable of coercion. One only need read about organized campaigns of threats and harassment against those observed entering abortion clinics to know how religious organizations can present threats entirely outside the law. Or for a more serious case from other religions, the so-called "honor killings" of Islam.
2. Knowledge, and the lack thereof has a perpetual feedback into the overall effectiveness of a democracy. Attempting to limit inhibiting factors like religion can have an underlying justification, even without any overt components represented in politics(we should be so lucky).
3. Not everything is about protecting yourself from harm. Dawkins, in particular, is a humanist, and his goals are oriented towards improving the overall quality of life for humanity. His position is that a lack of religion can be good in this regard.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (2, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | about 2 years ago | (#41804951)

I've found the best way to deal with people insisting on taking your disgreement as an insult is to cut loose with a few choice obscenities. Then in the stunned silence afterwards smile sweetly and say "No, THAT was me being insulting. Now we've defined some boundaries can we get back to the discussion?"
I've had to deal with the "race to offence" types so many times I just have no patience for them. They look for anything that they can claim offence at so that they can lock down the field of discussion as a lazy way of controlling the verbal field of battle. It's childish ( I've had to deal with people who say that I "don't get to talk about that" because I'm not female/coloured/disabled etc...) and itself highly offensive. So I counterattack.

Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (4, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#41805049)

and that is to pose every concern as a question for more detail

I've tried this technique (even here on /.) and I find that by and large it doesn't work. Unless the person you're chatting with is an intellectual (i.e. a university-trained theologian who has spent years discussing these issue) eventually people get very frustrated with your questions as they're typically unable to answer them to even their satisfaction, let alone yours.

Baseball (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804481)

The difference being, if you're ignorant of baseball you don't deny its existence and insist that divine intervention causes the game to play itself.

Re:Baseball (4, Funny)

rcamera (517595) | about 2 years ago | (#41804517)

except... God Created Baseball [google.com] .

Re:Baseball (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41804825)

Abner Doubleday is God? Or is it Alexander Cartright? Only to those who believe that the sacred prophesy of Cricket has already been fulfilled!

Re:Baseball (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41804753)

The difference being, if you're ignorant of baseball you don't deny its existence and insist that divine intervention causes the game to play itself.

The movie "Field of Dreams"... a thinly veiled dotcom/web2.0 business plan documentary, or a thinly veiled religious documentary?

Re:Baseball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804785)

The difference being, if you're ignorant of baseball you don't deny its existence and insist that divine intervention causes the game to play itself.

Maybe baseball can bridge the gap: Baseball was created by intelligent beings, but the rules have evolved over time.

Re:Baseball (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#41805007)

The difference being, if you don't actually know how much your opponents have studied evolution and just summarily claim they must be ignorant of it to disagree.

Re:Baseball (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41805139)

So you are equating baseball to the devine. If that is the level that one thinks of the almighty, simply a passby created by bored humans, then I don't disagree

But I think the poster is attempting to denigrate and delegitimize those who believe differently using two old tactics. The first is say people are 'ignorant' and need 're-education' rather than just acknowledging that not everyone believes in the same stuff. The ignorance ploy is used in Mormonism, with young people like Mitt Romney spending their days telling other christians that just believe and acknowledging Jesus as their savior is not enough. One must accept Joseph Smith as a Prophet who tells us what Jesus wants us to do. Likewise, we know that people who for political reasons promote the idea of reeducation. For instance there are documented reeducation camps in North Korea where it is important to believe that the leader is superior and others are sorted into castes by birthright.

The second is by validating by assumption that everything must has a controlling entity. Sure, if we limit ourselves to a certain outcome or certain rules then yes someone needs to construct and control the framework. For instance, MLB has to have very heavy management and referees because it is all about TV ratings, and if anything, like real fun, interferes the money might be gone. But one can imagine a game like baseball, where the only people involved are the players, and they are just play the game itself, not worrying about ratings, or paychecks, or who wins, or if a someone who touched someone else was cheating, just playing and having fun, might exist in an alternate universe. It is pretty to think so.

And I am sure that wonderful game, without excessive regulation, without pimps trying to score easy cash, just the players playing, would be incredible offensive to many. After all someone has to be in control. The rules have to be followed. We can't just let people have fun, live their lives, enjoy their families and each other,without someone who is better than them telling how. If people have choice and freedom from excessive regulation, chaos will ensue. People wil have new ideas. Someone, somewhere, might be having more fun than me, which absolutely is the fundamental value of too many religions. To make sure that no one, anywhere, is doing something i can't.

doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#41804489)

to some groups, disagreeing with their religion is, by definition, insulting it. There's no process of debate involved. It's right there, written in their Book of Facts.

And it's a complete waste of your time to argue with them over their "Facts".

Re:doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41804611)

The fundamental assertion you're making is that there exist people who are incapable of reevaluating their views. It casts off some people as literally inferior to others. Without going into specifics, I'd say that history has shown many such beliefs to be quite wrong. I understand where you're coming from, but be careful exactly what you imply.

Re:doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 2 years ago | (#41804783)

What is so terrible about implying that some people's beliefs are inferior to others? Believing falsehood is indeed inferior to believing the truth.

Re:doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41804843)

Because you're equating belief to quality of character. Suffice to say you can believe true things and do horrible things, and believe false things and do good things.

Moreover, it is a position I've held for a long time that every person has at least one incorrect belief they hold because they've never been reasonable challenged on(no there's no direct evidence of that , it's an inductively concluded position based on personal observation. I'd change my mind in the face of actual evidence) .

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805071)

There is a third scenario: You do horrible things while believing they are good. But that's not exclusive to the religious.

Re:doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 2 years ago | (#41805079)

Well, yes, the inability to, or worse the refusal to correct one's beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary is a negative character trait. I'm not talking about people who simply have not encountered the truth.

Re:doesn't matter (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41805121)

You can't simply see "the truth" and then know instantly that it is. A position is only as strong as its supporting argument, and most people are pretty bad at presenting arguments well. The fact that "the truth is out there" is not the same as someone having been presented with a compelling argument and deciding they were too lazy to deal with it.

Re:doesn't matter (4, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 2 years ago | (#41804837)

There exist people who are incapable of reevaluating their views. I call her mom. And it's exactly on topic, as evolution is one of a great many topics she is implacable on. She views athiests and agnostics as being "against god", and she prays for my soul regularly and tries to sneak my son off to church if we leave him in her custody on Sunday. I keep telling her she doesn't need to sneak (hell we put him in a christian preschool!), if she wants to take him it's fine with us, that one day he'll evaluate his views and decide what he believes ...but she still feels like she has to sneak. No amount of reasoned debate from anyone, anywhere will shake her views.

I would say instead that it is wrong to assume that all religious people are incapable of reevaluating their views. Many are. But there are people who are incapable, it's a complete waste of time to even try, and more than likely you are going to create some enemies. The better solution is to choose your battles and only fight what needs to be fought. If the evangelicals want to have religion in school, then add comparative religion as a curriculum item (and ensure that major religions past and present, are brought up). Let them fight with the catholics, jews, muslims, etc. over curriculum. Maybe they'll forget about science class.

Re:doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

i (8254) | about 2 years ago | (#41804881)

I'm 57 years old. My experience is that *most* people can't/do not want to reevaluating their views. They have etablished their views many years ago and don't listen to any conflicting facts. At least as long there are no real problems that is affecting them due to the views.

Re:doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 2 years ago | (#41805023)

Furthermore people will define their identify by their group membership. So a Christian will tie up a large part of their identity with Christianity and when you say that Jesus' teachings are bad you're saying that they, by self identifying and wrapping up their identity with their beliefs are also bad.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805001)

For a start "not worth trying to change opinions" and "cant change opinions" are different things. Secondly that some people can hold on to a factually incorrect belief in the face of obvious overwhelming evidence to the contrary is a known thing. You might be able to convince them to change their mind but that does not mean the methods you would have to use are legal or even discoverable without significant personal knowledge or substantially unreasonable effort.

This does not mean that you do not argue with them, they can act as a public reductio ad absurdum of their own arguments, also when the best and keenest proponents of an argument can not defend it it adjusts people perceptions even when they don't think about the arguments themselves. In addition arguing against them gives you a opportunity to make your points against the beliefs of the more moderate believers without actively engaging in a discussion with them which they would take as a personal attack. People firm up their beliefs both when they feel under attack and when they state them publicly, by attacking the arguments of the fanatics the more moderate believers can absorb your points without feeling that they where wrong, as they never publicly made those points themselves, they where simply told these arguments by others and did not reject them.

Re:doesn't matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804615)

Calling it one of the great evils of the world is at best insulting, and at worst, deliberately preventing a discussion.

Re:doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | about 2 years ago | (#41804979)

And claiming that everything but your particular Chosen Path is evil isn't insulting to everyone else?

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804689)

+1

Re:doesn't matter (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41804701)

I dunno...the best tool for arguing with a Christian is a copy of The Bible.

Knowing The Bible better than they do is usually very very easy (I don't think many Christians have actually read it) and you only need five or six verses memorized to make the entire belief system look ridiculous.

Point to their TV/SUV and read the bit about how Jesus tells them to give all their stuff away; rich men, camels, eyes of needles, etc.

Next ask them what the ten commandments are then read Exodus 34 together, that's always a hoot.

Read some old testament "stone naughty children" verses then when they pull out the line about how Jesus makes the old testament obsolete show them Matthew 5:17-20

etc.

Re:doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#41804887)

The vast majority of Christians on earth do not hold to the principle of sola Scriptura and therefore your attempt to dissuade them by pointing to Bible verses taken out of any established hemeneutical tradition is horribly misguided. If you want to argue against a set of beliefs, get it right and don't go after a strawman.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804943)

And the best too for arguing with idiots is - not to bother.

All your atheist blab about evolution,etc isn't any more provable than Gods existence.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805149)

Except that theory of evolution is actually used in practice :D

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805031)

personally, as someone who has worked in the juvenile court system, i kind of agree with stoning naughty children to death. you only have to stone one or two while making the rest of the misbehaving kids watch and theyll straighten up real quick. but thats just my opinion.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

Artraze (600366) | about 2 years ago | (#41805099)

And then people like to go on about how churches pick and choose snippets from the bible...

The bible is a story book. It doesn't contain belief system or a morality, that is crafted from churches by interpretation. To pretend you understand a religion by reading a book is like pretending you understand the legal system by watching an episode of Law and Order. Look at Quran: that's far closer to a how-to book and they have many different sects. Does "dress modestly" mean burka? Or would just a normal T-shirt exposing no cleavage do?

And that's not even to go into the fact that the bible only contains a subset of the available material. You recall that new book they found? Not in the bible. And the translations... "camels, eyes of needles, etc." have you read the original? Do you know the historical context of that?

What you're suggesting is literally trolling: presenting people with things you know are wrong for the sole purpose of harassing them. So yeah, have fun nitpicking an old, poorly translated storybook I guess.

If that's not actually your goal, you can educate yourself [wikipedia.org] : "Catholics believe that sacred scripture and sacred tradition preserved and interpreted by the Magisterium are both necessary for attaining to the fullest understanding of all of God's revelation." (emph mine)

Re:doesn't matter (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#41805169)

Acts 15:22-29.

QED.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41804765)

to some groups, disagreeing with their religion is, by definition, insulting

That was proven by my comments in the last Dawkins story being modded "flamebait" simply for disagreeing with Dawkins. It's true that athiesm is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby, but the zeal and fanaticism of most antitheists (not athiests or agnostics, just the antitheists) is as fanatical as the most zealous creationist in Kansas.

Re:doesn't matter (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41805129)

[...] but the zeal and fanaticism of most antitheists (not athiests or agnostics, just the antitheists) is as fanatical as the most zealous creationist in Kansas.

No, you just ran into a mostly trollish anti-theist and engaged in flamewar. And now you have burns. That's all.

Re:doesn't matter (0, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41804799)

Most atheists, at least on the internet, are insulting towards religious people. They revel in the sense of superiority it gives them.

Dawkin's statement here, that creationists are ignorant of evolution and saying so is simple (albeit harsh) truth, is a narrow case. He's right, but that doesn't excuse all the hardcore internet atheists, who insist that religious people are stupid, or that religion is the cause of all human suffering, etc. Such statements have no grounding in fact. They only serve to stroke the ego of the collective internet atheist circle-jerk, while simultaneously driving away people who might otherwise listen to what you have to say.

Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the world" (5, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | about 2 years ago | (#41804503)

From an interview [freethoughtnation.com] :

RD: "I'm pessimistic about the Islamic world. I regard Islam as one of the great evils in the world, and I fear that we have a very difficult struggle there."

Narrator: "Why is it more problematic than Christianity, for instance?"

RD: "There is a belief that every word of the Koran is literally true, and there's a kind of closemindedness which is, I think, less present in the former Christendom, perhaps because we've had long - I don't know quite why - but there's more of a historical tradition of questioning. There are people in the Islamic world who simply say, 'Islam is right, and we are going to impose our will.' There's an asymmetry. I think in a way we are being too nice. I think that it's possible to be naively overoptimistic, and if you reach out to people who have absolutely no intention of reaching back to you, then you may be disillusioned."

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41804613)

I think Dawkins has spent too much time in modern England, where, yeah, Christian fundamentalists are very, very, rare, and alas, the Muslim fundamentalist group is surprisingly large (largely because of a substantial refugee population from Pakistan.)

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (4, Informative)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41804755)

The Christian fundies do exist here (and I've run into quite a few militant anti-abortionists and young earth creationists). It's just that they're overshadowed by a bunch of very, very ugly Muslim extremists, who for various reasons, can get away with showing a persistent level of hatred and intolerance that would get the Christians shouted down at best, and thrown in the slammer en masse at worst.

Just last week, there was a bunch of bearded brown Muslim extremists in skirts screaming their heads off in the street at Oxford Circus, with big banners ("JESUS = SATAN") written on them. The only reason why they didn't get a hiding off anybody, because they where there in such force of numbers, that nobody dared challenge them. In the middle of Oxford Street. This is in 2012, after September 11 and the 7th of July attacks.

Britain DOES have a problem with religious extremism, and while there ARE Christian extremists, the Muslim extremists are multiplying at a rapid rate, are out there, in your face, and are virtually unassailable, because everyone is too scared of being stigmatized as an Islamophobe for not tolerating vile Islamic extremism.

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (4, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#41805089)

Well, then they just demonstrated a quite stunning level of ignorance of their proclaimed religion, didn't they? Maybe the local Iman should have pointed out that the Koran quite clearly labels Jesus as a prophet and a Messenger of Allah, agrees with the New Testament of the Bible about the Virgin Birth and many other points of Jesus' supposed life and teachings therein. So, walking around with a sign saying "Allah's Messenger = Satan"... maybe they ought to go and try that in somewhere like Afghanistan or the Pakistani FATA and see how long can they keep their head or avoid getting stoned.

As a poster above pointed out, quite often Christian Fundamentalists have not actually read the Bible, and the same is also true about Muslim Fundamentalists, it seems.

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (3, Funny)

andrew2325 (2647845) | about 2 years ago | (#41804835)

I agree that Islam is a serious problem. There are serious problems with some hindu and buddhist beliefs, thinking it's okay for people to suffer the way they do and not even try to help. I am a Christian, and I don't believe the world is as old as scientists say. One reason behind this is instrumentation does lie. I've seen someone resurrect, amongst numerous other things we won't even go into. I'm not even saying this to argue with you. There is no need to try to state a debate with me because I would likely ignore any further comments that try to discredit things I believe, which is not ignorance because I know nearly every side to that argument. What I've seen is not your everyday phenomenon, explainable by swamp gases or delusions.

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805011)

"There is a belief that every word of the Koran is literally true, and there's a kind of closemindedness which is, I think, less present in the former Christendom, perhaps because we've had long - I don't know quite why - but there's more of a historical tradition of questioning."

So Dawkins is ignorant of even Western historical roots of tolerance and the decline of Church influence. He apparently never heard of Voltaire, the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, or the religious oppression that the American colonists fleed and their subsequent concern to found the US on a basis of religious tolerance.

He also paints Islam with a such a broad brush as to further cement the impression people have of him as an ignorant blowhard. He gives no indication he knows anything about the history of Islam or the diversity of Islam.

"There are people in the Islamic world who simply say, 'Islam is right, and we are going to impose our will.'"

So what? There are plenty of people in the Christian world who say the same thing. What's more, these Dominionist [wikipedia.org] Christians have far more power and influence than the Islamists could ever dream of having.

Re:Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the wor (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 years ago | (#41805029)

... a belief that every word of the Koran is literally true, and there's a kind of closemindedness ...

I have an enourmous respect for professor Dawkins, but he is human, like everybody else; and he sometimes seems to closed-minded himself. He sees Islam as 'one of the great evils in the world' - yet, the Islamic world was at one time the most open-minded; this was, in fact, at a time when the Christian culture was at its darkest.

I don't think any religion is inherently good or bad - it is as good or bad as its followers.

Mostly agree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804521)

I mostly agree with Dawkins on this and I think he walks a fine line. Many pro-knowledge/anti-religious people are quite aggressive and offensive. So much so that, despite the fact I'm not at all religious, I find myself quite put off by them. Their idea may be right, but their presentation lacks and just drives away people.

Dawkins is usually respectful when he is speaking. He may be blunt, but he isn't often insulting. I feel this puts him in much better standing than other people trying to educate. He is generally quite good at explaining his points of view and giving reasons for his ideas without bashing other people.

Re:Mostly agree (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#41804697)

"Their idea may be right, but their presentation lacks and just drives away people."

Most religious people aren't interested in discussion, they already believe they are right because the confuse how they feel with knowledge. You cant counter someones feelings with facts unless they are honest and intelligent enough to understand how truth works.

Aware of evolution, reject what they know of it (1, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41804553)

>> People who claim to be Creationists are almost always ignorant of evolution.

I'm not sure the good doctor has this one right. In my experience, creationists have been exposed to the general theory of evolution, but have found one or more reasons in the telling (often an intentionally injected reason) to reject it. Look up "straw dog" to see how this is often done on a number of topics.

Re:Aware of evolution, reject what they know of it (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41804661)

I spent about a decade debating Creationists on talk.origins, and while there were a few Creationists, mainly of the ID variety, who did understand the fundamentals, by and large most Creationists were simply going off of ICR pamphlets, AiG talking points and Jack Chick comics, and actually didn't have even the most rudimentary understanding of evolution or biology in general, and more often than not mixed biology, geology and cosmology into one great big bag called "Science That Lies".

Re:Aware of evolution, reject what they know of it (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41804741)

No, they are exposed to an extremely partial story. It is easy enough to understand. Suppose I said to you "There is a thing called a car which is a moving vehicle powered by a series of explosions." You would probably think of reasons why that was very unlikely; wouldn't people be harmed by the explosions? Wouldn't it go along in a series of jerks?

Creationists have been told, in effect, that scientists believe that living things arose from non-living matter by a process of random aggregation. Placed in context with the idea that the Earth is 6000 years old, this is clearly unbelievable. It is necessary to know a great deal - about the actual age of the Universe, what is known about the early Earth, some basic biochemistry - before you can start to hold any meaningful opinion about evolution by natural selection. During the 19th century it took scientists the best part of a hundred years to understand just how old the Earth was. The body of knowledge collected was enormous - rates of erosion of rock, the meaning of the fossil record and stratification, what the Coal Measures actually were. Even so, it wasn't until the 20th century that a mechanism - radioactivity - was discovered that explained how the Universe could be that old and still have active stars in it.

Creationists do not know that stuff. They, in my experience, may have a technician level understanding of a science - even physicians are basically technicians, which is how you can have medical doctors who are Creationists - but not the kind of broad appreciation of the scientific hinterland that is needed to grasp just why evolution, the Big Bang and so are are generally accepted by scientists.

The rest of the educated population mostly takes the conclusions of scientists in trust - in, say, Europe - but elsewhere they will listen to whoever seems to have the most authority.

Re:Aware of evolution, reject what they know of it (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41804889)

>> People who claim to be Creationists are almost always ignorant of evolution.

I'm not sure the good doctor has this one right. In my experience, creationists have been exposed to the general theory of evolution, but have found one or more reasons in the telling (often an intentionally injected reason) to reject it. Look up "straw dog" to see how this is often done on a number of topics.

I have always found when talking to creationists about evolution that they are profoundly ignorant of what it is and how it works. I think he is spot-on with regard to most creationists, but I think there is a minority that is outright dishonest about the subject.

Re:Aware of evolution, reject what they know of it (2)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#41805091)

Much as I hate to, I gotta go with Dawkins here. I have some experience with creationists and every single one I have known was completely ignorant of evolution. They *thought* they knew it, but all they knew was a straw man.

Now, in their defense, a lot of pro-evolution people dont understand it any better. The sad fact is that the educational system completely fails to teach science, and leaves pupils to choose sides based on faith.

Yay! (-1, Troll)

FlavaFlavivirus (2021178) | about 2 years ago | (#41804557)

More Dawkins spam!

Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804561)

Dawkins is completely ignorant when it comes to understanding of culture, tradition, and the human mind. This is demonstrated by the fact that he believes rational arguments should work on people who are inherently faith-based thinkers.

No need to be insulted by this. It's simply a statement of fact.

Re:Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804679)

Dawkins is completely ignorant when it comes to understanding of culture, tradition, and the human mind. This is demonstrated by the fact that he believes rational arguments should work on people who are inherently faith-based thinkers.

No need to be insulted by this. It's simply a statement of fact.

And nobody felt insulted by your opinion. Unfortunately, you are also very wrong. Faith is the opposite of thinking, there is no such thing as faith-based thinker. Only faith-based moron (There is many type of morons, but the faith-based one are the worst).

Thank you have have a great day.

Re:Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41804745)

Yep, because all people think exactly one way ever. Get over your discrimination. You seem to think that people who are religious have absolutely no choice in the matter, ignoring the fact many people have simply never been exposed to any sort of alternative underlying philosophies. It's simply unreasonable to assert that everyone who disagrees with your perspective is a moron incapable of rational thought.

In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's dogmatic and absurd.

Re:Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41804947)

It's simply unreasonable to assert that everyone who disagrees with your perspective

It's not a question of perspecives any more than believing that the earth is flat, or that time is best described as a cube is a "perspective".

It is simply, objectively wrong.

You can sugar coat it all you want, but since we're arguing on the internet, why bother?

Re:Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#41804871)

Last year I saw an article based on an interview with him. (No idea when it was done.) He doesn't think rational arguments work on faith-based thinkers, but then again, reason is his tool of choice and he has no intentions of lying to people, so it's not like he has anything else to use.

Re:Dawkins is ignorant of psychology (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41805083)

He's 100% correct in saying that they should. He's 100% wrong if he thinks that they do.

Agreed (2)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 2 years ago | (#41804619)

Yes, Richard has shown that you don't have to be disagreeing to be insulting.

Another flame-bait story? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41804635)

I don't see much about it that fits in with this site. I make exceptions for Presidential election coverage because the stakes are so far-reaching, but this?

Re:Another flame-bait story? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804833)

Flame-Bait? So you're saying Dawkins is baiting the Fires of Hell?!

He sure is! Praise-be-God-AMEN!

Let me hear an Ay-May-EN!

Praise-Jesus-the-lord-savior!

AMEN!

AMEN!

I bet he's a fornicating-evil-loo-shun-belivin'-heathen!

Amen!

He walks with the Devil!

Amen!

We were made in GOD's image! Not monkeys!

Noooooo! AMEN!

We were PUT HERE on God's green Earth as is!

AMEN!

6,000 years ago!

Amen!

Now, folks, we got expenses here at the Church of the Science-Is-Evil ministries. If you could just give us a small token of your appreciation to help us in this fight against the LIES that are told that dispute the Good Book, it would be of great help!

And as the Lord says, for whatever you give, you will get ten fold back!

TEN FOLD!! AMEN!

Just put what your hearts tell you into the collection plate being passed around.

Well... (2)

andrew2325 (2647845) | about 2 years ago | (#41804637)

I disagree with the theory of evolution, and I am a creationist. But, I think you'd either have to be blind or completely ignorant to agree with everything that goes on within churches and has gone on throughout history. Of course some things do adapt, the thing about it is if you knew some of the things I survived, you would definitely question it.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41804693)

Apparently you haven't adapted. We're talking about a highly confirmed theory accepted by virtually every single researcher in fields that touch on it (you could probably count the number of active publishing biologists who outright reject evolution on one hand, not even Michael Behe actually rejects it).

"Ignorant" (5, Insightful)

Enonu (129798) | about 2 years ago | (#41804639)

Telling somebody that they're ignorant about a particular topic may potentially (and more often than not) have the underlying connotation that that person should have known better in the first place. Nobody is going to tell Dr. Dawkins that he's ignorant of baseball because that's a useless statement. When somebody tells you that you're ignorant of "traffic laws", "etiquette", or "geography" you get the point.

Applied to the religious, telling them that they're ignorant of evolution, and being defensive about them getting mad about the statement because you think it's just a fact IS ignorant. The religious already believe that they've considered everything they need to know about evolution, and have discredited it in their own minds. The real strategy here is to not start with a public conclusion of them being ignorant, but to simply ask questions and answer their rebuttals. Eventually you'll hit a contradiction or hole in their misunderstanding, and the real question there is what they'll do next. Do they open their minds to truth, no matter how repugnant it is to their faith, or do they stay aggressively closed minded about the subject?

Re:"Ignorant" (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 2 years ago | (#41805025)

Eventually you'll hit a contradiction or hole in their misunderstanding, and the real question there is what they'll do next.

Easy if they have something to lose, you hear: 'You just have to believe'. If they don't have much to lose, they'll kill you.

Dawkins is no Sagan (4, Informative)

gblackwo (1087063) | about 2 years ago | (#41804647)

I am currently reading Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark [amazon.com]

Sagan does an incredible job at promoting skepticism, fighting ignorance and all while being extremely respectful of religion. While I love Sagan, I just can't stand Dawkins.

Great book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805055)

But Sagan didn't motivate people to stand up and say, "Enough is enough."

Do you know what skeptics are called in the Christian community? Doubting Thomas'. They are brushed aside.

I have a relative that is an engineer: BSME. He is very analytical and skeptical of everything BUT his faith. When it comes to religion, he just turns his brain off. He's like this over grown child who still believes in Santa Claus - He knows when you've been bad or good and He will grant wishes (prayers). And as far as evolution, he firmly believes that the evolutionary biologists WILL find evidence one day that will prove that God did it all.

Pray tell, how do I promote skepticism with him?

Religion is an emotional issue; NOT an intellectual one. That's why you have folks here post things like "I know Jesus exists."

Know? I guess it's like I "know" I love my wife. Ask for proof and all I can show is how I treat her. That's what Dawkins and Sagan didn't get.

And that's what religious people don't get. Faith != Science. Faith CANNOT equal data when it comes to the facts.

Or to put it another way - Religion is NOT science so give it up. But they won't and unfortunately, they will keep up this non-sense of trying to insert Creationism, ID or whatever they call it now into legitimate science classes.

Abrahamic religions insulting (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804671)

As a Buddhist, I find the entire tree of Abrahamic religions insulting: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism. Since they put the afterlife ahead of this life, and the Magic Man in the Sky ahead of Humanity.

Re:Abrahamic religions insulting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41805115)

Why do you find "Insulting" something like " put the afterlife ahead of this life" in another religion? Are you so unsure of your belief that you need to "feel insulted" when you hear something like this? Doubt generate your need to "feel insulted" my friend...

And doubt is a great thing, indicating you that something is wrong with all those stories...

And I'm not saying that one religion is holding the truth, nor saying 1 is better than another : I'm simply saying that all religions are wrong because they all trying to explain something we don't understand, something above the creation of universes, something no one can start to imagine.

Why suggesting it could be insulting is insulting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804681)

Daily we get confronted with ideas people wrote down thousands of years ago, because somebody thinks they were right and still are. How should disagreement be insulting?

Dawkins is just a bully (1, Insightful)

Mr. McGibby (41471) | about 2 years ago | (#41804703)

He's a douche about the whole thing. People think he's insulting because he's a total dick when he talks about religion. There are lots of folks who can critizise religion without being jerks about it. At least for me, it's not Dawkin's ideas that people are offended by, but how he expresses them. More proof Dawkins is a jerk:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/10/sexism_in_the_skeptic_community_i_spoke_out_then_came_the_rape_threats.single.html [slate.com]

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/files/2011/07/dawkins_watson1.gif [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Dawkins is just a bully (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804903)

Wow. I've heard other atheist describe Dawkins as mentally unstable. I assumed it was just jealousy over his fame. But this guy seems like a real head case.

Insultification of language (2)

gibletparade (1033096) | about 2 years ago | (#41804715)

The point on "ignorant" being insulting is an interesting one. As a English person who hears a lot of American spoken, I have observed a few words that are not insulting in English are taken to be so in American. I had "dumb" (now we have to say "mute" in order not to offend) and "retarded" (being a medical term). Now apparently "ignorant" is taken pejoratively too in the US. Any more examples?

Re:Insultification of language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804845)

"liberal" and/or "conservative"

Re:Insultification of language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804875)

The point on "ignorant" being insulting is an interesting one. As a English person who hears a lot of American spoken, I have observed a few words that are not insulting in English are taken to be so in American. I had "dumb" (now we have to say "mute" in order not to offend) and "retarded" (being a medical term). Now apparently "ignorant" is taken pejoratively too in the US. Any more examples?

Calling someone British (or a Brit) is generally taken as an insult here.

Hmm (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41804769)

So if I don't think something is insulting, I guess then it doesn't matter if the person being insulted thinks it's insulting or not? I see the logic here. It's great, anyone can do whatever they want and ignore the tolerance that the world has worked so hard to achieve! The KKK could probably apply this logic when launching their next website...

Dr. Dawkins has made a critical error in judgement here. I guess maybe the title "Dr" really doesn't mean what it used to.

He still doesn't get it. (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | about 2 years ago | (#41804797)

Disagreeing with religion is not insulting. Calling its followers unthinking, ignorant, brainwashed, delusional: this is insulting.

Re:He still doesn't get it. (0)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 2 years ago | (#41804885)

Insulting? Experienced.

Re:He still doesn't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804973)

Calling its followers unthinking, ignorant, brainwashed, delusional: this is insulting.

Only if it isn't true.

Dawkins has always been deliberately insulting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804805)

Dawkins has been deliberately insulting in his books, and he knows it. He's gone out of his way to call people who disagree with him "evil," "child abusers," etc., the list is long:

-------------
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully
--------------

This reminds me of an open letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804839)

It went something like:

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you were publicly lashed tortured by the cultural police yawn don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drink, and and live in a tragically patriarchal society, and many of your friends of alternative religions are either being killed or are trying to kill you, and you are likely to be beheaded for offenses which seem trivial in more civilized parts of the world. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor First World skeptics have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, he calls himself Richard Dawkins, and do you know what happened to him? People in the same country as him invited children to stay after school to learn about religion. I am not exaggerating. They really did. They invited them to stay in their own school classrooms to learn about religion. Of course Mr. Dawkins said this will not stand, and of course the religious types didn't force his children to stay after school, but even so

And you, Muslimo, think you have social evil to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

More here: article with more details [slate.com] (you have to read down the page a bit for Dawkins).

Lies by omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804857)

"So without being particularly deliberately offensive or insulting, just tell it like it is. Just be clear. And clarity, as I say, can sound insulting. A good example of this was a few years ago when I wrote a book review, I think it was in the New York Times, about a book that I think was about Creationism. I said "Anybody who claims to be a Creationist is either stupid, ignorant, or insane. Probably ignorant." Ignorance is no crime. There are all sorts of things I'm ignorant of, such as baseball, but I don't regard it as insulting if somebody says I'm ignorant of baseball, it's a simple fact. I am ignorant of baseball. People who claim to be Creationists are almost always ignorant of evolution.

"That's just a statement of fact, not an insult. It's just a statement. But it sounds like an insult. And I think that accounts for part of what you've picked up about my apparent image of being aggressive and offensive. I'm just telling it clearly."

Note that he didn't address the "stupid" and "insane" parts of his accusation. I'd like him to make a case for why calling someone "stupid" is not an insult.

I half expect Dawkins to start breaking out "Your Mama" jokes and then claiming he's "just telling it like it is".

Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41804891)

Unless you practice Islam.. Then everything non-Islamic is insulting.

Double Take (1)

biochozo (2700157) | about 2 years ago | (#41804969)

The title reads like it's from the Onion News

Re:Double Take (1)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | about 2 years ago | (#41805003)

This is very true.

Some will take this too far (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#41805005)

It's great that science has a lot of answers and that we are no longer killing people over what planet revolves around which, and if it's flat, but we haven't evolved as a species, out of the witch hunt stage. People seem to have way to much fun eradicating those who do not share the same world view (Religious and Atheist alike).

Religion is just a construct of man... (1)

0m3gaMan (745008) | about 2 years ago | (#41805013)

...therefore, it can be treated like a fart: Whomever created it loves it, but if you don't like people who constantly create and revel in their own farts, walk away.

Gentlemanly behavior? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41805077)

So without being particularly deliberately offensive or insulting, just tell it like it is.

I happen to agree with him completely WRT to beliefs and logic, however, WRT to offense/insult I would theorize that most of the disagreement is caused by a confusion of one side believing they're operating under the politeness/hospitality rule where it all boils down to a gentleman does whatever makes his guests feel comfortable, including letting them blabber foolishly if they really want, but the other side thinks they're at the debate table brainstorming solutions where anything goes. Sometimes there's more than a little passive aggressiveness taking advantage of that confusion.

WRT his public school indoctrination story, teachers spend years yelling at kids to behave around adult classroom visitors giving a presentation... sneaking a cult in creates a confusion where a cult should be laughed at, yet they're in a gentlemanly polite hospitality suite of visiting a classroom. Not so much confusing the visitor with a substitute teacher but confusion the visitor with someone you need to be polite to.

I've defused innumerable in-person "disagreements" with something along the lines of "there's about 10000 distinct and completely incompatible current and dead religions, our religious views are almost identical in that you DISbelieve in 9999 of them, I merely DISbelieve in one more than you". The reaction from believers to this line of reasoning is completely unpredictable other than I haven't been accused of offensiveness or insult... so far.

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