I must protest!

The ScienceBlogs buzz today is on Atheism and Civil Rights, and the opening blurb gets it wrong.

Richard Dawkins and other contemporary atheists have argued recently that America’s faithless are subject to discrimination akin to that faced by women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. But is atheism better understood as a civil rights issue, or a public image problem?

Nisbet has successfully “framed” Richard Dawkins in the old sense of the word. He has not made that claim. I haven’t made that claim, unless you’re taking “akin” in the weakest, most meaningless sense of the word. So ignore the blurb, unless you’re looking for another example of how “framing” skills can distort a debate.


  1. #1 Michael Bains
    June 29, 2007

    Right. Atheists are despised, generally completely misapprehended and feared like the boogeyman in someone else’s closet, but never do I recall Dawkins or our esteemed host (or any of the rest o’ the lot {-; ) suggesting our ostracism occurs under the same aegis as the discrimination which is still faced daily by folk whose gender, skin-tone or ethnicity mark them as “other”.

    Last time I checked, no prospective employers nor voter registration centers were grilling me ’bout the particulars of my religion, or lack there-of. The employers, at any rate, did seem quite comfortable with my pale-skinned maleness though.

    Go figure…

  2. #2 PeteK
    June 29, 2007

    “If you read my books, you’ll find that I don’t actually talk about God at all. The reason I seem to always talk about God, if I may say so, is that people like you are always asking me about it. I’m not very interested in God. I mean, from my perspective, why God? Why not Thor or Zeus? Why not Apollo or Athena? There are all sorts of gods that people have believed in, and I don’t think any of them are much more interesting than any other.” Richard Dawkins, to Ben Wattenberg.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.