18 Comments

  1. what a great interview. they had another panel on cnn last night. they got an atheist(she’s the head of some atheist group) and the stupidest christian they could find, so it actually went quite well, except for the part where the christian manintained that athiests are dangerous because they have no moral code. the lady was trying to explain that they have ethics instead, but he just kept yelling “where do you get your moral code?” over and over again. i wished she would have yelled: “we have no moral code because morals come from religion!” duh. that guy was a complete idiot. they also had some kind of impartial person on the panel, that thankfully agreed that the constitution was in no way based on the christian religion, and in fact, provides us with a freedom from religion as opposed to freedom to practice your religion wherever you want.
    furthermore, a great letter was submitted which stated:
    “christians want the right to pray in school and have ‘under god’ in the pledge. atheists want the right not to have to pray in school and not to have to say ‘under god’ during the pledge. why are christians’ rights more important that ours?”
    i think this is a great argument, but am i the only one that thinks we should get rid of the pledge altogether? having small children memorize a pledge of allegiance that they can’t possibly understand seems pretty archaic, and frankly a bit facist.

  2. All right! That was pretty good, although, I wish he had some debate with those two women on the previous show. It probably wouldn’t be pretty ;]

  3. Dawkins is great, but I think he wastes some great opportunities. Being asked why theists find athiests so threatening is a perfect opportunity to cut straight to the root of it all.

    IMHO, theists are theists because they are the type of people who need an answer to ‘the big why’, as opposed to theists who may well want the answer but can live without it. Religion is just the easy way out of that insecurity. A theist cannot give up the security of their explanation without a having replacement because of that need, and atheism doesn’t offer such a replacement. They feel threatened because the need is always there, it’s why they are religious in the first place. Some people just can’t cope with “dunno”.

    If Dawkins had said something along those lines, I’d have been dancing around the room. Maybe he has a different opinion of why people choose religion in the first place, ’tis only my $0.02 after all 🙂

  4. Good for CNN. It was proper and fitting to have Dawkins on to have his say.

    The only real problem I have with some atheists is when they cocksuredly proclaim that they *know* there is no divine power (phrase it how you will.)

    Now how do they *know* that? I’ve never heard a convincing answer.

    The ‘I don’t know’ people I respect.

  5. The problem that I have with that question, pvc, is that is presumes the question of ‘Does God Exist?’ fits into a different category then ‘Does [whatever you like] Exist?”

    For instance, if someone claimed that they *know* two tonne carnivorous butterflies don’t exist, would you accuse them of being cocksure?

    I don’t *know* for sure that anything doesn’t exist (not being able to prove a negative and all), but realistically, I navigate my world making such assumptions all the time.

  6. Dawkins, excellent as usual.

    On the question of why theists distrust atheiests so much, I suspect it’s a combination of two things. First, many religions paint unbelief as the only unforgivable sin. God has mercy on those who steal, rape, or murder. Not so those who deny him. Second, I think that when you make a clear, powerful, obvious argument against theisim, theists feel cheated and act like a kid who’s had his candy taken away. Theists derive a deep pleasure from their belief – take them off their drug and they feel awful and hate you for it.

  7. Unlike you guys, I hated this interview. I am so sick of Richard Dawkins interviews. Part of it is because they ask him the same old questions over and over and over, and he answers in his accent which bugs me. Lol, sorry I can’t handle it. But it is quite annoying at times. I also hate his use of the flying spaghetti monster. I’m sorry I can’t justify my annoyance but I just don’t like it.

    Nonetheless, it’s good that CNN did the right thing. Those women who argued were pretty dumb. And Stephen A. Smith was good for once. He’s usually an idiot on ESPN. lol

  8. pvc said:
    >Now how do they *know* that? I’ve never heard a convincing answer.
    >The ‘I don’t know’ people I respect.

    Theists ‘know’ there is a divine power. Do you respect them?

  9. The religious guy presumptions on atheists’ lack of morals really pissed me off. I would have told him “If the only thing stopping you from going on a bloody rampage is the bible, then please continue to believe in God.” Or maybe “If you can’t rationally find a reason why you shouldn’t randomly kill people, then religion was made for people like you.”
    Anyway, the segment in CNN was way too short.

  10. To answer two posts in one, I severely doubt that God is a thing like the things we know, and that human contact with God can be said to be knowledge, like the knowledge we have of things and concepts of things. Sky Daddy sitting in the clouds is an image for children of all ages.

    Mystics who claim direct contact with the divine almost always insist that the experience is totally difference than any worldly experience, and that ordinary language is grossly inadaquate for communicating it.

    So the experience is intensely personal. I’d say as a result that trying to force the results of that experience on others who haven’t had it is very bad form indeed.

    People who get religion solely out of books have got merely book learning, not the thing itself. (Although the books contain useful pointers.)

    Seek and ye shall find. Sometimes in most unexpected ways.

  11. Mystics who claim direct contact with the divine almost always insist that the experience is totally difference than any worldly experience, and that ordinary language is grossly inadaquate for communicating it.
    This is a question I always want to hear the answer to from theists, but especially when it is described like that.

    What, and I ask this in all seriousness, distinguishes divine communication from a psychotic episode?

  12. I’ve never known an atheist that was any more cocksure about the non-existance of God, than the non-existance of Thor, Osiris or Zeus. Being religious on the other hand, practically demands cocksuredness.

    Also, the term atheism is a misnomer — I am practically as much of an atheist as George W. Bush. Our disbelief in religious creatures are almost exactly equal — considering that the number of deities that people have prayed to at some time or another is countless.

    Dawkins was pretty good — he’s a good, civilized, intelligent ambassador for reason and sanity.

  13. What, and I ask this in all seriousness, distinguishes divine communication from a psychotic episode?

    Purity of vision for one. I’ve read accounts by schizophrenics whose symptoms are under control saying that their psychotic state was chaotic, confused and of no redeeming value at all. (Reference E. Fuller Torrey – Surviving Schizophrenia Almost all accounts of mystical experiences insist on their clarity and of their great value to the seer’s life after the experience has passed.

  14. So Abraham experienced “purity of vision” while Terry Schiavo was just plain nuts?

    That’s the problem with the religious — a completely absence of historical and factual knowledge, muddled thinking (or uh, lack of clarity of vision…) There’s this profoundly hypocritical lack of commitment to the obviously absurd extremes that their “faith” truly leads to.

    If God told you to kill your own child, you would hopefully conclude that you were having a
    psychotic episode — or else you’d go ahead with it… And in that case, there is no difference between you being an infanticidial nut — or genuinely divinely inspired, just like Abraham. See — it just doesn’t make any sense.

  15. Dawkin’s acts like such a pretentious prick. Really, who knows what’s beyond this world, no one can say that they know for sure, no math equation or science experiment or religious experience or account can explain what’s beyond this. That’s why I’m not a fan of his, he’s just so self-righteous, he’s the fundie on the other side of the spectrum.

  16. Purity of vision for one.

    Any others?

    I’ve read accounts by schizophrenics whose symptoms are under control saying that their psychotic state was chaotic, confused and of no redeeming value at all. (Reference E. Fuller Torrey – Surviving Schizophrenia Almost all accounts of mystical experiences insist on their clarity and of their great value to the seer’s life after the experience has passed.

    How to you eliminate the possibility that there are levels of clarity to psychotic episodes, ranging from ‘pure’ to ‘chaotic’?

  17. Dawkin’s acts like such a pretentious prick. Really, who knows what’s beyond this world, no one can say that they know for sure, no math equation or science experiment or religious experience or account can explain what’s beyond this. That’s why I’m not a fan of his, he’s just so self-righteous, he’s the fundie on the other side of the spectrum.
    Brendan

    Rubbish. Dawkin’s speaks eloquently, level-headed and calmly — and he makes absolutely no claims as to “what’s beyond this,” which makes those claims not wildly biased and incorrect — but even a straw-man argument.

    The religious on the other hand — well, I’ve seen them make countless claims about “what’s beyond this.” And not in a calm and level-headed way, either. By your own definition, every preacher in the world is a pretentious prick (and less kind than Dawkins).

    I’ve never seen Dawkins act self-righteously. I’ve seen him act somewhat frustrated, or possibly even exasperated.

    Dawkins isn’t on the other side and certainly isn’t a fundi. He is in the middle of the spectrum; in the center. On the other side, you’ll find Islam, Hinduism — whatever other religions, and you’ll find funamentalists. Not with atheism — it’s inherently neutral.

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