NA’s in the News

Let’s see to what my homeys have been up.

Richard Dawkins, that little rabble rouser, is rightly vexed by the respectful treatment the Pope has been receiving during his trip to England.

Addressing a crowd of roughly 15,000 people, Dawkins unleashed this:

Joseph Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity.

He is an enemy of children, whose bodies he has allowed to be raped and whose minds he has encouraged to be infected with guilt. It is embarrassingly clear that the church is less concerned with saving child bodies from rapists than with saving priestly souls from hell: and most concerned with saving the long-term reputation of the church itself.

He is an enemy of gay people, bestowing on them the sort of bigotry that his church used to reserve for Jews.

He is an enemy of women – barring them from the priesthood as though a penis were an essential tool for pastoral duties. What other employer is allowed to discriminate on grounds of sex, when filling a job that manifestly doesn’t require physical strength or some other quality that only males might be thought to have?

He is an enemy of truth, promoting barefaced lies about condoms not protecting against AIDS, especially in Africa.

He is an enemy of the poorest people on the planet, condemning them to inflated families that they cannot feed, and so keeping them in the bondage of perpetual poverty. A poverty that sits ill with the obscene riches of the Vatican.

He is an enemy of science, obstructing vital stem-cell research, on grounds not of morality but of pre-scientific superstition.

Exactly right. Well said!

Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens recently debated David Berlinski on the question, “Does Atheism Poison Everything?” Of course, this is a play on the subtitle of Hitchens’ book. Now, I grant that I am not an unbiased source. But I must say that I was struck by how poorly Berlinski did. He seemed positively comatose, and had almost nothing to say. Hitchens was a little less fiery than usual, but his arguments were spot-on and made with his usual eloquence. At only an hour, it is well worth watching in its entirety.


  1. #1 Ivan
    September 22, 2010

    How about GAs instead of NAs, as Jerry Coyne has suggested (gnu atheists). 🙂

    I watched the Hitchens/Berlinski thing. It wasn’t worth watching, except maybe for Hitchens’ righteous smiting of Berlinski’s utter dumbassery. There wasn’t really a debate, just Berlinski repeating himself and refusing to engage.

    I was aware of Berlinski’s pompous dickbaggery, from Expelled among other things, but it didn’t prepare me for, as you say, comatose pompous dickbaggery.

  2. #2 Bob Carlson
    September 23, 2010

    He seemed positively comatose, and had almost nothing to say.

    Gee, I thought I heard him say that math and physics are the only hard sciences, and I thought I heard him say that Hawking’s only significant work had been done 40 years ago. It seemed to me as if he was implying that Hawking’s work was trivial in comparison to his own, although I have to wonder what, if anything, Berlinski has contributed in either of the fields, math and physics, he sees himself as expert in.

  3. #3 SLC
    September 23, 2010

    Re Bob Carlson @ #2

    As far as I can determine, Dr. Berlinski (his PhD is in philosophy, not mathematics) has never published anything in a peer reviewed mathematics or physics journal.

  4. #4 Tyler DiPietro
    September 23, 2010

    “Gee, I thought I heard him say that math and physics are the only hard sciences…”

    He knows about as much about either as you might expect from a PhD in Philosophy.

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