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New atheist standard-bearer: Why it’s okay to be rude to religious people ….

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Further to “Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event In “A lesson from Hitch: When rudeness is called for” (Washington Post, December 18, 2011), materialist philosopher Daniel Dennett informs us,
in a tribute to the late Christopher Hitchens,

We have all heard, endlessly, about how angry and rude the new atheists are. Take a good hard look at their work, at the books and talks by Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, and you will find that they are more civil, less sneering, less given to name-calling than such religious apologists as Terry Eagleton or Alvin Plantinga or Leon Wieseltier. It is just that many people are shocked to see religious institutions, ideas, and spokespeople challenged as intensely as we expect banks, big pharma, and the oil industry to be challenged.

Alvin Plantinga? Where?

Leon Wieseltier isn’t a religious type, even. Just someone who sees something about the new atheists that Dennett embodies.

And who today is shocked to see religious institutions attacked? Or civil liberties, for that matter?

Maybe Dennett is assuming his readers are too sophisticated to know any reason to doubt him.

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15 Replies to “New atheist standard-bearer: Why it’s okay to be rude to religious people ….

  1. 1
    champignon says:

    Dennett:

    Take a good hard look at their work, at the books and talks by Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, and you will find that they are more civil, less sneering, less given to name-calling than such religious apologists as Terry Eagleton or Alvin Plantinga or Leon Wieseltier.

    Or Moshe Averick.

    News asks:

    Alvin Plantinga? Where?

    In his latest book, for example:

    In addition to those dancing on the lunatic fringe such as Richard Dawkins and Peter Atkins, there are perfectly reasonable scientists who reject the idea of special divine action in the world.

    Dennett is absolutely right about the double standard.

  2. 2
    vjtorley says:

    Double standard, champignon? If you’d like to see an example of real rudeness, please check out what P. Z. Myers has to say about Plantinga here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/ph.....nga-pwned/

    and all for raising a dilemma about the trustworthiness of human cognitive processes on metaphysical matters, which had also occurred to Darwin. See here:

    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....mon-sense/

  3. 3
    champignon says:

    And then we have William Dembski showcasing his own rudeness right here at UD, as described by Jason Rosenhouse:

    The title of his entry: “Jerry Coyne — The Herman Munster of Evolutionary Theory.”

    And just below the headline are side-by-side photographs of Coyne and the 1960’s television character. That’s right — his lead point, his main argument, the thing he fancied so clever he just needed to put it on the main page of his blog, was a crack about a person’s physical appearance.

    Classy, huh? I’d link to it, but Dembski removed the post after getting blasted for it.

    To call the New Atheists rude while glossing over the rudeness of theists is to apply a double standard. Dennett is absolutely right.

  4. 4
    butifnot says:

    Seriously Champignon the rank foulness of much of the atheist lot is on display for the whole world. It’s almost a calling card, something to to take pride in. But ooohh, Dembski made a joke about someone (and it was funny and not particularly mean spirited).

  5. 5
    champignon says:

    butifnot,

    But ooohh, Dembski made a joke about someone (and it was funny and not particularly mean spirited).

    Did you also think it was funny when Dembski falsely accused Kevin Padian of racism, then had to apologize and retract his accusation?

  6. 6
    Stu7 says:

    Seriously? Have you visited the websites of the much-lauded heralds of New Atheism recently.
    Just a cursory glance at the likes of P.Z Myers’ blog reveals contempt and ridicule.

    In fact the word “idiot” must one of Myers’ most commonly used terms in describing someone associated with ID or Creationism.

  7. 7
    markf says:

    The theist/atheist mutual rudeness is part of the enormous cultural divide in the USA today between left and right which is almost paralysing the US political system and thus affects the rest of the world. I wish both sides would get out of the blame game and start turning the other cheek (yes atheists should follow this excellent advice whatever they think of its provenance).

  8. 8
    champignon says:

    Stu,

    I’m not claiming that no one on the atheist side is ever rude. The point is that there’s plenty of rudeness coming from the theist side also.

    To pretend otherwise requires the application of a double standard.

  9. 9
    kuartus says:

    saying peter atkins is dancing on the lunatic fringe is actually an accurate observation and not so much an insult. He doesnt believe the universe exists for crying out loud! That qualifies as kooky in my book. As for Dawkins,he is either insane, stupid, or wicked,but I’d rather not consider that.

  10. 10
    vjtorley says:

    markf,

    You’re right. I think a courtesy code, agreed to by both sides, would go a long way.

    And even if some people still occasionally feel the need to vent their feelings and insult their ideological opponents, there are classy ways to do it, without resorting to slander, crudity, profanity, derogatory remarks and personal invective. Whatever happened to light-hearted satire?

  11. 11
    Stu7 says:

    No of course, I admit that the evolution / ID / creationism debate has become an intellectual arena of sorts; just as in many other areas like politics.

    However we need to distinguish between wit and outright hostility and boorish behavior.

    As Dawkins once said: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

    Every opportunity Myers get’s on his blog he uses the term “idiot” to describe anyone who opposes evolution.

    It’s a trend that’s growing not only among the renowned evolutionists but more importantly their followers — creationists and ID’ers are wrong so it’s therefore appropriate to treat them as ignorant and stupid. Mark my words it is a trend that will only worsen.

    Naturally in the course of debate, there will be a sparring of minds, but from what I see the vast majority of those who overstep that boundary are those from the atheist camp.

  12. 12
    champignon says:

    So what kind of rudeness is Dennett actually advocating?

    He writes:

    We [Dennett and Christopher Hitchens] were both appearing in a debate… One of the speakers for the other side, the God side, was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and after our short set pieces, the rebuttals started with the rabbi. We each were allotted four minutes only for rebuttal, and the rabbi launched into a series of outrageous claims trying to besmirch Darwin and evolutionary biology by claiming that Hitler was inspired by Darwin to organize slaughters to ensure the survival of his race. I sat there, dumfounded and appalled, and tried to figure out how best to rebut this obscene misrepresentation when my turn came.

    Christopher didn’t wait his turn. “Shame! Shame!” he bellowed, interrupting Boteach in mid-sentence. It worked. Boteach backpedaled, insisting he was only quoting somebody who had thus opined at the time. Christopher had broken the spell, and a particularly noxious spell it was.

    …what Christopher showed me–and I keep it in mind now wherever I speak–is that there is a time for politeness and there is a time when you are obliged to be rude, as rude as you have to be to stop such pollution of young minds in its tracks with a quick, unignorable shock.

    …The main point is this: Don’t let anybody play the God card in these discussions as if it were a “Get Out of Jail Free” card that excuses misrepresentation. Hitch would not hesitate to call out the pope, or Mother Teresa, or anybody else. Honor his memory by following his example.

    To which I say, amen.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    So Champ, what are you really trying to say with your last post??? its OK for a atheists to be as rude and obnoxious as they want wherever and whenever it suits their deceptive purposes of denying Hitler was connected to Darwinian thought???? And just what in blue blazes is your unchanging moral standard that you are held accountable to in the first place??? As far as I can tell the atheists pretty much do whatever they want whenever they want, not really considering the long term harm they may do to themselves (Hell), nor do they seem to give a damn, one iota, with the truth, save to distort it, for indeed they lie continually solely to protect their atheism!!! I really would not have believed such insanity possible unless I had seen it first hand!!! As for your reference to Hitchens insinuating that Hitler was not influenced by Darwin; all I can say is that YOU HAVE GOT TO BE STARK RAVING MAD if you believe as such!!!

    Was Hitler influenced by Darwin or by Christianity? Some thoughts on posts by Mr ‘Godwin’
    http://hitchensblog.mailonsund.....odwin.html

    Can Darwinists Condemn Hitler and Remain Consistent with Their Darwinism? – Richard Weikart -October 27, 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52331.html

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    Moreover champ, it turns out that the more atheistic nations of the 20th century were far more ‘rude’ than the pagan nation of NAZI Germany;

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]

    I BACKGROUND

    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS

    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS

    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS

    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, is probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    Atheist Atrocities Frightening Stats About Atheists – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP1KpNEeRYU

    “for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (1947), p. 15. (Note the year that this was written was shortly after the German ‘master race’ was defeated in World War II)

  14. 14
    tjguy says:

    It is respectable, don’t you think, that he at least admits when he is wrong and apologizes? That’s a pretty good trait in my book, especially since no one is perfect. That is not to excuse the wrong though, even if it was inadvertent.

    As was pointed out, no one comes even close to meeting PZ’s standard of meanness. Sure, once in a while IDers probably get carried away, but the atheists are hands down winners in this competition!

  15. 15
    Blue_Savannah says:

    There’s a difference between challenging and insulting. I don’t mind defending my faith, in fact I think I do quote well because the evidence for God is overwhelming.

    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

    1 Peter 3:15

    To me, there’s no possibility of Christ Jesus not existing. As C.S Lewis said:

    “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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