Pharyngula

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  1. #1 Jason
    February 6, 2007

    Jonathan Badger,

    Saying “This is what we believe and you are evil, damned, and/or stupid for believing otherwise” is pretty jerky

    I believe that religious adherents typically think in “stupid” ways (that is, in unreasonable, uncritical, irrational ways) and behave in “evil” ways (that is, in highly unethical ways) when it comes to their religion. I also believe, per Richard Dawkins, that belief in God is a kind of delusion. If you object to the public expression of these beliefs about God and religion, you’re the jerk.

  2. #2 Jonathan Badger
    February 6, 2007

    I believe that religious adherents typically think in “stupid” ways (that is, in unreasonable, uncritical, irrational ways) and behave in “evil” ways (that is, in highly unethical ways) when it comes to their religion. I also believe, per Richard Dawkins, that belief in God is a kind of delusion.

    Can you *really* not see that’s *exactly* the way theists see atheists? Ignore for a second the conviction that you’re right. It’s like the Christians mentioned here a few months back that were discomforted when a group of Buddhists gave a prayer during a football game and couldn’t figure out that’s what non-Christians feel during Christian prayer.

  3. #3 Alexander Vargas
    February 6, 2007

    Stogoe, you can say all of that, anytime you bump into any “non-jerk” if you want but, moved by compassion, I suggest you wouldn’t, cause its freaking funny. Gays and black people must be jerks, or be “uncle toms”, hahaha the whole friggin paranoid thing is hilarious.
    Keep it up boys, this is fun. Interestingly, Dawkins is not an ill-manered jerk. He mostly says some incredibly silly prejudiced things, which are ultimately worse for himself.
    Truth is, anyone can tell that being a jerk simply does not work as far as furthering the acknowledgment of evolution goes.
    Oh, I forgot, evolution is a minor issue when it comes to the greater “war on religion”.

  4. #4 Chris
    February 7, 2007
    I believe that religious adherents typically think in “stupid” ways (that is, in unreasonable, uncritical, irrational ways) and behave in “evil” ways (that is, in highly unethical ways) when it comes to their religion. I also believe, per Richard Dawkins, that belief in God is a kind of delusion.

    Can you *really* not see that’s *exactly* the way theists see atheists? Ignore for a second the conviction that you’re right.

    Should he also ignore the scientific evidence that he’s right? Chapter 4 of Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians deals with authoritarianism and fundamentalism, and surprise surprise, fundamentalists really *do* act pretty much exactly the way Jason believes they act (and much more so than non-fundamentalists).

    The definition of “delusion” is a little more slippery, but it certainly is a belief not supported by credible evidence. If someone had equally strong faith in Santa Claus, fairies or Bertrand Russell’s teapot, they probably would be classified as deluded.

    It’s like the Christians mentioned here a few months back that were discomforted when a group of Buddhists gave a prayer during a football game and couldn’t figure out that’s what non-Christians feel during Christian prayer.

    Interestingly, this also describes quite well Christian attitudes to non-Christians (including atheists) attempting to promote their beliefs. They think it’s really horribly wrong and see no connection whatsoever to their own aggressive (sometimes literally) promotion of their own beliefs. (Altemeyer documents this one too.)

    Certainly, when I heard about the group of people going door-to-door to promote atheism, I’d say that anyone whose door they knock on has the right to tell them to get lost, just like I have the right to tell door-to-door Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other proselytizers to get lost. That’s religious equality. (Personally I wouldn’t describe such behavior as “jerky” as long as they actually do leave when you ask them to, and aren’t rude or threatening. Others may disagree, though.) But I don’t think anyone got death threats for writing The Purpose-Driven Life or numerous other books on why you should accept Jesus… so why should Dawkins get death and hell threats for The God Delusion? That’s not equal at all.

  5. #5 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 7, 2007

    What I learn from Jonathan Badger is that I’m not enough of a jerk, while ironically he is according to his definition, trying to tell me both how to think and act.

    If making my views heard is being a jerk, I am now inspired to work harder on earning my jerkhood.

    Interestingly, Dawkins is not an ill-manered jerk. He mostly says some incredibly silly prejudiced things,

    Vargas always manage to say some incredibly silly and funny things to show us just how ill conceived most of his thoughts really are. I can’t think of many people having such considered opinions as Dawkins – and he has written several books laying them out.

    Of course Vargas have to characterize his troll focus as making “prejudiced” statements. But the rest of us hear the echo.

  6. #6 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 7, 2007

    What I learn from Jonathan Badger is that I’m not enough of a jerk, while ironically he is according to his definition, trying to tell me both how to think and act.

    If making my views heard is being a jerk, I am now inspired to work harder on earning my jerkhood.

    Interestingly, Dawkins is not an ill-manered jerk. He mostly says some incredibly silly prejudiced things,

    Vargas always manage to say some incredibly silly and funny things to show us just how ill conceived most of his thoughts really are. I can’t think of many people having such considered opinions as Dawkins – and he has written several books laying them out.

    Of course Vargas have to characterize his troll focus as making “prejudiced” statements. But the rest of us hear the echo.

  7. #7 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 7, 2007

    “I am now inspired to work harder on earning my jerkhood.” Oh, and I forgot to add: And this is a start. ;-)

  8. #8 Alexander Vargas
    February 7, 2007

    Larsson, I am truly sorry that you are incapable of distinguishing silliness when Dawkins talks. Most people know he has said truly very silly things.
    Further you seem not to be able to distinguish between academia and best-seller paperback writing. Wake up. The only place where dawkins is taken seriously is at the level of the amateur crowds into naïve scientism. Evolutionary biology? Dawkins has been nobody to the field for most of his time now. Philosophy, history, social sciences? After all, these are the areas to which dawkins is supposedly directing his attention. Again, no merits to overcome academic indifference to his contributions in these fields. This is obvious: Dawkins views in these fileds are simplistic declamations of the excat kind we may expect from a a scientistic “moralizer of reason”. These views are false, and prejudiced indeed.

  9. #9 Alexander Vargas
    February 7, 2007

    Of course the entire scientistic thing is silly, but Dawkins has given us some specially silly “pearls” to collect that even you guys should be able to recognize… but then again, maybe you can’t. I myself can only laugh at ideas such as keeping saddam alive for experiments…go ahead, you may defend it if you want, but don’t expect much of a response from me. I have no interest in debating about something that is obviously stupid as if it weren’t

  10. #10 stogoe
    February 7, 2007

    Oh, Vargas got the vapors when mean ol mista Dawkins spoke up against the hanging of Saddam as terrorporn.

  11. #11 Alexander Vargas
    February 7, 2007

    No, I got the giggles, because dawkins is giving science as a reason not to hang him. I guess dawkins really needs that, since he is all about “moralizing” through science. Otherwise he might not have found any compelling reason why saddam should not have been hanged. Cute.
    I am against death penalty, but for other reasons. You guys don’t get it, ever. See why debating with you guys can be so boring? Specially when you are intent on “licking the sweat of Dawkins balls” (in the language of Stogoe).

  12. #12 Alexander Vargas
    February 7, 2007

    So, we agree that the reason given by Dawkins is at least superfluous; there are many others, and if we had to choose, nobody would choose Dawkins’s reason.
    I just want to add that as well as being superfluous, it is sloppy, silly speculation of the paperback-selling type. How does dawkins plan to obtain anything information we don’t already know about dictators? Exactly what he had in mind to do to Saddam? All alternatives I can think of are hilarious.

  13. #13 Alexander Vargas
    February 7, 2007

    I was wondering, how come I am not disemvowelled already? After all I am exposing Dawkins. That gets me disemvowelled here almost every time!
    OK PZ, I’m not interested in keeeping on, so don’t worry. You can keep your record of non- censoring for some while longer, but seriously: you should allow people to express whatever they think about dawkins, PZ. That’s the right thing, what is best for all. It can’t be that you allow jerkness when talking about anyone *but* Dawkins. Allow people to criticize dawkins in any tone they want. It is as simple as that.

  14. #14 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2007

    Truth is, anyone can tell that being a jerk simply does not work as far as furthering the acknowledgment of evolution goes.

    neither does being an idiot, as you prove to us whenever you regail us with your “thoughts”, Vargas.

  15. #15 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 8, 2007

    Jonathan:

    Not being a jerk doesn’t mean never disagreeing with anyone.

    This started because you implied non-Chamberlain atheists were jerks. Here you say that disagreement is allowed. All non-Chamberlain atheists do is disagree with theists, in “presenting one’s beliefs publicly as the only beliefs that intelligent or moral people can hold”.

    And that is what this is about. Either you agree that one can state general opinions without being a jerk. Or you disagree by presenting your general opinion as the only one we should hold, in which case you are a jerk by your own definition.

    Alexander:

    Larsson, I am truly sorry that you are incapable of distinguishing silliness when Dawkins talks.

    Strawman. I didn’t claim he hadn’t said silly things. I objected to your characterizing his thoughts as prejudiced.

    Further you seem not to be able to distinguish between academia and best-seller paperback writing.

    Another strawman. I wasn’t discussing his science – I was discussing his opinions.

    And as several has noted, in his writings about religion he is targeting the religious, not the theologists. The Courtiers Response is becoming tedious. And false. And prejudiced.

  16. #16 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 8, 2007

    Jonathan:

    Not being a jerk doesn’t mean never disagreeing with anyone.

    This started because you implied non-Chamberlain atheists were jerks. Here you say that disagreement is allowed. All non-Chamberlain atheists do is disagree with theists, in “presenting one’s beliefs publicly as the only beliefs that intelligent or moral people can hold”.

    And that is what this is about. Either you agree that one can state general opinions without being a jerk. Or you disagree by presenting your general opinion as the only one we should hold, in which case you are a jerk by your own definition.

    Alexander:

    Larsson, I am truly sorry that you are incapable of distinguishing silliness when Dawkins talks.

    Strawman. I didn’t claim he hadn’t said silly things. I objected to your characterizing his thoughts as prejudiced.

    Further you seem not to be able to distinguish between academia and best-seller paperback writing.

    Another strawman. I wasn’t discussing his science – I was discussing his opinions.

    And as several has noted, in his writings about religion he is targeting the religious, not the theologists. The Courtiers Response is becoming tedious. And false. And prejudiced.

  17. #17 Alexander Vargas
    February 8, 2007

    I’m just pointing out the fact that Dawkins’s opinions fail to be taken seriously by the academia. Do not delude yourselves into thinking he is a great scientist of intellectual. If this is a courtier reply, so be it! It is not less true for that, so I will point it out anyway. Academia is academia, pop writing is pop writing.
    I understand that if you feel invaded by religion, and if you like science, yet are basically ignorant in philosophy and social sciences, Dawkins may make a very big impression on you. You may even love him.
    But to those who have previously accumulated other readings, Dawkins does not impress. Rather, we can be apalled by the silliness of many of his statements. Does this really help atheism?

  18. #18 thwaite
    February 8, 2007

    Vargas:

    You’ve made your opinion of Dawkins very clear, and very boring. Others, academics included, have other opinions of his corpus. Here’s a recent compendium, in fact it’s a festschrift with many useful essays:

    Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think: Reflections by Scientists, Writers, and Philosophers by Alan Grafen and Mark Ridley, 2006.

    Grafen is a behavioral ecologist; Ridley is an evolutionary biologist.

    …and you’d be less boring if you enlarged your commentary to Dawkins’ conceptual origins which I’m confident you’re familiar with (in addition to his mentor Nikko Tinbergen): George Williams and W. D. Hamilton, both venerated academics.

    You can do better. Please do.

  19. #19 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 8, 2007

    It is not less true for that, so I will point it out anyway.

    But since the post was about no “not-being-a-jerk-about-it” requirement for atheists, your opinions about his academic status and silliness of his claims are both besides the point, and boring to boot.

    You would be better off joining the original discussion instead.

  20. #20 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 9, 2007

    They merely disagree on what the beliefs are.

    Certainly, as they should.

    Stating beliefs and even arguing in favor of those beliefs is not the same as “presenting one’s beliefs publicly as the only beliefs that intelligent or moral people can hold”.

    How is “presenting one’s beliefs publicly as the only beliefs that intelligent or moral people can hold” not a belief?

    It could be annoying, but it is still just an opinion, or possibly a justified claim.

    You also forgot to explain how your opinion that some general opinions should not be stated as they are does not make you a jerk by your own argument.

  21. #21 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 10, 2007

    Because it isn’t a belief. It’s a *behavior*.

    Presenting beliefs or opinions or justified claims, one time or many, is a behavior all right. What is your point here?

    I’m not saying that people who disagree with me are either unintelligent or immoral.

    Stating that people are unintelligent or immoral is an opinion, in the absence of measures. You have not proposed any measure to distinguish this opinion from other such. I get the impression that this is important for you – is it hard, and if it is why do you think it so?

    And again, you have not yet explained how your opinion that some general opinions should not be stated as they are does not make you a jerk by your own argument. I repeat this since it is IMO the main problem with your view on free speech and how it should be valued.

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