Something New…

Each Friday I will try and post something called “Friday Roundup” which will simply be links to various stories, essays, articles, or any number of things that caught my eye during the week.  I may post a short comment or thought for each link.  Here is the first installment. Enjoy.

 The postmodern turn…continues…can you see it?

Nietzsche, a secular postmodernist, and a friend perhaps?

Good advice for atheists in general, but we should add that the “new” atheists do not want religious liberty at all.

Which is clear from this

Every time I read anything by Jerry Coyne, I think of this quote, which applies to him as much as it does Dawkins or those like them:

“Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be. If they were asked to pass judgment on phenomenology or the geopolitics of South Asia, they would no doubt bone up on the question as assiduously as they could. When it comes to theology, however, any shoddy old travesty will pass muster.”  -Terry Eagleton

Also, in reference to Coyne, imagine the pathology involved in a person who wants to make sure we see science and religion as enemies, the “other”.  Do these people ever take a day off?  So much angst, so much energy, so much anger.  Wow.  A sure sign of fundamentalism.  Coyne=Falwell.  These people deserve each other.

Here and here are examples of the better ways to think about the passing of a man consumed with hate.

Have a great weekend!
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33 Responses to Something New…

  1. RonH says:

    I love Nietzsche. He totally called it. Dude was a prophet, and it made him crazy.

    I agree with a lot of his gripes about Christianity. And it's gotten worse.

    He missed a lot, though. He saw a lot of rotting Christianity, and took it to be the whole. That did a number on him. And chicks didn't dig him, which is always a tough thing to deal with.

    I don't think he got enough love.

    Like

  2. Darrell says:

    I agree Ron. He was one of the last (the last?) athesits who actually knew what he was talking about. He really did understand the Christian revolution and what it meant.

    Like

  3. Burk Braun says:

    Darrell-

    I think the basic issue is that of reasonableness. Atheists don't want to tell you to love Brussels sprouts, or cappucino. If something is really post-modern, narrative, and subject to taste, then fine- no problem.

    But you indicate in your prior post about postmodernism that you go for a weak form, where some things really are objective and true. The world turns and things fall down. There are other things where our narrative tells us what to think, but those things are not objective, but rather matters of viewpoint. Right?

    That is the whole issue- figuring out the distinctions between these things, and calling them correctly, so that we can talk to each other rationally, keep our own views, but not make up our own facts. The problem Eagleton has is that he feels falsely painted by the atheist brush, as they take the more egregious examples of religion as reason to dismiss the whole.

    The issue is that we have not gotten to first base in this discussion, so have no way to make this distinction between the reasonable and unreasonable religion. God is not known to exist.. it is a postulate made in faith. So right there, we have a problem. How can it be reasonable to “believe” in such a thing? It can't. Even if you couch it in “god is mystery” or “god is love”, that just points up the meaninglessness and unreasonableness of the whole enterprise. Perhaps god is hate and war. It used to be.

    So we on the atheist side see the consequences of all this muddled thinking, and call it to account. Whether more or less caveated, it is all rooted in unreasonable suspensions of critical thinking that allow an unknown (mysterious) premise to rule the roost.

    And it hardly helps to be edgily postmodern in dismissing all knowledge and narrative as all equally faith-ist. You hold to some actual objective truth yourself. But what counts and what doesn't count? You can't avoid the corpus of science as counting, since empiricism is such an effective and obviously true bedrock. But then you try to smuggle in morals as being objective as well, with no effective argument whatsoever, other than that they feel that way, and everyone who you talk to agrees with you.

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  4. Darrell says:

    Burk,

    “I think the basic issue is that of reasonableness.”

    Right, and one of Caputo’s points is that modernity has made Reason, capital R, unreasonable—even foolish.

    “There are other things where our narrative tells us what to think…”

    Is that how your narrative works—it tells you what to think? If so, you still have no idea what a narrative is.

    “That is the whole issue- figuring out the distinctions between these things, and calling them correctly, so that we can talk to each other rationally, keep our own views, but not make up our own facts.”

    Any by “correctly” and “rationally” you mean- what you say is correct and rational, right? And no one is able to “make up” their own facts. Another clear example you don’t get what is being said (or don't want to).

    “And it hardly helps to be edgily postmodern in dismissing all knowledge and narrative as all equally faith-ist.”

    Who is dismissing knowledge? No one. And all narratives are faith-based, including yours.

    “You hold to some actual objective truth yourself. But what counts and what doesn't count?”

    Noting the sun is hot is an objective observation. Noting I think red wine better than white is a subjective observation.

    “You can't avoid the corpus of science as counting…”

    No one is. Science counts immensely—no one has said otherwise.

    “…since empiricism is such an effective and obviously true bedrock.

    It is for some things, but not for all things.

    “…But then you try to smuggle in morals as being objective as well, with no effective argument whatsoever, other than that they feel that way, and everyone who you talk to agrees with you.”

    First, no one is smuggling in anything. Second, the argument is fairly effective since it has always been the prevailing argument and is to this day. Third, again, it is you who makes the- because I “feel” a certain way about something, such is what makes it moral or immoral. You keep confusing your argument with mine on that score. What was that about muddled thinking?

    Like

  5. Burk Braun says:

    Darrell-

    “Any by “correctly” and “rationally” you mean- what you say is correct and rational, right? And no one is able to “make up” their own facts. Another clear example you don’t get what is being said (or don't want to).”

    Well, we are able to agree on some things, and deem them outside narrativity. Why is that? It is because there is a rigorous epistemology that is available to us when we want actual knowledge about reality.

    If we want something else, then we should be honest about it. That is the whole point of the dispute.. the religion-non-religion conflict. If you wish something were true (hope, love is god, etc.), then that is great. But until it is philosophically founded as knowledge, it is unworthy of belief (if claimed as an objective proposition). It is a pathetically simple point, which is why I repeat it in the face of endless obfuscation. Eagleton also doesn't seem to get it either.. that what he believes in may be different in degree but not in kind from that of the easier targets of atheists. And that kind is neither truth nor knowledge.

    Anyhow, you seem to think I am not connecting or understanding on some level. I guess I remain blind, so if you could put it in simple words, that would be helpful.

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  6. Darrell says:

    Burk,

    “Well, we are able to agree on some things, and deem them outside narrativity. Why is that? It is because there is a rigorous epistemology that is available to us when we want actual knowledge about reality.”

    We've been through this—there is nothing outside narrativity (See the epic and long conversation with Bernard). And the rigorous epistemology of empiricism isn't the issue here—it is only an issue when you think it the only way something can be considered true or knowledge. There are many types of knowledge and there is more than one way for something to be true.

    “If you wish something were true (hope, love is god, etc.), then that is great. But until it is philosophically founded as knowledge, it is unworthy of belief (if claimed as an objective proposition).”

    It isn't a wish. It is an acknowledgement of something that exists and makes up the most important aspects of our lives. And you mean “philosophically founded” the way you think it must be, right? In other words, in a way that makes up the very thing disputed. This is just more question-begging on your part disguised as argument or counter points.

    All the rest here is addressed in all these posts regarding Caputo’s book and line of thought. And what I meant about not getting it is simply the way you respond. It is obvious. Anyone who thinks people are making up facts or that narratives “tell us” what to think—doesn't get it. And those are just a few examples. Your responses are littered with them.

    It is one thing to understand what people are saying and then disagree. It is quite another to not understand and disagree.

    Like

  7. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    Nice idea this Friday roundup!

    But, sometimes, you come up with such astonishing statements…

    […] but we should add that the “new” atheists do not want religious liberty at all.

    This is just false – although I suppose you can find a nutty blogger asserting this. But Dawkins? Dennett? What on earth are you talking about?

    Like

  8. Darrell says:

    Thank you JP, I hope people find it thoughtful or even entertaining, at the least.

    What do you mean “sometimes”! I thought I did all the time…(joking).

    I guess I would ask do you think the writers and organizations noted in the links below to be nuts or made up of nuts? If so, why?

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/atheisms-wrong-turn

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2312813/Richard-Dawkins-Forcing-religion-children-child-abuse-claims-atheist-professor.html

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/09/free_exercise_of_religion_no_thanks.html

    http://www.libertymagazine.org/article/faith-attack

    “Sam Harris, in his screed The End of Faith, writes, ‘I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.’ 7 As if that weren't enough, he argues that ‘some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.’” 8

    “Daniel Dennett, in Breaking the Spell (guess what “spell” that is? Shades of The Golden Compass?), warns about the ‘effect of religious upbringing and education on young children’11 He compares religious education to parents who, under certain conditions, let their children drink alcohol. ‘When do the authorities have not just the right,’ he asks, ‘but the obligation to step in and prevent abuse? Tough questions, and they don't get easier when the topic is religion, not alcohol.’” 12

    JP, if you can read what is contained in all those links and still ask, “What on earth are you talking about?”, then I give up. Now you may disagree that such is what they are really after or saying, but come on…I mean, get out much? Anyone who knows anything about these guys (the new atheists) knows their hostility to religion does not exactly make them the champions of religious liberty. They have made their side very clear.

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  9. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    I have little time and I will concentrate on the Dennett quotes.

    First, the “spell” of the title is explained in the book itself (why the comment “guess what 'spell' that is?” then?). Dennett means the “spell” that prevents the scientific study of religion. Here's a quote from the chapter “Breaking Which Spell?”

    The religious, in contrast, often bristle at the impertinence, the lack of respect, the sacrilege, implied by anybody who wants to investigate their views. I respectfully demur: there is indeed an ancient tradition to which they are appealing here, but it is mistaken and should not be permitted to continue. This spell must be broken, and broken now. (p. 17)

    Don't you agree with this?

    Now to the children. The article says Dennett “warns about the 'effect of religious upbringing…”. The correct quote is:

    A research topic of particular urgency, but also particular ethical and political sensitivity, is the effect of religious upbringing and education on young children. There is an ocean of research […] on early-childhood development […] but almost all of this – so far as I can determine – carefully sidesteps religion, which is still largely terra incognita. (p. 321)

    You'll appreciate that calling for research on a subject is not at all the same thing as warning against it. Difficult to see this misrepresentation as anything but intentional.

    Moreover, it's simply false to say that Dennett compares religious education (in the sense of setting an equivalence) to parents who let their children drink alcohol. The point is that studying whether or not some form of religious education can be harmful to children should not be off-topic.

    We've been through this kind of situation before and I really think you should consider revising your views of these new atheists writers (especially Dennett). They are far from being the radicals articles this one paints them to be.

    Like

  10. Darrell says:

    Hi JP,

    I most certainly do not agree with your page 17 quote. What people “bristle” at is the way Dennett and people like him completely dismiss and condescendingly attack people of faith.

    “…I really think you should consider revising your views of these new atheists writers (especially Dennett). They are far from being the radicals articles this one paints them to be.”

    I certainly will not revise my views since even other liberals and atheists consider them to be radicals and completely unhelpful—foolish even. These criticisms don't even come from religious people, per se.

    If you can support and not see as radical a view as given below, then it certainly tells us much about your own views.

    “Sam Harris, in his screed The End of Faith, writes, ‘I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.’ 7 As if that weren't enough, he argues that ‘some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.’” 8

    If that is not radical, then I would love to learn what you think radical. By the way, are all these people who are critical of the new atheists- nuts? Are all these writers (one of whom is Hitchens) nuts? Is that in itself (thinking only nuts would criticize them)a radical view?

    And are you still going to ask where is this coming from? Really? Come on.

    Like

  11. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    I don't care much about Harris and I do actually find him extreme. However, given the misrepresentation of Dennett's views in the article, I will hold judgment on what he claims Harris is saying (can't check this out right now).

    As to the p. 17 quote, the “spell” Dennett writes about (perhaps a bad choice of word) is whatever prevents the investigation of religious views. Are you saying that it is improper to engage in such an investigation? Because, this is what the quote is about and what is the stated goal of the book.

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  12. Darrell says:

    JP,

    “However, given the misrepresentation of Dennett's views in the article…”

    What misrepresentation? I disagree. When one compares teaching children about religion or God actually existing to introducing them to alcohol then we are speaking of a radical view and one that would clearly restrict religious liberty. Come on.

    “Are you saying that it is improper to engage in such an investigation?

    Sorry, but are you forgetting that I’m spending time doing a series of posts where Caputo is engaged in that very thing. There is no group that does a more critical and honest investigation of religion than theologians and philosophers, specifically believers. The fact that such is lost on Dennett and his ilk is very telling.

    “Because, this is what the quote is about and what is the stated goal of the book.”

    I find that statement hilarious. The goal of his book is to dismiss religion as a dangerous “meme” one of the dumbest ideas ever propagated under the name of science. I stand by everything I said. When many of their harshest critics are other atheists and liberals, surely that should give tell you something. They are secular fundamentalists—and no different than their religious counterparts. And this is why Caputo bothers people like the new atheists; they do not like their own philosophical world-view to be investigated because they are right, rational, scientific, the “brights” and how dare you…

    “Dennett, of course, is a widely known professor of philosophy at Tufts University, a co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, also at Tufts, and a self-avowed “Darwinian fundamentalist.” That is to say, he is not merely a Darwinian; rather, he is a dogmatic materialist who believes that Darwin’s and Wallace’s discovery of natural selection provides us with a complete narrative of the origin and essence of all reality: physical, biological, psychological, and cultural.”
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/01/003-daniel-dennett-hunts-the-snark

    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-god-meme

    “That explains why a book that professes to treat religious belief seriously and respectfully contains so many little epigrammatic digs at religion from sages like Andy Rooney. Mockery, Strauss wrote, was the great weapon the Enlightenment deployed against an orthodoxy it could not rationally refute. ‘Mockery of the teaching of the tradition is not the successor of a prior refutation of those teachings … but it is the refutation: it is in mockery that the liberation from ‘prejudices’ that had supposedly already been cast off is actually first accomplished.’ In other words: If you can’t beat them, ridicule them.”

    “The required teaching of religion in schools goes along with a third suggestion: that parental teaching of religion be closely monitored and treated as a potential form of child abuse. Parents, he [Dennett] suggests, should be prohibited from teaching anything 'likely to close the minds' of children 'through fear and hatred' or 'by disabling them from inquiry' — precisely what Dennett believes much religion routinely does. 'It’s just an idea,' he says coyly. If you throw enough memes out there, maybe some of them will stick. Rather than offering a new science of religion, Dennett seems most interested in floating any strategy that will weaken or destroy the influence of religion. Perhaps such Machiavellian rhetoric and policies are what the victory of science requires, but this is, in itself, hardly science at all.”

    I could go on and on. Still find my claim “astonishing”? And are all these people “nuts” JP?

    Like

  13. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    Still find my claim “astonishing”?

    Well, you astonish me more and more!

    To be clear, I am not Dennett and it's not for me to defend his views. What I commented on is a part of the faith article, which I think misrepresents what he actually says in the book.

    Now, suppose an article says: “I think we should investigate the effects of living close to power lines”. Suppose then that I quote the exact same text by saying the authors warns us against “living close to power lines”. Certainly I would be guilty of gross misrepresentation, wouldn't I? But this is exactly similar to what the author of your article does, and this is exactly my conclusion about this article (at least the part concerned with the quote).

    And, again, Dennett is not saying that teaching children about religion is equivalent to introducing them to alcohol. This is simply false.

    If we disagree on something as simple as this, I don't think we will make any progress discussing Dennett. I will make this point, however: if Dennett is so obviously wrong why is it seemingly necessary to willingly misquote him in order to discredit his writings?

    In any case, I am still interested in your own views on the matter and perhaps we should leave Dennett and al. aside for the moment.

    Here's my question: do you believe that some forms of religious teachings or practices can be harmful to children? To give two examples: refusing medical treatment for religious reasons; instilling in a child the strong belief that some of his best friends will rot forever in hell because they are of a different faith?

    Note that I am not saying anything about prohibiting these teachings. I am only interested on their possible harmful effects. What do you think?

    Like

  14. Darrell says:

    JP,

    Do you think all these people criticizing the new atheists to be nuts?

    Now you don’t want to defend them (or even one of them)…why–what happened?

    “Daniel Dennett, in Breaking the Spell (guess what “spell” that is? Shades of The Golden Compass?), warns about the ‘effect of religious upbringing and education on young children’11 He compares religious education to parents who, under certain conditions, let their children drink alcohol. ‘When do the authorities have not just the right,’ he asks, ‘but the obligation to step in and prevent abuse? Tough questions, and they don't get easier when the topic is religion, not alcohol.’” 12

    “And, again, Dennett is not saying that teaching children about religion is equivalent to introducing them to alcohol. This is simply false.”

    Are you saying that the quotes attributed to Dennett here are false? And what do you think he is talking about as far as “abuse”?

    JP, if a religious group were to write a book suggesting it was child abuse to educate children into atheism or secularism, would you then draw a causal link between that idea and the probability if they were in charge they might restrict the liberty of atheists and secularists? Or is that just a crazy link to draw?

    Let’s keep on track here. You said my view that the new atheists were not interested in religious liberty was astonishing. Please tell us why.

    Like

  15. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    Are you saying that the quotes attributed to Dennett here are false?

    Right. The author of the article either can't read or willingly misquotes Dennett in order to mislead his readers. It's all in my first comment above.

    It is simply NOT the case that Dennett “warns about the effect of religious upbringing …” in the page given in the article. It's simply not there. Check for yourself.

    It is simply NOT the case that Dennett equates religious upbringing with introducing them to alcohol in the page given in the article.

    The author is being either sloppy or dishonest. What else do you want me to say?

    Again, if Dennett's position is so extreme, it should not be necessary to misquote him to establish this fact.

    Like

  16. Darrell says:

    JP,

    I will post the entire quote and people can decide for themselves what they think Dennett was getting at.

    In the meantime, getting back on track:

    Do you think all these people criticizing the new atheists to be nuts? You thought I might be able to find some- do all these fit that mold to you?

    If a religious group were to write a book suggesting it was child abuse to educate children into atheism or secularism, would you then draw a causal link between that suggestion and the probability if that group were in charge they might restrict the liberty of atheists and secularists? Or is that just a crazy link to draw?

    Like

  17. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    Do you think all these people criticizing the new atheists to be nuts?

    Of course not. I have never suggested such a thing.

    If a religious group were to write […]

    I believe this comes from the idea that Dawkins has actually suggested such a thing, that religious education is tantamount to child abuse.

    Well, I know this is a popular line with some but I think this is not quite what he has written. I would love to see a source for this. True, he certainly said that some forms of religious teaching or practices are abusive, or something to that effect. But that's not the same thing at all.

    This is a delicate subject but I don't think any and all practices and teachings should be exempted from criticism simply because they are religious in nature. And I expect you agree with this.

    Like

  18. Darrell says:

    “This is just false – although I suppose you can find a nutty blogger asserting this.”

    I think I did find some. Are they “nutty”? It would appear that everyone is reading the new atheists incorrectly except you JP.

    Would you agree that such a causal link would not be out of the question?

    Like

  19. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    I realize I was misunderstood.

    When I wrote “[…] I suppose you can find a nutty blogger asserting this.”, I was actually thinking of an hypothetical atheist blogger opposing religious freedom. Sorry I was unclear.

    As to the causal link, yes of course. Actually, it would be reasonable for someone believing some practice to be child abuse to try to restrict or prohibit said practice.

    But again, I don't think any of the better known atheists has actually said that any form of religious education is child abuse. And if any has, I certainly disagree.

    Moreover, I suspect that if you looked at the actual record, you would find they take a position in favour of freedom of religion.

    Like

  20. Darrell says:

    Okay, that makes much more sense because many of their critics are other atheists and humanists-and I wouldn't think you would say they were all nutty.

    “But again, I don't think any of the better known atheists has actually said that any form of religious education is child abuse. And if any has, I certainly disagree.”

    What do you think Dawkins is getting at here:
    http://www.examiner.com/article/richard-dawkins-religious-indoctrination-is-child-abuse

    Is it that difficult to believe, given these type statements, that these people are not sympathetic to religious liberty? And what of the other links I provided?

    And lets not quibble over the word “indoctrination”. Many could say that secularists and atheists, whether with their own children, or in their classes as teachers, do more “indoctrination” than teaching with an open mind. That road runs both ways. All fundamentalists “indoctrinate”.

    Like

  21. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    On indoctrination, I totally agree – it certainly does not belong to religion alone.

    As for the rest, you seem to jump from being “against X” to being “against the right to X” – not the same thing at all. It's clear that Dawkins wastes no love on religion but, at the same time, I don't think he ever opposed freedom of religion.

    For example: one may be against smoking but totally for the right of adults to smoke (with the usual restrictions aimed at protecting the health of others).

    The specific question of children is very delicate. I certainly agree that a practice that is harmful to a child should be questioned whether it is religion-based or not. Should a parent have to right to refuse medical treatment to his young child on religious grounds? Is instilling in a child the belief that her best friend will rot forever in hell because she is of a different faith psychologically harmful? These are important questions.

    Like

  22. Darrell says:

    JP,

    The “Friday Roundup” will most certainly have me writing “out loud” and speaking much more casually and no doubt bombastically than I normally would in a serious post. I will exaggerate, be sarcastic, and write all sorts of things that are probably over the top (I know, you are wondering how that is any different than my regular posts!).

    However, I don’t think it a stretch to link the types of statements made by the new atheists to my personal opinion that given the chance, if they were kings for a day, they would restrict religious liberties. When the Taliban, or the Religious Right Wing here in the US, tells us they think certain practices and laws are against “God’s” law and even harmful to society, I don’t think it a great leap to then assume they would restrict those practices and laws (whatever they might be) if they could or had the power to do so. In fact, I think if the shoe here were on the other foot (the statements were coming from religious fundamentalists), you would make the same link.

    “As for the rest, you seem to jump from being “against X” to being “against the right to X” – not the same thing at all. It's clear that Dawkins wastes no love on religion but, at the same time, I don't think he ever opposed freedom of religion.”

    Are you willing to apply this same logic to the Religious Right and religious fundamentalists? I think history is not very kind to your idea here. It is a great idea when speaking of those with moderate views, but rather naive when speaking of fundamentalists (like the new atheists).

    I really do believe if the new atheists were in charge, religious liberties would be greatly restricted, just like I think if the Religious Right and religious fundamentalists were in charge, liberties in general would be restricted. And I don’t think a single person would be surprised—they would have seen the obvious in all the books, essays, and speeches prior and connected the dots.

    Like

  23. JP says:

    Can you be specific? In what way do you think they would they restrict religious liberties? Any example in mind?

    Like

  24. Darrell says:

    JP,

    We have one guy telling us “religion poisons everything”, one guy suggesting religion is more dangerous than alcohol and similar to a mental disorder, and the other suggesting religious instruction is a form of child abuse. What specifically would you need after that? Seriously? You are joking, right?

    Would you need to hear a specific example of a religious fundamentalist here in the US talking about what law exactly, what policy specifically, they may get rid of (or put in place) before you sort of came to the conclusion they may restrict secular liberties simply based upon the hostility, tone, and direction of their writings and media?

    I think you have a double-standard. I think both types of fundamentalism, whether of the secular (new atheist) or religious type, to be equally destructive in the areas of civil and religious liberty. And I don't think such an observation to be astonishing.

    Like

  25. JP says:

    Hi Darrell,

    I am only interested in what you think these restrictions to religious liberties might be. Surely you have something in mind? I don't see why you're not willing to give examples.

    The thing is, I would gladly discuss any particular issue but it's very difficult to go on without getting specific.

    And, by the way, I would ask the same thing of religious fundamentalists if this were the topic.

    Like

  26. Darrell says:

    JP,

    Do you think if, God forbid, the Religious Right was to somehow gain control of the centers of power in the US (or any country) they would move to restrict, pass laws, get rid of others, and basically move in a direction that would be negative in the sense of liberty in general as we now understand it? In general?

    Like

  27. JP says:

    The thing is, “liberty in general” is a very tricky thing. This is what specifics are for.

    I am not that familiar with the RR in the US but I suppose they might, for example, make abortion illegal or prohibit the teaching of evolution.

    See how easy it is to give examples? Now, what about examples of what, according to you, Dennett and friends would do?

    Like

  28. Darrell says:

    JP,

    I gave you their writings. Those are examples. If someone tells me they think believing in God is borderline psychosis and more dangerous than alcohol, why shouldn't I believe they would think it a good thing to restrict the liberties of those types of people? We do restrict what people can do with alcohol, right? We do restrict what people with mental disorders can do, right? If some religious instruction is tantamount to child abuse, might there not be some educational laws and policies changed? What am I missing here?

    Again, are you joking? To ask for a specific example in light of their own words, is to miss the forest for the trees.

    By the way, outlawing abortion and restricting (or outlawing) the teaching of evolution is not the same as saying it would be illegal to be an atheist or that atheists were mentally ill or child abusers if they taught atheism to their children. However, do you really think they would just stop with abortion and evolution and not move into those other areas based upon their writings and media? If so, I have a bridge here in the Bay Area I would like to sell you.

    Like

  29. JP says:

    This should be a very simple matter.

    You make this claim: Dennett and friends, if given the power, would restrict religious liberties.

    Very well. The natural question is: How would they proceed? What liberties? What legislation would they pass?

    In answer to this you give examples (well, caricatures) of things they don't like with religion or that they say are problematic or should studied. Not the same thing at all. Counter-example: one may be against smoking but totally for the right to smoke.

    I suppose you must have your reasons not to commit yourself to even a single specific example but, sorry, it is beyond me to understand why. I don't get this at all.

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  30. Darrell says:

    JP,

    “Very well. The natural question is: How would they proceed? What liberties? What legislation would they pass?… In answer to this you give examples (well, caricatures) of things they don't like with religion or that they say are problematic or should studied. Not the same thing at all.”

    Ahhh…I see. You think them “caricatures”. Interesting. So, when you hear all the religious fundamentalists noting the things they don’t like or are problematic, I’m assuming you don’t think such a problem, right? You don’t think they might actually, once they had power or influence, might actually work to make those things illegal (or pass new laws) or restrict current rights (laws), whatever they might be, right? You don’t care how they might proceed, what liberties, what laws, right? You hold this for both sides, both fundamental-isms, right? Do I hear you correctly?

    Simple question. Any answer?

    By the way, did anyone care how they were going to “proceed” once they had heard a Hitler, Stalin, or other nut tyrant? I mean, who cares at that point? Are you joking still? You can't be serious…please tell me this is a joke…

    You are willing to defend this type fundamentalism?

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  31. JP says:

    […] they think believing in God is borderline psychosis and more dangerous than alcohol.

    […] the other suggesting religious instruction is a form of child abuse.

    These are caricatures.

    As for the rest, I understand you're totally unwilling to give any specifics as to what you think Dennett and friends would do. I was interested in your opinion and asked in good faith but it seems I wasted my time and yours. Perhaps another day.

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  32. Darrell says:

    They are not “caricatures” at all–in the slightest. One could not make this stuff up. These are their own words. Again, are you kidding me? Even other atheists and humanists have noted this. They are radicals. They represent the fringe.

    I see though why it bothers you. It may say too much about your own position. I get it. No worries.

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  33. Darrell says:

    JP,

    I will readily admit my language was over the top and that seems to be your focus. Rather than write, the new atheists “do not want religious liberty at all”, I should have written, “given their pathological and intense dislike of religion, we should take little comfort in any supposed affection on their part for religious liberty in general.”

    Is that better? I also hope in the future you read religious fundamentalists as generously as you seem to read the new atheists as far as what they might or might not do once in power.

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