Pharyngula

It’s not nice to annoy a fellow atheist, but once again we’ve got someone bound and determined to promote himself by dividing atheists into artificial camps and slamming the side with which he doesn’t identify. Greg Epstein, a “humanist chaplain” (whatever the hell that contradictory concatenation means), decided to disavow those horrible people like Dawkins and Harris as “fundamentalist atheists”. Outrage
ensued.

Ho-hum.

Whenever I see someone jabbering about “fundamentalist atheists”, a combination of terms that makes no sense at all and immediately reveals the speaker’s ignorance of both fundamentalism and atheism, I just write them off out of hand. It means we’re dealing with a moron. Maybe Greg Epstein has some great ideas and goals, but pffft, screw him, he’s not worth listening to. Moron.

However, the Friendly Atheist does ask a good question. We clearly have a division, with some of us being more <ahem> vigorous and uncompromising in our striving towards a consistently godless ideal, and others being a bit more laissez faire. What are we going to call those obnoxious loud-mouthed atheists who won’t sit quietly in the corner?

I have a word.

It’s “uppity.”

You can just call us those damned uppity atheists. Really, I won’t mind. I also won’t dismiss you as a moron, Uncle.

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    The following will be snarky, quite possibly snide, and most probably unbecoming a serious discussion.

    Q. “So what should we ornery atheists call ourselves?”

    A. Correct?

  2. #2 Will E.
    April 5, 2007

    See we atheists are supposed to be polite and quiet in the corner and not upset everyone with our party-pooper skepticism and reliance on evidence. And as soon as we open our mouths, we’re often accused of being the fundamentalists’ best friends, because our unlikable intensity serves only to drive people further into the arms of theism (I believe Dembski has accused Dawkins of this). However, that rhetoric never translates the other way: that tireless godbags will drive people to atheism. Funny, that.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    Actually, to be perfectly frank, I’m not that fond of the word atheist, at least applied to myself. I mean, it’s true, but it’s awfully uninformative! In terms of how I really live my life, both in my day-to-day affairs and in my metaphysical ponderings, the fact that I don’t believe in any gods — and, more strongly put, that I straight-up believe that Jehovah does not exist — my atheism is less significant than the fact that I am a Dresden Dolls fan.

    Isaac Asimov once wrote:

    I’ve never been particularly careful about what label I placed on my beliefs. I believe in the scientific method and the rule of reason as a way of understanding the natural Universe. I don’t believe in the existence of entities that cannot be reached by such a method and such a rule and are therefore “supernatural.” I certainly don’t believe in the mythologies of our society, in Heaven and Hell, in God and angels, in Satan and demons. I’ve thought of myself as an “atheist,” but that simply described what I didn’t believe in, not what I did.

    Gradually, though, I became aware that there was a movement called “humanism,” which used that name because, to put it most simply, Humanists believe that human beings produced the progressive advance of human society and also the ills that plague it. They believe that if the ills are to be alleviated, it is humanity that will have to do the job. They disbelieve in the influence of the supernatural on either the good or the bad of society, on either its ills or the alleviation of those ills.

    (I. Asimov: A Memoir, 1994, p. 508.)

    So, fine, I guess I’m a Humanist. By that definition, anyway. (“Freethinker” is also nice; “bitchy freethinker” even better.) If you talk about human beings being “supreme” in any way or having some transcendent importance beyond what reason can justify (I bet we can screw up our planet more than most species, for example), then no, I’m not in your club. The Randroid “man-worshipers” are down the hall.

  4. #4 Russell
    April 5, 2007

    I have encountered Objectivists and Marxists who seem to me fundamentalist in their adherence to the writings they take as foundational, in much the same manner as fundamentalist Christians. But neither Dawkins nor Harris strike me as ideological in that sense, and it seems as odd to me to describe an Objectivist as a fundamentalist atheist as it would to describe a Calvinist Christian as a fundamentalist determinist. Atheism and determinism are merely doctrines of Objectivism and Calvinism, respectively, and it is the ideology as a whole that the adherent takes in a fundamentalist fashion.

  5. #5 SteveM
    April 5, 2007

    I think he is using “fundamentalist” as a euphemism for “intolerant”. Dawkins especially seems to be quite intolerant of creationists and religion in general, just as christian fundamentalists are intolerant of everybody except christian fundamentalists. It seems very common to use a word not so much for its actual definition but to allude to some other characteristic shared by that word. So in this case he is saying Dawkins attitudes towards theists is very similar to fundamentalists attitudes towards atheists.

    So, I gues I’m suggesting “Intolerant Atheist” as the term for you “ornery atheists”. :)

  6. #6 Bob
    April 5, 2007

    Oran, writing from Bizarro-land? ONLY religious groups are the ones fighting against all those social agenda items. It seems like maybe you have a particular headache with Dawkins & Harris. concern troll much?

  7. #7 AgnosticOracle
    April 5, 2007

    “uppity” african americans stuck up for their basic rights. I don’t think the label applies very well to well-educated, upper middle-class atheists sticking up for their right to ridicule others, do you?

    When we look back at the civil rights movement it is easy to see it as just standing up for basic rights. But the idea that basic rights applied to black was alien in much of American culture at the time.

    The civil rights movement was a critic and an attack on the culture of America at the time. An attack it richly deserved but an attack none the less.

    Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, PZ and others are delivering an attack on the culture of today. It is also an attack that is richly deserved.

    As with the civil rights movement various people use different tactics. It is perfectly reasonable to argue which tactics are the best. Though I think we should tone down the rhetoric of our internal debate. That goes both towards calling Harris, et al fundamentalist and calling others Chamberlain. I would argue that the best tactic is a combined arms. Greg Epstein’s soft spoken approach likely helps un-demonize atheist to the religious. Dawkins’s outspoken advocacy gives many of us pride and sets the standard that we shouldn’t need to apologize for defending reason.

    Internal debate is good but concern trolling and internal name calling is not.

  8. #8 Tulse
    April 5, 2007

    These nice-sounding social agendas have nothing at all to do with televangelist atheism.

    Nonsense. To note just one specific issue, Dawkins is vehemently and famously opposed to creationism, and has done more to bring attention to that issue that folks like Gould ever did (and don’t get me wrong, I think Gould was a great man).

    On a more general level, those “social agendas” are only “agendas” as opposed to unremarkable, mundane, universally accepted aspects of our lives precisely because it is religious groups, and more broadly religiosity, that has fought against them. And it is precisely this religiosity that Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, PZ, and others are combatting. You may not like the tactics, but tell me the last time in US history that there was such a vigorous and public debate about atheism. These writers have shifted the Overton window on the issue of religion, to where one can actually talk about atheism not as mere oddity, but as a serious challenge to religion. That is the only way to ensure that those “social agenda” items (like basic human rights for women) will be securely obtained.

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    Russell said:

    I have encountered Objectivists and Marxists who seem to me fundamentalist in their adherence to the writings they take as foundational, in much the same manner as fundamentalist Christians. But neither Dawkins nor Harris strike me as ideological in that sense, and it seems as odd to me to describe an Objectivist as a fundamentalist atheist as it would to describe a Calvinist Christian as a fundamentalist determinist. Atheism and determinism are merely doctrines of Objectivism and Calvinism, respectively, and it is the ideology as a whole that the adherent takes in a fundamentalist fashion.

    Thank you!

    Following Godwin’s sterling example, I would like to propose a Law. I use that word only half in jest, for this will be a Law in both the legal and the scientific senses of that word. First, it is an empirical statement:

    1. In any discussion of atheism (skepticism, etc.), the probability that someone will compare a vocal atheist to religious fundamentalists increases to one.

    Following this statement comes the second half, which is a judgment:

    2. The person who makes this comparison will be considered to have lost the argument.

    I’m not trying to make “fundamentalist” a taboo word. The point is that it’s not logical to stick that word upon somebody when “strident”, “vocal” or “inflexible” are actually the qualities for which you think they need criticism.

    Is “Nazi” an appropriate description of all people who express authoritarian views, who want to see the world march in lockstep? No, because that word refers to a specific (loathsome) historical movement and its modern descendants. If you want to call somebody a Nazi, you have to back it up. Never forget, laws were made for people, not the other way round: if you have an argument and evidence on your side, sensible folk will let you “Godwin the thread”. The ethic behind Godwin’s Law is to make a memetically infectious mechanism to ensure that arguments are well-founded, and the same goes for the Dawkinsian analogue I propose.

    People writing articles for glossy magazines like to look at these post-God Delusion kerfluffles and say, “The atheists are divided into just as many denominations as the Protestants!” In a spectacularly unfunny two-part episode, South Park made a similar jest. To me, the most interesting part of this issue is that the claims made by various “denominations” — New Atheists, New Humanists, the People’s Front of Humanism, the Humanist Popular People’s Front and so forth — are in principle empirically testable. What’s more, this matters to us: in one form or another, we all acknowledge the virtue in real-world data.

    “What on earth is Blake talking about now?”

    OK, put it this way: Dawkins has given examples of evidence which could convince him that a god exists (or at least that there exist tremendously powerful forces as yet unknown to science). Carl Sagan has made similar statements, though more in the context, “This is the evidence which could well have existed, but for some reason doesn’t.” Why, as he asks in The Varieties of Scientific Experience, is God so clear in the Bible and so obscure in the world?

    Surely, if Atheist Pope Richard I is willing to make such statements, he is also willing to consider evidence that his chosen tactic for effecting change is ineffective! Not morally unjustified, mind you — leveling that judgment leads only to fog and confusion. The critical point is that one could, by psychological and anthropological methods, judge the effects which Dawkins’ book and lecture-circuit career have on different segments of the populace. This is a question not for philosophy, but for science.

    Furthermore, if we phrase the problem as a scientific question, then we can bring our scientific maturity to the issue. We can take a deep breath and pull out the Baloney Detection Kit. We can even hold mutually contradictory ideas simultaneously in mind as alternate working hypotheses. Really. This is part of the training scientists get during their youthful travels in the mysterious Orient.

    What empirical evidence we have on this matter today is probably contaminated by all sorts of selection bias. It is suggestive, though certainly not conclusive, that The God Delusion has sold so astonishingly well — but that’s only a data point, not a theory of human behavior. We cannot with any fidelity judge whether a tactic is good or bad until we have a reliable way of estimating what its effects will be. It’s tough, but that’s the way the world works. Certainly, the Atheism Is The New Black crowd should have little trouble accepting this state of affairs, given that a predetermined moral order to the Universe is just as unsupported by the evidence as a personal, interventionist Creator.

    We’re supposed to be the Reality-Based Community. Let’s act like it. . . .

  10. #10 Tulse
    April 5, 2007

    In a spectacularly unfunny two-part episode, South Park made a similar jest.

    I thought it was a pretty hilarious episode myself, but largely because of the outrageousness of showing a naked Richard Dawkins having sex with a transexual. (And, in spite of that, I thought Dawkins was actually presented extremely sympathetically, and far less “uppity” than he actually is.)

    I wonder if Dawkins has seen the episode, and what his reaction was…

  11. #11 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2007

    I very much like the simple word “atheist”. It’s clean and direct. It’s why I didn’t care for that “Brights” nonsense at all — it was trying to dress up something in new clothes that we should be proud of naked.

    I’ve also always like the words “freethought” and “freethinker”. It’s a lovely term to unite atheists, agnostics, and deists in the common struggle against oppressive religion.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been informed repeatedly by people I thought were all together on this issue that we “_______ atheists” don’t belong, where some pejorative qualifier is plugged in to disown people like Dawkins or Harris or even li’l ol’ me. There is to be only one tactic in the war against the theocracy and superstition: we are to bow respectfully to all religions, no matter how foolish, and anyone who points out the stupidity of the world’s major religions is to be a pariah. That, apparently, is why we need the new name.

  12. #12 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    Tulse,

    Richard Dawkins had this to say about the South Park episode.

    Finally, I have repeatedly been asked what I think of South Park and of Ted Haggard’s downfall. I won’t say much about either. Schadenfreude is not an appealing emotion so, on Haggard, I’ll say only that if it wasn’t for people of his religious persuasion, people of his sexual persuasion would be free to do what they like without shame and without fear of exposure. I share neither his religious nor his sexual persuasion (that’s an understatement), and I’m buggered if I like being portrayed as a cartoon character buggering a bald transvestite. I wouldn’t have minded so much if only it had been in the service of some serious point, but if there was a serious point in there I couldn’t discern it. And then there’s the matter of the accent they gave me. Now, if only I could be offered a cameo role in The Simpsons, I could show that actor how to do a real British accent.

    On a slightly different track, Carlie said,

    I would never say that atheists are being persecuted today in the same way that African-Americans were in the recent past. If you go back to, say, the Crusades, the comparison would be more apt, but the basic idea of using uppity as a derogatory term is that whoever is being uppity doesn’t “know their place” as inferior to everyone else and refuses to stay there. With that connotation, I think “uppity atheist” is an entirely appropriate way to both call the prejudice as it is and turn around and take back the word at the same time.

    I think it is a pretty fair statement to say that atheists in the United States today are not treated as badly as African-Americans were a half-century ago. Oh, all sorts of unpleasantnesses can and do arise, but like the song says, it could be much worse:

    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you no forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

    However, even taking the difference in degree into consideration, I think the following reaction to pervasive cultural attitudes applies equally well to both situations:

    My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    At the moment, we “fight” our “struggle” with books and YouTube videos. Perhaps, should that unhappy day come when firehoses are turned on a marching crowd of agnostics, history will repeat itself again and these words will have new relevance:

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    Oddly enough, the Alabama public schools never required me to read Letter from Birmingham Jail. Still, giving credit where credit should be due, they made me aware of its existence; I hope many churchgoers can say the same of their Sunday sermons.

  13. #13 Louis
    April 5, 2007

    PZ,

    This is what AMAZES me about the whole “tactics debate”: it’s just so badly carried out by the “Chamberlain School” (and to be blunt although I use that term I sodding well hate it, it’s not particularly accurate even those some elements of it resonate well).

    I freely admit that not all tactics work with all people, so Dawkins will work for some and not for others. Other methods will also have the same spread of results. I explicitly don’t agree btw that Dawkins and Harris are the “extreme end” of atheist public engagement, I really don’t think that say anything that outrageous. What I DO think is horrendously outrageous is the liberal chucking about of arrant straw versions of their works and arguments. In fact in the whole public and political debate over evolutionary biology/creationism/theism/atheism the one single genuinely controversial topic I can think of is that of tactics.

    In keeping with all genuinely controversial topics, it is generally being mangled beyond all reason. Rather than pathetic infighting what we need to be doing is saying “Yes there are people like Dawkins and Harris and PZ, just like there are different people in all walks of life. If you don’t find their approach to the subject appealing then I am sure there are myriad other ways we could explore any questions you might have”. At the end of the day, that’s what Dawkins et al are saying anyway, people just ain’t listening too good! I think that while the issue of tactics is a good one that needs discussion, there is no “radical atheist” subgroup that needs to be delineated. I think it’s a category error. But hey, anyone can feel free to disagree ;-)

    Louis

  14. #14 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    bboucek:

    One belief does not a system make. The atheism of Dawkins, Myers, Sokal, etc., etc. is a consequence, socially significant but logically incidental, of their acceptance of the scientific method as a valid way of understanding the natural world. Atheism, agnosticism, deism and so forth are what results when skeptical inquiry and an aptitude for wonder are combined in a person’s life.

    Many vocal atheists (and remember this important point from above, atheists do have a belief system) are so strident and vocal in their non-belief in god that their behavior emulates those religious fundamentalists who do proselytize.

    In the interests of civil dialogue and rational discourse, please provide evidence of these “many vocal atheists” and their actions. Assertions without evidence do not advance the discussion. Neither silly and juvenile YouTube videos nor uncompromising books equate with the hatred spewed from Focus on the Family or with the Discovery Institute’s blatant lies and propaganda pieces. Never mind the lack of agnostic suicide bombers or roving gangs of deists beating gay men to bloody pulp; even at the level of verbal discourse, the supposed alignment between rationalists and rabid theists is a false equivalence.

  15. #15 C. L. Hanson
    April 5, 2007

    I think the term “fundamentalist atheist” is absurd and is just one more example of the apologist noise machine using the “I know you are, but what am I?” defense, no matter how inappropriate.

    For myself, I don’t see it as a constructive strategy to focus on deconverting people because I’d rather align with religious moderates to try to focus on common goals and foster a separation of church and state. At the same time, I’m fine with Dawkins and Harris speaking their mind about religion; I think it’s a good sign that religion is being subjected to some scrutiny.

    I wish we could avoid this pointless polarization in the secular community, of saying “either you’re fighting to deconvert everyone or you’re telling Dawkins and Harris to shut up.”

  16. #16 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    Scott Hatfield (#71):

    I’ve now filed comment #61 (with some edits) under Recycled Blake Stacey.

  17. #17 Oran Kelley
    April 5, 2007

    Unfortunately, I’ve been informed repeatedly by people I thought were all together on this issue that we “_______ atheists” don’t belong, where some pejorative qualifier is plugged in to disown people like Dawkins or Harris or even li’l ol’ me. There is to be only one tactic in the war against the theocracy and superstition: we are to bow respectfully to all religions, no matter how foolish, and anyone who points out the stupidity of the world’s major religions is to be a pariah. That, apparently, is why we need the new name.

    Seems to be altogether too much self-pity around here. “Concern trolling” is a new one by me, but it seems that when anyone bucks the sycophants, they get accused of being a troll! Woe is me!

    The “Neville Chamberlain atheist” thing is really humorous, because Neville Chamberlain gets dragged into the conversation every time republicans want to do something idiotic. “If you don’t support my idiotic adventure, you are a Chamberlain-esque appeaser! and a snail eating surrender-monkey to boot!” You should be careful who you sound like.

    And I think there is a more “radical” atheistic position out there. One that, say, gets quite worked up when someone suggests that religion might be an adaptation (or the direct result of a cognitive adaptation) rather than a side-effect or malfunction. “We don’t know yet” is apparently not anti-religious enough for some folks, who are absolutely dedicated to the ideas that religion must not be evolutionarily functional, must be seen as pernicious and should be eradicated.

    That position is rather more than mere unbelief, and, I’d say, that position is fundamentally unscientific and ideological, as Scott Atran says in his exchange with Sam Harris.

    This is not a question of appeasing anyone–I have been an unbeliever for a long time, and I don’t feel I have anything to fear from anyone. No reason for self-pity and no reason for paranoia. I am interested in advancing my point of view by understanding religion better, not by making it into a bugaboo.

    Harris and Dawkins seem interested in advancing a disbelief that is characterized by a shallowness, incuriosity and stridency I usually associate with our President.

  18. #18 Bob
    April 5, 2007

    Thanks, Oran. You DO have a particular peeve with Dawkins and Harris.

    Follow up from your remark #50: Do you really truly believe that religious groups push for social advancement? I think they try to sustain status quo at best, or at worst, reversal of progress. I find it incredible that those kind of remarks would come from a non-religio-apologist.

  19. #19 poke
    April 5, 2007

    I use “atheist” for the Dawkins of this world and “self-hating atheist” for anyone who thinks we should be quiet.

  20. #20 Louis
    April 6, 2007

    Oran:

    DING DING DING DING!

    Thank you! You are today’s “Most Egregious Straw Man” winner. Please collect your prize from the front desk.

    We “fundamentalist”/”radical”/”uppity”/whatever atheists like Dawkins, Myers etc are NOT (get this) expressedly NOT advocating, implying, insisting or saying that “everyone should (not) believe as we do”. The very inaccurate, and very annoying, canard that “Those evil bastards are trying to destroy all religion and burn churches and kill christians the fundamentalist totalitarian evil bastards” is a total myth, unfortunately a common one. Even extreme expressions of anti religious sentiment (which I happen to disagree with btw) like “we’d be better off without religion” are vastly distant and different from the standard religious expressions in similar vein, and we don’t have to go to the “fundamentalists religious” to find them.

    What we ARE advocating is that religious ideas and claims are not automatically privileged and socially protected. These are two very, very different things. As someone said elsewhere: an idea, a belief is “respected” for many reasons, not least amongst them is it’s accuracy and truth. Many religious ideas are privileged in the public sphere to a degree that is beyond what their accuracy and truth could earn them. It is THAT which we are openly countering. This is not the same thing as trying to convert people to atheism (a fool’s bargain if there ever was one) or destroy religion (same). It is merely the comment (usually mildly expressed by comparison to religious counterparts) that these ideas lack the substance they claim and as such they are unjustly privileged.

    Not really that fundamentalist now is it?

    Louis

  21. #21 Michael Bérubé
    April 6, 2007

    No one has suggested “ornitheists” yet? And what about those of us who worship Charlie Parker, huh?

  22. #22 Oran Kelley
    April 6, 2007

    We “fundamentalist”/”radical”/”uppity”/whatever atheists like Dawkins, Myers etc are NOT (get this) expressedly NOT advocating, implying, insisting or saying that “everyone should (not) believe as we do”.

    I am not alone, I don’t think, in believing that Dawkins and Harris are on a “Mission to Convert” as Orr put it–a lot of positive reviews of their books express this understanding. That was certainly my feeling reading Dawkins: that one of his missions was to win some readers over to atheism. RichardDawkins.net has a “Conversion Corner” for crying out loud!

    And in fact at least a few of the people posting here pro-Myers/Dawkins/Harris seem to be under the impression that the goal is to eradicate religion (how could that not be the goal if it is as pernicious as advertised?). Admittedly eradication takes it a step further, but it would seem that not everyone thinks conversion is a fool’s bargain.

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