Intellectual freedom

Intellectual freedom: New atheists vs. everybody else

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 I only got round to posting about this conference just now, and do not know if anyone else did before, but note this:

Atheists have disabled the web page for the ID conference in Castle Rock this weekend. They are also calling the 800 number and trying to tie up the lines so others cannot get through. This is really ugly. I am re-posting the information on this event info below. They will take people at the door, but get there early. Despite the opposition, several hundred have already signed up. If so inclined, pray for the vicious souls doing this and for the success of the event itself. (October 29, 2009)

Two comments come immediately to mind:

1. The “new atheists” are not your granddad’s atheists, who were usually just profs who didn’t believe in God, for whatever reason. Those profs did believed in a free society, and were willing to concede that they could be wrong.

The “new atheists”are, in my experience, into power and definitely would act as described above. They are a whole different crowd, for whom the free society is a problem. Go here for more on that.

2. New atheists are quite clear about not believing in free will or the reality of the mind. This newsletter gives some sense of it. I would imagine that there are key people in the government of any country to whom the new atheists’ view of citizens (99% chimpanzee?) would be highly welcome – even if those key people sit in religious centres at times, and blather about traditional religion on occasion, and assure us all that we have nothing to worry about.

Frankly, all that stuff is: used to was and done to death and it will wash no more.

The rest of us think free will exists, and think freedom is important.

9 Replies to “Intellectual freedom: New atheists vs. everybody else

  1. 1
    waterbear says:

    Unfortunately the link “Go [here] for more on that” is broken to the explaination that the new atheists are unlike the old atheists who did believed in a free society.

    I am not sure it is warranted to be certain that the newer atheists are “quite clear about not believing in free will or the reality of the mind”. They claim the mind is an emergent property of the physical brain; they are sure the brain exists so it could follow they feel the mind is also real as a consequence of the brain. I feel uncomfortable dismissing the notion that subjective mind is connected to physical brain. If mind is not a product of the brain, how then to have confidence in the consciousness of a 23 year coma patient which was only deduced after brain scans examined the inner material workings of his brain?

    Are there good books I could get for some background on the brain/mind/spirit controversy?

  2. 2
    mikev6 says:

    While I don’t support this sort of behavior (from any group), and it’s natural to initially suspect a particular opposition group when investigating such an event, is there actual evidence that an atheist group was behind this? Messages left? Other communications? The link doesn’t provide any further information either.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    I can’t prove new atheists did it, any more than I can prove that an outlaw motorcycle gang runs drugs.

    But one must ask, who would want to do this?

    I had a brush with new atheists myself earlier this year, and it wasn’t pretty or fun. I was amazed at the number of angry, bitter people out there who have a roof over their head and three squares a day in a free society.

    If one can’t be happy with that, one just can’t be happy, and it is not God’s fault, whether he exists or not.

    By the way, I do not think that the mind is an emergent property of the brain, any more than I think that God is. Such views don’t even sound plausible to me.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    It might be New – or even Old Atheists. Judging by the inter-denominational friction apparent in another thread, it might even be creationists disappointed by the failure if ID’s “Wedge” strategy.

    In either case, they are misguided.

    As for the mind being an emergent property of the brain, I believe it is. I also believe “emergent property” is not an explanation in itself but only a placeholder for a future explanation that goes into the pathetic level of detail that we would all like to see.

  5. 5
    Retroman says:

    You’re accusing a group of people of something you can’t prove and aren’t even sure they did? As a fellow Christian, I have to tell you, that’s not a good thing to do.

  6. 6
    hummus man says:

    Retroman:

    You’re accusing a group of people of something you can’t prove and aren’t even sure they did?

    Strangely enough, this website was sufficiently skeptical when it came to the alleged crimes in the case of Paul Mirecki.

  7. 7
    whoisyourcreator says:

    Whenever we do a new campaign or have a flurry of hits on our site resulting from an pro-evolution blog, our site gets hacked and a password protect is added so people can’t download it.
    We now contact our server (one of the largest in the world) when this happens and they monitor it for a 24-hour period.
    If anyone has suggestions as to how to avoid this, please let us know.
    Who Is Your Creator
    http://whoisyourcreator.com/

  8. 8
    mikev6 says:

    Denyse:

    I can’t prove new atheists did it, any more than I can prove that an outlaw motorcycle gang runs drugs.

    Ahh – let’s equate atheists with motorcycle gangs – very subtle. It takes effort, but law enforcement is able to find sufficient evidence linking motorcycle gangs to drugs. Strong enough to stand up in court.

    But one must ask, who would want to do this?

    Well, if you have more information, please share. But going only by the blog posts, there isn’t any clear author of these attacks. Let’s speculate:

    – not all ID opponents are atheists. ID has taken a strong stance against theistic evolutionists – one could be a Christian, an evolutionist, and seriously opposed to ID.

    – as Seversky has noted, Christian fundamentalists are not always happy with ID’s stance on some points.

    – there could be personal motives – a jilted lover, professional jealousy, etc. directed at one of the conference speakers, the church, etc.

    – someone without any ideology decides to attack the conference as a technical challenge.

    – it could be a hoax manufactured by the conference itself, or some member of the staff.

    Are all these equally likely? Nope. But any culprit is speculation without more information.

    Furthermore, it’s not even clear how many people were involved. It’s technically possible for a single individual to run brute-force password attacks and mount a DDOS attack. An automatic dialer to attack a toll-free line is hardly a major challenge, especially if the hunt group on the line was relatively small.

    So we could have one disgruntled person who may or may not be an athiest. Yet we can use this to tar an entire group? I don’t think all Catholics are pedophiles, despite there being clear evidence that some are.

  9. 9
    mikev6 says:

    Whoisyourcreator:

    Whenever we do a new campaign or have a flurry of hits on our site resulting from an pro-evolution blog, our site gets hacked and a password protect is added so people can’t download it.
    We now contact our server (one of the largest in the world) when this happens and they monitor it for a 24-hour period.
    If anyone has suggestions as to how to avoid this, please let us know.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “password protect is added” in this case. Flurries of traffic are quite common in the social web – I’ve seen traffic to specific pages/content increase by orders of magnitude due to a mention on Stumbleupon or other social sites. Hacking is a different issue. Most social sites deliberately have low password security since ease of access is usually considered more important. Have you considered talking to your site admins to beef up the password requirements? This may lose you a few participants, but it may save you some on-going pain.

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