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Poll: Atheists and Agnostics Know About Religion (Merged)
Posted: 28 September 2010 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Dead Monky - 28 September 2010 02:41 PM

I’m one of those people that reject the existence of a “universal driving force”.  ;D

So you are declaring the matter closed? Based on what?
We have identified several impersonal universal driving forces, i.e. gravity, momentum, action/reaction, cause/effect. These are fundamental to the existence of the universe, yet have no physical properties in and of themselves. It seems reasonable to investigate the possibility of a grand universal driving force. I am not declaring this to be so, but there are many scientists working on this question. Are they wrong?

[ Edited: 28 September 2010 03:09 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 September 2010 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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dougsmith

Go read what Shook wrote at the Huffington Post. He is one of those who claims atheists are ignorant of religion.

Now the way I see it, claiming to be “proud” of how atheists did in that test on the CfI blogs, after going on at length about atheist “know nothings” says a heck of a lot about him. Particularly with how close the Huffington Post to the “Protest the Pope” march and the stories that surrounded that.

If you remember your history the Know Nothings were essentially a group of anti-Catholic bigots. We do not need to get compared to them by someone who is supposed to be on our side while we are busy protesting specific issues with the current Pope.

He is sucking up to both sides to sell his book, and quite frankly I do not see how that merits any respect.

Particularly after he used his title at CfI in his byline, making it look like his views are Center endorsed.

And sure we aren’t all going to focus on the vagaries of modern theology. We don’t all have that much time.

To equate this with willful ignorance though? Seriously, it just leaves me thinking “I have three books to review this week. I have a CD to review. I have to work on a website. I also need to keep abreast of what is happening in health news otherwise the paper is going to go with something from The Telegraph. My blog is mostly geared towards the consequences of critical skepticism failures, do I really have the time to go through another Swinburnite abuse of Bayes Theorem coupled with just about every bad argument for God ever? Do I have time to go after Karen Armstrong’s whole “Existence is sooo last season” vacuousness in depth?

If Shook wants to do it, more power to him. That does not mean he gets to call the rest of us “Know nothings.”

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Posted: 29 September 2010 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 29 September 2010 01:08 AM

dougsmith

Go read what Shook wrote at the Huffington Post. He is one of those who claims atheists are ignorant of religion.

Now the way I see it, claiming to be “proud” of how atheists did in that test on the CfI blogs, after going on at length about atheist “know nothings” says a heck of a lot about him. Particularly with how close the Huffington Post to the “Protest the Pope” march and the stories that surrounded that.

If you remember your history the Know Nothings were essentially a group of anti-Catholic bigots. We do not need to get compared to them by someone who is supposed to be on our side while we are busy protesting specific issues with the current Pope.

He is sucking up to both sides to sell his book, and quite frankly I do not see how that merits any respect.

Particularly after he used his title at CfI in his byline, making it look like his views are Center endorsed.

And sure we aren’t all going to focus on the vagaries of modern theology. We don’t all have that much time.

To equate this with willful ignorance though? Seriously, it just leaves me thinking “I have three books to review this week. I have a CD to review. I have to work on a website. I also need to keep abreast of what is happening in health news otherwise the paper is going to go with something from The Telegraph. My blog is mostly geared towards the consequences of critical skepticism failures, do I really have the time to go through another Swinburnite abuse of Bayes Theorem coupled with just about every bad argument for God ever? Do I have time to go after Karen Armstrong’s whole “Existence is sooo last season” vacuousness in depth?

If Shook wants to do it, more power to him. That does not mean he gets to call the rest of us “Know nothings.”

With respect, I don’t believe Shook personally called anyone know-nothings. He said that “Atheists are getting a reputation of…...etc”. Now, I would have liked to see the qualifier that “Some atheists are getting…...etc”.
Nevertheless, it feels to me that the messenger is being punished for delivering a message. A reputaton cannot be bestowed on a person or a group of persons by a single person. The contrary is true. Reputations are bestowed on an individual or group by some public concensus. Thus Mr Shook was relaying a message with data from other sources. Perhaps this message was poorly conveyed but, to me, it seems that the vehement reactions are just a little hasty. Perhaps Mr Shook should be challenged to provide data and sources, if possible. But even if this was conveyed to him in casual conversation, it is not fair to ascribe the message to him personally. I am sure Mr Shook counts among his atheist friends many know-a-lots.

[ Edited: 29 September 2010 01:42 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 September 2010 01:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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In addition, to ascribe some other more sinister motive (making money from his book) is creating a wholly unsubstantiated reputation that Mr Shook is just a panderer and should be dismissed from CFI forthwith.
Be careful when calling the kettle black especially when it concerns another’s passion or livelyhood. Did Mr Shook’s comments have any effect on your life, other than your ego?
Please do not misunderstand my intentions. I am trying to make some sense and come to a reasonable conclusion in this controversy. It is imperative that a free thinking movement such as atheism which espouses a rational and “informed” approach to life and the universe presents a united front in the greater (intellectual) war on the scientific ignorance of religious fundamentalism.

p.s. Doug, please forgive any trespass on my part.

[ Edited: 29 September 2010 02:58 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 September 2010 02:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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We’re not children Write4U - we recognised the “some people” tactic when GW Bush was doing it to the Democratic party. It is a weasel propaganda tactic for painting an entire group with the opinions of “some people”.

Unless you are willing to name names it is little more than building a straw man to knock down.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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As to is he pandering

Strident atheism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for this broad theological landscape, and faithful believers aren’t much better off. Everyone needs a better education on the current state of the God debates. If atheists are going to produce a rational worldview capable of replacing religion, they must take religion and theology more seriously.

This was from the Huffington Post piece on September 15th. And note how it goes from “some atheists” to “strident atheism is mostly…” in the conclusion. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Belief in a god fails any minimal standard of ordinary rationality. Like the kind of rationality we expect from eighth-graders. Only common sense sanity, of the sort we normally expect from adults and even teenagers, is sufficient to show why God-belief is irrational.

That was on CfI on September 21st.

And you wonder why I think the guy is pandering. He changes his position from “You must take theology more seriously” to “All you need is common sense” within one week to suit his audience.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 29 September 2010 02:36 AM

We’re not children Write4U - we recognised the “some people” tactic when GW Bush was doing it to the Democratic party. It is a weasel propaganda tactic for painting an entire group with the opinions of “some people”.

Unless you are willing to name names it is little more than building a straw man to knock down.

I need not supply proof of anything. I was reacting to the indignant uproar of several websites on the article by Mr Shook.

Well, I must have misjudged the gravity of the situation, when the perceived destruction of the atheist movement by a “heresay” and an attempt to instruct on that basis by Mr. Shook, can be compared to the hardcore political tactics by the Bush administration employed to destroy the Democratic party.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 29 September 2010 02:55 AM

As to is he pandering

Strident atheism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for this broad theological landscape, and faithful believers aren’t much better off. Everyone needs a better education on the current state of the God debates. If atheists are going to produce a rational worldview capable of replacing religion, they must take religion and theology more seriously.

This was from the Huffington Post piece on September 15th. And note how it goes from “some atheists” to “strident atheism is mostly…” in the conclusion. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Yes, and strident fundamentalist theism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for the broad scientific landscape. Does strident fundamentalism represent all of theism?
The second paragraph I read to mean that if atheism is goint to replace the social structure of theism, it needs to learn how to manage a society and its problems. Applied religion can be a valuable tool in that respect, they have been at it for 6000years. But this would be addressing the atheist political activists.

Belief in a god fails any minimal standard of ordinary rationality. Like the kind of rationality we expect from eighth-graders. Only common sense sanity, of the sort we normally expect from adults and even teenagers, is sufficient to show why God-belief is irrational.

That was on CfI on September 21st.

And you wonder why I think the guy is pandering. He changes his position from “You must take theology more seriously” to “All you need is common sense” within one week to suit his audience.

This I would see as addressing a segment of atheists or agnostics who have a more casual interest in atheism other than a disbelief in God.
But I grant you, I would have preferred if Mr Shook had urged a certain minimal standard of knowledge of science and religion, necessary for debate, be the yardstick of all atheists.

To reject something from ignorance is as bad as to claim something from ignorance.
To reject something from knowledge is as good as to claim something from knowledge.

[ Edited: 29 September 2010 04:24 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 September 2010 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Yes, and strident fundamentalist theism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for the broad scientific landscape. Does strident fundamentalism represent all of theism?

False analogy. When we talk about strident atheism we talk about people who run adverts with shocking things like “There is probably no God, Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” That is strident atheism. Strident atheism includes Russel Blackford and Daniel Dennet for crying out loud.

Strident fundamentalist is more in line with threatening people with hellfire and trying to ban Harry Potter. And while strident fundamentalists don’t represent all of theism, they do a pretty good job at representing their fundamentalist sects.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 29 September 2010 04:40 AM

Yes, and strident fundamentalist theism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for the broad scientific landscape. Does strident fundamentalism represent all of theism?

False analogy. When we talk about strident atheism we talk about people who run adverts with shocking things like “There is probably no God, Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” That is strident atheism. Strident atheism includes Russel Blackford and Daniel Dennet for crying out loud.

Strident fundamentalist is more in line with threatening people with hellfire and trying to ban Harry Potter. And while strident fundamentalists don’t represent all of theism, they do a pretty good job at representing their fundamentalist sects.

Ok, perhaps I am too far removed from the politics of atheism. But regardless of affiliation I saw some very strident and not very benign comments on Mr Shook’s article, including calls for his resignation. They raked him over the coals (atheist version of hell)
cheese

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Posted: 29 September 2010 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Write4U - 29 September 2010 04:56 AM
Bruce Gorton - 29 September 2010 04:40 AM

Yes, and strident fundamentalist theism is mostly uninterested and unprepared for the broad scientific landscape. Does strident fundamentalism represent all of theism?

False analogy. When we talk about strident atheism we talk about people who run adverts with shocking things like “There is probably no God, Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” That is strident atheism. Strident atheism includes Russel Blackford and Daniel Dennet for crying out loud.

Strident fundamentalist is more in line with threatening people with hellfire and trying to ban Harry Potter. And while strident fundamentalists don’t represent all of theism, they do a pretty good job at representing their fundamentalist sects.

Ok, perhaps I am too far removed from the politics of atheism. But regardless of affiliation I saw some very strident and not very benign comments on Mr Shook’s article, including calls for his resignation. They raked him over the coals (atheist version of hell)
cheese

That is because of the 3rd point on the mission statement

  1.  an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy
  2. an end to the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continue to enjoy in many societies
  3. an end to the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever, whether the nonbeliever describes her/himself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic.

We see what he did as furthering that stigma. We would call it a mistake - but he seems proud of it for some reason.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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dougsmith - 28 September 2010 10:18 AM
Skepticus - 28 September 2010 10:13 AM

Doug,

My bad, I apologize. I had wrongly assumed the blog was more intimately associated with the forum and that the name calling quoted directly by someone else was ok.

OK, understood. FWIW the Blogs are self-policed by the bloggers. I have no idea how each of them does it, but our rules here on the Forum are explicit. If Shook decides to delete that response or the offending phrase I will do the same here. It adds nothing to any reasoned argument.

FYI, bloggers actually cannot delete comments on their posts.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Credit where due, I think this is at least a step in the right direction:

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/of_reputations_and_harsh_words/

Now Shook just needs to get that onto the Huffington Post.

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Posted: 29 September 2010 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Michael De Dora - 29 September 2010 08:25 AM

On the topic of this thread, it’s important to notice that while atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons came out on top, they still didn’t know much about religion (21/32 = 65 percent). It’s not like any portion of the U.S. is really literate on religion.

I think there is a gap in the market for knowledge of religion. We just need something that cuts a lot of the feces on it.

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