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An Atheist Hate Letter Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Posted by henry000 in atheism, Christianity, discrimination, faith, fundamentalism, hate-crime, hoax, OUT campaign, religion, Sam Harris, statistics, Texas, United States.
19 comments

Update:

Several readers have kindly pointed out that the letter is actually a hoax – please see the comments for more details. My apologies for not being able to double check this before posting…

h3nry – 15 August 2007

Check out this reader’s letter to a newspaper – tell me if I should laugh it off or see it as some sort of hate-crime? Surely if we replace the word “atheists” with some other minority group, the letter would never have been published.

Courtesy of this page here (via Reddit). Unfortunately not much else information is given on this letter.

Reader Voices Strong Opinions on Atheists

The ending sentence exemplifies the prejudice and religious bigotry of the writer of the letter:

I don’t care if they have never committed a crime, atheists are the reason crime is rampant.

Those of you who have read Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation might remember the interesting statistics correlating crime rates in the more religious areas of the United States in comparison to the less religious areas:

Of the twenty-five cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in “blue” states and 38 percent are in “red” states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, 24 percent in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the United States are in the pious state of Texas. The twelve states with the highest rate of burglary are red. Twenty-four of the twenty-nine states with the highest rate of theft are red. Of the twenty-two states with the highest rates of murder, seventeen are red.

where the “red” states are the conservative religious states and the “blue” states are the more liberal states.

It is worth noting that the writer of the letter is not anonymous – which I suspect by choice – which to me seems to reflect the general anti-atheist sentiment held by the majority in the US.

I suppose it is precisely because of this sort of hatred that the OUT Campaign is designed for – although not unexpectedly it has also convinced atheists to continue to hide their views.

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“The Limits of Atheism”? Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-evolution, atheism, Behe, creationism, evolution, faith, fundamentalism, God, Michael Behe, rationality, reason, religion, science.
3 comments

Sometimes I wonder where the journalistic standards have been these days. Here is an appalling article written by a columnist named David Warren, titled “The Limits of Atheism”. Firstly it addresses nothing on the limits of atheism, instead it is all mumbo-jumbo on evolution; secondly it is full of the straw-man and manipulative arguments coming from the religious bigotry frame of mind.

Let’s start with the second paragraph. Warren simply asserts that most of the proponents of “evolutionism” know little science and cannot engage in details scientific discussions:

For most of these correspondents know precious little science, and haven’t the stamina to engage in detailed argument. They are simply shocked and appalled that anyone would dream of challenging what they believe to be the consensus of “qualified experts,” whom they assume are a closed camp of hard-bitten materialists, with no time for religious or poetical flights.

How outrageous!

It is the creationists of any creationism flavours who exhibit the undesirable trait of ignorance in evolution (and science in general) – we see this time and time again in the never-ending debates against creationists. We are all familiar with how they argue, which involves techniques such as quote mining, mis-understanding science, trumpeting scientists’ mistakes, using out-of-date data, using any areas of uncertainty as proof etc, you name it.

It is precisely the lack of “stamina” to engage in scientific arguments that make creationists of all favours so foolish and wrong. For example,  Michael Behe – one of the very few quotable reputable creationist-scientist today – has had one of his central argument refuted completely here by a grad student.

What on earth does Warren mean by putting quotes around “qualified experts”?

They (evolution proponents) imagine themselves to have an impersonal interest in defending science against “religious superstition,” and the dangers to society that the latter might present. They in fact have strong and uncompromising religious beliefs of their own, which they are loath to have questioned.

Yes of course! We stand to defend human knowledge and the scientific method as well as rationality from religious ignorance and fundamentalist thinking and manipulation.

I often wonder why the religious fundamentalists think evolutionists are arrogant, in that we have “uncompromising religious beliefs” of our own – when the complete opposite is true! Nothing, even in the face of undeniable evidence, will change the creationist’s mind, where as the proponents of evolution and science are the opposite – by definition. Now who is “uncompromising”?

In the concluding paragraphs Warren writes about a recent scientific finding showing that DNA could not have survived comets crashing into earth, because he attempts to show that yet another possible naturalistic explanation of origin of life is been shown not possible. He again shows his lack of understanding in evolution by using the argument of chance. This time this chance argument is done with a twist. Warren thinks that the materialistic evolutionists have resorted to the “multiple universes” hypothesis in order to let chance to explain the origin of life. What idiotic and criminal claim!

“A New Breed of Atheist” Friday, August 3, 2007

Posted by henry000 in atheism, Christianity, Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins, humanism, rationality, reason, religion, Richard Dawkins, secularism.
10 comments

A writer at ChristianPost has joined a chorus of concerned religious lots in attacking the current atheism movement spearheaded by Dawkins and Hitchens and all. He identifies this new breed atheism, or anti-theism, as something that is:

There’s no substance, just anger and a lot of hot air.

The lack-of-substance argument has been widely used as a main criticism to these hot-selling anti-theism books such as The God Delusion; some even calls them naive and simplistic. I have stressed it previously that when criticising religion or any other ideology systems you need not to be a complete scholar in the subject – there is a difference between being completely ignorant and being knowledgeable enough.

Further, the writer notes:

They don’t argue; they yell. They’ve decided that, simply because they dislike religion, there is no reason to respect it. In their minds, it’s stupid, dangerous, and that’s all that needs to be said.

He also addresses the current atheism trend from the more concerned atheists (emphasis mine):

The old-guard secular humanists are questioning this new trend, and rightly so. Most traditional atheists simply had their own belief system, and if we wanted our belief system that was okay. The new breed reflects the death of truth. They’re like the communists who feared religion more than anything else because it was a competing truth claim.

How many wrongful claims can you find in this single paragraph along?

Incredibly atheism has been equated once again to a belief system. No it isn’t! If so, what is it and what is its faiths and beliefs?

We don’t fear religion. We are incredibly concerned about the dangers religion has shown over and over again, and these dangers are based on irrationality and blind faith. The dangers range from discrimination against non-believers, to religious-based practices such as honour-killing, genital-mutilation, creationism to name just a few, and to global-wide conflicts that I need not to mention here.

This is why the new atheism is being blunt and in-four-face, bringing the religion down from its pedestal.

Further, in a sweeping generalisation the new atheism movement is being labelled as a system that competes with religion to claim truth. Again this is wrong. Atheism keeps an open mind as to what the so-called truth is – it never claims truth. Religions do. And they do that based not on rational approaches but on dogmatic beliefs and ancient writings. Each religion claims it is the truth religion, let alone the plethora of cults and denominations.

The new atheism may be too loud and blunt – get used to it and get over it.

The Out Campaign – I am All For It Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Posted by henry000 in atheism, OUT campaign, PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins.
2 comments

There is a new atheist meme on the block, and this time we have the OUT Campaign designed to make the atheists come out and make themselves known!

It is created by the atheism vanguard Richard Dawkins Foundation for us atheists to basically come out. This makes a good sense, and I think it is a good move in the current overall atheism movment, riding on the successes of a string of atheism books. So I am all for it. You will note that I have put the big A on the side of this blog too.

The only complain I have is that the big red letter A looks rather boring and as the Friendly Atheist has pointed out, how would the Average Joe know what it means – which kind of defeats the purpose. And I believe there are better and more creative designs out there. What is the rationale behind the design of the big A? How is the campaign going to be implemented? Is this part of the so-called New Atheism Movement? What is next in the big scheme of things?

OK, perhaps I shall stop being so hard-to-please and critical (just like your damn typical atheist mentality…) 🙂

image

Here is the code for the big A if you like it:

<div style=”text-align:center”><a href=”http://outcampaign.org/”><img src=”http://pharyngula.org/images/scarlet_A.png&#8221; border=”0″ alt=”image” width=”143″ height=”122″ /></a></div>

I shamelessly stole the big A image from PZ, and copied the idea of Shalini of having the big A on the side of the blog.

Echoing Dawkins – Don’t Call Us Fundamentalists Thursday, July 26, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-fundamentalism, atheism, Bible, Chinese, Christianity, Dawkins, faith, fundamentalism, God, Islam, Judaism, Koran, rationality, reason, religion, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.
9 comments

Richard Dawkins has lately written an article titled “How dare you call me a fundamentalist” as a response to some of the main criticisms he received for his controversial bestseller The God Delusion. Here I will add my own arguments to what Dawkins has already said, because when rational people criticise god and putting religion in perspective, they get unfairly judged, and this we must address.

The criticisms made on Dawkins are in bold.

I’m an atheist, but I wish to dissociate myself from your shrill, strident, intemperate, intolerant, ranting language.

How you feel about the tone and language of the book is entirely up to you. Some might find it clear and concise. I find it to be passionate and blunt, and I think blunt is a much better and objective description of the tone and language of the book.

Take the first chapter for example. The one line where I can find people might find it offending is this line:

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

Now seriously, how shrill and intolerant is this? Try replacing the words “a personal God” with something else say “United Nations” or “the Live Aid concert”. Does it make a difference?

I offer this advice to people who feel the book is arrogant and condescending: read it again (or at least some of it), and you might come to feel differently about it as the first time might come as a shock.

You can’t criticise religion without detailed study of learned books on theology.

The book is not ignorant on theology and various aspects of religion – see Dawkins’ own explanation – this alone should settle this particular criticism. I would add that you need not to be a scholar to highlight the obvious problems of religion, such as the blind faiths people have in ancient scriptures that drive them to happily hurt and kill others for no other reason than religion. There is a difference between criticising something while being completely ignorant (such as simple-minded creationists), and being knowledgeable enough.

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Church Bulletin Bloopers Sunday, July 8, 2007

Posted by henry000 in atheism, Australia, blooper, Christianity, church, funny, humour.
1 comment so far

Found this light-hearted piece of collection of funny church bloopers from an Australian atheist website. Enjoy!

Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at the Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

Announcement in the church bulletin for a National PRAYER & FASTING Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.”

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the school recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Miss Charlene Mason sang, “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

“Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.”

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Dembski – A Classless Bitter Soul Friday, June 29, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, atheism, biology, Chu-Carroll, creationism, Dembski, Europe, evolution, faith, intelligent design, Jason Rosenhouse, Jerry Coyne, rationality, religion, science, Uncommon Descent, William Dembski.
2 comments

A recent blog entry posted by William Dembski – one of the most prolific Intelligent Design proponent – has really infuriated me.

For those who do not know, Dembski posted a photo of the eminent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne right next to a picture of Herman Munster – a Frankenstein monster from an old television show. That is right; Dembski is making fun of how Coyne looks. This sort of personal attack is low, despicable and inexcusable, and has provoked me to attack Dembski. Fellow blogger Jason Rosenhouse called Dembski “a classless, no-talent buffoon” in which I unapologetically agree.

That post was posted a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have tracked some of Dembski’s recent posts, and there is hardly any substance in any of them. They are simply short rants filled with bitterness, anger and negativity. You’d expect someone with Dembski’s qualification to do better than that. Don’t get me wrong – it is perfectly OK to post a rant or sarcastic mockery every now and then – but not continuously, not when you make fun of your opponent based on how he/she looks! This is truly sad.

Dembski Dembski in a grandpa’s sweater

So here is the list of Dembski’s posts for June 2007 in reversing chronological order.

25th June – Teaching ID = A crime against humanity

More short and bitter post by Dembski. I think he is at war against the Council of Europe. Here is what he is up against.

25th June – Dembski Interview with Mario Lopez

This is a transcript of an interview – perhaps the most positive post for this month.

22nd June – Have I been too hard on the NCSE?

Dembski complains about the National Center for Science and Education because of an advertisement states that an understanding of the separation between state and church, as well as the evolution vs. creationism is a plus.

21st June – Point-Counterpoint: Steven Weinberg vs. Eugenie Scott

I am not too sure what the point is?

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Notable Quotes #4 Sunday, June 24, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anthropology, atheism, David Eller, Eller, God, Natural Atheism, Notable Quotes Series, rationality, reason, religion, science.
2 comments

This is a quote extracted from the book Natural Atheism which I reviewed earlier:

Virtually all of human history and thought has been grounded on the premise of gods. Atheism alone has not been responsible for the gradual disintegration of this ground; rather, Atheism is the finished product, not the process. Reason, natural investigation (i.e. science), cultural comparison (i.e. anthropology), religious diversity, and other world-shaking and world-dissolving forces and discoveries have slowly but inexorably chipped away at the ground of god(s).

Eller has certainly express the simple truth well!

Natural Atheism Saturday, June 23, 2007

Posted by henry000 in agnosticism, anthropology, atheism, book review, David Eller, Eller, faith, fundamentalism, God, logic, Natural Atheism, rationality, religion, science, secularism, spirituality, theism.
4 comments

“I was born an Atheist. All humans are born Atheists.”

This is the powerful opening of a superbly written book, Natural Atheism, which I feel deserves as much attention, if not more, as the current best-selling atheism books such as The God Delusion and A Letter To Christian Nation. The author of the book is Dr. David Eller, an American anthropologist.

This atheism book is a fresh break from the usual passionate and vocal (or, aggressive and strident, to many people) tones of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens – it is of a modest and thoughtful tone. Reading the book is rather like a typical scholarly textbook – impersonal, very well structured and presented, important words are critically defined and crucial points are argued in logical steps.

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Do Evolutionists Believe in God? A Study Friday, June 22, 2007

Posted by henry000 in atheism, biology, Cornell Evolution Project, evolution, religion, science, secularism, survey, theism.
3 comments

The relationship between science and religion has always been uneasy and sometimes controversial. The religious views of eniment scientists have been studied in a couple of surveys conducted in the early part of 1900’s. In a poll conducted in 1910 to 400 scientists, 32% of them believed in a “personal god”. The same poll was again carried out in 1933, and this time the belief in a personal god had dropped to a mere 13%, which is not all that surprising given the rapid advancement in our scientific understanding back then, and even more less surprising is the fact that biologists scored lower percentages in both polls.

Now, in 2003, we have another similar but more sophisticates survey conducted – this among eminent evolutionists. This is the website for the study, and here is the article featured in American Scientist Online.

This time, the concept of god is widened to include more choices for the participants, and the graph below shows the result:

Cornell Evolution Project Chart on Theism

Only a mere 4.8% of the evolutionists consider themselves to be a full theists i.e. believer of a personal god. Yes – only 4.8% of them believe in the personal God most of us are familiar with!

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