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Now that Richard Dawkins is attacking Muslims and feminists, the atheist Left suddenly discover he’s a bigot

30 July 2014

2:36 PM

30 July 2014

2:36 PM

‘Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you?’ asks Eleanor Robertson in the Guardian today. Ms Robertson is a ‘feminist and writer living in Sydney’. She follows to the letter the Guardian’s revised style guide for writing about Prof Dawkins: wring your hands until your fingers are raw, while muttering ‘Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown’.

For some time now Dawkins has been saying rude things about Muslims and feminists. This makes him a bigot in the eyes of the Left — and especially the Guardian, which is extraordinarily and mysteriously protective of Islam. As Robertson puts it:

Sure, he wrote some pop science books back in the day, but why do we keep having him on TV and in the newspapers? If it’s a biologist you’re after, or a science communicator, why not pick from the hundreds out there who don’t tweet five or six Islamophobic sentiments before getting off the toilet in the morning?

Note how The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker — masterpieces of lucid thinking that advanced humanity’s understanding of evolution — have become mere ‘pop science’ now that their author is upsetting the wrong people.

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As it happens, I can well believe that the former Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science tweets while sitting on the loo: his outbursts have an incontinent feel to them. ‘Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think,’ he tweeted yesterday. He used the same logic to compare ‘mild’ and ‘violent’ paedophilia.

As for Islam, Dawkins marked the end of Ramadan last year with the observation: ‘All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.’ This tweet was ‘as rational as the rants of an extremist Muslim cleric,’ protested the Guardian.

It’s hard to deny that Dawkins’s ‘secular fundamentalism’ — as liberal commentators now describe it — makes for an embarrassing spectacle. When enraged pensioners pick fights with total strangers, one’s natural reaction is to go and sit somewhere else on the bus.

But Dawkins was just as offensive when his target was Christianity; it’s just that the Left didn’t have a problem with his description of Pope Benedict XVI as a ‘leering old villain in the frock’ who ran ‘a profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution … amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.’

As I said at the time, that article — in the Washington Post, no less — ‘conjures up the image of a nasty old man who’s losing his marbles. It’s not very nice about the Pope, either.’ But Dawkins has not become any crazier in the intervening four years; he’s simply widened his attack on blind faith, as he sees it, to include Muslims and feminists.

In the process, he’s exposed a rich vein of hypocrisy in the Left — and, more significantly, an intellectual rift between hard-line and multiculturalist atheists. That rift is growing fast: non-believers, having exhausted their anti-Christian rhetoric, are turning on each other with the ferocity of religious zealots. Enjoy.

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Show comments
  • Riff B.

    Even Atheists tolerate religion and religious liberty. This guy indulges himself on pure knowledge that he ignores learning the other side of truth. Which is wisdom.

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      By “this guy”, do you mean Dawkins or the author? Furthermore, while you and many other atheists tolerate religion and religious liberty, the “freethought” atheists with whom I’ve dealt don’t.

  • strakha0 .

    The premise behind the article is false – it’s not the “Left” who hate Dawkins, it’s militant feminists, and that article was simply written by a feminist – THAT’S IT! If you don’t believe me, just go to the Guardian article and click her name.

    His propensity to logical thinking often rubs people the wrong way, and judging from the tone of this article, I’m guessing your problem is the religion aspect (as well as believing in conspiracies concerning The Guardian and Muslims).

    That article has put me off The Guardian, I wouldn’t read the Spectator for this, and I would cut my own arms off instead of picking up a Murdoch publication. I’m not left with much.

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      “I’m guessing your problem…” Who is “you”? Is it Damian Thompson?

      • strakha0 .

        Sorry, I can’t actually find my comment now – is it even still there? I can’t tell if you wrote more than 1 line or not (I’m replying from my profile), but in answer to your question that I can see, I was addressing the person who wrote the article.

  • Liz

    He makes the common mistake many middle aged men make when discussing this subject in assuming there are neat divisions between forms of rape. A date can be with a stranger, a date rape can involve weapons. How dies one even define a date? It’s not a term recognised by law. Does it mean inviting your neighbour into your bedsit to help you move some furniture? Does it include offering a drink to one of your farm hands who goes on to strangely you and flee to Zimbabwe? Does it include meeting a man you’ve talked to on the Internet about cannibalism?

    • Fred Scuttle

      Actually he was perfectly correct.

      • Liz

        About what?

        • Wales P. Nematollahi

          Liz, he has contempt for anyone who dares to disagree with him.

      • Wales P. Nematollahi

        Sure he was, Fred. he’s your cult leader, and misogyny and downplaying rape seems to be part of your religion. So, Fred, you are a misogynist with little respect for women, right?

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      If you don’t see it, I gave Fred Scuttle a retort to his blasé reply to you.

      • Fred Scuttle

        You did, it was nonsense as usual.

        • Wales P. Nematollahi

          How old are you?

          • Fred Scuttle

            Old enough to have grown out of believing in Santa or Satan.

            • Wales P. Nematollahi

              So when are you going to write like it?

              • Fred Scuttle

                You are not yet mature enough to have grown out of both of them.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  Oh, what a childish argument you follow! You’ve contributed zero to a rational discussion, because you prefer to write like a playground bully talks. You’ve yet to display much intellectual maturity.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  Your beliefs are childish and immature.All the insults in the world can’t change that simple fact.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  … and you just made my point… again.

  • Liz

    Does he mean morally worse? That’s highly debatable, the moral crux is one of consent which is missing in both encounters.

    Does he mean causes worse psychological injury? I’m intrigued to learn how he came to that conclusion seeing as psychological harm will vary according to the state of mind of the individual and therefore it’s impossible to draw up generic rules.

    • Fred Scuttle

      It’s a good job you aren’t a judge.Rape is assault and assaults vary in severity.

      • Liz

        You are making the very common mistake of conflating rape and assault.

        Assaults can vary in severity, you can assault somebody severely or less severely. But rape can’t vary in severity, it means sexually penetrating somebody without consent or having reasonable grounds to think you have consent, it’s a binary crime.

        • Wales P. Nematollahi

          Liz, look at what he’s written. Do you really believe he would show much compassion to someone claiming rape?

          • Fred Scuttle

            Look at this idiot. Do you really think he’s a biologist?

            • Wales P. Nematollahi

              What’s the matter, Fred? Can’t handle the fact that I _am_ a biologist, and that I didn’t lose my experience and credentials because I disagreed with your worldview?

              So tell me, Fred, what biological topic would you like to discuss with me? Since you declared with some pseudo-royal fiat that I’m not a biologist, let’s see you prove it. You won’t because you can’t. You’re just like a racist or a denier of climate change.

              What’s funny and sad to me is that your arguments rapidly descended into ad hominem attacks, which do nothing but display your intellectual poverty.

              • Fred Scuttle

                A serious biologist cannot believe in superstitious mumbo jumbo like you do. You provided me with all the evidence I need to dismiss your ludicrous claim.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  Funny… my supervisors have always thought I was a serious biologist, and they have almost all been biologists! You just can’t stand the fact that there are biologists like me who are believers. Once again, go to http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/06/meet-the-prizewinning-catholic-biologist-creationists-can-t-stand.html to read about Kenneth Miller, a Catholic biologist. Then again, there’s also Francis S. Collins, the director of the U.S National Institutes of Health, who is an Evangelical Protestant. You lose again, but you refuse to admit it. Your claims are like that of Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party candidate for senator in Mississippi, who refuses to admit he lost the primary run-off.

                  Furthermore, our denial of my credentials show that you can not or choose not to reason like an adult. If the facts, such as my credentials which are verifiable on the web, don’t fit your fulminating bigotry, you dismiss it. I may as well try to carry on a discussion with a flat-earth believer.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  If you are a biologist I really would like to know how biology and tribal magic stories can co-exist in your brain. it is most peculiar.

      • Wales P. Nematollahi

        Well, it’s obvious you’ve never been raped. You really have a low opinion of women and of anyone who might be vulnerable to attack, don’t you?

        • Fred Scuttle

          Your thought processes are truly baffling. non sequitur to the nth degree. Your Jesus god thingy has a low opinion of women, but I most certainly do not.

          • Wales P. Nematollahi

            You do have a low opinion of women if you support Dawkins in all his statements. then again, “freethought” atheism is such a pile of contradictions that people like you practice doublethink. You’re not a legend in your own time, but you are one in your own mind.

            • Fred Scuttle

              Find me one statement where Dawkins has indicated his ‘low opinion’ of women, You can’t because he hasn’t made one.

  • Brigadon

    expect the cult of Dawkins to circle the wagons

  • Peter Connor

    Dawkins’ comments are quite accurate and rational–what was your problem with them again?

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      Whom are you addressing? Well, then, according to you, women and Muslims are inferior. However, since Dawkins said it, I’m supposed to accept that it’s true on faith… oops.

      • Fred Scuttle

        Dawkins never said that women were inferior. Oops, more lies.

  • adc50

    Seems like I have run out of fingers (and toes) to count the loonies here, starting with Mr. Dawkins.
    It is always amusing if not entertaining to see the irrationality and small mindedness leaking out in the comment thread. Often more entertaining that the article and obviously quite therapeutic for the participants as they work their way through their own misguided prejudices. . .

  • Mitchell

    The claim that the Muslim world has produced barely any Nobel Prizes is not bigoted, it is empirical! The dogma of modern feminism should be undermined just as the preposterous beliefs of Muslims and Christians. If you think Dawkins is “bad” then I advise you not to read Christopher Hitchens or just about anyone who might challenge your views. And calling Dawkins a man who produced a “few pop Science books” if to discredit yourself as someone who has obviously never read any of his books or looked at the implication of his works. “The Selfish Gene” being the breathtaking insight into what the unit of selection is, the gene, and how this has inspired and amazed Scientists and non-scientists alike. The NOMA of Gould is bullshit and there is a moral obligation for scientists to tell the truth and look at the implications of theories, much like Weber said. You may not like what Dawkins does when he confronts your emotions and looks at the underlying logic, but thank god there are floods of people who disagree with your parochial view.

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      Quite a few opinions masquerading as facts in your post. Of course, you fail to note that the Muslims were leaders in science for several centuries _before_ the Nobel Prizes existed. Of course, you fail to note that the Nobel Prize can be very political, as when Rigoberta Menchu got it for peace, then was allowed to keep it even when it turned out she fabricated much of what she said she’d done. Of course, women have won fewer Nobel Prizes than men, but since you support misogynists, I guess you have no problem with that. I se a lot of claim to Western all-white male superiority in what you wrote.

      I “loved” your description of_The Selfish Gene_, in whioch you made it sound like a revelation from Heaven. I’m a biologist, and when I was teaching, I suggested people read Steven Jay Gould’s books instead, because they gave a better picture of science. I guess ‘t like Gould because he didn’t mix science with attempted disproof of the supernatural, so of course Dawkins is perfect and not to be questioned (sounds like faith…). So whose view is parochial, really?

      • Peter Connor

        “The Muslims were leaders in science for several centuries……” Completely false, although they did steal some stuff from the Hindus and ancient greeks. Name two significant inventions by Muslim “science”.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          To be fair, the Islamic world was scientifically ahead of then barberous Christiandom (Byzantium perhaps excluded) right up until the Renaissance; but after that the West pulled way ahead with the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries (remember, e.g, the Turks were using cannon way before the West). Interestingly, Islamic Spain had a kind of abortive and slow-motion Renaissance and Scientific Revolution between the 9th and 12th centuries, but that was killed off by religious conservatives like Al Gazhali in the 12th century. One argument I’ve always found attractive is that the Christian scientific revolution survived while the earlier Islamic one miscarried because, while the religious athorities were strong and unified in Islamic Spain, and thus able to kill off their Scientific Revolution when it began to look like a threat to religious authority; the Christian Church was too weakened and divided by the Reformation to abort the rise of the Western Scientific Revolution. As is often the case in history, timing is everything.

          • Wales P. Nematollahi

            Good points! AFAIC, Dawkins is a cultural chauvinist (could he even be a bit of a white supremacist?) as well as a misogynist.

            YOU forgot that Ireland was a center of learning in the Dark Ages as well as Byzantium. Also, that the Scientific Revolution was not mostly opposed by the churches, although the Catholic Church’s response to Galileo was an egregious exception. I don’t believe that there was real opposition of the churches to scientific advancement after the (Protestant and Catholic) Reformations, because the threat of excommunication in non-Calvinist churches was and is available. Incidentally, Galileo remained a faithful Catholic after he was officially silenced, and Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk.

            The situation in Islamic areas has a deeper explanation. The areas to which you referred were Sunni. In Sunni Islam, an Ijma” (concensus) was reached between the four orthodox mad-hab that Bab-ul-Ijtihad, the door of independent religious interpretation, should be closed. This was a stultefying development, since now only Qiyas (analogy) could be used to determine if a novelty were permitted. It got to the point that the Ulema, the religious authorities in the Ottoman Sultanate, actually argues whether or not adding visors to soldier’s caps was acceptable.

        • Wales P. Nematollahi

          First name one reference that my statement was completely false.

      • Mitchell

        Muslims were leaders in Science 1000 years ago, slightly more than a few centuries pre-Nobel Prize. Forgive me if that does not seem like the cutting edge of Science. I do not think you could get away with that as proof that the Muslim world is not backwards.In fact, Niall Ferguson has said one of the reasons the Muslim Ottoman Empire did not become a stronger force was precisely because Islam did not embrace Science on the moronic assumption it would go against God. But I would readily admit that Islam was not as destructive 1000 years ago in its “Golden age” as it is now.

        Gould “didn’t mix science with attempted disproof of the supernatural”. The pursuit of science is to find naturalistic explanations for phenomena. This renders the supernatural explanations useless. Pointing out that fact becomes important when you have people on one side of the world who believe in dust devils and martyrdom and others who believe in prayer to cure maladies. Both of which are disprovable so long as you are intellectually honest.

        I never said Dawkins should never be questioned, I think he is wrong about many things in the realm of politics but reverting to a silly argument that he is a bigot is not conducive to any debate because it is simply not true. Dawkins is not a misogynist, but the claims that modern feminists make about rape “culture” for example are unsubstantiated and the notion of patriarchy is just outdated. In what way can one derive that he hates women based upon that? Dawkins is a liberal.

        Luckily no revelations from heaven are required because we have evidence based Science and not faith based guesswork.

      • Fred Scuttle

        No such thing as Muslim or Christian science, any more than there is such a thing as atheist science. There is just science.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          And THAT is one of the central reasons tradional religions found science so threatening…

          • Wales P. Nematollahi

            How so? You don’t make your point here.

  • CrashDive

    Too true!

    Never Liked Dawkins but he tells it how he sees it.

    Respect!

  • http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/ Jonathan

    We need to move beyond labels of left and right perhaps. Both sides have rather severe myopia. Dawkins is a truth teller, just as was Christopher Hitchens. Truth telling chaps off the left and the right.

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      So being a nasty misogynist is telling the truth?? Wow! Dawkins and HItchens have that in common.

      Oh, well, you can also believe the earth is flat if you wish.

      • Fred Scuttle
        • Wales P. Nematollahi

          So you support misogyny, too? why am I not surprised? You can stew in your prejudices all you wish.

          • Fred Scuttle

            I was talking about your flat earth believing fairy Jesus.

            • Wales P. Nematollahi

              I must be getting under your skin, because you keep on coming with the retorts of a seven-year-old. Apparently you really can’t handle adult discourse.

              • Fred Scuttle

                You don’t like me referring to your imaginary friend as a fairy. Tough.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  You don’t like me telling the truth. Tough. I noted that your responses to Liz give me the impression that you’re a misogynist and seem to have a calloused view toward those who’ve been raped. You’re a real piece of work!

                • Fred Scuttle

                  Why do you keep coming to incorrect conclusions? You believe in an imaginary god, you think I’m a misogynist for realising that rapes are bad, but some are worse than others.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  You keep telling me I’m not a biologist, so why should I trust anything you write?

  • Fred Scuttle

    This comment is awaiting moderation.

  • John McVirgo

    In 1930s Germany, I think it’s fair to say that Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the weak etc could rely on someone like Dawkins to speak up for what’s fair and right, even if it offended those sympathetic towards Nazism and its “father” Hitler at the time.

    A bigot is someone who holds onto some dogmatic belief despite being shown contrary evidence, so it’s the atheist left that are feeling uncomfortable over their bigotry being exposed by Dawkins.

  • The_greyhound

    When thieves fall out …..

    • Fred Scuttle

      When brain falls out, belief in God follows.

      • Wales P. Nematollahi

        Funny… from your responses in parallel threads, I’d say you use your brains no more than anyone else.

        • Fred Scuttle

          I don’t value your opinion.

          • Wales P. Nematollahi

            You value it enough to respond! So I’m supposed to value your opinion? What a hypocrite and a troll you are! Get a life.

            • Fred Scuttle

              Are you on something, ninny?

              • Wales P. Nematollahi

                Apparently you really can’t handle adult discourse.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  Apparently you are a Walter Mitty character with delusions of grandeur.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  Your immature post proved my post. Apparently you really can’t or won’t reason like an adult.

  • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

    The problem with Dawkins is that he doesn’t apply his own beliefs rationally.
    He talks about evil and relative goodness and badness – such concepts are wholly unscientific. There is no scientific definition of ‘bad’, so how can you logically argue about it?
    Human beings are animals – if rape increases your chance of survival then your genes will survive – if individuals ensure that rapists are limited in their genetic survival by being socially ostracized and sent to prison then then non-rapists will survive.
    That’s all that’s being tested.
    Dawkins is also being tested in the same way – if he manages to maintain his social middle class position, his offspring will have an increased chance of survival.
    The irony of Dawkins is that he believes that humans have somehow transcended being animals.
    He also maintains a supernatural belief in good and evil.

    • Fred Scuttle

      Everyone knows what they think is bad and what they think is good. They are subjective, true, but why shouldn’t a scientist talk about such things? Humans decide what is moral and what is not. As for his “supernatural belief in good and evil”, well what nonsense. Supernatural is only another word for imaginary.

      • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

        ‘Good and Evil’ are only being tested by evolution – when a Lion takes over a pack and commits infanticide people don’t get up in arms and demand justice – morality is just behaviour being tested by evolution – just like everything else.

        • Fred Scuttle

          Not at all, it’s something we define ourselves.

          • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

            No, it is defined by our likelihood of survival – if rape increased our chance of survival we would commit rape.

            The consequence of rape typically diminishes chance of genetic survival since people (in order to genetically survive themselves) fight against rape and ensure that rapists are removed from society.
            Given the opportunity of no social consequence (ie removal from the gene pool) people will commit rape – see the Russians in Germany after WWII – rape without consequence.

            • Fred Scuttle

              I disagree.

              • Wales P. Nematollahi

                So what? Give a reason why. No one here is accepting your pronouncements as if the came from someone smarter than Sir Isaac newton.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  At least I don’t pretend to be a biologist.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  What’s the matter? Afraid to do a web search on my name because it will show me to be a biologist and it will show you up? You’re a coward intellectually.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  If that’s you, you must have a compartment in your brain labelled “Irrational tribal bullshit I was indoctrinated with”.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  … and here we go back to the childish playground taunts. You really aren’t writing like an adult who can discuss issues. oh, and ONCE AGAIN, are you afraid to do a web search on my name because it will show me to be a biologist and it will show you up?

                • Fred Scuttle

                  Is that you? I think you are a religious ninny that accidently came across the name, liked it and decided to use it on blogs. No playground taunts from me, just an attempt to rationalize the mind of a knowledgeable biologist with a gullible religious nincompoop. The sort of moronic person that would quote scripture as if it actually meant something.Can they ever be the same person? Can a clever sensible person believe in brainlessly stupid tribal god nonsense?

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  If this is your attempt to get me to go down your rabbit hole or to descend to your level, it’s failed already. Pope Francis is a chemist. ONCE AGAIN, read also Meet the Prizewinning Catholic Biologist Creationists Can’t Stand – The Daily Beast at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/06/meet-the-prizewinning-catholic-biologist-creationists-can-t-stand.html.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  Another one that can’t quite bear to be parted from the idiotic nonsense he was raised in. It’s sad, really.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  You still didn’t admit to the facts, and you still haven’t presented anything other than your opinions. As for your assertions: Do you really believe what you post? That is sad.

                  With all your prejudices, you should never be in a position of authority on the job over others. your slaiva test for ideologic purity would override the worker’s performance.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  ONCE AGAIN, do a web search on my name, then get back to me.Are you that afraid of the truth?

                  I guess you bbelieve, Kenneth Miller, a practicing Catholic Christian who wrote a book on evolution, isn’t a biologist either. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/06/meet-the-prizewinning-catholic-biologist-creationists-can-t-stand.html.

      • Wales P. Nematollahi

        What do you know about science? I doubt that you’re a scientist. Is all your knowledge of science from _Skeptic_ magazine?

        • Fred Scuttle

          Given the fact of evolution, what part of man did your god create and what method did it use?

          • Wales P. Nematollahi

            As far as I’m concerned, the doctrine that “Adam” was the first humanoid to have self-awareness thus be fully human, was the first man. Thus also with “Eve”. Without self-awareness one can not have full free will and become aware of God. I believe I’ve already said I don’t take Genesis 1 and 2 literally word for word.

            • Fred Scuttle

              So you don’t believe that we were created by a god. Good. We make progress. So, given the fact of evolution, what was it that God created, and what method did it use?

              • Wales P. Nematollahi

                We were created by God through evolution. The existence of evolution does not deny the existence of God, and vice versa. Only a fundamentalist or a “freethought” atheist would disagree.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  “We were created by God through evolution”.

                  There is no evidence to support that assertion, therefore nothing apart from common sense is required in order to dismiss it.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” — Albert Einstein

                • Fred Scuttle

                  The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  Whatever… just more opinion.

                • Fred Scuttle

                  You must have thought your Einstein quote made a point or you wouldn’t have posted it. Why is mine any different?

                • Fred Scuttle

                  God knows nothing about evolution. How would a war god invented by a primitive tribe know about such things? He uses magic/speaking things into existence, an imaginary force. Big on smiting too.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  Whatever, Fred, you just keep on believing your own little mythology and believing your opinions are facts. No one can tell you anything because you know it all, and if we don’t believe it, we should just ask you.

    • Wales P. Nematollahi

      Now, stop clouding the issue with the facts of his hypocrisy.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Huh? There’s nothing supernatural about good and bad. Admittedly, they’re frustratingly vague concepts that could use an pretty radical intellectual cleanup, but they aren’t mystical.

      • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

        It requires a scientific definition – otherwise it’s superstition.
        There are no scientific laws of morality.

        There’s just philosophic wrangling that starts with the assumption that humans are not animals – you need to start with Darwin, otherwise we would be calling the police every time we get a yeast infection.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          “It requires a scientific definition – otherwise it’s superstition.” – here you fall into what logicians call the fallacy of the excluded middle.

          Just because something does (or doesn’t yet) have a scientific definition doesn’t mean that it’s supernatural.

          There are whole branches of rationally and empirically based human knowledge (history, philosophy, a lot of the social sciences, etc) that are lacking “scientific definition”, but that doesn’t make them superstitions.

          Yes, the modern scientific method is the best way of discovery the truth that humanity has ever hit upon. But the method is not always applicable – sometimes we just can’t run repeated double blind experiments because of the expense or logistical or ethical difficulties involved, or because such experiments are just not possible with modern technology. Then we fall back on what really were the building blocks of the scientific method, it’s primitive ancestors so -to-speak: logic, plausibility and the careful use of analogy. These methods are nowhere near as certain as the modern scientific method, and thus the conclusions they generate must always be held tentatively (and must give way if we ever find a way of applying the scientific method to the relevant question); but they aren’t “superstition”.

          • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

            Fine, but all that is just cookery – it’s only being tested by survival. If the recipe helps you survive then it too will survive.

            Religions/philosophies/science/art exist because they provide a survival advantage to the followers/subscribers.

            I’m just a type of ape in a reality that may be modeled scientifically, and my intellectual relationship with that reality may be informed by that model – but reality is ultimately independent of that model (religious or scientific).

            “And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
            Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence”

            • Wales P. Nematollahi

              “I’m just a type of ape in a reality that may be modeled scientifically” Sorry: I’m a biologist with some background in bioanthropology. What evidence have you to support that? Also, do you not believe in art for art’s sake? Do you not believe in free will?

              • http://gleetree.myopenid.com/ gleetree

                Darwin seems to be the start of my understanding – if I’d been born somewhere else maybe it would have been Mohammed. Seems arbitrary to me.
                As for art, I like the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and I enjoy a cup of tea.
                Not sure my arbitrary beliefs at an arbitrary point in time are worth much – if I was a dog I’d urinate against lampposts and not worry too much about why.

                • Wales P. Nematollahi

                  I don’t see how Darwin and Muhammad conflict. I’m not familiar with Basquiat, probably to my loss.

  • Aldis Lil Buddy Rapsys

    Obviously haven’t read his essay explaining his clarification of “bad rape/worse rape”

    • Fred Scuttle

      Perhaps you should.

  • MissDemeanor

    the truth attracts hatred by the liars

  • http://twitter.com/WinstonCDN WinstonCDN

    Leftists are weird

  • Roger Hudson

    I hope Dawkins, like many others, come quickly to realise Twitter is silly and stop using it. It is designed to elicit half thought through ideas and rush them out, slow down and communicate better.

  • Bonkim

    True non-believers don’t worry whether the Guardian supports Islam or not or what different brands of atheists do and don’t.They recognize human beings come in a range of belief systems and don’t believe a belief can be defined or compared with any other.

    • Ordinaryman

      You are perfectly right, but I would add that belief, any belief, is a substitute that fills the void left by the absence of truth.

  • Thaigrr

    The Guardian?? LOL, Pat Condell sums up this trash perfectly;

    youtube.com/watch?v=GOgV6Fvc8wc

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