Great piece on atheism on NPR!
Posted: 15 December 2006 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6632129

[quote:001b738f1e]In response to the growing power of religious extremism, a small group of atheists has taken a new approach. Going on the offensive, they target the tolerant, with both reason - and ridicule. Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR’s On the Media, reports.[/quote:001b738f1e]

Wow, I was shocked when I heard this.

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Posted: 15 December 2006 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hey thanks very much for pointing this out, rationalrevolution!

It’s pretty mealy-mouthed as these mainstream pieces tend to be, but at least it isn’t out-and-out ridiculing the atheist position 100% of the time, which deserves a kudo or two ...

I did note the claim that a belief in evolution was a sort of fundamentalism. That was allowed to pass over the airwaves unopposed.

Hmph.

But good for Harris to defend his position so well. He is perfect for these sorts of mainstream interviews.

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Posted: 16 December 2006 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The atheist offensive needs to be met.  When Hector Avalos was here in Kansas City a while back he called for elimination of religion.

Yep, elimination. (He says the same thing in his book Fighting Words)

And I met Richard Dawkins a KU a few weaks ago and he called religious education child abuse, theistic scientists morons, etc.

Sam Harris is calling for the End of Faith (but only in religion, not his fatih that science can solve all our problems.) 

Fanatics come in all guises, theist and atheist.

What’s ironic about Avalos, Dawkins, and Harris is that they all condem the “fundies” who may end up destroying us all…while IGNORING who is building the nuclear weapons that they are so worried about.

After all, Dawkins tells us most scientists are atheists…if thats the case, and they are providing nukes to any politician with the wherewithall to obtain them, then what the f are they bellyaching about?

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Posted: 16 December 2006 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve been saying for years that scientists need to go on a global strike to end religion. All atheist scientists world wide should go on strike on the basis that we are tired of having our technology used against us by religionists.

I agree, scientists should be much more concerned with HOW their research and technology is used.

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Posted: 16 December 2006 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[quote author=“Christensen”]The atheist offensive needs to be met.  When Hector Avalos was here in Kansas City a while back he called for elimination of religion.

That is clearly excessive, except perhaps as an idealization. The problem with such talk is that it may lead people to the sort of totalitarian policies of the Eastern Bloc. And whatever else we believe, as humanists we must believe in the freedom of each person to believe in what he will.

It’s like fighting for the elimination of ignorance. It may sound like a good goal, but it isn’t honestly achievable, and shouldn’t be pursued to the detriment of individual freedoms ... which at times may be ignorant.

[quote author=“Christensen”]And I met Richard Dawkins a KU a few weaks ago and he called religious education child abuse, theistic scientists morons, etc.

Sam Harris is calling for the End of Faith (but only in religion, not his fatih that science can solve all our problems.) 

I also think Dawkins goes a bit overboard with the issue of religious children; although in general I don’t think sectarian schooling is a good thing, we probably have to be reasonable enough to realize that it isn’t going away anytime soon. That said, his issue is one of “consciousness raising”: that we not think of children as the knee-jerk practitioners of their parents’ religions. And that is a good thing.

As for Harris, while I have had some problems with his views, he certainly has never said that “science can solve all our problems.” Indeed, nobody I know has ever said such a thing. However, given the option of solving a problem through reasoning based on evidence, as opposed to doing so through faith based on a 2-3,000 year old fable, the former is more likely to produce the desired results than the latter ...

[quote author=“Christensen”]What’s ironic about Avalos, Dawkins, and Harris is that they all condem the “fundies” who may end up destroying us all…while IGNORING who is building the nuclear weapons that they are so worried about.

After all, Dawkins tells us most scientists are atheists…if thats the case, and they are providing nukes to any politician with the wherewithall to obtain them, then what the f are they bellyaching about?

Good point—however first of all we haven’t established that the scientists at issue are actually atheist. Secondly, their building of nuclear devices isn’t something they are doing because of their atheism. Presumably they are doing it in order to make money. This shows us that there are good atheists and bad atheists, just like there are good and bad religious folk. But the question is what the relevant ideology persuades them to do, and what they do that has no relation to the ideology. In this case, the building of nuclear weapons has no relation to their atheism. Thirdly, atheism isn’t really a robust ideology in any very interesting sense. It’s more like a rejection of other ideologies. The positive ideology here is perhaps something like “humanism”, and we are quite a long way from demonstrating that the relevant scientists are believers in humanism. (Indeed, it is arguable that the scientists in Iran and Pakistan are themselves Moslem).

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Posted: 17 April 2007 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Re: Great piece on atheism on NPR!

[quote author=“rationalrevolution”] 

In response to the growing power of religious extremism, a small group of atheists has taken a new approach. Going on the offensive, they target the tolerant, with both reason - and ridicule. Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR’s On the Media, reports.

I was not able to listen to it, it said on website it was not available…probably too old?? anyone have a copy of it they could e-mail me?
Thanks in advance…

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Posted: 18 April 2007 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“Christensen”]The atheist offensive needs to be met.  When Hector Avalos was here in Kansas City a while back he called for elimination of religion.

Elimination how?  By banning it in some fashion?  Or by educating people that there may be a better way?  Context!

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Posted: 20 April 2007 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In a lot of ways I believe Sam Harris is right.  When religion causes people misery, when it prevents them from speaking out against human indignities, then it causes misery.

Nawal El Saadawi ( http://www.nawalsaadawi.net/index.html ) was on my campus speaking the other day and she said two things that struck me as very true:  1.  Religion is used to control and oppress, adding Bush does the same thing.  2.  We are going backwards in Human Rights, not forward.

Now the Egyptains want to once again silence her by attempting to charge her with apostesy and give her the death sentence.  She is being tried for offending the Islamic religion in her newest book, which is actually a play:  God Resigns in the Summit Meeting.  She insists she said nothing that should be offensive, but regardless, she should not be sentence to death for whatever she said concerning religion.

I had no idea that her life was on the line when I met her and she encouraged me to write my book and get it published, even though it’s been said before (“because it’s in your own words”) until after I spoke to her (after her speech) and read the flier that the university passed out during the speech.  I almost immediately went online to sign the petition to save her life.  (you can ask me for link to petition if you want it and I’ll gladly give it to you).

No one should be threaten with death because of religion and/or fighting for Human Rights.  IMHO, religion is a source of misery and this is just one more example of how it causes people misery.

Do I think religion should be banned?  In some respects it does provide some people psychological comfort and fills some needs, but if we could educate people and show them there are other ways fill those needs rather than using religion that can cause other people misery, in various ways, then people may find there are other means to fulfil those psychological needs.  (did that come out right?)  However, I think if we just pull the rug out from under them, it would cause more harm than good- psychologically- and we would have more problems.  I honestly believe that when needs are filled by other means and people realize how much harm religion can cause, it will slowly die and in it’s place will hopefully be something that is not used to control and oppress people.  Of course, we must not forget that it is humans using religion to control, oppress, de-humanize, and cause misery, not religion in itself.

So, people like Bishop Spong could also be right- religion must change.  The thing is, no matter what we put in religion’s place, if we get rid of it, humans could still find some way to control and oppress- maybe even what is used to replace religion.  If we change it, there will always be some lurking element that humans will use to control and oppress.  Regardless, one thing is for sure…

Reason, compassion, and education is the key.

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