[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).