Features

The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins

It’s like a church without the good bits. Membership starts from $85 a month

16 August 2014

9:00 AM

16 August 2014

9:00 AM

The other day I wrote something to upset the followers of Richard Dawkins and one of them tracked me down to a pub. I had been asked to give a talk to a group of ‘Skeptics in the Pub’ about whether there are any atheist babies — clearly not, in any interesting sense — and at the end a bearded bloke, bulging in a white T-shirt, asked very angrily where Dawkins had said there were any. I quoted a couple of his recent tweets on the subject:

When you say X is the fastest growing religion, all you mean is that X people have babies at the fastest rate. But babies have no religion.

How dare you force your dopey unsubstantiated superstitions on innocent children too young to resist? How DARE you?

These seemed to me to suggest quite strongly that Dawkins believes that babies are born atheists. But my heckler wanted scripture. ‘Where does he say this?’ he asked. ‘I’ve got his book, here!’ and he pointed to his bag. ‘Where does he say it? He doesn’t say it anywhere! You’re a liar!’

He reached into his bag and pulled out an iPhone, with a speaker already attached to it, and started to play a video clip in which, presumably, Richard Dawkins denied that he had ever claimed there were any atheist babies.

If this had happened even five years ago, the meeting would have been on the heckler’s side. In fact his performance was greeted by a general squirm. It’s difficult to remember the hosannas that greeted The God Delusion and the vote by Prospect’s readers that named Dawkins as Britain’s greatest public intellectual. Much of the atheist/humanist/secularist movement is now embarrassed by him, and repelled by the zeal of his cult of personality.

British ethologist, evolutionary biologi
Richard Dawkins Photo: AFP/Getty

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My man in the pub was at the very low end of what believers will do and pay for: the Richard Dawkins website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise, and the chance to meet ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science personalities’. Obviously that’s not enough to meet the man himself. For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak.

When you compare this to the going rate for other charismatic preachers, it does seem on the high side. The Pentecostal evangelist Morris Cerullo, for example, charges only $30 a month to become a member of ‘God’s Victorious Army’, which is bringing ‘healing and deliverance to the world’. And from Cerullo you get free DVDs, not just discounts.

But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality. After the neophyte passes through the successively more expensive ‘Darwin Circle’ and then the ‘Evolution Circle’, he attains the innermost circle, where for $100,000 a year or more he gets to have a private breakfast or lunch with Richard Dawkins, and a reserved table at an invitation-only circle event with ‘Richard’ as well as ‘all the benefits listed above’, so he still gets a discount on his Richard Dawkins T-shirt saying ‘Religion — together we can find a cure.’

The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended.

At this point it is obvious to everyone except the participants that what we have here is a religion without the good bits.

Last year he tweeted a recommendation of comments collected by one of his followers at a book signing in the US. Among them were: ‘You’ve changed the very way I understand reality. Thank you Professor’; ‘You’ve changed my life and my entire world. I cannot thank you enough’; ‘I owe you life. I am so grateful. Your books have helped me so much. Thank you’; ‘I am unbelievably grateful for all you’ve done for me. You helped me out of delusion’; ‘Thank you thank you thank you thank you Professor Dawkins. You saved my life’; and, bathetically, ‘I came all the way from Canada to see you tonight.’ With this kind of incense blown at him, it’s no wonder he is bewildered by criticism.

Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins contain numerous contradictions: in The God Delusion itself he moves within 15 pages from condemning a pope who had baptised children taken away from Jewish parents to commending Nick Humphrey’s suggestion that the children of creationists be taken away because teaching your children religion is comparable to child abuse. So believers can always find a scripture where he agrees with them, which naturally cancels out the one where he doesn’t.

Whether he means that religious believers are despicable ‘stumbling, droning inarticulate .. yammering fumblewits’ who are ‘likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt’ (that’s from a 2009 blogpost) or ‘I don’t despise religious people. I despise what they stand for’ (from a 2012 speech) can lead to arguments as interminable as those over the peaceful or otherwise character of the Prophet Mohammed.

Similarly, does he mean that genes are selfish, or that they are co-operative? Both, it seems, and with equal vehemence. As he wrote, ‘The Selfish Gene could equally have been called The Co-operative Gene without a word of the book itself needing to be changed.’ This doesn’t seem to me to be strictly speaking true: it subverts the sense of a famous passage to change it to read: ‘Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own co-operative genes are up to, because we may then have a chance to upset their design, something which no other species has ever aspired to.’

But what has got him in trouble with his own side is not biology of that sort, but the appearance of racism and sexism. Some of the stuff that he has written and retweeted about ‘evil’ Islam is shocking. A recent Dawkins tweet mentioning ‘mild paedophilia’ produced an eruption of outrage across the sceptical movement, not really helped by his claiming that it was all a matter of logic, and his opponents had had their thinking clouded by emotion — and the one thing everyone knows about Dawkins is that his followers are entirely rational.

Andrew Brown writes on religion for the Guardian.

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  • http://venitism.blogspot.com Basil Venitis

    Meme is a
    cultural invention that passes from one mind to another and thrives, or
    declines, like a gene. Memetics explores the concepts and transmission of
    memes in a similar fashion to genetics.
    A meme’s success is due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its
    host. Memeplex, like the genetic code,
    is a set of ideas that reinforce each other. Religion is a memeplex. Keynote Speaker
    Basil Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

    A bias is a way in which we
    systematically get things wrong, ways in which we miscalculate, misjudge,
    distort reality, or see what we want to see, and the bias I’m talking about
    works like this: Confront someone with the fact that they are going to die and they
    will believe just about any story that tells them it isn’t true and they can,
    instead, live forever, even if it means taking the existential elevator.

    Religions claim divine favor for
    themselves, over and against other groups. This sense of righteousness leads to
    violence because conflicting claims to superiority, based on unverifiable
    appeals to God, cannot be adjudicated objectively. Religions do tremendous harm
    to society by using violence to promote their goals, in ways that are endorsed
    and exploited by their leaders.

    If we look at the evidence of
    science, particularly neuroscience, it suggests that your mind, your essence,
    the real you, is very much dependent on a particular part of your body, that
    is, your brain.

    Religions, scams, and hoaxes succeed because they
    exploit powerful psychological processes. These processes are the very ones
    that have enabled humans to survive and create art and technology, but also transform
    Homo Sapiens into Homo Suckers! 30%
    of people are pantheists, 25% Christians, 20% Muslims, 14% Hindus, 7%
    Buddhists, and 1% Jews.

    Some people prefer to leave a more
    tangible, biological legacy — children, for example. Or they like, they hope,
    to live on as part of some greater whole, a nation or a family or a tribe,
    their gene pool. But again, there are skeptics who doubt whether legacy really
    is immortality. Woody Allen, for example, who said, “I don’t want to live
    on in the hearts of my countrymen. I want to live on in my apartment.”

    Albert Einstein says:
    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. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can for me change
    this. For me the Jewish religion like
    all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And
    the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a
    deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as
    my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although
    they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I
    cannot see anything chosen about them.

    The Occidental
    democratic practice of singling out religious liberty for special treatment
    under the law is not in sync with the world we live in today. The current
    status quo is predicated on a fundamental inequality. For example, a boy might be permitted to
    carry a dagger to school as part of his Sikh religion, but the same dagger
    would not be allowed if it were part of a family tradition. Namely, your claim
    of conscience counts if it is based in religion. My claim of conscience doesn’t
    count if it is not based in religion. That is a pernicious and indefensible
    inequality in the existing legal regime.

    The origins of religious toleration can be traced back
    hundreds of years to the European wars of religion. That turmoil gave way to
    greater acceptance of diverse religions, an important achievement of Western
    democracies. However, Occident’s
    preferential treatment for religious toleration is not in step with changing
    times. While we understand the historical reasons why our constitution singled
    out religion and religious liberty 200-plus years ago, in the world we live in
    today, you don’t have to be religious in order to have a conscience.

    While some might wish there was a way to grant exemptions
    to all claims of conscience, this would lead to almost insurmountable practical
    problems. It would be tantamount to legalizing civil disobedience. While courts can verify a person’s
    involvement in a religion and that religion’s particular beliefs, non-religious
    claims would be much more difficult to verify. We don’t have a way to peer into
    a man’s soul to see if his claim of conscience is really a legitimate claim of
    conscience.

    The fact that some people believe an omnipotent God
    will resurrect them to live again and others believe an omnipotent scientist
    will do it suggests that neither are really believing this on the strength of
    the evidence. Rather, we believe these stories because we are biased to believe
    them, and we are biased to believe them because we are so afraid of death.

    Courts still
    should monitor for laws that arise from intolerance — for example France’s ban
    on headscarves worn by Muslim women as an example. But avoiding laws motivated
    by intolerance is different from granting special religious exemptions from
    neutral laws. Such special treatment for religion often defeats society’s
    promotion of the general welfare. If we start carving out exemptions, we defeat
    the purposes of those legitimate objectives.

    Spirituality is the search for an ultimate reality, a
    transcendent dimension of the world, an inner path enabling a person to
    discover the essence of his being, or the deepest values and meanings by which
    people live. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or
    orientation in life. It encompasses belief in immaterial realities or
    experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world. Spirituality
    is more personalized, less structured, more open to new ideas, and more
    pluralistic than religion.

    Spirituality is not related to religion. Spirituality
    and religion lock horns! Many people
    define themselves as spiritual but not religious. Spirituals believe in the
    existence of many different spiritual paths, emphasizing the importance of
    finding one’s own individual path to spirituality. Most people identify
    themselves as spiritual but not religious. Religion is a memeplex organized by
    churches, whereas spirituality is defined as an internal individual search.

    Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issues
    of how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things. This is true when our
    questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices
    such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we
    wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we
    die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty,
    love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible
    world. An idea or practice is spiritual when it reveals our personal desire to
    establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing
    life.

    God is a vision of the highest values of truth, justice,
    love, and goodness toward which we strive. In this sense, God is a standard
    against which to measure ourselves and our achievements. God reminds us of the
    relativity and limitations of our own ideas. God serves as a corrective to our
    biases and a basis for critical reflection. By bringing together our highest
    ideals in a single symbol, God provides a focus for personal devotion or
    communal worship.

    We experience God as love, light, power, and wisdom. The
    God we pray to is both transcendent and immanent, a part of us but also greater
    than us. Sometimes we experience God as a light that comes to us in the
    darkness. This light emanates intense love and compassion and leaves us feeling
    joyous and connected to all of creation. Other times, we simply hear God’s
    guidance as thoughts. It seems similar to a nudge or sometimes a whisper. This
    guidance usually comes suddenly and clearly, and it can arrive while we are
    deep in prayer or simply going about our business of the day.

    The question is, are we doomed to
    lead the one life we have in a way that is shaped by fear and denial, or can we
    overcome this bias? Well the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought we could. He
    argued that the fear of death is natural, but it is not rational. “Death,”
    he said, “is nothing to us, because when we are here, death is not, and
    when death is here, we are gone.” Now this is often quoted, but it’s
    difficult to really grasp, to really internalize, because exactly this idea of
    being gone is so difficult to imagine. So 2,000 years later, another
    philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, put it like this: “Death is not an event
    in life: We do not live to experience death. And so,” he added, “in
    this sense, life has no end.”

    Many Churches are dens of murderers, because those judged guilty of
    heresy incurred harsh penalties including death by fire. Religions are on the way to eventually turning
    into mere historical curiosities. The central conclusion about religion has to
    be that it has not made any lasting impact on human ethics, the primary engine
    for its existence. In this respect alone, religion has failed dismally.

    Now some Churches have issued
    restrictions to human reproduction and stem cell research. Many religions have
    concerns about where scientific research is going and the risk it is posing to
    their beliefs. In the long run these restrictions will not be effective. There
    can be no doubt that science will eventually triumph.

    Every attempt to reconcile
    religion with science and technology is a virtually unattainable goal. A discouragingly futile effort to achieve
    consistency between science and religion is broadly ongoing today. A dominant
    factor is individuals’ repeated but failed attempts to seek at least a rational
    link between religion and ethics. Ethics is a major factor in science but plays
    no discernible role in technology. Ethics consists of wise guides for human
    behavior that are vitally important to civilizing pursuits. They ensure the
    survival and prosperity of the human society. By contrast, religious precepts
    and prohibitions usually impose a hostile burden on outsiders and infidels who
    reject adherence to traditional and ancient norms, most of which long ago
    reached obsolescence.

    Religion is incapable of granting
    believers the thought that there may perhaps be errors in its tenets that might
    contradict any part of the platform on which they stand. H.L. Mencken witheringly summarized how
    science could overcome the limitations of theology and autocracy: Every time
    the scientists take another fort from the theologians and the politicians there
    is genuine human progress.

    Abrahamic
    Religions are inherently violent, because of an exclusivism that inevitably
    fosters violence against those that are considered outsiders. Abrahamic legacy is actually genocidal
    in nature.

    Overcoming the afterlife bias is
    not easy because the fear of death is so deeply embedded in us, yet when we see
    that the fear itself is not rational, and when we bring out into the open the
    ways in which it can unconsciously bias us, then we can at least start to try
    to minimize the influence it has on our lives.

    By dwelling on inequality, the
    pope is promoting envy. Christianity disapproves of envy, deeming it one of the
    deadly sins. Civil society expects the pope to urge all people to think of
    themselves in relation to God and to their own fullest potential. Encouraging
    people to measure themselves against others only leads to grief. Resenting the
    success of others is a sin in itself.

    Pantheism is the belief that everything composes an
    all-encompassing immanent God and the universe is identical with divinity. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal
    god. Pantheism was popularized in the modern era as both a theology and
    philosophy based on the work of the seventieth century philosopher Baruch
    Spinoza. Einstein says: We followers of Spinoza see God in the
    wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul as it reveals
    itself in man and animals. I do not
    believe in a personal God, and I have never denied this but have expressed it
    clearly.

    It helps to see
    life as being like a book: Just as a book is bounded by its covers, by beginning
    and end, so our lives are bounded by birth and death, and even though a book is
    limited by beginning and end, it can encompass distant landscapes, exotic
    figures, fantastic adventures. And even though a book is limited by beginning
    and end, the characters within it know no horizons. They only know the moments
    that make up their story, even when the book is closed. And so the characters
    of a book are not afraid of reaching the last page. Long John Silver is not
    afraid of you finishing your copy of Treasure Island. And so it should be with
    us.

    Imagine the book of your life, its covers, its
    beginning and end, and your birth and your death. You can only know the moments
    in between, the moments that make up your life. It makes no sense for you to
    fear what is outside of those covers, whether before your birth or after your
    death. And you needn’t worry how long the book is, or whether it’s a comic
    strip or an epic. The only thing that matters is that you make it a good story.

    • shanganagh

      So, are you for religion or against it?

      • http://venitism.blogspot.com Basil Venitis

        Against it!

        In reality, I am pantheist, like Einstein.

        Keynote Speaker Basil Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

        Venitis Law of Faith: Faith is retarded thinking that keeps
        you away from God. You have to become
        faithless, in order to start your journey to God! You have to discover God your own way without
        intermediaries. God’s truth should replace faith. You might discover that God is the universe!

        Venitis Law of Religion: Religion is spiritual slavery.
        Church is the business of religion. Religious monopoly turns bishops to
        ayatollahs, and churches to Sodom and Gomorrah.
        Spirituality, pantheism, and metaphysics should replace religion. Most
        scientists are pantheists!

        • brotherbaldrick

          Oh I see, so the memeplex of genocide as passed around by the Nazi’s is on a par with the memeplex of human rights? No my dear simple friend there is a higher authority from whence we get our moral standard!

          • Hominid

            “From whence” is redundant.

            I get my moral standard from rational thinking, not some fantasy creature.

        • Baron

          Since you’ve mentioned Einstein, Basil, how do you explain his saying ‘I would like to know God’s mind’.

          • http://venitism.blogspot.com Basil Venitis

            For Einstein, God is the universe, and God’s mind is the laws of universe.

          • Hominid

            It’s easily explained – as Einstein did himself – as a form of irony. Einstein used the term ‘god’ as shorthand for universe or nature. Einstein, by his own declaration, believed in no god or gods and considered such belief to be childish superstition.

          • Baron

            Nope, he used the word God as a substitute for something bigger than Nature or Universe, Baron reckons.

            In his ‘I have no belief in God’ letter’, you may be referring to, he says ” …. 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 ….” yet, notice he says ‘the word God’ is… and not ‘God is’ …. also, nowhere in this letter, nor in any of his other writing did he ever say he “didn’t believe in God as an Entity, a Power we humans cannot detect”.

            The caricature of God as an old man with silver hair and long beard that you, the other enlightened members of the progressive club accuse the religious lot of worshiping is indeed childish, atavistic, to the point of a joke, but Baron reckons he believed in the existence of an Entity that we humans cannot observe, discover or identify because we lack the sixth or sevenths sense needed to do it. If only Einstein knew what genetics have discovered since his death ….

          • Hominid

            Nope! You’re full of baloney and your response is a convoluted self-contradiction. Einstein said repeatedly and emphatically that he did not believe in the god of Abraham and, IF he accepted a god – which he clearly did not – it would be Spinoza’s god – i.e., nature. He viewed ALL religion with disdain.

            If an entity cannot be observed, discovered, or identified, it is not an entity, you imbecile!

        • Hominid

          Please don’t claim to speak for scientists – you don’t – stick to your own blather.

    • https://belasariust.wordpress.com/ solly gratia

      So many words, so much asserted so little said. Must be a Dawkins disciple.

      Equating religion to violence must mean the Crays were some weird religious cult and Castro and Guevara were Guardians of the Temple of Karl. Humans are violent, it’s a tribal thing, and anything that creates a sense of tribe can be used to validate violence, be it a religion, a criminal activity or being a Millwall supporter. But LOGICALLY one should distinguish between whether the view in itself advocates violence, or is merely being misused to advocate it (and avoid reading back into that religious view the violence perpetrated in its name, as if it was validated by it tout court). Similarly, one should not read back anachronistic views into the past, judging previous times on the basis of liberal democracy, as if people should have known better (and we in the UK only got rid of the death penalty in living memory)
      Being a Christian or a Millwall supporter does not in itself obligate one to use violence in support of one’s views. Being a criminal or a Marxist revolutionary does, as does being a humanistic value-free professional who can happily label an unborn child a ‘foetus’ and stand back while millions are slaughtered each year. Oh, but that’s not violence supported by an intellectual position is it, that’s RATIONAL MODERN thought, unurdened by emotion and moralism.

      • http://venitism.blogspot.com Basil Venitis

        I am now 69
        years old, and I had a vasectomy when I was only 25 years old. I have never regretted it. The birthrate in
        Occident is at the lowest in recorded history. From 2000 to present, the
        fertility rate declined 20%.
        Childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups. A quarter
        of Occidental women end their childbearing years maternity-free. Keynote Speaker Basil
        Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

        The decision to have a child or not is a private one,
        but it takes place in Occident, in a culture that often equates womanhood with
        motherhood. Any discussion about the struggle to reconcile womanhood with
        modernity tends to begin and end with one subject: parenting.

        What to expect when no
        one’s expecting? It reduces the
        number of consumers and taxpayers, but it increases the quality of life.
        Persons who choose not to become parents are finding new paths of acceptance.
        As their ranks rise, so do positive attitudes about leading a life in which
        having it all doesn’t mean having a baby.

        Stupid
        legislatures have passed stupid anti-abortion resolutions, asking the public to decide whether the
        state constitution should define life as beginning at conception! The stupid resolutions mainly state the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of
        development must be recognized and defended.

        Pro-choice activists criticize the new
        anti-abortion laws, arguing that they violate the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe
        v. Wade decision, which legalized abortions until the fetus is considered
        viable, at around 22-24 weeks into a pregnancy. Treating humans as
        livestock, stupid legislators, who
        introduced the stupid personhood resolutions, point out
        that the main purpose of them is to be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

        90% of people agree on the abortion of embryo, and 60%
        agree on the abortion of fetus. Embryo refers to the early stages of
        development within the womb, in humans up to the end of the second month. Fetus refers to the later stages of
        development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind,
        in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.

        Ayn Rand points out the capacity to procreate is merely a potential
        which man is not obligated to actualize. The choice to have children or not is
        morally optional. Nature endows man with a variety of potentials, and it is his
        mind that must
        decide which capacities he chooses to exercise, according to his own hierarchy
        of rational goals and values.

        The mere fact that man has the capacity to kill, does not mean that it
        is his duty to become a murderer; in the same way, the mere fact that man has
        the capacity to procreate, does not mean that it is his duty to commit
        spiritual suicide by making procreation his primary goal and turning himself
        into livestock.

        To an animal, the rearing of its young is a matter of temporary cycles.
        To man, it is a lifelong responsibility, a grave responsibility that must not
        be undertaken causelessly, thoughtlessly or accidentally.

        In regard to the moral aspects of birth control, the primary right
        involved is not the right of an unborn child, nor of the family, nor of
        society, nor of God. The primary right is one which, in today’s public clamor
        on the subject, few, if any, voices have had the courage to uphold: the right of man and woman to their
        own life and happiness, the right not to be regarded as the means
        to any end.

        Rand notes the task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong
        responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly.
        Procreation is not a duty, human beings are not livestock. For conscientious
        persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to
        advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of
        misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to
        living human beings.

        The human construct
        is open to wide interpretation. The dogma that life begins at conception is an
        utterly false assertion on its face because spermatozoa and ova cells are
        vibrantly alive long before they meet. Life most assuredly does not begin at
        conception. There are no discontinuities here as life just persists and
        inexorably continues and matures.

        • Simon Fay

          Ayn Rand and her disciples make the Dawkins cult seem almost likeable.

          • http://venitism.blogspot.com Basil Venitis

            I went beyond Ayn Rand. I am now anarchist! Rand hates anarchy.

          • Hominid

            Yes, you’ve progressed to muddle-headedness.

    • Hominid

      Verbose claptrap.

  • Matthew Stevens

    I do have work to do, so I can’t break down this latest addition to the recent smear campaign against someone critical of Islam, feminist hysteria and leftist censorship who’s stubborn popularity is proving an issue for all of the above as much as I’d like, but here’s a few points to get started:

    (The straw-men, misrepresentation and rhetoric I’m sure are self-evident for everyone)

    “Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins”

    How long are these writers going to continually embarrass themselves by making these facile attempts to equate religion with its absence?

    “But my heckler wanted scripture. ‘Where does he say this?’ he asked.
    ‘I’ve got his book, here!’ and he pointed to his bag. ‘Where does he say
    it? He doesn’t say it anywhere! You’re a liar!”

    Demanding citation from one’s source is more than a little different from quoting what you insist on pejoratively calling ‘scripture’ (despite the fact that it is no such thing).

    “But what has got him in trouble with his own side is not biology of that
    sort, but the appearance of racism and sexism. Some of the stuff that
    he has written and retweeted about ‘evil’ Islam is shocking.”

    LOL. criticising ‘evil’ Islam! What a terrible, terrible guy! Truly shocking!

    “A recent Dawkins tweet mentioning ‘mild paedophilia’ produced an
    eruption of outrage across the sceptical movement, not really helped by
    his claiming that it was all a matter of logic, and his opponents had
    had their thinking clouded by emotion”

    Except that is precisely what it was.

    Stating the fact that being beaten to a bloody pulp before being raped by a stranger is, yes, of course, worse than a date-rape does not condone either. Barely any of the hysterical nutters that attacked Dawkins on this point even bothered to offer a logical argument about how the former was no worse than the latter, which logically, is what you have to do to refute him; yet they didn’t, they just shouted emotional buzzwords and tautologies like “misogyny” and “rape is rape”.

    Do I agree with all that Dawkins says? absolutely not, but I certainly appreciate his willingness to put his mouth about against those who are doing everything they can to shut him up, by hook, crook or concerted, coordinated smearing.

    Mr Brown; totter off back to the Guardian for your next weekly briefing on what you and your fellow writers have permission to think; and try to hold back the envy on people like Dawkins who happily enough, are not so restricted.

    • brotherbaldrick

      As you can neither prove nor disprove god’s existence, a-theism is as much a belief system as theism. Your long diatribe above rather proves the writers whole point in his article!

      • Matthew Stevens

        “As you can neither prove not disprove the existence of fairies, disbelief in fairies is as much a belief system as believing in fairies!”

        The fact that something cannot be disproven offers no evidence whatsoever for its existence.

        Your ‘argument’ is such an old, truncated, repeatedly refuted line of attempted rhetoric that I can’t begin to imagine the mental ducking and diving necessary for anyone to be able to still cling to it in 2014.

        • Phil Simon Davis

          Comparing a belief in fairies to a belief in God is one of the most critical false dichotomies that Dawkins asserts. For example take the belief in gnomes coming to life at night in your garden, versus the belief in the country of Japan. They are not even within the same discourse, reason being take the evidence, for gnomes there is maybe under 100 obscure fictional books and articles on the internet maybe a few hippy-like crackpots actually claim this belief to be real. There are hundreds of world maps showing the exact location of Japan on the globe, its topography, cities, culture, I’ve met Japanese people and talked to them about their country. Now, belief in fairies is in more or the less the same discourse as belief in gnomes coming to life at night. Due to over 500 ancient manuscripts written by both Christian and non-Christian authors we have more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus than any other figure, even Julius Caesar! Almost a third of the worlds population are Christians and many would claim to have met Jesus personally just as I’ve met a Japanese person. Therefore Christianity is more on a par with, however I’ll admit slightly below a belief in the country of Japan, though still much further above the belief in fairies, a flying spaghetti monster etc. although many atheists would like to make this claim it’s simply just to ridicule believers

          • Ciprian Cucu

            Aaaa, the famous argument – we are more so our delusions must be true.
            Please, tell me more how the fact that you have billions of people believing an ancient legend makes it true.

            Also, belief *in* the country of Japan?
            Do you even semantics?

          • Baron

            You’ve come across Pascal wager, Ciprian Cucu? If not, google it.

          • DaiCadno

            More chance of winning the Lottery than Pascal’s wager. For a start you have to pick the right God – and Jesus isn’t the only one out there. A side bet on Vishnu or Ganesh perhaps?

          • Paul G

            “More chance of winning the Lottery than Pascal’s wager. ”

            Um – not really. 50/50 is somewhat better that your chances on the Lottery, unless the rules have changed recently.

          • DaiCadno

            Sorry Paul but its only 50/50 if you make the assumption that your particular god is real and other gods are false. There are thousands of gods worshipped by different religions today and there are thousands more that have been consigned to historical myth. It’s not a two horse race. Put your money on the right one.

          • Paul G

            Oh, I don’t know about that. Pascal’s may not have been the strongest argument out there but see it for what it is.

            ‘If I don’t believe in (insert higher power here) and it turns out to be false anyway, it makes no difference as I will never know either way. However, if I choose not to believe and it turns out to be true, I may regret my earlier disbelief. If I choose to believe however and it turns out to be true I will be well prepared. If it turns out to be false after all, it will not have affected the sincerity of my belief and my enjoyment of life up to that point.’

            Many arguments can be made against this as a conclusion, but as a wager, it still calls 50/50 odds.

          • DaiCadno

            But Paul, the flaw in your argument is the (insert higher power here) part. There are thousands of possible higher powers – the Abrahamic God is not the only choice and even if it were is it the God of the Jews, the Christians or the Muslims. We are down to 1 in 3 odds only by considering the Abrahamic one. As Homer Simpson so succinctly put it ‘what if we are worshpping the wrong god every Sunday – we are just making the real one madder and madder’

          • Paul G

            Not really. The Christians, Jews and Muslims may have differing interpretations of how to worship, but they all still worshiping the same God, not three different ones. I’m not sure that Homer Simpson is the best model for a theological philosopher you could have found either.

            If you widen the example (as I am sure you are keen to do) to include the gods worships by thousands of other religions, we are still on fairly simple ground for the most part, if not particularly comfortable for the individual believer. Most other religions, aside from a few polytheistic ones, believe that there is one God only, namely their own. If someone died and then found that someone else’s God was the real one, he would still have been correct in thinking there was only a single God. He would simply have to acknowledge that he had misunderstood the correct way to see of that God.

            There is a greater problem when it comes to polytheistic religions, but these are in the minority and in any case, as I said, I don’t consider Pascal’s wager to be a strong argument (or even much of an argument at all, for that matter) but simply a wager. Perhaps you are right that it is not correctly a 50/50 wager but (acknowledging polytheism) it is probably still not much worse that 60/40.

          • DaiCadno

            Interesting points. However, to hit the jackpot with Pascal’s Wager (which would be eternal life in Paradise plus or minus the 72 virgins – or is that Bin Laden’s Wager?) you not only have to pick the right god but the right way of worshipping him. So, acknowledging that the Abrahamic god is just a single god He won’t give you any brownie points (if he is Jesus) if you’ve been worshipping him by killing Yazidis in Iraq and enslaving their women. Wheras if he actually is Allah (even a benign Allah who really doesn’t hold with all the killing in his name) He won’t be happy with those who have complete belief in his existance but who happily eat bacon sandwiches and celebrate Easter and Christmas – Paradise may well be denied them on this score. Complicated isn’t it?

          • Paul G

            Well, I did say that the reality of discovering you were right that there was one God and he existed might turn out to be a touch uncomfortable for many believers, particularly if the paradise part of it also turned out to be true but you ended up looking at it for all eternity from behind bars, so to speak, while suffering flagellation for having been such a heretic in life. Winning the lottery doesn’t necessarily result in happiness either, does it?

          • Matthew Stevens

            …this is really, really funny

          • Mr.R

            The irony is that everything you said so far is just as comical.

          • timmay

            get out

          • Gwangi

            ‘Therefore Christianity is more on a par with, however I’ll admit slightly below a belief in the country of Japan, though still much further above the belief in fairies, a flying spaghetti monster etc. ‘
            I think you need an education, son.
            Faith is just that: FAITH – there is NO evidence for what you believe because you take a leap of faith to believe it! It is JUST the same as a faith in ANY religious or supernatural phenomenon in history – from ancient Egypt t belief in fairies.
            if people want to ridicule you for that, fair enough really. Just listen to the hateful bile spewed at atheists!
            Religion itself evolved – from Man’s evolving brain. The ability to imagine a future – which promoted planning and thus survival – is what created the imagination which is where religion was born. ANY common belief system has an advantage and certainly had one in tribal pre-history. And MOST religion is NOT about faith – but community, tradition, belonging, stability of family, music, food etc. That is why many atheists can claim to be culturally Christian – tho that means a VERY different thing in England when compared to the USA or Africa.

          • Mr.R

            I never heard of an atheist who claimed to be culturally Jewish & or Christian. This is definitely something Dawkins, Harris and various others would frown upon.

          • Slartibast

            They understand it

          • peter taylor

            Richard Dawkins has called himself a cultural Christian
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7136682.stm

            Must try harder.

          • Kitty MLB

            And Dawkins being so obsessed with what he
            doesn’t believe in that he has made a living out
            of God..Oh the irony !

          • peter taylor

            Actually he made his living as an evolutionary biologist, he was professor emeritus at Oxford University. He wrote the best selling book The Selfish Gene in 1974.
            He has since then (amongst other things) made a living out of spreading reason over superstition.
            But I think you probably knew all that any way but it didn’t fit into your rather tired narrative…eh?

          • Paul G

            She was referring to what he appears to be making his living from now.

          • peter taylor

            He actually makes his living from his Foundation for Reason and Science. The fact that reason and science does and always has clashed with religion does not follow that he is making his living from god, Kitty just does understand irony. 😉

          • Don Ferrell

            He makes his living, now, by educating the masses. I think that’s a nobel profession.

          • fredx2

            Miseducating, you mean.

          • fredx2

            So these people who can’t think came up with a way of living that Dawkins follows. Interesting.

          • Ezme Green

            Well you obviously dont know many Brits then, MOST of whom will say they are ”CofE” but dont actually believe in god….they still celebrate Christmas and Easter, but have no feelings about Christ either way…There are MANY MANY jews who are atheist but as Judaism is a race its slightly different.

          • Jacques de Grey

            “This is historically a Christian country. I’m a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims.” – Richard Dawkins in 2007. Google it.

            Or perhaps read some Richard Dawkins. I’m afraid the otherwise clueless author is correct about certain people who claim to “follow” Dawkins – like you…

          • lilacsigil

            I’m an atheist who is culturally Christian, and have several friends who are atheists and culturally Jewish. Now you’ve heard of some! Doesn’t mean I’m a fan of Dawkins, though.

          • Thor fenris

            Well now you have heard of one. Actually make that two because you can include me.

          • Hominid

            Not so. Many American atheists are culturally Christian or Jewish because America is steeped in Judeochristian traditions and ethos.

          • Deva

            You see that computer in front of you……you know it just spontaneously materialised out of random groupings of ingredients available in the universe? Same as with us, and the biodiverse planet we live on. I never saw a creator of the world, or the computer, therefore they do not exist.

          • Watari

            That logic is flawed. It sounds like the old “couldn’t have just happened on it’s own so it must be God” argument.

          • Maharani vrnda

            where is the flaw? Just saying it’s wrong, doesn’t prove anything.

          • http://davehoulbrooke.com/ Dave Houlbrooke

            No-one denies the existence of Jesus, just that he’s truly the son of an all-knowing all-powerful being, which is unlikely.

            Most Atheists also wouldn’t outright deny the existence of god, we just think it’s extremely extremely unlikely one exists, and even less likely one exists in the format prescribed in historical documents.

            So, no-one’s denying Jesus. A guy called Jesus likely existed, and from the stories was probably a pretty good guy. He just either made up the stuff about his dad, or genuinely believed it to be true.

          • Mr.R

            Actually many atheists deny Jesus ever existed, Richard Dawkins included.

          • peter taylor

            As none of Jesus’ contemporaries ever wrote about him and the Jesus story is remarkably similar to other earlier stories, it’s understandable why his existence is called into question

          • Paul G

            It depends on what you call ‘contemporary’. Taking first the New Testament accounts, there is good reason to believe that the Gospel of Mark was written some time before AD43, as was the lost source known as ‘Q’. That’s only ten years after the event and certainly within living memory. Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, written independently of each other, both draw on Mark and ‘Q’ but both were written before AD68, as identifiable pages from all three synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) have been found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were the library of a community which is known to have been destroyed in AD68. The Acts of the Apostles, also by Luke, was almost certainly competed in around AD63 or 64, as the latest datable thing in it is a mention of an official who is known to have been in post only in the years AD61 and 62. Therefore Acts, Matthew and Luke are all within thirty five years of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. John’s Gospel was probably completed in the AD80s or early 90s, as John is believed to have died in

          • peter taylor

            Contemporary has only one meaning as far as I’m aware, being written during Jesus’ life time. No serious religious academic disputes that nothing was ever written by any of Jesus’ contemporaries. Including Pontius Pilate or any Roman, who are known to have kept very good records.
            Some scholars have the earliest accounts of Jesus not being written until the second century.
            So as I said it is understandable why some may question his actual existence.

          • Paul G

            The scholars who consider the earliest accounts as having not been written until the second century AD are not up to speed on the present state of the evidence, which proves all three synoptic gospels and by implication the Acts of the Apostles must have been written before mid AD68, when the community at Qumran was destroyed by the Romans. That means that they were written within living memory of the events they describe. It is worth pointing out too, the much of John’s gospel (especially when read in the original Greek) gives a strong sense of being an eyewitness account.

            This means that all could have been written by people who were contemporary with Christ. In the case of Mark’s gospel, the author (generally accepted to have been Peter’s secretary Mark) must have been contemporary with him, as must the author of Q.
            As far as Pilate not having written anything about him, how on Earth would these academics of yours know, without Pilate’s collected writings to refer to? All governors were expected to submit an annual report on their province and and there is no reason to doubt that the ‘Acts of Pilate’ were not just that. It is unfortunate that not a single set of such reports, (apart from Caesar’s ‘Commentaries’, which are probably edited versions of his annual governor’s reports) has survived. We know from a variety of sources that they must have existed though. The Acta Pilati which Justin referred to may well have been written within months of Christ’s crucifixion. As the original, and any copies which may once have circulated, have not survived however (in all probability destroyed in the emperor Diocletian’s purge of Christian and related writings in the late third century AD) they cannot be consulted by academics to see what the original work actually said. They exist within a gigantic catalogue of known ancient writings which have not survived. It is more true to say then, that no serious academic disputes that nothing SURVIVES which was written about Christ during his lifetime and immediately after.

            As for it being understandable that some may question his existence, using the usual criteria to identify the trustworthiness of Ancient literature, I disagree. It is not disputed by anyone that Alexander the Great existed, but as I mentioned above, the literary sources for him are both not as numerous as those for Christ and all date to hundreds of years after his death. Then, what about Marcus Hordionius Flaccus, the Roman general who put down the revolt of Civilis in AD69, known only from a single source but whose existence is never doubted?

          • Hominid

            BS! You’re simply repeating the lies you’ve been told.

          • Paul G

            So you believe the Dead Sea Scrolls are forgeries, do you? Or perhaps you believe the Tacitus was writing yesterday. Grow up and accept evidence for what it is. You obviously know nothing about historical method. Your simian portrait would appear to be appropriate to the level of reasoning in your trolling post.

          • Hominid

            Baloney!

          • Paul G

            “Baloney!”

            The best description possible of your attitude and attempt at an opinion. You are a troll. Get back under your bridge.

          • Hominid

            There is NO validated evidence for the existence of Jesus – NONE!

          • Paul G

            You don’t know what you are talking about.

          • TexasStomp

            That a child named Jesus, born of Jewish parents Mary and Joseph, whose birth was recorded on both Roman tax and census documents and corroborated by Josephus, and who lived and worked as a carpenter in the Galilee, is as much a fact as any record of the birth, life, or death, of anyone in ancient history.

            Who and what he was, said, did, or why and how he became “Christ” are theosophical matters, unprovable and irrelevant to both believers and nonbelievers. But his existence in the place and time history records it is not.

          • Hominid

            Sorry, Tex – that’s false.

          • TexasStomp

            Dominic Crossan, “The Historical Jesus.”

            I encourage you to read it. Crossan’s unyielding methodology in sorting fact from fiction regarding the life of Jesus is impressive. He is one of a handful of scholars who have chosen rigor and methodology over desired outcome. He is a founding member of the Jesus Seminar which does not see Jesus as a “risen” son of God but rather a political and social protester.

            Worth your time? Probably not since it’s a tough read and at the end of the day the topic doesn’t interest you that much. But an impressive and scholarly work none the less.

          • Hominid

            You’re right – discussing two thousand years of unverifiable accounts and assorted lies created to satisfy an ideological agenda is of little interest to me. Likewise, irrational thinking holds no appeal for me.

          • DaiCadno

            ‘many would claim to have met Jesus personally’ Many (thousands) of Americans would claim to have been abducted by space aliens and been subject to intimate examinations before being released from the spaceships. Neither of these claims is proof of anything other than the ability we all have to fall prey to delusion or mental illness (or to make up stories of course.)

          • Apolônio

            In addition to what other people have already said, and even if I take your argument seriously, you need to take into account that the belief that there is a god has been declining for the last century or so. I don’t see that happening to the belief that there is a country called Japan any time soon.

            600 years ago, pretty much everyone in the known world believed that the Earth was flat and that, if you sailed to the end of the world, you would fall over. That consensus on that matter didn’t make it real then.

          • Paul G

            Do you have any evidence that people ever believed the world was flat? If so it doesn’t seem to be reflected in mediaeval depictions of the globe, despite the incomplete knowledge of the Earths geography at the time. The ancient Greek Eratosthanes calculated the curvature and circumference of the Earth and his works were readily available to mediaeval scholars, whose own work allowed some knowledge of this to flow down to the less educated in society. Quite aside from that, anyone who lives near the sea can see the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes, and that is hardly a modern phenomenon.

            Also, when you talk of belief in a god declining, surely you are talking only about the European West, as it is certainly not in decline in Africa and much of Asia.

            Try checking your facts properly before making these statements, otherwise all you do is show your own ignorance of the past and the rest of the world we inhabit. Just because a lot of people say something, it doesn’t mean they all know what they’re talking about.

          • danum5

            Wrong. Quote and reference one non biblical mention of Jesus. Just one. No, there aren’t any.

          • Paul G

            Hmmm – so Flavius Josephus’ two references don’t count then, and nether would the mention of him by Tacitus. It is also known that Pontius Pilate (who is attested by several literary sources and an inscription, for those who try to paint him as an obscure governor about which little is known) mentioned details of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in what was probably one of his annual reports back to Rome.

            I suspect though that you don’t read much source material though, do you?

          • danum5

            No, both references are decades after the supposed death of Jesus, Josephus was no born until 37A.D. and Tacitus was reporting, decades later, what the cult believed.

          • Paul G

            You asked for a non-biblical reference to Jesus. I gave you four. You didn’t mention it needing to be contemporary.
            Incidentally, can you produce a contemporary account of Alexander the Great or Leonidas, the Spartan King who fought the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae? I don’t think you’ll find any. Do you doubt their existence too?

          • Michael Vargas

            So, Appeal to Popularity is accepted, now?

          • Ezme Green

            Oh my dear whotsit. I cant believe you have the intelligence to write such a long post, full of flaws though it is.

          • Jure Murko

            OMG… nobody who talked to a japanese doesn’t claim that this japanese is a son of god who walked on water etc.. get it? that is why comparison with fairies. extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. Meeting a Japanese person is not an extraordinary claim.

          • Logan Charlotte

            Because many believe it, doesn’t make it true. Many believed the sun went around the earth, but it was systematically proved wrong, although I imagine it took some time for everyone to agree. To equate the existence of Japan on a map to the validity of christianity is utterly absurd. You shame yourself sir.

          • Don Ferrell

            “for gnomes there is maybe under 100 obscure fictional books and articles on the internet maybe a few hippy-like crackpots actually claim this belief to be real.” … Tell that to Scandinavia.

          • Hominid

            You’re a liar. God is percisely comparable to fairies. There are NO validated accounts of Jesus – NOT one!

          • Paul G

            In that case there are no validated accounts of Alexander the Great either, or of Boudicca either. I suppose you think that they were fictional characters too. The presence of three of the New Testament gospels amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls shows them to be as close to contemporary as it gets. You just don’t like to accept that as it flies in the face of your own opinion.

            Your opinions are just that Hominid – opinions. What are they based on? They lack any sense of rigour and are wilfully ignorant of the evidence laid before you. Who are you to write something off as lies when you were not present at the time the accounts were written? It is only your own prejudice which allows you to dismiss evidence in favour of your own opinions.

          • Hominid

            Nonsense!

          • Paul G

            So what IS your opinion of Boudicca as a validated historical figure then?

          • fredx2

            Atheists are polemicists, not thinkers.

          • Thor fenris

            Possibly the most ignorant post so far. We have very little evidence for the existence of Jesus. He is only mentioned once in a historical document (Josephus) of the period. Rather different from Caeser.

          • Diviance

            “Comparing a belief in fairies to a belief in God is one of the most critical false dichotomies that Dawkins asserts.”

            False.

            “Now, belief in fairies is in more or the less the same discourse as belief in gnomes coming to life at night.”

            There are thousands upon thousands of books and writings mentioning fairies in one form or another, you know. Far more than anything for Christianity.

            “Due to over 500 ancient manuscripts written by both Christian and non-Christian authors we have more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus than any other figure, even Julius Caesar!”

            Also false. There are no contemporary writings for Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Not a single one. There is some historical evidence that at least one person went around claiming to be Jesus Christ, perhaps more. There is none, however, of the mythological story portrayed in the New Testament. Belief in Christianity is roughly equal to believing in fairies, gnomes, dwarves, elves, orcs and whatever other fantasy creature you wish.

            “Almost a third of the worlds population are Christians and many would claim to have met Jesus personally just as I’ve met a Japanese person.”

            Argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy. Lots of people claim to have met Jesus personally, but unlike with a Japanese person… nobody can prove it. Which is the real kicker, a lack of evidence.*

            “Therefore Christianity is more on a par with, however I’ll admit slightly below a belief in the country of Japan, though still much further above the belief in fairies, a flying spaghetti monster etc. although many atheists would like to make this claim it’s simply just to ridicule believers”

            Simple untrue. Christianity is roughly the same level as fairies, though if we are counting based on multitude of writings, it is below every major fictional race out there. This is not a claim made to ridicule believers, as much as your inferiority complex seems to think, it is a pretty on the spot comparison. A lack of evidence is a lack of evidence, no matter how you spin it.

        • Baron

          The logic fails you, Matthew, brotherbaldrick doesn’t say that if one cannot disprove something it’s no evidence for its existence, merely that not believing in something is as valid belief system as one that believes in that something.

          What is it with you non-believers anyway, why cannot you live and let live, ha? Baron happens to be a non-believer, but the obsessive, fanatical, hatred fill rants of your crowd are forcing him towards the camp you so loathe, if only to spite you. Why cannot you get it into your craniums that for some people, for whatever reasons, religion reaches their iner-selves that science cannot reach furnishing solace, comfort, relief?

          • Gwangi

            No problem at all, Baron. We atheists who refuse to be sheep of the church or mosque, and who are united only in a refusal to worship an imaginary friend, are in general very tolerant of anyone who holds any supernatural belief.
            Would that the same tolerance be afford to atheists, non-believers, infidels by the barmy bigoted bullies of the religious mob, be it Christian, Muslim, or anything else. It is not atheists attacking, torturing and killing people of religion, or burning them to death, or telling them to convert.
            I suggest you calm down and get out a Darren Brown DVD. Watch and learn. Religious faith is really all just a trick in our opinion; you may disagree and have that right, which the vast majority of atheists will defend (and do not forget atheists pay taxes to support religions in the UK…) Worth remembering too that MOST of what makes up religion is not Faith at all – but tradition, community, culture, family, food, music etc.

          • http://www.exclusivechurch.com/ Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

            Like Kin Jeong Un? Mao? Pol Phot? Christian and religious martyrs to formally atheistic regimes number in the thousands. You read instead of watching DVDs of Darren Brown.

          • Lynley

            Believe what you wish. The problem is you lot do not stop there. In America, In God We Trust is on all of the money. You cannot even run for a city council seat without dropping to your knees and thanking Jesus for every vote. You teach girls to be submissive ninnies and boys to be waited on like little narcissists. You tell children they will burn in hell if they misbehave or have sexual feelings that do not conform to some 2000 year old dead culture. Why can you not get that into YOUR cranium?

          • Mr.R

            This one is easy to dismantle.

            For starters, you should not be offended by God on your currency. If the name or title “God” bothers you that much, then perhaps you should re-evaluate yourself; because it’s clear that you have mental issues.

            You do not have to thank Jesus for a vote? What the hell are you talking about?

            Teaching girls to support their man and do good deeds in a relationship is hardly worth demonizing over. Funny that women who view such acts as “submissive” are single and will most likely die alone. ( A feminist dream?) Again sounds like you got some issues that YOU need to resolve.

            Oh and god forbid teaching kids to not sleep around and cause a surge of STDS an unwanted pregnancies. Damn teaching people to not whore themselves around is such a primitive idea. Oh the humanity!

            You are right, the culture is dead, and we are witnessing the destructive results because of it. How’s that for enlightenment?

          • JPC

            I think you’ve got this backwards. really backwards.

            I and others, it seems do not require God to live good, moral, lives. Yet in many many cultures, lack of belief in the prevailing deity or faith relegates an individual to a variety of challenges- all the way from imprisonment, punishment, even death to (in the United States) scorn, animosity, death threats and if a politician, political suicide.

            Oddly enough, when challenged for evidence supporting these faiths there’s really none, beyond some ancient texts that have been copied, translated, cherry-picked and seized upon by a combination of the gullible and those who would profit from their gullibility. “live and let live” is a perfectly viable approach, so long as these beliefs aren’t used to harm others- aren’t used to indoctrinate the young before they attain the age of reason- aren’t used to tell others what they can and cannot do based solely on old scripture and not on morality, compassion and reason (ref. most of Leviticus. It’s both asinine and evil).

            Essentially- keep your faith in your churches and your private lives, and we’ll get on very well.

            Culture, technology and society as a whole do much better when faith stays out of it.

        • <–Ed balls dressed as a Nazi

          Actually, Atheism is a CERTAINTY, you can’t claim to be an Atheist without disproving God, you can only be a Agnostic without disproving. You can argue you are Agnostic about religion to the same extent you’re agnostic about fairies, but to describe yourself as Atheist, especially if you’re a wannabe Dawkins then you’re a hypocrite.

      • timmay

        The burden of proof is clearly with those that claim to know that God exists. Atheism is merely the rejection of those claims due to lack of evidence.

        • Mr.R

          Wrong. Atheism is a belief that there are no god(s).

          Your disbelief in god(s) etc, is not due to lack of evidence but by willfully rejecting any evidence that is proposed against you.

          The truth is, an agnostic is open to evidence, while an atheist will always reject evidence.

          • Darren Wilson

            So where is this evidence? I’m an atheist and more than willing to shift my position if presented with this evidence you claim exists.

          • http://ifwhattheysayistrue.blogspot.co.uk/ Matthew Stevens

            Word.

            I’m an atheist about God, aliens, fairies and goblins.

            But if any (or all) of them knock on my door tonight and say “yo Matty…s’up!” I’ll be converted straight away. Its not hard. Besides, if God’s all-knowing, then he knows what it’ll take to convince me he exists and as such, my lack of belief is entirely his responsibility regardless of whether or not he’s given me free will.

            Plus of course, being all-knowing, he created me knowing full well whether or not I’d be confronted with convincing evidence. So again, its entirely his fault if I die an atheist.

          • Paul G

            I think you should edit you last comment to say ‘believing full well’. You accept that it is a possibility, however slim, that something you don’t believe in will knock at your door to announce its existence, but then you say that you KNOW it won’t happen. This is contradictory. You do not KNOW it won’t happen – do demonstrate that you BELIEVE it won’t happen. I have hardly to tell you that knowledge and belief are two different things.

          • http://ifwhattheysayistrue.blogspot.co.uk/ Matthew Stevens

            Paul I’m not talking about me in that last sentence, I’m talking about God.

            Suppose I do indeed go through life and die as an atheist, yet unbeknownst to me the God of the Bible does indeed exist.

            In such a scenario, how can I possibly be blamed for my lack of belief when God (who is all-knowing) created me, knowing prior to my birth that I would die as an atheist?

            Even if I’m granted free-will, even if one makes the case that I’ve somehow ‘chosen’ to reject God, the buck still stops with him; as *he’s* the one who created me despite *knowing*, from my birth, that I’d never believe in him until the day I die.

          • life5678

            As far as Dawkins goes, he has the IQ of a gnat with the
            logic to match. To follow his ‘religion’, you would have to believe that humans are the first beings to ever exist with any degree of intelligence, and therefore are the most intelligent beings to ever exist. Even if you believed the ludicous notion that the big bang that created earth was the first and only big bang, then you have to believe it took 14 billion years for the first sentient beings to ‘evolve’. That’s a whole lot of far-fetched illogical ‘beliefs’.

            Space and matter/energy have always existed, and can never be created nor destroyed, only the form can change.
            There are countless big bangs in space, each in different various stages. So logic would dictate that you ask the question, ‘so if space and matter are ageless, then when did the first intelligent being come into existence?’

            ‘Sentient’ humans have only existed on earth for a little
            over 7000 years. Before that there was no written word, no ‘language’, cities or civilization. Homo-sapiens have existed on earth for over a million years, but they were not ‘sentient’ beings. Likewise it has only been in the last 150
            years that science has really began to unlock the mysteries of the universe, and yet we are on the precipice of discovering out how to live forever. So after billions of years where will we be, how ‘intelligent’? What about the sentient beings that came into existence 100 billion years ago elsewhere in the universe? What form might these beings have? How intelligent might they be? How
            long might they live?

            So then, logically it is only reasonable to conclude that
            intelligent, reasoning, sentient beings have ALWAYS existed, and with far more intelligence than humans can imagine. Intelligence / reasoning must be an innate quality of existence, just as space, matter and energy are, and they must have always existed and always will, they could not have ‘evolved’. Since intelligence has always existed, then intelligence itself would qualify as God. Therefore, God exists. To ‘believe’ anything less is just frivolous nonsense for those with a weak minded and a huge ego.

            To truly be free thinking, intelligent, sentient beings,
            humans must be allowed to think freely for their selves, to decide, to reason, to wonder. If humans knew beyond doubt that God existed, then there would be no freedom of thought, only fear of God. Life would be meaningless. This freedom of thought, this gift, comes with the high cost of doubt, doubt in God, doubt that allows men to be barbaric, cruel and evil. Therefore the root of all evil is doubt in the existence of God.

          • RuariJM

            If you think that ‘sentient’ humans have existed girl only 7000 years, then you font know the meaning of ‘séntient’.

          • peter taylor

            Incorrect, atheism is not a positive statement. It is merely the rejection of the positive statement “There is a god/s”
            If one was to say, there are no gods, that would be a positive statement and as such would require evidence.
            Atheism makes no claim, that is why the burden of proof lies only with the theist.

          • Jure Murko

            wrong. Religious present a claim (and believe it) that a god or gods exit but can’t present compelling evidence that would survive empirical scrutiny. Atheism is a statement on this single position. It’s a disbelief in a religious claim. Also – the starting position is not believing- life would be pretty complicated if people would have to believe every possible claim about everything until proven otherwise

          • timmay

            You have empirical evidence of the existence of a supernatural being who knows each and every human personally, knows their actions, minds about them, listens to their prayers, punishes or rewards them for their actions, cares what they eat, cares how and with who they have sex with?

            Please, do tell.

      • Bonkim

        Only those with stunted brains need to invent a supernatural creator-being to explain the unexplainable.

        • Baron

          You would be surprised, Bonkim, how many believers in a supernatural creator were, are, will be scientists, top scientists.

          • Bonkim

            Not surprised. Yes. The motives and reasons complex. Look up article by Albert Einstein in the New York Times Magazine on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4.

            http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

            Part of the brain can function brilliantly whilst other parts recede into blind belief and coexist.

        • Mr.R

          And yet, there are those who are far more intelligent than you and believe in a higher power. If they have stunted brains and are far superior than you in intelligence, then what kind of brain do you have? Is it a single peanut?

        • akulkis

          40 years ago, my younger brother, who was two years old at the time and with not-yet-diagnosed food allergies, had broken out in hives all over his body… he was laying in his crib and crying in pain, while my mom & dad were looking in the medicine cabinet for anything that might relieve his symptoms.

          I was in the bathtub, taking a bath.
          I made a sincere prayer that my brother would be better.

          They walked back into the room, and all of the hives had cleared up.

          Over the years, I have asked various allergists and other what could have caused the sudden remission. None even attempt to guess at an answer — because this just DOES NOT HAPPEN.

          I’m an engineer. You know, one of those people who take science to the point of actually making something useful out of observed phenomena.

      • vieuxceps2

        No, Baldrick,Mathew cannot prove God’s existence.Neither can you.It is not posible to provea negative,so neither can he prove that God does not exist. And,Baldrick, neither can you.

      • David Glen

        Atheism. A-theism. None theist. Not just the bible. All of the big books of incest rape smiting and stoning. You probably only have one god and reject the others, so out of the thousands you reject, you’re only one behind me.

      • Brandon Hortman

        This comment was more ignorant than the article

      • Ezme Green

        I cant even be bothered to yawn….

      • tzioneretz

        Firstly, a negative cannot be proven.

        Secondly, the onus is not on atheists to prove anything.

        Thirdly, the existence of an interventionist “god,” as imagined by the mainstream global religions to date, CAN be logically disproven beyond a reasonable doubt.

        • brotherbaldrick

          1). A negative cannot be proven??? What planet are you on? All men who walk free from count are NOT GUILTY!
          2). Ditto for Theists.
          3).I suppose you CAN disprove the existence of dark matter and dark energy in the same way eh? Seeing as we cannot detect them in any way – so they don’t exist!

          • tzioneretz

            (1) Oh, boy. The “men” (by which I presume you mean “people”) who walk free from court do so because they are NOT PROVEN GUILTY, and NOT because they are proven not guilty. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

            (2) Not so. If theists want the society and its laws to be organized in accordance with their theology, then the onus is squarely on them to prove the veracity of their theological claims.

            (3) Firstly, dark matter and energy are hypotheses for now. However, they are hypothesized because they can be detected or inferred indirectly using standard scientific procedures. The same goes for gravity. An interventionist supernatural force cannot be proven directly or indirectly, scientifically or even logically. On the contrary: Logic directly DISproves such an entity.

      • Hominid

        You are irrational.

        • Paul G

          And what, then, is someone who writes things off as being irrational or false without ever showing a shred of reasoning or evidence for his opinions? Someone precisely like you, that is.

          • Hominid

            That’s been done at length and repeatedly – fools like you are incapable of comprehension.

          • Paul G

            Before you call me (or anyone else for that matter) a fool, take a very good hard look at yourself in the mirror. I’ve been reading over some of your other posts and you seem to spend a good deal of time calling people idiots, imbeciles, loons etc without providing your reasoning for doing so. I think that for you to have been married for so long is a good and fine achievement and that your wife must be a remarkable woman. I imagine though, that she must be very tolerant too.

          • Hominid

            I describe people as idiots when they demonstrate it to be so.

      • Carl Myers

        and “off” is a TV channel!

      • Salanor

        Time to ditch that stupid argument.

        God’s existence is a speculative proposition. All propositions like that begin as speculation until they become knowledge.

        This is exactly equivalent to saying, “You can’t prove or disprove that the Broncos will win tomorrow.” when I speculate that the Broncos will win.

        My belief is largely irrelevant to the eventual outcome, which becomes knowledge when I have the result of the match. It is proved right or wrong.

        Atheists simply identify “God exists.” as just one of a near infinite number of propositions that are unproven. Hence, no belief is required either way, only proper identification.

        • brotherbaldrick

          What twaddle. A-theism (the clue is in the name) means a belief that God does not exist! No amount of literary gymnastics and or “spin” can change that. If Dork-ings and the rest of his merry fools want to redefine their position on God fine – but then they cannot claim to be atheists any more.

    • Mr.X

      How quick you are to defend your Messiah!

      • Matthew Stevens

        I’m a huge admirer of Professor Dawkins’ work although I don’t subscribe to all that he believes.

        Having said that, I’ll readily defend absolutely anyone from the nastiness of false accusations, smears, insults, misrepresentations and attempts to censor, primarily coming from the progressive left, who’d seem to like the professor’s scepticism, critical thinking and scientific investigation limited to only discovering facts convenient to their narrative.

        His debate with the feminazis over the varying severity of rapes was the last straw for me.

        No-one, literally NO-ONE even so much as ATTEMPTED to make an actual, logical argument in opposition, insofar as no-one was able to calmly put the case that “Mr. Dawkins, you are incorrect because XYZ / Your argument saying this-that-and-the-other is flawed because ABC”

        ALL of it was ad-hominem, sarcastic, smug, straw-manning that almost sought to make a virtue of neglecting to engage him with logic rather than emotion.

        It was an effort to censor. An effort to make it ‘uncool’ for a successful white man to speak on subjects monopolised under the category of feminist victimhood. A threat to anyone else so inclined that (utterly regardless of the facts or the truth) if you dare cross the lines of feminist censorship, there will be a legion of bloggers and writers and an army of dangerously illogical nodding heads ready to make a coordinated effort to destroy your career and credibility.

        Against those nasty, spiteful, poor misguided fools, I’ll readily leap to the defence of Richard Dawkins, and hopefully make my own very, very small contribution towards encouraging others to do the same.

        • Lydia Robinson

          ” the nastiness of false accusations, smears, insults, misrepresentations and attempts to censor, primarily coming from the progressive left”
          this is what is really unbelievable – that the “progressive left” align themselves with Islamists – extreme right wing conservatives who subjugate women.

          It is what makes the current day left especially despicable and I’m sure Dawkins can hardly believe it either and finds it equally despicable.

          • Guest

            Which accusations are false?

          • David Glen

            As he also finds the crap he has to dodge from the ‘right’ as well obviously. Don’t claim him him as some easy to pigeon -hole ‘libertarian’ here.
            His rare free thinking sees him equally villified and loved on both sides . I think I learned not to think like any of his enemies from him. A lesson as deep as what he has taught me about evolution.

          • Lynley

            Indeed, Lydia. I was a hard-left liberal until they bought into the “Islamophobia as racism” rubbish. I do not care what colour one is, if you are throwing acid in little girl’s faces or pulling women off of buses and raping them to death in the streets, you are scum to be eliminated with all due haste. Meanwhile the Christian right give lip service to women’s rights but only because they hate Muslims slightly more than women. What’s a girl to do?

          • Nan

            Christians don’t hate women; women are to submit to their husband, men to love their wife. In our society, that’s frowned upon.

          • Lynley

            Nan, are you aware that the translation of the word Islam into English is SUBMIT? We should frown upon it, it is absolute rubbish. I was born into an Italian Catholic family and know all about the Dom/Sub culture of The Church. Thanks, but no. Civilised secular society has no use for this kind of nonsense. If individuals are happy engaging in this BDSM behaviour so be it. But please, do not foist that on sane people. I do not know if you believe this or are merely pointing out what you believe is going through the “faithful’s” mind but it is not something I, nor anyone I know of either gender would SUBMIT to.

          • Nan

            Yes; however, in that instance it means to convert. No matter how much you want it to be, society isn’t secular. Why do you think the goal of cultural marxism is to break the family and to separate procreation from sex? Because they think they can break the Church. They can’t. A wife submitting to her husband isn’t BDSM; it means that he’s the head of the family. Note also that it’s tempered with him loving her, meaning that he must cherish her and make decisions that won’t harm her.

            You do seem very angry; I was raised to believe the feminist ideas and it’s a total crock. Secular men are pretty much babies themselves as they’re out to get laid rather than to enter into a relationship, marry and raise a family. Yeah, there are exceptions but for the most part they’re out for what they can get.

            Do your research; it was the Catholic church that elevated women; Mary holds the highest position of any human, as she is Christ’s mother. In Roman society, whether pagan, Jew or Roman, women were not held in high esteem and were neither allowed out on their own nor educated. Christ allowed women to learn beside the men. Unheard of at that time. He also named Mary Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles, and, in a society that didn’t value the word of a woman, had her tell the Apostles the Good News.

          • Lynley

            Not angry necessarily, just not willing to entertain the sky-god fantasy at the expense of my autonomy. I bow to no one, real or imaginary.

            America was a Christian country but agnostics, atheists, secular humanists, and I will include deists are growing. Young people are shying away from religion for good reasons. Soon, reason will hold sway and not a moment to soon.

            Do not equate me with Marxists or Marxism. My family escaped Soviet Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Italy’s Mussolini in the 1930’s and 1940’s to settle in the U.S. (a shame they didn’t stay in London, a rational, secular society). So, please, do not go there with me.

            Sex is a natural urge of biology, nothing more. Sometimes, heterosexuals make babies, some times not. Nothing more to it than that. I reference the great social philosopher, Cole Porter’s Psalm: Let’s Do It (let’s fall in love).

            One of my sister’s believes in Jesus but her view of what Christianity should evolve into would cause devout Catholics to bristle. The other is a spiritualist sort. They are lovely and intelligent and do not buy the, “submit to your husband” shit any more than I would if I desired a husband, which I most certainly do not.

            Have a look at this, this is the future for Western Societies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSrSwRpBdHk

          • Paul Evans

            What’s life like back in Stone Age?

          • Hominid

            Liberals are irrational. Once you realize that, their inconsistency, hypocrisy, reality inversion, projection, and paranoia make sense.

        • Guest

          Which accusations are false? And don’t you think it’s nasty and misguided for Dawkins to dismiss the people making objections to his arguments as “idiots” who miss his point? Doesn’t seem to serve almighty logic to do that.

          • danum5

            They were idioms because they failed to understand a simple argument.

          • Paul G

            Actually, Dawkins has often given the impression that he thinks anyone who doesn’t agree with him is stupid. Some of them are, certainly, but that doesn’t mean they all are.

        • fredx2

          So…someone did back to Dawkins what Dawkins does to religious people all the time.

        • Hominid

          Most people are slaves to their emotions because their IQs are so low.

    • tjamesjones

      don’t you have work to do?

      • http://ifwhattheysayistrue.blogspot.co.uk/ Matthew Stevens

        Meh…I’ll give you a sympathy like.

    • Ona Luna

      But he didn’t say, “being beaten to a bloody pulp before being raped by a stranger” did he? He said “stranger rape at knifepoint.”
      He’s using very poor examples to illustrate a perfectly fine point (they are ill defined, and he can point to no social consensus as to how bad they are). Stranger rape is not unequivocally worse than date rape (and goodness knows how he defines “date rape” — perhaps for him it’s merely a “date” gone wrong).
      Twitter is a terrible place to present an argument that needs so many qualifiers. I have to wonder if he’s truly surprised at the reactions he’s elicited, given how he’s dealt with these subjects before — and gotten backlash.

      • Baron

        An uptick from Baron for your observation on Twitter, Ona Luna, a fitting platform for our dumbed down society.

      • http://ifwhattheysayistrue.blogspot.co.uk/ Matthew Stevens

        You raise a good point that his tweet could perhaps be seen as insufficiently clear, but I’m still unsure whether or not you agree that rape has degrees of severity.

        Had he written “being beaten to a bloody pulp before being raped at knifepoint by a stranger is worse than a boyfriend forcing himself inside you when you’ve both crashed out drunk and have consented to him sleeping naked in the same bed; both are rape, the former worse than the latter”

        …would you disagree with that?

        Because we’re at risk of conflating two issues here: 1) the truth of the above statement and 2) the insensitivity of pointing it out in a trivial manner.

        A lot of the backlash essentially used 2) to argue against 1), which obviously, isn’t a valid argument.

        • David Glen

          Your near reductio ad absurdum example is difficult to contemplate, let alone argue against, but as tweeted, the empirical evidence was against Dawkins on this occasion.
          No one was dumb enough not to understand his point , only the A > B nature of his example. I wish he had humility occasionally – it is the mark of a stronger thinker – not some appeasement to over emotional responders.
          As far as it can be studied date/stranger rape is difficult to distinguished in terms of victim trauma. Maybe he had in mind your outlier, but if not you have to wonder why he did not hesitate before playing into the “well she seamed pretty keen over coffee m’lord” stereotypes that blight the understanding of rape. Whatever -turns out he is human.

    • Lydia Robinson

      “Mr Brown; totter off back to the Guardian for your next weekly briefing on what you and your fellow writers have permission to think” Spot on. Especially the Islamophiliac Guardian.

      • Salanor

        Islamophiliac= nonsense word with rhetorical value only, meaningless.

        • Paul G

          So what then, would be the correct adjective for the word ‘Islamophile’, which is just as grammatically correct as the much more hackneyed term ‘Islamophobe’?

          • Salanor

            Both terms are hollow hyperbole. No-one really loves or fears a religion. It is people who are scary or interesting. We ought to be more intelligent, but instead we are just prejudiced. A better world will not be built on this kind of rhetorical nonsense.

          • Paul G

            Hyperbolic or not, they are both real words, no matter how inaccurate their normal usage might be. I was addressing your statement that it was a “nonsense word”, not the usage of the word.

          • Salanor

            I doubt it. They are made up words. You might as well have legophobia and legophilia meaning the fear and love of legs, thence ad absurdum, where every noun lends itself to the suffixes. In the end it’s wordplay, not meaningful discourse about a serious issue.

          • William_Brown

            …what about pedantophilia?

          • Lynley

            No one loves or fears religion? If ISIS, or any other vile religious mob came rampaging down your street, burning and raping everything in site you would shit yourself, just like any sane person would do.

          • Salanor

            Taking this out of the hypothetical, the only time I have been shit scared is when I have encountered a ‘soccer mob’ in the streets of Cambridge. Group fervor is much more dangerous than religion. You ought to extract your head from the sand and start considering real human drivers for behaviour. Do a little study, perhaps, so your ignorance isn’t so embarrassing.

          • Lynley

            Religion IS group fervor!

            The fact that you immediately resort to insults and assumptions says more about you than me.

            The difference between football thugs and religious thugs is that no one expects coexistence and understanding to be afforded to the former. And,so far as I know, no football team has called for a jihad or caliphate against non-football fans.

            The video has been removed from You Tube but I watched the beheading of the U.S. journalist by your warm and fuzzy Jihad buddies. Scum of the earth. Anyone who acts as an apologist for them is the same.

            The only one of us who should feel embarrassed for their ignorance is you.

          • Salanor

            You seem quite incapable of seeing the lack of logic in what you say. You have already acknowledged the common element is mob dynamics. Hence, you can’t blame religion, just as you can’t blame soccer. It’s the mob.

            But anyway, stick with your delusion that religions drives behaviour. No science to support it. Plenty of science to support that group dynamics does.

            When was an apologist. I don’t have any problem recognising despicable acts – I just don’t feel obliged to blame the wrong driver.

            But anyway, you problem get some sort of Nazi kick out of labeling people by their religion. Zeig Heil.

          • Lynley

            Ah, I knew it wouldn’t take long for the Nazi and/or racist card to be played by someone who cannot back up their argument with logic.
            It is hilarious to call me a Nazi, my being a Jew and all, but hey, it is the chosen tool of the intellectually deficient. Also, my primary fields of study are music and BEHAVIOURAL ECONOMICS! Once someone goes to Naziland, any further progress is impossible.
            You are so completely wrong that, if you hadn’t pulled out the tired Nazi card, I’d feel sorry for you. As it is, you are just another tosser trying to bully their way out of an absurd position.
            If the scariest thing you will ever face is a Cambridge Football mob when what a charmed life you lead. Go to Tel Aviv and have bombs lobbed at you because of your DNA (because Islam wants to kill all Jews, or did you not get that memo?). Better yet, head over to the Islamic cesspool of your choice and refuse to submit to Islam; see what happens.

          • Salanor

            You don’t think Jews can be Nazi? lol.

            Since you are so qualified, name the behaviour theory that implicate religion in behaviour.

            Ha, ha, ha. No, I faced an Israeli gunship on the Gaza – Israel border.

            In the end, you sound like a nut job.

          • Lynley

            So you faced an Israeli Gunship in Gaza did you?
            And yet here you are. The Israeli’s seem to have show restraint as you are still here annoying me. Such a shame that Foley and all of the other beheaded journalists were not shown the same mercy as was afforded you.
            I looked at my first post that started this bizarre and increasingly tedious dialogue with you.
            Nowhere did I insult or name-call and yet your response was arrogant and vaguely bullying. I attempted to maintain a civilised conversation with you and you became even more insulting and boorish.
            You are a verbal thug which I am certain extends into the physical realm with you. Thus, nothing you say is worth anything to anyone evolved beyond a barbarian.
            I tire of your fabrications and sub-par intellectual capacity. So, rage all you like, I will not bother to read, nor respond to your verbal seepage any longer for you now bore me.

          • Nan

            In either case, Islam teaches that infidels are to be converted, taxed or killed, depending on what Muslims find best at the time.

          • Salanor

            So what? Most of what we do is habitual. How does that fit with “Islam makes them do it”? It’s a croc.

    • Lydia Robinson

      Excellent!

    • couchtripper

      The lengths you went to in your response prove only your adherence to the Profiting Prophet of Atheism’s cult.

      • David Glen

        And the brevity of your alliterative retort reveals your failure to digest it.

        • couchtripper

          I’ve seen atheists go to far more extraordinary lengths to defend their cult in the past. This was bordering on the ridiculous considering the original article, so, with any luck, this idiot will catch himself on before he becomes as supercilious as you.

          • David Glen

            For sake of argument I’ll step back from him and consider it a battle of cults then. Now remind me, which one requires men to don elaborate dresses and gold foil hats, needs choirs of boys to sing it’s praises, the most luxurious buildings ever built by man, excesses of art and finery, prevents woman reaching it’s highest office and can offer nothing but eternal torture to naysayers?

            Dawkins asks for money though doesn’t he, for an educational and legal fund? What a crank.

          • couchtripper

            Stop preaching, cultist. Your time’s up.

          • Lynley

            I believe you are wearing yourself out. Perhaps you should take a break and trip on back to your couch.

          • couchtripper

            What gives you that impression? Are you a typical atheist? You sound like one with your sneering self-importance.

    • Nan

      So it’s worse to be beaten and raped by a stranger than someone you trust? Note also that in the US, atheists are attempting to get the military to allow humanist chaplains; chaplains have belief systems, how is there a need for an atheist chaplain?

  • justejudexultionis

    Dawkins’s grasp of history, theology and philosophy is woefully inadequate. We could all take him more seriously if he could just learn to calm down and prevent his arguments more rationally; although, for the life of me, I cannot understand how someone could believe that the cosmos made itself, out of itself, for no apparent reason.

    • Matthew Stevens

      I don’t know how the cosmos was created.
      I don’t know how matter sprang into being.
      I don’t know the nature or cause of the Big Bang.
      I don’t know what happens after you die.

      I don’t know the complete and total nature of morality.
      I don’t know the meaning of life.
      I don’t know if there exists an ethereal being that created us all in his image

      …but you don’t know either.

      That’s all atheism is.

      • brotherbaldrick

        “I don’t know if there exists an ethereal being that created us all in his image” –
        Erm, no that’s agnosticism! Do try to keep up.

        • Matthew Stevens

          I consider myself an atheist because I have no evidence whatsoever for God’s existence any more than I do for fairies or an invisible flying teapot orbiting the Earth.

          Agnostic would give undue credit to the idea that the existence of God is somehow 50/50, when in fact the only possible doubt I have that God does not exist is because of course, I cannot disprove a negative.

          This “no that’s agnosticism” is a very poor attempt to try and restrict the term ‘atheist’ to people who believe they can prove that God does not exist (which is literally no-one), and as such, attempt to misrepresent their opponent’s position.

          • David

            If there was a invisible flying tea pot orbiting the earth I would presume you would conclude that someone designed the teapot gave it the quality of invisibility and placed it in orbit.

          • Matthew Stevens

            I wouldn’t conclude anything until I had evidence to do so.

            If someone came up with a theory and explanation as to why the teapot was there and offered up nothing more than a series of mythical scribblings put together in the illiterate, ancient middle-east I’m afraid I wouldn’t consider that to give me sufficient reason to believe them.

          • David

            Well there are millions of tea pots in this world and the evidence is that every one of them has been designed, there is no evidence that any tea pot has not been designed. So if there was a flying tea pot in space I would conclude that someone designed it, even if the the designer did not avail himself I would still conclude that he exsisted/exists.
            If we found a book of ancient scribblings that described how the tea pot got there and why it’s invisible, I’d want to read that book.

          • Matthew Stevens

            A lot of people feel the way that you do, and as such, duly read the Qu’ran and take it very seriously.

          • Phil Simon Davis

            Do you get all your ideas from Dawkins book or do you read more credible atheists…. or better actually form your own idea from a wider research pool

          • Matthew Stevens

            Loaded question fallacy.

            But incidentally; one needs no ‘ideas’ to be formed to be an atheist. You need only to be unconvinced by religious claims and see no evidence to believe in a God.

        • Jez Davis

          Lazy thinkers and those guilty of not carrying out research believe agnosticism is simply saying “I don’t know”. It most assuredly isn’t.

          Honestly, if you’re going to interject in a childish attempt to undermine do try to make sure you understand your terms. Otherwise you just (again) make yourself appear silly.

          Back to the DM message boards for you.

      • Pat Conway

        Theists answer to the origin of life: God did it. No need to provide any evidence. It’s magic.

      • Tom

        Life is a gift.

        That’s all religion is.

        • vieuxceps2

          “Life is a gift”-Whence?

    • Pat Conway

      We all know the answer theists provide: magic.

    • vieuxceps2

      I too am unable to understand how the cosmos made itself out of nothing,But neither can I believe that a “god” who hides in burning bushes and writes on stone had the wherewithal to do such a job of work.Maybe there is a “god”,but he’s certainly not the fellah from the desert lands of Araby.

  • Hippograd

    But what has got him in trouble with his own side is not biology of that sort, but the appearance of racism and sexism. Some of the stuff that he has written and retweeted about ‘evil’ Islam is shocking.

    Criticism of Islam is not racist. It is dishonest to pretend otherwise. Dawkins is entirely orthodox on the subject of race, i.e. he pretends that it doesn’t exist and that the high average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians, and the low average IQ of Somalis and Pakistanis, is not genetic in origin. “Racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia” etc are the liberal atheist equivalents of blasphemy and heresy. Religion doesn’t go away: it just takes new forms.

    • GraveDave

      Maybe it does but the Dawkin’s of the world know better than to tread that kind of water. Remember Professor Watson (DNA researcher)and his comments on Africans and ‘wimmin’?

      • Hippograd

        Yes. Galileo suffered at the hands of the old religion, Watson at the hands of the new.

    • Guest

      “Racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia” etc are the liberal atheist equivalents of blasphemy and heresy”

      Aversion to the former is based on truth and out of respect for people who actually exist.

      Aversion to the latter is based on religious codswallop and out of respect for a being who does not exist.

      • vieuxceps2

        There’s not much god to be had by averting our eyes from reality in order to avoid hurting feelings. Reality is not altered thereby and will one day assert itself. Wilful blindness,like splendide mendax, will serve only to hide truth. That can’t be right.

      • Hippograd

        Aversion to the former is based on truth and out of respect for people who actually exist.

        Surely “based on Truth and Reason”? It’s not true to say that we’re all the same under the skin and that the underachievement of (say) women and blacks is caused by prejudice. That’s why atheist liberals don’t debate those they disagree with: they censor, smear and destroy careers. What happened to James Watson is like what happened to Galileo. A genuine scientist fell foul of an authoritarian, obscurantist cult in both cases.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    Why did not evolution give humans a tooth brush on the end of the tongue to stop tooth decay And dentist bills?

  • GraveDave

    i enjoyed reading that Andrew. Food for thought.

  • FrankieThompson

    Dawkins is the ultimate Man of Straw.

  • Colin Jackson

    Give it up Brown, you’re starting to sound like a jilted ex. Haven’t you got better things to do than smear a man who’s achieved far more than you ever will?

    • Jambo25

      And I think you’ve just proved Brown’s point.

      • http://ifwhattheysayistrue.blogspot.co.uk/ Matthew Stevens

        There is a worrying trend cropping up on Disqussions. From the New Statesman to the Guardian to Breitbart and The Spectator, and we have an example of it here.

        Recently, its become rather ‘in vogue’ to attempt to incorporate into one’s argument the circular logic that opposition to it somehow proves its point.

        The fallacious nature of such a claim is obvious when its displayed as overtly and stupidly as we see here, but its something to be wary of.

        You’ll see it in phrases like (and I use an only slightly stealthier example just for ease of demonstration…) “The fact that white men are unaware of their privilege just goes to show how privileged they are!”

        As I say, that’s a very obviously flawed example but its become an incredibly common form of sophist rhetoric. Keep your eyes peeled.

        Oh and if anyone wants to invent a catchier name for it than “fallacious-circular-logic-thingymajig” then feel free!

        • Jambo25

          Essentially what Mr Jackson does here is to attack Brown merely for the act of criticising Dawkins rather than engaging with Brown’s arguments. The most extreme example of this rather ‘Moony’ type behaviour came with the Assange fanciers who promoted ‘super Julian’ to a Christ like figure suffering for us all. Rather hilarious actually.

  • Michael H Kenyon

    Those proselytising religious beliefs often seem daft, needy, delusional, brow-beating or cynical to me, and unfortunately Dawkins has a bit of all of these qualities. He is a horrendous narcissist (his first volume of autobiography was a masterpiece of self-admiration), and in the past decade his pronouncements have been reliably toe-curlingly clever-silly. His razamataz may work in America (where I think his self-promotion is particularly directed, given the convention culture by which he tops up his pension). He is simply embarrassing here. While I am an atheist, I really don’t need his bombast mirroring the more egregious religious fanatics.

    • Phil Simon Davis

      Thank you an atheist with some sense, I as a Christian apologetic I really can’t take seriously the followers of Dawkins, I have to make them realise the God Delusion is full of awful arguments such as “EVOLUTION therefore, NO GOD”, ermmmm I think you missed a few steps in between? Let’s wish that atheists can be as intellectual as they claim they are and stop being led astray by the awfully bad reason of Prof. Dawkins, read someone who’s success hasn’t gone to their head and is honest and dispassionate bringing reason rather than emotion and chagrin to the field

  • Mark

    I was hugely happy to see The God Delusion on supermarket shelves, rather than stuck away in bookshops, back in 2006, so it would get to many more readers. I watched youtube “God Delusion” book tour debates. Over time, it became clear that Dawkins only has one method of attack, which is based on the word “stupid.” Certainly, other writers and debaters like Sam Harris, and especially Christopher Hitchens, showed there were many more angles of debate and obviously more witty ways of approaching it.
    For that reason, I have always been stumped by the huge amounts people might be willing to pay to sit down to dinner with him. What are they going to get? “Why believe something without evidence? It’s stupid,” as they munch on their chips. They can get that for free on youtube on numerous clips. And the “followers” do get a bit weird in their absolute, staunch defence of each foot-in-mouth Tweet he puts out. I sometimes wonder if he secretly wishes that most of his followers were there because of the science, rather than the religion. I might be wrong though. He might enjoy having created himself as an actual Messiah.

    • Slartibast

      The following is alot from ex-christians that feels that he have saved their life in a way.
      So understanding human mind; it is no wonder he have a following. Thats not his fault, i think it irritates people that have Po-Mo relativistisk “there are no truths” worldview. He undermines their political seal (based on false premises)

  • Gwangi

    Of course all babies are born without a religion. That’s why you can steal a baby from a Muslim household and put it with a Christian or Jewish household and see it grow up a devout believer in whatever it is inculcated (often brainwashed with).
    ALL atheism means is NO GOD – that one will not believe in a god or gods without evidence. Reason means people can change their minds if more evidence appears – so unlike any Faith it is open-minded.
    Other quasi-religions like Communism or Fascism have nothing to do with atheism – because all atheism means is NO BELIEF IN GOD.
    And Dawkins is not a leader of ANY atheist ‘church’ at all; atheists are as varied as the general population, of all political beliefs, backgrounds, religious and non-religious backgrounds, and nationalities.
    I find Dawkins as preening, pompous and irritating as most academics, frankly, but there is no doubt that
    1) his arguments utterly destroy all the silly assertions of creationist and Muslims whose idiot beliefs are – outrageously – tolerated and even encouraged by the coward biology teachers in our schools who – shockingly – allow the lie that the myth of Creationism if as valid as the fact of evolution to prevail (for fear of getting complaining ethno-parents on their backs;
    2) he has really put the wind up the devout and the organised churches and mosques, because I suspect people who are religious secretly admit to themselves that their beliefs are absurd so they are riddled with insecurity and fear (religious identity of course is mostly NOT to do with faith – but culture, family, tradition, history, company, food, music, poetry etc etc etc).

    • JamesChambers123

      “Of course all babies are born without a religion. That’s why you can steal a baby from a Muslim household and put it with a Christian or Jewish household and see it grow up…”

      I totally thought you were going to finish that with “… and not be a terrorist.” 😀

    • Tom

      “one will not believe in a god or gods without evidence”

      Er…how did religion start then? Quite apart from the fact that I thought your point was that its practitioners believed contrary to the evidence.

      “unlike any Faith it is open-minded”

      Have you honestly and sincerely tried practising any of the religions open to you (and religion is a practice more than it is a list of beliefs) and then assessed the impact it had on your life? No? And you claim to be an open-minded man of reason? How can you possibly know if these religions have anything to offer if you haven’t sincerely given them a go?

      “Other quasi-religions like Communism or Fascism have nothing to do with atheism”

      Nice shift of the goalposts there. Certainly most well known regimes under those banners took a strong interest in atheism. Curious position if they had “nothing to do” with it.

      “I suspect people who are religious secretly admit to themselves that their beliefs are absurd so they are riddled with insecurity and fear”

      See, again, you might understand this whole religious faith thing a little better if you actually took the time to go into religious buildings and talk to people who practice these things, instead of relying on mysterious intuitions about what they think and believe. Suffice it to say, the majority of people of faith claim to get great strength from it. Certainly, most scientific studies have found a correlation between religious belief and lower levels of anxiety and depression. As an objective man of science, I’m sure you’ll take that research on board,

      • Gwangi

        How did religion start then? Your comment is a complete non-sequitur.
        But, to answer your question: religion/faith was born from the human imagination which evolved because those humans who could imagine and thus plan for the future had a better chance of survival than those who didn’t.
        So you seem even religion proves Darwin right.
        Rationalists change their minds when new evidence appears; religious people NEVER change their minds because their belief is not backed up with evidence in the first place.
        No-one was ever killed in the name of atheism – a word you are probably too dim or brainwashed to understand (it ONLY means NOT BELIEVING IN GOD).
        Communism and Fascism are quasi-religions – they ape religions and use all the same religious techniques churches and mosques use. They elevate men to the level of gods. They claim superiority. They expect submission and devotion and obedience.

        • Tom

          “religious people NEVER change their minds”

          Like most of your statements, this is simply factually incorrect. Ignoring the (very real and perfectly common) phenomenon of adult converts, the Catholic Church acknowledges evolution these days. They seem perfectly happy to say Darwin and religion can both be right, whereas they didn’t a few decades ago. That’s called changing your mind in the face of evidence, and it’s not exclusive to smug atheists.

          “No-one was ever killed in the name of atheism”

          Well, as you’ve gone on to point out, various atheist regimes have killed in the name of other grand concepts that filled the vacuum left by the absence of religion. Which rather suggests, given how hideous those regimes were, that religion perhaps wasn’t such a bad fix for the problems of being human.

          “a word you are probably too dim or brainwashed to understand”

          I can’t tell you how much stronger your argument looks with those ad homs.

          As for the “brainwashed” comment, I take it you’re assuming I’m a believer, which I’m not. Lazy assumptions do seem to be something of a stock in trade for you, mind.

          • Gwangi

            Your posts are a first class example of how NOT to argue intelligently or coherently. Thank you. I shall pass them to some teachers I know who will enjoy getting their students to rip them apart (which should take oooo 5 minutes max).
            Religious people NEVER change their mind about the existence of God. Yes, they may change their mind about who to hate – and to suddenly decide to stop torturing and murdering people who state facts (as the Catholic Church has done very nastily for many centuries). But they won’t change their mind on the big question.
            Still, you are obviously a man of Faith and NEED that. Fine. I do not NEED Faith to get through my day or to live my life. I tolerate your faith and irrational beliefs. Just a shame religious bigots cannot tolerate as much as most atheists can – because most religious people I have met are sanctimonious, think they’re superior, patronising, hypocritical, very silly people – though some have been charming and tolerant, they are in a minority.

            The biggest LAZY assumption of all is believing in a god for whom there is NO evidence at all (in fact science has disproved most of what the devout believed as fact a mere 150 years ago).

          • Simon Fay

            I hope to God I never get put through to you at Tech Support.

          • Baron

            Have you, Gwangi, by any chance, been educated in a comprehensive school?

            What or who was it 150 years ago that ‘disproved’ belief? How can one disprove something that doesn’t lend itself to a scientific inquiry?

            Some clever men say the word ‘credere’ (to believe) derives from or is at least related to ‘cor dare’ (that which comes from the heart or that which heart gives). This is what distinguishes belief from fact, knowledge, proof, the result of sagacity. Baron reckons humans can never get rid of faith (religion is but an institutionalised form of it), it’s a part of us and will remain so whatever science may or may not accomplish in the future.

          • Gwangi

            Baron – it’s a shame you cannot follow my perfectly logical argument explaining to the ignorant and brainwashed how religious faith evolved. No doubt if you had had a better education in science and fewer lessons in fairy dust, you would be able to understand.
            Science has disproved most of what the church believed 150 years ago: the 6 day creation, the age of the earth being 6000 years, the sun going round the earth etc etc etc. READ SOME HISTORY!

          • vieuxceps2

            Religion is born of fear. Man seeks to explain what he cannot understand, thunder, nightfall,sunrise and to soothe any entity,god or gods which bring about these things which frighten and threaten him.
            It was and is Man who made God.Not the other way round. There you are,it was only us all the time.Come out in thelight and enjoyyourself. Go on, give it a go…..

          • Baron

            If you have the time, vieuxceps2, go to a library, borrow a couple of books by Behe, Denton (both are Michael), read them, they would make you think.

          • Johann

            Tom, I agree with many of your points. Reason is as elusive as the summer rain in California. Everyone thinks they’re rational and others are irrational. Many atheists forget how important luck and life circumstance are, in attributing all their positions to logic. They came across the right material, or grew up in the right household, etc. Without these experiences, you can’t expect religious people to simply let go of their worldview using the right calculus; that’s not a rational action, since presumably their religion offers some measure of comfort, meaning, and motivation in their lives. They also don’t typically subscribe to the darker parts of their traditions (though evangelists have been known to dive in head first).

            Still, I am frank about my dislike of religion, especially the three major monotheisms. Of all the wonderful things to put one’s faith in—love, friendship, art, science, humanity—the inclination to put it in a book like the bible, apocryphal in its origins, and truly abhorrent in some of its teachings (essentially a Mein Kampf of ancient Jews, with all the same nationalistic mythology and supremacy), is sad. It is also divisive; for those who follow Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to the letter (as those religions were meant to be followed), they believe of other people such inhuman things as that they will be sentenced by a loving god to a place that is worse than auschwitz forever, or else deprived of eternal life and condemned to incinerate in a lake of fire. I know people I care about who believe this, though I’m sure they try not to think about it too much. They’re good people, but they don’t really understand the level of ignorance and barbarism that is at the heart of their traditions, cloaked and concealed by centuries of clever (and indeed humane) apologists who have caused them to focus on the better bits.

            But there is still the rot at the core; one cannot fully explain the conflict between Israel and Palestine, for example, without referencing its darker religious roots (that always have a way of coming to the surface). There are better ideologies than the monotheisms that lead towards greater peace and tolerance. I’m afraid though that it will take an enormous amount of time and people, many not acting very rational in themselves, but operating according to an overall inherent rationality present in their worldview, to shift the global perspective towards better things.

            Remember that Jesus, for all his supposed mildness in John’s gospels, said in Matthew:

            “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

            And he also condemned people to the fire and flames on nearly every page of Matthew.

          • Tom

            Thanks Johann. I’m 99% atheist myself incidentally, but I’ve been extremely friendly to, and fascinated by, religion for pretty much my entire life. But for what it’s worth I certainly don’t believe in any simplistic sense, and don’t remotely subscribe to any organised religion.

            I hear you about the problems of various aspects of contemporary religion. It surprises me that you know good and (I presume) intelligent practitioners of religion that genuinely believe in old-fashioned hellfire and damnation, but of course things are different in the States. It’s certainly not mainstream theology in the UK, even among the Catholics I know, still less in the C of E.

            I guess I’d argue that texts can be re-interpreted, and the Bible has been, and continues to be. Religion itself evolves, despite the protestations above to the contrary. There are grotesque outgrowths, like extremist modern Islam, and there are your friends who believe in lakes of fire; but for all that, the vast majority of modern Christians I know are pretty down to earth, normal people. I certainly don’t recognise them in any of the silly, straw man parodies of Christians that back-slapping atheists tend to bandy about on the web.

            I’m afraid I also don’t subscribe to your view of Israel/Palestine. The religion there is of course central to both groups’ identities; but isn’t it just a classic example of where these struggles are really down to very simple political causes? I see Palestinians angry with Israeli Jews, not the Jews that happen to live in, say, Italy; because, in their view (and I reeeeally don’t want to get into this, but for the sake of argument…) that specific group of people who happen to be Jewish, er, stole their nation from them. It’s not like they suddenly waged war on Judaism because they disagreed with it on religious grounds out of nowhere, is it? I mean they were free to do that at any point before 1948 and they didn’t!

            As for cherry-picking quotes from the New Testament…fine but let’s set that against the many, many, many times Christ urged people to love their neighbour. The overall message from the Gospels, surely, is a morality based on kindness and love towards your fellow human. Which I personally don’t think is so bad.

            Lastly…the reason I’m so anti-Dawkins and his ilk is that I see much more of a continuity with old-fashioned fire-breathing religious zealots (who I dislike as much as the next self-respecting atheist) and contemporary atheism than most of his followers seem willing to acknowledge. There’s an extraordinary level of self-righteousness, and indeed ignorance about the facts of religion/theology, amongst these modern atheists that I find both scary and a little sad.

      • Gwangi

        ‘How can you possibly know if these religions have anything to offer if you haven’t sincerely given them a go?’
        Spoken like a true drug-dealer! I have never taken heroin either but know I don’t want to.
        Given religion a go? You make it sound like ayynal secks…

        • Tom

          “I have never taken heroin either but know I don’t want to.”

          Because you have plenty of evidence of the negative effects of taking heroin. As I pointed out, even on a purely scientific level, the positive impact of religion on mental health is well documented.

          • Gwangi

            Oh yeah, whereas religion never causes any death or misery at all, does it? Do you ever watch the news, sonny? READ SOME HISTORY TOO to learn what barbarity has been done in the name of religion for millennia.
            It matters NOT A JOT if what you say is true – though judging by the number of religious nutters I doubt you are including them in your calculations (so many murderers hear voices from God…)
            But maybe being thick and silly and loading all your worries onto some fake fantasy does make you less mentally ill (though surely the presence of others and company is the cause). So what? If you want to be even happier, step out in front of a lorry and get brain damage. Then you can be happier than you could possibly dream, dribbling in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.
            Happiness is severely over-rated. Morons and happy – as Shakespeare observed: ‘ignorance (meaning being thick in his day) is bliss.’

          • Tom

            A gentle piece of advice: look up “Ad Hominem” on Google. Read about it. Try and learn from it. Then attempt to construct arguments.

          • Slartibast

            Thats a logical fallacy-fallacy.
            You should learn that fallacies are more about your own thinking than others. Skeptisism rules (if people start with own cognitive problems, we all have them. Owning them, honesty and responsible. The world looks much better after some uncomfortable cognitive biases losens.

          • Ona Luna

            Oh I’m giggling at the idea of stepping out in front of a “lorrie” and becoming a drooling, happy moron.

        • Baron

          Gwangi, calm down, your saying you don’t want to take drugs doesn’t answer Tom’s suggestion for you going, talking to people of faith. Taking a drug then saying it ain’t for you would.

          • Gwangi

            I think it is religious types who ALWAYS need to calm down and learn a bit of tolerance for others actually.
            My argument is valid. 1) religion is very much a drug – it shares the major characteristics and if abused is just as harmful and damaging; 2) the argument ‘well you have never tried it so how do you know’ is JUST the same argument used by drug dealers – I met an addict at a party years ago who (probably because he knew what a desperate saddo he was) tried to get me to take smack using the same argument (go on, go on, you won’t know until you try…)

      • Pat Conway

        “Er…how did religion start then?” Man created god through fear and ignorance.

        • Tom

          You mean they believed without evidence?! But I thought this was impossible according to the OP.

      • vieuxceps2

        Are you serious when you talk of “giving a religion a go”?I understoodthat you acquired the gift of faith by study or indoctrination or damascene conversion.Do you believe in a number of religions then? Depemds on the day of the week does it?

        • Tom

          I think everyone’s spirituality, ultimately, is up to them, even if that means completely rejecting it. But since you mention it, the gift of faith can come purely by practising prayer, even if you don’t initially believe in anything that you might or might not be praying to. It’s only by practising it that you can possibly come to understand its benefits.

          • Gwangi

            So, like yoga then?

    • Lydia Robinson

      “his arguments utterly destroy all the silly assertions of creationist and Muslims whose idiot beliefs are – outrageously – tolerated and even encouraged by the coward biology teacher in our schools” and these days, by the Guardian. Although there is one common sense socialist and atheist person left there – Polly Toynbee – who has probably been told to shut up.

      • Gwangi

        I was shocked when I learnt that 50% of our biology teachers in schools are doing this, pandering to Creationists because they don’t want to ‘offend students of other faiths, traditions and cultures.’ Incredible really – and cause by mass immigration into this country meaning some schools are majority black or Asian.
        Sadly, Polly Toynbee is a full-on supporter of the mad multiculturalism that has led to that outrageous state of affairs. She may be atheist, but is all for the sillier parts of ‘political correctness’ and pandering to anyone with a dark skin and a religion – as most on the left are.

    • couchtripper

      If all atheism meant was ‘No God’ there wouldn’t be a problem. Your long-winded blather proves just how much more it is. Atheists always use a thousand words when two would do. Can you guess what two words I’m thinking of right now?

  • lookout

    The mystery of life, is available on YouTube, worth a watch if you believe the evolution cobblers.

    • Pat Conway

      Evolution not creationism.

      • lookout

        Still not watched chuck missler then?

  • JamesChambers123

    “Andrew Brown writes on religion for the Guardian.”
    Also known as “The Guardian (of Islam)” to everyone outside of a burka…

    It’s funny how much the Guardian (of Islam) has fell out of love with Dawkins; it was all fun and games when he was sticking the boot into Catholics and Jews (especially the Jews, naturally), but now he’s turned his attention to other religions, Islam and feminism in particular he’s suddenly become their #1 bête noire. The feminists seem particularly shocked and outraged to discover that the vast majority of their beliefs are based on air as thin as that which flows between the ears of their Islamist bedfellows. Their outrage at being held to account for, and to justify, their beliefs is palpable in the myriad of comments that read very similar to “Look at him, stood there with his polite manner, white-skin, testicles, penis and university education; how dare he oppress my human rights with an opinion like that?! I personally fell pregnant 10 times by accident due to no fault of my own; if he’d have been pregnant just once he’d know that all men are rapists! The proper place for a woman is on generous “living wage” benefits (for life), maternity leave or as a CEO of a bank/multinational, preferably all at once. Now, please read my blog where I discus in depth the paranoia in my delusions on the sexuality of everyday objects…”

    • Matthew Stevens

      Quite brilliantly put!

      • Lydia Robinson

        Agreed!

      • Foritn

        “Whaa whaa whaaa!”

        Save your pretentious nonsense for Richard’s forums and entertain the idea that people have been laughing at this idiot since 2004.

        The worst part is when he made a tweet talking about how there’s “different” types of rape and he even posted something to say to people “not to rape” as if people are so stupid that they don’t know already that it’s wrong to rape. Well actually maybe his twitter audience, which consist of you atheist fan-boys, do need to be told what’s right and wrong since you clearly can’t think for yourselves.

        The delusional defence of Dawkins from you atheists almost mimics a religious believer’s defence of certain verses in their scripture that make no sense. Whilst Christians, Muslims, Jews and organizations that exist to combat rape and child abuse all decry Richard and know he’s speaking garbage on the subjects he rants about, you atheists still continue to defend him. Hint: when a man needs later re-phrase his initial statements or provide “clarification” to “what he really meant” it means that he’s back-peddling and his apology is a lie. From a pretensions man like Dawkins who is quite well-spoken, I don’t buy that his comments on rape, paedophilia and Muslims were slips of the tongue (or in this instance, slips of the keys).

        Spectator is simply stating the truth here in this instance and that’s that Richard Dawkins is a ignorant and gibbering wreck and sorry excuse of a man. Saying no Muslim has provided accomplishments since the Medieval Era just goes to show that he doesn’t even do research since there’s been numerous Muslim scientists since then (including ones alive today) who have done more for the field of science than he could ever hope to achive. Fazlur Khan, Abdus Salam (Nobel prize in physics) are to name two of the last century. Farouk El-Baz and Ahmed Zewail (Nobel prize in chemistry) are to name two who are alive but the list goes on. Meanwhile Dawkins’ only contribution to science has been with the idea of the meme theory which has been heavily criticized by other scientists and even considered pseudo-science. No wonder he started writing controversial books on religion since that was the only thing that could get him recognized and not actual scientific merit.

        Dawkins will be remembered for three things after he dies: Writing The God Delusion (a book itself that will soon be forgotten in a few decades), running away from William Lane Craig who asked him to debate and finally: publicly showing his descent into insanity from his increasingly mental twitter rants. It’s only a matter of time before a close family member announces his incarceration to a mental ward methinks.

        Rage away Dawkins sheep.

    • http://i-squared.blogspot.co.uk/ Katabasis

      This is, quite simply one of the best comments I’ve ever read online.

      • Baron

        When you look around the place, Katabasis, any bars on windows, high walls, men in white coats?

        • couchtripper

          haha – at the very least!

        • Da La

          No kidding. The comment writer sounds like the paranoid one with delusions of persecution.

          • Baron

            What kept you?

      • Rickard Winkle

        What passes for insightful commentary to you, katabasis, sounds like Palinesque word salad to this skeptical ear.

    • Lynley

      Hey, great post. I even quoted you in my own. I am an American atheist feminist who adores Richard Dawkins. This guy, by standing against Islam stands against the worst threat to women and girls in the world today. Thank to everyone that calls Andrew out on this lame, poorly researched article.

      • maxime1793

        I don’t think he is defending Dawkins!!!!!!!! Nor people like you!!!!!

        • Guest

          Have you read Lynley’s post?

          • loftytom

            Pure word salad.
            “Call out”?
            “Thank to”?
            “Poorly researched”? Really , one example might have helped your case. I know literate atheists, you madam, on the evidence of your post do not belong in that circle.

          • Sammy

            wow how dumb is this, this did not make any sense

          • Sammy

            yessssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Joanne

        ~when people mask their Islamophobia with concern for Muslim women and call it feminism~

        • Lynley

          Can you clarify your statement please? Do you mean that the right use the plight of females in Islamic countries as an excuse to Moslem-bash because they are Hyper-Christians? Or do you mean that feminists of my ilk (Power feminism as opposed to radical or mainstream) use the plight of women as an excuse to spread “Islamophobia?”
          If you mean the former, absolutely!
          If you mean the latter, Islam is most definitely something to fear for any civilised person.
          I understand that there are people of all races from all nations, including white FEMALE Americans who are adherents to Islam. I do not fear nor dislike any race of people from whatever country of origin. Anyone who follows Islam is a threat to the Age of Reason we westerners enjoy.

          • Joanne

            Both.
            “Age of reason we westerners enjoy”
            “Islamic hell hole”

            An unarmed black citizen in Ferguson was shot by a white and most likely Christian (I mention religion only because you insist on being islamophobic) police officer only last week.

            Please PLEASE don’t act like Islam is the root of all evil. Whereever human beings are there will always be some sort of conflict.

            How can you not dislike anyone from any race or religion yet happily type that they are a threat to your peace as a privileged white person?? You sound so ridiculous, hypocritical and worst of all ignorant.

            Your comment upset me because I consider myself a feminist. I have female muslim friends who are strong, intelligent and hard working and follow their religion to a T and I’ve never seen it hurt them in anyway.

            Your power feminism would come across as condensing to women in countries that practice islam because you are shoving your western/white opinion down their throats and desregarding their heritage and cultural identity by dismissing their religion as a “threat” and calling it the reason they are oppressed.

            Im not ignoring the fact that some women in countries that practice islam are oppressed. However rather then blame the religion itself or all the people that practice it, I know that those in power are extremists and ofcourse men. Patriarchy is the root of all evil, systamatic misogyny is what is oppressing women. You remove them from the picture and you may be surpised to see that the women would still practice islam and have the freedom that us as westerners enjoy.

            Ha. I guess I sound like a radical man-hating feminist now. Whatever. I guess its crazy to think women can believe in god and still be happy!

            Well this turned into a rant. Hope it made sense and I clarified what I meant earlier.

          • Lynley

            “. . .privileged white person?”
            Me?
            Are you joking?
            I am a half-Jewish, lesbian, and have chronic pain from a near fatal accident trying to get basic medical care in America.
            So, a privileged white person I most certainly am not!

            If you think America or any country in the western world is in any way similar to Islam I suggest popping over to look for yourself. You say it is not the religion itself? Have you READ the so-called Holy Books of Islam? Their prophet (profit) married and fucked a NINE YEAR OLD GIRL! “Kill the infidel” is shot-through the entire book!

            I know it’s in vogue to blame ourselves for everything that happens in the world but this is a dangerous delusion that threatens the fabric of a civilised secular society.

            No, we are not a utopia where nothing bad ever happens to anyone, ever. But to compare the U.S. to any theocratic state is painfully wrong, and potentially deadly.

            I watched the Foley beheading video before it was pulled off-line.

            THAT IS ISLAM!

            Stop shielding yourself form the vicious reality of Islam.

            Go watch ANY Ayaan Hirsi Ali video. Is she a privileged white westerner too?

            Please, Joanne, look into this further. Islam is committing GENDERCIDE against women and girls.

            If you do not know what a CALIPHATE is, go look it up. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of you, I am at a complete loss as to what to say to wake you up.

          • Chris Bordeman

            How about “I submit?”

          • Lynley

            ???What do you mean???

          • Joanne

            Yes I have read muslim texts in the language they were intended to be read and like I said I also have muslim friends and have been exposed to it quite a bit.

            Christian priests STILL fuck nine year old boys??? so please, your argument Is invalid everything you say that islam has done another religion has also been guilty of.

            Let me make this simple for you:

            Islam unfortunately is being used as a TOOL to oppress women but is NOT the OPRESSER.

            I mean plenty speculate and confirm that Hitler was an atheist, you as a half jewish and gay women should understand that religion is only a scapegoat. It is not the cause. I have a Qur’an in my house and nowhere in it does it say to kill infidels? My arabic is perfect. Not that I have to say that because if it did that would mean every practicing muslim would be blowing people up left right and centre. Which isn’t happening.

            I am awake and I’m so angry with what is happening to women in those countries! It’s heart breaking and I can tell that you’re passionate and well meaning. I only wanted to maybe make you see that you can be a feminist and have concern for these women without being a racist islamophobe? Don’t be that girl! be better.

            Don’t underestimate muslim women, they aren’t docile dummies. They need judgement free help.
            Also – “not holy booksss*” just BOOK. The QUR’AN plain and simple.

            Peace sister, good luck with your healthcare. No offence intended.

            Jo.

          • Lynley

            Joanne,

            I am not racist as Islam is practised worldwide and by white women. I do not underestimate women from any culture, I wonder why they do not band together and do want they need to do to get free of what you rightly call patriarchy of the Islamic variety.

            As to not containing calls to kill infidels, here you go:

            http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/023-violence.htm

            The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

            Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing…but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran)

            Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

            Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

            Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

            Joanne, it goes on and on and on in this fashion.

            Moreover, I have a good friend who is quite high up in the ranks of the anti-terrorist squad of the INS in the U.S. He had a rotation in Detroit, MI (bordering Dearborn, MI the largest Arabic population outside the Middle-east in the world, most are Moslems). He is a big, butch former Navy Seal who has seen some terrible things in war. He was in tears when he described some of the “Honour Killings” visited upon young women. Things I will not document here but take it from me, it is horrific. And these are the male relations chanting Islamic scripture as they beat, rape, murder, and set fire to the bodies of these girls and women.

            I know that any criticism of Islam equates to one being a vicious racist who wants to visit Hell-fire and Brimstone on brown people and create an Imperialist State. I do not deny that a small number of people in positions of power may covet this idea. I also know that the cynical Tea Party and British BNP types use Islam as code for their racist behaviour. Still, it do not mean that they are wrong about the danger of Islam.

            No Sky-god religion is good for women, nor humanity as a whole. It is the responsibility of humans to evolve beyond delusion and usher in a new Age of Reason and Enlightenment based upon secular humanist values.

            In out epoch, our mission is to break the bondage of spirit-crushing and body-enslaving religious dogma and rise above the sad, violent world we have made. Pretending that a few violent thugs have hijacked a religion practised by billions of people who thoroughly oppose their methods is absurd and dangerous. Do you not recall the celebrations in the streets of the Middle-east attended by millions worldwide as the rescue teams in NYC were frantically digging for screaming survivors when the towers fell? They fucking loved it!

            You are obviously a decent, kind, intelligent woman, please reconsider taking the “can’t we all just get along” nonsense to heart. Even shimming any history book, rather ill or well writ, should settled that question in short order. Until religion, and then the oligarchical structures are torn down and replaced with compassionate capitalism and science, we are doomed to fight for survival of out own. This is human nature whether we like it or not.

            I have enjoy conserving with some one who, unlike some on this forum, do not resort to personal attacks and attempt to understand the other person’s view even if they cannot, or are not ready to accept, a different viewpoint. I used to think exactly like you, Joanne, I even made my living promoting the very ideas you espouse. But once I learned more, I had to resign even though it adversely affected my finances in the fairly severe way.

            All the best to you.

          • DanV

            Anyone who claims that the perpetrators of any particular religion have a moral high ground over the others is not thinking things through. They all oppress, but the most oppressive regimes use their prevailing ghost stories

          • Ratnesh Maurya

            Hitler was an atheist??? i tatally disagree. Even if he was how can act of one person compare to something done by a mass , herd, pack.

          • Jeremy

            If by atheist she meant Christian, then yes.

          • Sammy

            naked contempt’ that is true he was an atheist

          • Dom

            imagine the Vatican beheading people for adultery, in Mecca, they still behead WOMEN for cheating.

          • Rickard Winkle

            There’s nothing unique in Islam – everything you hate about it has its roots, stem, leaves and flowers firmly in its Abrahamaic, patriarchal monotheistic precursors. There is nothing to distinguish Abrahamaic creeds except how many centuries the fallacy has persisted. Get a grip.

          • Lynley

            Where in any of my posts did I say anything contrary to what you have said? My point is, and has always been that all religions are WMD’s. What is different about Islam is two-fold; 1. As fucked up as Testaments Old & New indeed are, neither Moses nor Jesus raped nine year old child brides. and, 2. the other sky-god religions have either all but disappeared or have been brought to heel by the Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 19th century. Islam is behaving like it is the 12th century not the 21st. This is a problem for any civilised person.

          • Rickard Winkle

            We don’t actually disagree on the main, but you do seem to be, with the “rape a 9 year old” remark, reserving for Islam some remarkable venality not possessed in the other two. I think that demonstrates some undue sympathy for your own cultural traditions. First, Aisha’s exact age is not known. It was customary in that tribal tradition to wait until menstruation to consumate marriages. In polemics, it’s a tried and true strategy to compare the “best of” us to the “worst of” them, and to “estimate” to the detriment of The Other. Sec
            ond of all, the use of the word “rape” is needlessly inflammatory in the historical context – underage marriage, and over-sexed prophets – is about as biblical as you can get. I interpret the same fact you point out – that Islam is a 1400 years old, and Xianity 2000 – differently than you – I say (to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara’s mother) “it’s only appropriate to act 1400 when you are 1400” and entirely irrational to expect a 1400 year old to act like a 2000 year old, :)

          • Lynley

            Fair enough regarding historical context. So, let us deal with the here and now. Rape is currently being used as a weapon of war by Islam. I know the bloody and sexually perverse nature of the sky-god religions which is why I avoid them all like the plague they are. However, moral and cultural relativism will not cover the horror that Islam has unleashed upon the world. I don’t know about you or what your situation in the word may be but as for me, I would rather be dead than under the boot of Islam. I don’t buy the argument that if given a few hundred more years of unabated blood-letting, terrorism, institutionalised rape, Jihad-issuing, and Caliphate soldiering that they will eventually submit to reason and egalitarian aesthetics.

            The sky-god cults, save for Islam, were brought to heel by science and western humanities and, yes sadly, the point of a gun during the 19th and 20th centuries and not a moment too soon. I realise that these are complex, cross-cultural issues that will take some time to suss out.

            My deep desire is that we could all (women included!) sit down at a round table, have a cuppa, and rationally hash out some global peace initiative. The West has tried diplomacy over and over. Failed. We have tried warfare and when things got a bit painful to our side, we cut and ran. Failed. Now, we are moving back into the theatre of perpetual war without admitting what we are really up against.

            This is a Culture War (one of the only things Baby Bush was right about). I do not want to be veiled, bound to brutish men with brutish religious dogmas driving insatable blood-lust, and not allowed to even have a medical exam when I am feeling poorly without the permission of some deluded psychopath hyped up on the words of an illiterate camel salesman with a taste for world domination.

            I will fight like hell to keep my freedom and we had all better do the same before it is too late.

          • MIke O’Reilly

            Yeah, but your analysis ignores rape as a tried-and-multiply-tested-and-always-found-to-be-true strategy in the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda – where it has nothing to do with Islam, and not to mention the Serbian rape camps of the 1990s – run by putative “christians” – it’s a male thing, not an Islamic thing. But I grant you that the sky god religions are all fucked up about sex.

          • Lynley

            Rape as a weapon of war is not new nor exclusive to Islam that is true. However, Islam uses “grooming” of western girls and rape houses in western countries as a method of control and oppression of all females worldwide. Look up Rotherham Sex Abuse cases, 1,400 drugged, and raped girls and teenagers by Moslem men and counting as well as “grooming gangs” across the UK and EU. It is appearing in the U.S. where large concentrations of Moslems live such as Dearborn, MI. Men need to stop acting like sociopathic spoilt children with an, “I see, I want, I take” attitude and learn to control themselves. Women need to learn hand-to-hand combat and how to shoot guns.

          • MIke O’Reilly

            I did try to google the “grooming” phenom you mention, but the only references I could find were on Christian polemicist sites. Do you have one that is not so obviously and overtly skewed to Christian religious triumphalism? Stripped of the polemic, it sounds like every pimp every known. Very Romanian. (From the Muslim criminal perspective, “The West” with its “known” predilection for and exultation of, sexual everything, is the ideal place to recruit one’s prostitutes. The standard Muslim critique of societies which permit, glorify, and promote the sex industry and routinely generate loose women, would make Europe a much more fertile source of “product” – Western women are just going to give it away for free anyway, rather than generate profit for men. Recruiting prostitutes from within their own sexual apartheid communities means operating at a considerable disadvantage, eh?) Prostitution of course exists in Muslim countries, but indigenous Muslim prostitutes are usually recruited by and working for their own families – fathers, uncles, brothers as pimps.

          • Lynley

            There is so many secular articles out there that I wonder how it is that you could not find any non-Christian sources. I am an atheist and do not read any religious-based drivel. Most Britons are secular and more and more Americans are admitting agnostic and atheistic leanings.

            Here a just a few articles on the first TWO PAGES of Google Search on Moslem grooming and sex slave trading. There are THOUSANDS to be found if you look.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rotherham-child-sex-abuse-scandal-labour-home-office-to-be-probed-over-what-tony-blairs-government-knew–and-when-9701861.html

            http://www.brennerbrief.com/muslim-council-of-britain-mcb-spin-on-rotherhams-sex-grooming-gangs/

            http://standpointmag.co.uk/features-december-10-gangs-girls-and-grooming-the-truth-julie-bindel-asian-gangs-pimps-rotherham

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10061217/Imams-promote-grooming-rings-Muslim-leader-claims.html

            http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/12/grooming_gangs_and_sharia.html

            You really think western 12 year old girls are just “giving it away anyway?”
            If grown women choose to have consentual sex this does not make them sluts to be raped at will.
            It is all women’s fault if we are raped though, right?

            Why are western men acting as apologists for men raping girls and women world-wide?

          • Dom

            yea, imagine the Vatican beheading people for adultery, in Mecca, they still behead WOMEN for cheating.

          • Lexi

            Half-Jewish queer with a barrage of illnesses of my own speaking here: you are a privileged white person. Shut up about Islam.

          • Lynley

            This is a discussion forum, I shall say whatever I please. If you do not like it, do not read it.

          • Lexi

            And you are a privileged white person who has no idea about what she’s talking. You are making yourself and all atheists look thoroughly foolish, with very good reason, it seems.

        • Zefal

          Islamophobia = Pointing out the truth to the misogynistic, homophobic ways of a considerable portion of the Muslim population.

        • Sammy

          cool

      • WindowsVista

        Feminazi Alert! Richard Dawkins is a pedophile and a child murderer!

        • Lynley

          Another towering intellectual heard from.

          • zYRIL

            You need Jesus!

      • ms

        But Dawkins does have problems with allowing Down syndrome babies to live from what he tweeted

        • Lynley

          Professor Dawkins must be exhausted from dealing with people who read either other’s opinions of what he allegedly said or read what he did say out of context. What he actually said was,

          ‘Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world.’

          He never suggested not allowing a Down’s Syndrome infant to live once s/he was born. We are talking about a non-viable foetus with severe, incurable, lifelong physical and mental deformities.

          • Laura Williams

            “We are talking about a non-viable foetus with severe, incurable, lifelong physical and mental deformities.”

            No we aren’t. Tests for Down Syndrome can determine exactly one thing: If the fetus has Down Syndrome. It does not determine the degree of the disorder, learning disabilities, nor whether the fetus is viable. You are saying that Dawkins is ignorant as to what this test actually tests for(but decided to spout off his “moral opinion” about it regardless). That, or your hero worship has blinded you to his faults. Which is it?

          • Lynley

            I had a sister with Down Syndrome. No hero worship here, personal experience.

          • Laura Williams

            Nope, you’re dodging the issue, along with the Dawkins comment. Your sister- and I’m sure she’s a wonderful person- has absolutely nothing to do with the question of the morality of aborting fetuses known to have Down Syndrome. Address the thing he actually said if you want to claim credibility.

          • Lynley

            First of all my sister is dead, didn’t make it to two years old.
            Second, mortality rates where never the issue in the first place. The discussion is about quality of life, which, for DS people and their families is generally poor.
            Third, if your doctorate degree is not in biology or the medical field, YOU lack the credibility you seek from others.
            Forth, anyone who uses the word – NOPE – in any serious discussion on any topic is suspect. I think the word you are looking for here is, NO.
            Fifth, I have nothing to prove to anyone, I commented on an article that is now several months old.

          • Laura Williams

            First of all, that is unfortunate, and still not relevant. Second, you’re the one who brought up mortality rates, so I have no idea why you’re telling me it isn’t relevant. The quote was about abortion. I agree that quality of life is an issue for DS people, which would be the actual moral dilemma, which you’ve yet to discuss. Third, it doesn’t take a doctorate in biology or medicine to look up statistics on ONE TEST, so, no, shut up. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Fourth, criticizing my choice of word- which conveyed the exact same meaning as the word you would have preferred- is beyond pedantic. It’s childish, diversionary, and undercuts whatever point you think you had.
            Fifth, you’re still wrong. I don’t really care if you don’t want to admit or prove otherwise. Your preferences don’t change facts or reality.

          • Lynley

            Who do you think you are to tell someone to shut up? This is a debate forum. I am so done with you, go mentally masturbate elsewhere.

          • Laura Williams

            Just this habit I have when someone says incredibly stupid things. You’ve yet to “debate” anything, so yes, do go away.

      • Kenneth James Abbott

        Now may be the time to point out that his sexist statements make it clear you’re not his friend either.

    • Lynley

      Hey, great post. I even quoted you in my own. I am an American atheist feminist who adores Richard Dawkins. This guy, by standing against Islam stands against the worst threat to women and girls in the world today. Thank to everyone that calls Andrew out on this lame, poorly researched article.

    • couchtripper

      How long has it taken you to dig yourself so far into that hole of raging ignorance? I hope the walls fall in on you.

      • JamesChambers123

        “Raging ignorance”? Well, I was actually aiming for “sneering condescension” but I guess that will have to do.

    • Mr.X

      Way to generalize feminism as a whole based on the radical ones…much like how atheists generalize all religions based on the the extremists.

      • JamesChambers123

        Of course it’s a generalization, what did you expect? A unique, studied critique of every individual feminist that’s ever existed anywhere in the whole of the space time continuum? If that’s what you wanted then I’m afraid I have to disappoint you, I have better things to do. Perhaps you’d like to take up such a task yourself; please post your findings in the comments section of The Spectator when you’re done, as that is where such things are expected to be found, apparently.

        The question isn’t “is it a generalization?”, the question is: “is the generalization accurate?” the key concept being “generally accurate”. You’re free to disagree, but it isn’t just me that seems to think so.

        • Mr.X

          The general goal of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Anything other than this is not reflection of feminism but of individuals that call themselves feminists.
          On what basis do you make generalizations about feminism as a whole? Is there any studies or evidence that suggest feminists in GENERAL (as in most feminists) behave like the radical ones? If not, your generalization is groundless and based on bigotry.

          • Slartibast

            Mr.X must be a real Scottsman, or not knowing what moves in feminism sircles.

            “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.””

            And none outside of their circle can say anything. They have their own sofism, “theology”, enemies and priests with government support in academia. Wonder where the church is. GJ!

          • Hominid

            The age old attempt to dissociate the movement from the movers – how banal.

          • Rickard Winkle

            The age old attempt to expel members from the movement who are not “pure” enough in their dogma! How religious!

          • Hominid

            Yeah. That’s pretty much the obverse of the same coin, isn’t it? Sorta like claiming the sin and the sinner are separable.

          • Chris Bordeman

            “The general goal of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

            Any movement with the goal of advocating for one group’s rights over the other is at danger of losing their original perspective when they run out of legitimate goals.

            Any group can point to their more moderate members, but their original belief system created the extremists, too.

          • Rocksy

            The Women’s Movement has always insisted that it struggles for the best for all people. Like any movement it will likely always be a work in progress but wouldn’t you acknowledge that men have also benefitted from the relaxation of strict roles for each gender.

          • Chris Bordeman

            The Women’s movement may have ‘always insisted’ it struggled for all people, but of course that’s not how it works in practice, even if it does benefit others twice a day.

        • Salanor

          Anyone who speaks the truth about a few to disparage the whole group is a bigot. Congratulations on that honour.

          • RuariJM

            If you think that is the definition of a bigot then you need a new dictionary. or maybe read the one you have already got.

          • Salanor

            lol

        • Lynley

          I have been a feminist all of my adult life. I would like to point out that there are many forms of feminism. What many people respond to in a negative way are the radical feminists, and, increasingly, mainstream feminists who have become apologists for Islam. I, and most intellectually-based women, are either Libertarian or, like me, Power feminists.

          Power feminists acknowledge the historical wrongs against women but are far more interested in what happens now. We do not wish to create a class of frigid, whining girl-women, wanting equal results without putting in equal effort. Power feminists are not anti-male at all. We are anti-misogynist. We want to EARN shared power with men. We know that we are all in this together.

          So, gents, and conservative ladies, please do not lump feminists like me in with these moronic, Islam-apologists who seek to overthrow western civilisation.

          • Thor fenris

            Well you impressed me!

          • Lynley

            +Thor I appreciate your kind words. I used to buy into the West as the root of all evil and that radical feminism would correct the errant behaviour. Then, I read Camille Paglia’s Sexual Persona and it changed everything for me.I do not agree with every word in it, but it was my introduction to Power Feminism and thinking about history from a cultural, rather than militaristic framework. Thor, there are still many men who feel we women are the enemy because we want equal access to society. They believe we are trying to edge them out: NOT TRUE! There is room, especially in the modern western world for all to flourish. That is why America, Europe, and the UK (and its Commonwealth) are the envy of the world. These are the places people flee to when their own countries are overrun by barbarians. Think about how great it is when you are engaging with a true equal partner; what is better than that?

          • Rocksy

            “UK and its Commonwealth”??…………..Only Canada, Australia and New Zealand are part of that modern, Western Commonwealth world which everyone envies.

          • Lynley

            Sorry mate, you are wrong there. Currently there are 53 countries officially listed as “realms” and “republics” with QEII as monarch. They are listed here: http://www.royal.gov.uk/monarchandcommonwealth/commonwealthmembers/membersofthecommonwealth.aspx

          • Rocksy

            Take a course in reading comprehension. The relevant point was …”Western, Commonwealth countries which everyone envies”

          • Salanor

            Paglia is a right-wing idiot. If this analysis of the problems of development across the world is sourced from her, this simply reinforces that opinion.

          • Nik Southwell

            Western Civilization?!?!?!?!? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…….oh shit, you’re serious!

          • Lynley

            Yes I am serious. I walked freely down the street today, unveiled no problem. I have ballet, punk clubs, art galleries, monster truck pulls, lectures on every topic, fully-stocked libraries and can vote for whomever I choose in elections. Go to some violent, theocracy if you hate the West. Seriously, we here will put aside petty left-right differences and start a fund to send you to the Islamic hell-hole of your choice. It is, of course, a one way ticket. Let us know when you are packed and ready.

          • Jeremy Abrams

            Fully agree. The blame-your-own-modern-country first fad and fashion is small-minded and provincial. Few people who have lived in poor countries continue to think that way.

            Poor really means disorganized or corrupt. The modern complex, including science, democracy, property rights, civil rights, and equality, has a certain logic to it that, over time, corrodes tribalism and permits a recognition of the equality of all.

            Once set in motion, modernity inevitably leads to a recognition of the equality not just of property holders but of everyone, woman, homosexuals, and people of different colors as well.

            But if you’re in the middle of it, it’s feels ethnocentric and superior to conclude that people in other cultures, who have not experienced this slow leavening of the spirit, are actually still not leavened. But they aren’t.

          • Lynley

            Thank you for the support for Western civilisation. When I was younger and less well-travelled and well-rounded educationally, I bought into the idea that the U.S. and U.K. were monstrous culture destroyers and the poor were just there as slaves and serfs of the wealthy.
            I thought the IMF, World Bank, and any global government structure existed to enslave the masses and so forth.
            Is there corruption and too much concentrated wealth at the top? Sure. Do you, I, or any sane person want to move from NYC, Paris, London or Berlin to Pakistan, Iran, The Congo, or some such place? HELL NO!
            Where the the Islamic counties, or North Korea are you going to find any culture at all? No where, they cannot even grow food to feed themselves due the the corruption and insanity of their leaders. Do they fight back again their oppressors? Mostly not. They join Hamas or ISIS and slaughter their way across the desert.
            I’ve take the modern western world all day, every day.

          • Salanor

            Basically, I’m struggling to see how you are well-rounded.

            A well-rounded educated person might consider the facts – that you are more likely to be shot in either of the Americas by an American than you are to die in a Moslem country. To date, Indonesia, the largest Moslem country, rates as one of the safest places to live.

            Can I suggest, in the interests of well-roundedness, you extract your head from your arse.

          • Jeremy Abrams

            Interesting choice – Indonesia. I notice that you passed over Syria, Libya, Iraq, though you could’ve mentioned Saudi Arabia as safe, but of course you’ll have to have that clitoris sliced off, wear a burka, and never drive if you’re a woman…

          • Salanor

            The countries you mention have a long history of tribalism. This is what causes people to insist on mores – it binds the tribe together and establishes allegiance.

            And most of the world’s Moslems live peacefully in Indonesia.

          • Rickard Winkle

            Indonesia is an entirely appropriate choice, as it is The. Most. Populous. Muslim country. That means, Jeremy, that there are more Muslims in Indonesia than any other country, I clarify. Clitorodectomy is a NOT an Islamic practice; it is a “horn of Africa” geographical practice – in Somalia, for example, Christian, animist and Muslim populations do it. When you promote inaccuate pop culture stereotypes, you appear as stupid as a Believer.

          • Salanor

            That would be all well and good if it were not for foreign policy, trade policy and immigration policy of most developed countries. If corruption were the issue, then most of Asia would be falling into a hole – which is isn’t.

            These kinds of mono-factor analyses are dangerous.

          • Rickard Winkle

            Apparently, you don’t live in the same world I do; “modernity” means corporate fascism to me.

          • Salanor

            My brother’s family holidays in Indonesia for 3 months every year. So far, they have managed to come back unscathed from this Islamic hell-hole.

            Let us know when you are packed for the nut-house.

          • Chris Bordeman

            Oh, you’re a dipshit. Sadly, I already read the comment. I saw everything.

          • Skiny Farrinaci

            Ton of buzz words and lingo. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing

          • Lynley

            +Skiny Don’t be so hard on yourself. You may be an idiot, but surely signifying nothing is fairly harsh self-criticism.

          • JamesChambers123

            Just to clarify, I’m all for furthering the equal rights of women, I can’t see why any right-minded person would be otherwise. :)

            My mockery was really directed at a certain Guardian-reading class of feminist, who for some reason (without any trace of irony) have labelled themselves “radicals”, despite being some the most predictable bores known to (wo)mankind. I suspect “fundamentalists” would be a better title than radical, given their inability to move past the stale ramblings of misguided 1970’s ideologues and naive economic theories backed up by 1880’s era Marxist claptrap.

            Your description ties in more closely to what I think of modern liberated woman should be; that women are not children, they don’t need the state or anyone else to wipe their bottoms for them, their right to equality is based upon their humanity and they really don’t care what I or anyone else thinks of them. If they want to do something, they do it.

            I find the “radical” feminist’s unending obsession with achieving demographic equality in all areas of life, by hook or by crook, particularly tiresome. Not only does it deny women their agency and individuality, it’s almost like it’s never crossed their mind that just because women aren’t represented 50/50 in some currently male dominated pursuit, that the discrepancy could be because women are spending their time more wisely doing far better things!

            “I am writing this letter to let you know my disgust at the lack of female faces in this years ‘Banging Your Head Against the Wall Championships’. I demand that you empower more women to bang their heads against brick walls by having all female shortlists to counter your misogynistic patriarchal organisation. Yours sincerely, A. Radical-Feminist. (who has never banged her head against a wall.)”

          • Salanor

            A suitably superficial critique of the history of feminism. The drover’s dog can tell that, if women represent 50% of the population and the hiring policy of a corporation results in 20% women, then the hiring policy is biased and needs fixing. Since corporations are not known for their social initiatives, governments need quotas to force change.

            It’s OK. You might not understand. So, here’s it put simply.

            If the pipe to your house passes 100% of water from the road, but only 20% arrives at your house, is it true to say,

            a. everything is OK. The water chooses another route. Stay calm and drink your own piss when you run out of water.
            b. the system is broken and needs fixing, but stay calm and just wait until the pipe self-repairs.
            c. the system is broken and needs fixing by a plumber, you know, a big burly bastard who knows how to wrench the shit out of pipes

        • Rickard Winkle

          James, your posts reak of the same sort of self-righteous sanctimoniousness that flavors the discourse of the most committed ideologue – and I commend you! Your parody of religious conversion rhetoric, merely substituting religious imagery and metaphor for secular, highlights the emotionalism and irrationality of apologetics. I don’t think people here get what you’re doing – very Stephen Colbert of you. Brilliant, even.

      • Lynley

        Radical and mainstream branches of feminism lost all credibility for me during the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

        I was the assistant to the president of the National Organisation for Women in Los Angeles during the huge split between the national branch and the local L.A. chapter as it pertained to the official N.O.W. line to take during the trial.

        Tammy Bruce had been a very popular president of the chapter who went on chat shows talking about how Simpson was a serial woman-beater who went over the edge and murdered two people. The national officers of N.O.W. forcibly removed her from office in spite of huge local support for Bruce’s position.

        The incoming president, the late Judith Mueli, was between a rock and a hard place because she believed Simpson guilty but valued the organisation too. She walked the party line so I quit my position. Then I read Camile Paglia’s Sexual Personae and discovered power feminism. What a refreshing change of philosophy!

        I am so sad and ashamed that my then “sisters-in-arms” opted to stay silent because Simpson was black and they feared they would be seen as racists, or “rich white racist women” as Sharpton and J. Jackson referred to us.

        From there, it was easy for them (mainstream and radical feminists) to act as de facto apologists for Islam.

        What a waste of a movement.

        • Chris Bordeman

          Thank you for telling your story!

      • David silverman

        “…much like how atheists generalize…”. And I dare-say you typed that with a straight face.

    • Salanor

      Anything intelligent to say in that vitriol? You have laid out your counter prejudice well.

      • fredx2

        It would be nice if you offered more than name calling.

    • sarah_13

      Indeed. If Dawkins is all this guy Brown has to worry about he clearly isn’t living in the same world as the rest of us.

    • Julio

      Dawkins needs to call it a night when his last remaining defenders are Mens Rights Activists and BNP wingnuts.

      • Chris Bordeman

        Better than Muslims, members of the religion of psychopaths and kiddie fuckers.

    • Paul Austin Murphy

      Andrew Brown is a writer for The Guardian, as the guy above me states. Why’s he writing for The Spectator? Will The Guardian return the favour and allow Douglas Murray or Melanie Philips to write articles for them? Of course it won’t!

      Also as the guy above me states, The Guardian and other Leftists changed their tune on religion at the precise moment when the majority of the religious in the UK started to have a brown skin colour, rather than a white one. Then everything changed.

      So it’s not as if The Guardian, the SWP, etc. have suddenly become more “sophisticated” about religion. It’s that they are “tapping into the revolutionary potential of Muslims”, as the SWP’s Chris Molyneux once put it. In other words, this has nothing to do with The Guardian’s position on religion. It’s do to with its politics and “race theory”.

    • Jeffrey Witthauer

      I am not defending this article (indeed, I posted my own rather scathing rebuttal to it above), but you are aware are you not that Richard Dawkins has always campaigned against Muslim treatment of women? And that he has officially apologized for his “Dear Muslima” comment, acknowledging that the injustices suffered by Muslim women do not mean other oppression of women does not exist?

      In fact, the idea that Dawkins is misogynistic is almost entirely mythical. He has some controversial views, some I disagree with, and his tendency to tweet conclusions without explanation or comment has caused quite a lot of misinterpretation by those eager to see him as misogynistic, but I doubt he would support your strange non sequitur from Islam to feminism.

    • Rickard Winkle

      Yawn!

    • http://slwstr.net/ slwstr

      “The feminists seem particularly shocked and outraged to discover that the vast majority of their beliefs are based on air as thin as that which flows between the ears of their Islamist bedfellows”

      Islamists are feminists’s bedfellows?

      SRSLY I wonder who is truly deluded here.

  • Jack

    Is having no religion the same as atheism? I thought atheism is the active belief that there is no god.

    • Ciprian Cucu

      Actually, if you do not subscribe to theism you are an atheist (outside theism).
      That’s about it.

    • Matthew Stevens

      Atheism is the belief that there is no God, based on a lack of evidence to suggest that there is one

  • Binding&Hoche

    How much does it cost to be inseminated by him?

  • Ciprian Cucu

    I don’t get it. What are you trying to say?
    That Dawkins started a religion because he charges money for events?

    That new-born babies somehow are … what… Christians? Mulism? Whatever happens to be the prevalent religious cult in the area where they were born?

    That you can have a religion without a structure, without an ideology?

    How on earth did you get to write for this website making such ridiculous claims?

    • JamesChambers123

      *Applause!* I get the distinct whiff of “bitter Christian” from this article…

      • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

        I believe Brown isn’t a Christian, but he writes like he wishes he was. He indulges in what RD calls ‘atheist buttery’ (from “I’m an atheist, but…”)

  • Paddy S

    Looks like Dawkins followers are here in number: Suppose its impolite to point out his books only sold so well because we live in a post modern ignorant liberal abusive culture where understanding of religion, history, culture, truth or basic facts are no longer a burden to writing on anything. Its why mockery and emotional tirades are taught of us as better than clear genuine arguments.

  • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

    I see Andrew Brown is still feeding on the crumbs from Dawkins’ table.

  • davidofkent

    I see nothing wrong in personal faith. People can believe in whatever they like, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the religion that is the problem. Religion is merely an attempt to obtain power over others, though I cannot think why they bother.

  • Bonkim

    All babies are atheists when they start. Their parents and the society that surrounds them then brainwash them into the superstitions they believe in. Simple. Hence the Heinz 66 varieties of religion in different parts of the world and we appear to have samples of all of them in Britain..

  • Dr Sheldon Alton-Cooper

    I wish I had £500,000 to join the ‘magic of reality circle’…it sounds so mysterious and Cult-like…I wonder if Paul Daniels or Derren Brown will be there. Value for money for you ask me;)

  • tjamesjones

    religion without the good bits – and for further proof we’ve got a bunch of apostles in the comment section, the last word in charm and erudition

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Who gets to trouser the lolly?

    • Simon Fay

      Good question…it’s a fair pile of notes they could be raking in.

  • MichaelVHayes

    Oh, not Dawkins, again. Yawn.

    • Simon Fay

      How else is the Speccie going to draw a lot of single young men with a bit of money to its advertisers? Excellent click-bait.

  • Dave Cockayne

    What exactly is shocking about ‘evil’ Islam?

    Please go to liveleak and do a search for ISIS execution, ISIS beheading or ISIS crucifixion.

    It is quite remarkable that it is the 21st century and HD footage of genocide in action is freely available online for all to see but we still have ‘journalists’ defending Islam.

    Do you start to doubt your moral relativism after the first 100 videos of people being murdered in the name of Allah or after the second hundred?

    Was it the video of Cockneys throwing decapitated heads around, or the Aussie giving his own son a decapitated to play with?
    Maybe the thousands of unarmed people shot in the back of the head with their hands tied behind their backs?
    Or the mass crucifixions? The hundreds of children buried alive?

    When that little bit of doubt starts to creep in, when you think what you are watching is actually ‘evil’, please go and read the Koran.

    This is exactly what Mohammed did 1400 years ago and exactly what Mohammed commanded muslims to do for all time. ISIS are good muslims, they will be blessed by Allah and richly rewarded in heaven for their deeds.

    Does that seem like an ‘evil’ doctrine to you?

    • Simon Fay

      “Was it the video of Cockneys throwing decapitated heads around, or the Aussie giving his own son a decapitated to play with?”

      Please don’t elide these bloodthirsty aliens with Cockneys and Aussies. I know this is an area your lot haven’t yet dared to tread but don’t insult the rest of us with this medacious rubbish.

      • Dave Cockayne

        Problem is that thousands of the people currently slaughtering their way through Syria and Iraq are not aliens.

        They were born and raised in Britain, America, Canada, Sweden, Holland, Germany, France or Sweden. They have passports and the legal right to travel freely in our countries.

        I’m a little confused by your comment, who are ‘my lot’ and what area has ‘my lot’ not dared to tread? Please enlighten me.

  • Johann

    The point is not that you have to pay $100,000 just to have a dinner with Dawkins (you’d have to be stupid or rich to do that). Members of his higher circles are donors interested in forwarding the goals of his [non-profit] foundation. Just like people who donate big money to PBS. They’re not doing it solely for the gimmicks; dinners are a way to get to know and thank major contributors.

    • eccles11

      PBS IS A CULT!

      CULT!

  • Lydia Robinson

    It may have escaped your attention but people are killing in the name of religion right now in Iraq, for example. Just one of many places. In the 21st century. So, obviously, this is still something on the agenda of someone like Dawkins who is dedicated to science and reason. Perhaps you can find an example of where Dawkins has killed, maimed, tortured and assassinated people in furtherance of his philosophy or beliefs. I think not. In the absence of a left wing who prefer to throw in their lot with Islamic fundamentalists, Dawkins is essential.

    • Baron

      You reckon, Lydia, that people without religious faith don’t kill, do you? Also, Baron can introduce you to people who, like Dawkins, ‘haven’t killed, maimed, tortured and assassinated others in furtherance of their philosophy or beliefs.’ So what?

      • Lydia Robinson

        What matters is that some schools are trying to eliminate science and evolution from their curriculums. In the 21st century. In the UK.

        • Baron

          As you well know, Lydia, in the few and far between schools of our past religion ranked top on the curriculum, and yet the past produced scientists we still learn from, honour, admire: Bacon, Newton, Darwin, Maxwell, Halley, Dalton … Baron could go on and on.

          How do you explain it?

          • Jas Friedman

            How do you explain that Einstein believed in the God of Spinoza? Stephen Hawking is agnostic. There are many CURRENT scientists who are agnostic in their beliefs. How do you explain that?

    • life5678

      So are you saying that only people who believe in religion kill others? That’s ludicrous. So when America went to Vietnam, Iraq, or any number of other countries and killed people, was the ‘religion’ it was done for Americana’? Blaming religion is beyond unintelligent. People kill because they are human. The history of the world is one of humans killing other humans. Of all the major conquerors throughout history, none did so in the name of an existing religion. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Tamerlane, Cyrus the Great, Attila the Hun, all he Roman Emperors, Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Hirohito, Mao, Pol Pot, Napoleon, and Mohammed, (who turned his butchery into a religion).

      As far as Dawkins goes, he has the IQ of a gnat with the logic to match. To follow his ‘religion’, you would have to believe that humans are the first beings to ever exist with any degree of intelligence, and therefore are the most intelligent beings to ever exist. Even if you believed the ludicous notion that the big bang that created earth was the first and only big bang, then you have to believe it took 14 billion years for the first sentient beings to ‘evolve’. That’s a whole lot of far-fetched illogical ‘beliefs’. Space and matter/energy have always existed, and can never be created nor destroyed, only the form can change. There are countless big bangs in space, each in different various stages. So logic would dictate that you ask the question, ‘so if space and matter are ageless, then when did the first intelligent being come into existence?’.

      ‘Sentient’ humans have only been in existence on earth for a little over 7000 years. Before that there was no written word, no ‘language’, cities or civilization, they were not ‘sentient’. It’s only been the last 150 years that science has really began to unlock the mysteries of the universe, and yet we are on the precipice of figuring out how to live forever. So after billions of years were will we be? What about the sentient beings that existed 100 billion years ago? What form might these beings have been? How intelligent might they be?

      So then, logically you can only conclude that intelligent reasoning, sentient beings have ALWAYS existed, and with far more intelligence then we can imagine. Intelligence / reasoning, is an innate quality of existence, just as space, matter and energy are. Since intelligence has always existed, then intelligence itself would qualify as God. Therefore, God exists. To ‘believe’ anything less is just frivolous nonsense for the weak minded with a huge ego.

  • Daniel Jeyn

    Just as much as I have no faith in any divine being, I have similar faith that Richard Dawkins is simultaneously mostly right in his rational assessments, and also a very tedious and pretentious bowler.

    I’m from a mostly Catholic family. And I notice that the Church was very quick to appreciate any gassy and fatuous claim of “simple faith” and flattering of “mere Christianity.” And yet I had doubts about zombie rabbis, and that a random pedo in a frock could be any more of a vicar of the Creator of the Universe than I am. Only then do the intellectual religionists come out and tut that while “mere faith” will work in the positive, to deny it is conversely a cry of ignorance, and I dare not possibly refute the supernatural without being able to debate, point-by-point, with historical completeness and heavy citation, why it is that I defend myself as an atheist.

    If God is actually anything more than an innate cognitive bias of pattern-seeking consciousness, (as I think), but something actually tangible and rational — as the clever religionists insist He is — then clearly the proper way is to start out assuming that there is no God as the default setting. If there is more to faith than mere sentiment, then we should only be non-atheists after we’re convinced by evidence otherwise. Not surprisingly, that’s not the approach the faithful are expected to take. Kneel first, reason later, etc.

    Holding as I do that religion and faith are phenomenon of our cognitive bias and human nature, I hold nothing really against that for what it is. As it is, I think Dawkins will never find anything better than Christian charity, love, and forgiveness as a model for the world. That doesn’t mean it’s not still based on some fictional beliefs.

  • Lydia Robinson

    Dawkins fills the vacuum of the left now that the left has decided on masse that its sympathies lie with a right wing conservative religion (Islam.) It shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are devotees and Dawkins is becoming a cult.

  • Nele Schindler

    Brilliant article, thank you.

    It’s entirely beside the point that he criticises Islam (as any sane person would).

    His hatred of Christianity in the light of his rather embarrassing personality cult is what’s at the core of the evil he represents. I for one am delighted that the mask is being ripped off.

    • eccles11

      Got the blinders on I see. Any sane person would criticise someone elses religion, but golly no. It’s evil to criticise mine.

      • lookout

        You’re the one with the blinkers

  • Baron

    Good piece, Andrew, except that you failed to mention that Dawkins only switched his mind of Godly genius to kicking God because his orthodox Darwinism is in tatters.

    • lookout

      Isn’t the truth brill ! The poor, blinded evolution zealots are slowly having their eyes opened, they don’t even know that the evolution argument has been destroyed on the earth and has had to be moved to the cosmos, you need more faith to believe evolution than to believe in a creator.

      • Pat Conway

        Where is your evidence for creation?

        • lookout

          Try The Mystery Of Life on YouTube, 5 top scientists refuting evolution and their reasons why, backed by medical photographic evidence, the construction of the outboard motor that powers the single cell is a good example of something that didn’t crawl out of the sea.

          • Pat Conway

            So the answer to the mystery of life can be found on YouTube?

          • lookout

            You are scared to death of finding out. Politically Correct, P C.

          • eccles11

            Hah, the bacterial flagellum? That creationist argument was destroyed about 10 years ago. We had evidence for it’s evolutionary pathway even before that. Bacterial Flagellum are not irreducibly complex. It amazes me that this argument comes up time and again, i feel embarrased for those who bring it up.

          • lookout

            Go on then, how do you say it was designed and built? You need information before anything, who put the information in? A biological program without prior knowledge and information design cannot be

          • eccles11
          • lookout

            Read it, please explain “without a time machine” how far back do evolutionists have to go? A scientist published their work on blood and skin samples from a dinosaur last week, how does skin and blood survive 20,000,000 years?

          • lookout

            Didn’t explain the programming.

      • eccles11

        It hasn’t though. It really hasn’t. Unless you have your fingers in your ears when you are outside of creationism/ID circles, you will see that the theory of evolution is not in tatters, it is the backbone of all biology.

        • lookout

          Information, programming, where does the information begin, if it’s already in the material, who put it there, Darwin? He didn’t even have any conception of programming.

          • eccles11

            Darwin? A joke, yes?

            There is nothing preventing simple things from becoming more complex over time as long as energy is being added. Asking “who” indicates that you are unlikely to accept a naturalistic explanation, no matter how convincing.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    You forgot to disclose the annual $1,000,000,000 “Circle of Understanding” membership level, where Dawkins (1) explains the secret behind how a simple bacterium cell evolved; and (2) how “early man” survived the quicker and stronger quadrupedal predators that now concentrated on the awkward walking, low-brain capacity, bipedal.

    Because of the high annual fee for this particular membership level, Dawkins hasn’t yet had to explain how a simple one-cell bacterium evolved, let alone how “early man” survived his/her hostile environment.

    • Baron

      Spot on, Dean?

      The best (certainly the wittiest) remark on Dawkins Baron has come across was this: ‘He married Lalla Ward, still doesn’t believe there’s God’.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        Even the Romans and Jewish authorities knew who Jesus was, which is why both groups left Him alone for three years, when if it had been any other charismatic that attracted large crowds, that person and followers would have been immediately executed by mounted Roman cavalry. Roman governors were constantly on the lookout for persons such as Jesus.

        The reason the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem arrested Jesus when they did is because they understood Jesus’ provocation (against Rome) by riding into Jerusalem with the mob (notice that Pilate refused to stop Jesus, allowing Jesus to enter Jerusalem with a mob!) was a signal that it was time for Him to die. To ensure Jesus was indeed signalling that it was time for Him to die, the Sanhedrin convened three nighttime Q& A sessions with Jesus (held in the night ensuring the sessions couldn’t be construed as trails, meaning no punishment could be meted out to Jesus). Jesus’ silence convince the Sanhedrin that Jesus was indeed signalling it was time for Him to die. They then cleverly take Jesus to Pilate (because they’re certainly not going to be the ones who kill the Messiah!). Now, note Pilate’s reaction during the trail–Pilate does all he can to get Jesus off the judicial docket!

        • Johann

          Well, it depends on which gospel you read. In the earliest and canonical gospel of Mark, Pilates and the Jewish authorities reach a kind of agreement and Pilate orders the execution. In Luke, Pilates declares Jesus innocent three times and tries to get Herod to do his work for him, to no avail. In Matthew, Pilate washes his hands and lets the judgement be determined by the Jewish people. In John, Pilate does the same and then hands Jesus over, not to the Roman authorities, but to the Jews themselves, after which he is crucified.

          In the non-canonical gospel of Peter (believed to be written even later), all the Jewish people are given the opportunity to wash their hands, and no one does so, so Pilate steps up and does it. Then king Herod orders the execution.

          Accounts and legends written even later tell of how Pilates tried to save Jesus by writing a letter to Rome and how he converted to Christianity and was executed by the Roman Emperor for allowing the Jews to murder the savior of the world.

          All these gospels and texts follow a pattern; anti-Jewish sentiment caused people to go to ridiculous lengths to exonerate Pilate and condemn the Jewish people, which helped fuel hundreds of years of Jewish persecution in Europe.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “In John, Pilate…hands Jesus over, not to the Roman authorities, but to the Jews themselves, after which he is crucified.”

            Yes, Pilate is furious and throws Jesus back onto the Sanhedrin representatives, then the Sanhedrin representatives hand Jesus over to the Roman executioners. It is Pilate who is officially in charge of the execution. Proper protocol would have been Pilate taking custody immediately, but to do so would have involved his PERSONAL acquiescence to the execution.

  • Lynley

    Oh, Andrew. Comparing Dawkins to televangelists saved me the trouble of taking your hit piece seriously. As someone who has worked as a fundraiser and public relations expert for many not-for-profit organisations I can tell you that the graduated membership Dawkins uses is de rigueur in these situations.

    In every organisation there are zealots. The difference here is that the chap who tracked you down asked you to prove your claims that Dawkins is the atheist equivalent of Pat Robertson or some misogynist imam. Had you written about an Islamic leader in this way, you would not have had an iphone shoved in your face, your face would be deluged with acid and separated from your shoulders.

    Richard Dawkins has a big brain, big ideas and a big mouth. And I am happy in a BIG way that he is out there fighting the good fight. I am a life-long feminist and proud of it. Dawkins, like the late, great Hitchens may have a somewhat “laddish” way about them but they, and many others, risk their lives telling the truth about religion, especially Islam who are committing all-out gendercide against women. I cannot think of a more effective global voice for the rights of women than Richard Dawkins, except for Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    So, Andrew, what is your solution to the horror show that is Islam?
    Tea & Sympathy?
    Let me know how that works out for you.

    As for The Guardian (of Islam) (as poster JamesChambers123 cleverly put it), you were my “go-to” paper for world news for many years. Since it has become a mouthpiece for Islam I look elsewhere for news now. Way to go Guardian.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

      “Richard Dawkins has a big brain, big ideas and a big mouth.”

      He’s a fraud, who, with his “big brain”, actually KNOWS God exists, but is waging a personal war with the Divine.

      • Pat Conway

        Attacks Stephen Hawking and yet believes in magic. Makes perfect sense.

        • lookout

          Dawkins was offered an open platform to debate evolution vs creationism several times, he declined, he’s defending a lie and knows it. Try Pember, Earths Earliest Ages and Donald Barnhouse, The Continuing Battle Between Good And Evil.

          • Pat Conway

            What is good and what is evil?

          • lookout

            Read the book, you will find it’s origins and how it play’s out

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “What is good and what is evil?”

            Evil is what deviates from the Truth, as fully known to God.

        • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

          “Attacks Stephen Hawking and yet believes in magic.”

          Where in my postings do you see anything that indicates “belief”? I PROVED “magic” exists.

      • Lynley

        From which university did you receive your Masters Degree in Astrophysics?
        Look, even if there was some sort of First Cause (creator-being) other than the Big Bang then explain the state of the world. Or, better yet, explain who or what made god.
        If you say it is Satan responsible for the evils of the world then I argue that if your god is so impotent that it cannot or will not dispatch this “evil entity” then what fucking good is an indifferent god to humanity? It’s like putting a bicycle in a fish tank; ornamental at best and useless to the fishes.

        • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

          “From which university did you receive your Masters Degree in Astrophysics?”

          Why would one even need a BS degree in physics to know that GPE at infinity is 1, not 0 (zero)?

          • Lynley

            When one is arguing against the world’s leading physicist’s concepts of reality it is good idea to have an educational foundation in order to be taken seriously. What exactly is your world view then?

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “When one is arguing against the world’s leading physicist’s concepts of reality it is good idea to have an educational foundation in order to be taken seriously.”

            It’s preferable that leading scientists have an understanding of (1) the meaning of words; and (2) basic logic.

            If GPE = 0 at infinity, as leading physicists say, then there can be no KGE!

  • Liz

    He’s the only misogynist I have any time for.

  • whs1954

    The whole opening to this article seems to turn on the fact Mr Brown doesn’t know the difference between an atheist and an agnostic. The close of the article seems to be the standard Guardianista reflexive defence of Islam, Muslims – of any and all Muslims, regardless of behaviour or anything else – hence a white middle class left-leaning agnostic denying the very existence of Muslim rape gangs against someone like, of all people, Richard Dawkins even talking about them. As for the middle, filler between such excrescences.

    • couchtripper

      Are you denying that the Cult of Dawkins exists then? All that flannel is just diversionary irrelevance.

  • bowie1

    The cult of Dawkinism.

  • Actuall penthox

    Can’t qualify as a cult since his claims are based on best well-substantiated evidence and not nonevidential faith based beliefs. No worship of a deity or a person as a deity. Atheists by logic and reason have no deities. Busted …

    • grutchyngfysch

      No such absence of idols, however.

  • JEK68

    Strange how when people become popular they have suddenly ‘created a personality cult’ in the eyes of people who disagree with them.
    You don’t seem to know what an atheist is either. it is the lack of belief in a god, that is all, so if you think that babies are born with a belief in a god then I think you overestimate a baby’s ability to ponder those type of questions.

  • Brandon Hortman

    This whole article can be reduced to one long ignorant ad hominem.
    If I could find you I would demand a refund in cash to pay for my time wasted reading it.
    If you have such a problem with someone that you are willing to manipulate their words in order to suit your politics, then maybe you should INTERVIEW RICHARD DAWKINS AND SEE WHAT HE SAYS like a real journalist.

  • eccles11

    “””Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins contain numerous contradictions: inThe God Delusion itself he moves within 15 pages from condemning a pope who had baptised children taken away from Jewish parents to commending Nick Humphrey’s suggestion that the children of creationists be taken away because teaching your children religion is comparable to child abuse. So believers can always find a scripture where he agrees with them, which naturally cancels out the one where he doesn’t.”””

    Did you think about this before writing it? What is the issue here? Do you expect that Dawkins must hold the position that at least one group should have their children taken away from them? And that it’s inconsistent to oppose having children taken away from religious people while being an atheist?

    Richard Dawkins opposes having baptised Jewish children taken away from their parents.

    Richard Dawkins opposes having children of creationists taken away from their parents.

    These are somehow contradictory? these somehow cancel each other out?

    • weaselsoup

      is it possible you have read “commending” as a second “condemning”?

      • eccles11

        That is exactly what happened. Thanks for catching that.

  • eccles11

    I get it, I get why we don’t have atheist babies. Religion must be genetic, thats the only explanation as to why muslim parents seem to almost always produce muslim children, and christian parents christian children. Of course you will always have a mutation or two.

  • Hegelguy

    Tenth-rate journalists are a curse. They blight newspapers and waste our time with their shoddy, pot-boiling “ideas”. They are the equivalent of the mindlessly bleating sheep in “Animal Farm”, drowning out all serious debate with their straw man attacks and cheap cliches.

    Brown is one of the worst.

  • David

    Andrew Brown is such a moron. This is why I disagree with the term ‘atheist’. It gives pseudo-intellectuals like Andrew Brown and Mehdi Hasan a way to attack atheism as a different religion. Let’s be clear, the term ‘atheist’ is entirely pointless and shouldn’t even be in our language. There shouldn’t be a special word to describe an irreligious person for the same reason there isn’t a word commonly used to describe people who don’t believe in fairies. The truth is everyone is an atheist with respect to most gods. The people we call ‘atheists’ in our society are simply those who believe in one god fewer than everyone else. At birth, a baby’s lack of belief in god is the same as his lack of belief in astrology, unicorns or the bogeyman.

  • Ezme Green

    Absolute RUBBISH!!! A sterling acheivement in twisting and deliberately misunderstanding what he said and meant, nicely removing context…With nasty bollocks like this I can understand why he tweets those appreciative comments from fans…He is a human with functioning empathy and emotions after all, unlike many of his critics apparently….I at least expected a run down of the accepted characteristics of a real cult and why the author thinks Dawkins and his Foundation fit these. Badly written article containing nothing but pure bitchery..

  • Snoopy

    C’mon, folks. I know Dawkins-Bashing has become a “thing”, but is it really neccessary to milk him for clickbait every other day ? This is getting progressivel boring.

  • Richard Sanderson

    If somebody told me someone had wrote a clichéd, unoriginal nest of nonsense about how “strident” Richard Dawkins is, or how “militant” his “followers” are, I’d immediately guess it was written by Andrew Brown.

  • Carl Myers

    Dawkins did say babies are born atheists, and he’s right. Atheism means “not having a belief in God”. How can a baby who cannot talk, cannot communicate, doesn’t even have object permanence (doesn’t understand that things he/she can’t see still exist) believe in an invisible all-powerful being? Babies are atheists until they invent gods, or more frequently, someone indoctrinates them with some.

    Also, just because one crazy atheist is unwilling to examine his role model’s words critically (at least, according to your version of the story) doesn’t mean all atheists follow the “cult of dawkins”. By that logic all christians are paedophiles.

  • Richard Sanderson

    BTW, some of the most virulent criticism of Dawkins comes from an axis of atheist, radical feminist bloggers (ie the feminists who bully and abuse other feminists in the movements if they don’t get “on message”) at places such as FreeThoughtBlogs.

    Get this, though. There is a poster on FreeThoughtBlogs (I won’t print his pseudonym here) who CONFESSED that he raped a child, and this person received support, offers of “online hugs”, and one offer for him to be their babysitter. Thing is, these VERY SAME people attacked Dawkins’ tweet for saying their are gradations in the severity of rape. To these hypocrites and scumbags at FreeThoughtBlogs, “rape is rape”, except when it is someone who they are friends with!

  • Thomas Li

    What a waste of time reading such a trite and idiotic article! It’s
    essentially the same old recycled argument that atheism requires just as
    much “faith” as faith-based claims, with a lazy slur against Dawkins
    that he is as much a cult of personality and thereby cultish. Not a shred of evidence adduced around indoctrination, manipulation, coercion or fraudulent deception
    manifestly associated with actual cultism… just a general mis-reading
    of Dawkin’s books and this seems to be the best that Andrew Brown has on
    his side? Not only does it cheapen a legitimate debate on the harms of
    unfounded religious claims, it’s utterly beneath serious consideration.
    I repeat: what a waste of time!

  • Roger Hudson

    Dawkins should stop twatting, that nonsense twats do on Twatter, it is a stupid medium that gives people a chance for a quick vomit of bile or a poorly thought out initial idea. Dump it , or de-register or whatever it is.
    Don’t even get me started on the ‘Selfie’.

  • Karl Goldsmith

    Usual shit from Andrew Brown.

  • Peggy Thatcher

    There’s plenty that atheists don’t like about Dawkins. But he is right about a few important things, notably that it is wrong to make kids religious before they are old enough to decide for themselves.

    • http://www.reticulator.com Reticulator

      Prove it.

  • Salanor

    Pretty much the most ignorant piece of writing I have read for years. When you’re done with your personal prejudice, Mr Brown, write something intelligent.

  • Salanor

    Anyone who writes about Richard Dawkins without reference to his scholarship (not simply the title of two books) shows gross ignorance. The Guardian should sack him, if they want to hold onto any kind of credibility. What of “The Ancestor’s Tale”? Explain that with your “church of RD” analogy.

    I’m afraid, sir, you are an idiot.

  • Mauricio-José Schwarz

    The “Dawkins’ character assassination” sport has run its course, certainly. This is not even attempting to be rational criticism of Dawkins’ words or actions, it is plain mudslinging. Of course, the sad soul who signs this has thoroughly demonstrated he’s pathologically obsessed with Richard Dawkins, coming back to him with increasingly outrageous piedes. It might be taken as a kind of twisted tribute from the plains of the North Korea of political correctness and postmodern anencephaly. Pitiful.

  • CharlesInVermont

    Please be aware that there are a significant number, probably the majority, of evolutionary biologists who feel that Dawkin’s is flat out wrong. I cannot comment on his religion — I am an atheist, but find Dawkins irritating. What I can say is that I have known a large number of evolutionary geneticists who have been active in the last 50 years (Sadly, I never got to meet Fisher), and I can tell you Dawkins is no evolutionary biologist. (and oh am I going to get flamed for that)

    • Richard Sanderson

      Please be aware that there are a significant number, probably the majority, of evolutionary biologists who feel that Dawkin’s is flat out
      wrong.

      Wrong about what?

      I can tell you Dawkins is no evolutionary biologist.

      He is, actually. There are these things called facts. Learn about them.

      (and oh am I going to get flamed for that)

      You will be corrected. That is all.

      • CharlesInVermont

        “Wrong about what?:

        Two blog posts of mine. In the first, at the end I say:

        “If I may be a bit sarcastic for a moment (and I have always wanted to do this), to paraphrase Wolfgang Pauli, Dawkins isn’t right, he’s not even wrong. The only “replicator” I am aware of was invented by Xerox, and in the living world the only “vehicles” I am aware of are horses, but only when they are wearing saddles. (My colleagues point out that we need to include donkeys, camels and especially elephants – can’t forget elephants – in our definition of vehicles.)”

        AT the end of the second I say:
        “As Henry Louis Mencken once said “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.” Dawkins’ gene centric view is exactly that: clear, simple and wrong. ”

        I guess I am a bit like Dawkins. I contradicted myself. In the first I say he is not wrong, in the second I said he was wrong. My bad. Anyway, I think these posts lay out the case for why Dawkins is wrong fairly well, you can decide who is correct.

        http://blog.uvm.edu/cgoodnig/2013/05/23/the-phenotype-as-the-center-of-evolution/

        http://blog.uvm.edu/cgoodnig/2013/05/31/the-phenotypic-view-stopping-rules-and-quantitative-genetics/

        “He is, actually.”

        Um, I have been to nearly every Evolution meeting in the past 20 years. He has never attended. Nor has he ever been to a genetics meeting I have attended. I have never seen a scholarly publication by him in the Journal Evolution, nor in The American Naturalist, nor Genetics. He has not contributed to the field since the publication of the shellfish gene, and that was quickly ignored by evolutionary geneticists.

        • Richard Sanderson

          Your contention was that Dawkins was not a “evolutionary biologist”. That is wrong, and the limited self-serving criteria you apply to derive that conclusion is revealing. You also describe evolutionary biologists in colleges and universities who don’t happen to meet your criteria, as not being evolutionary biologists.

          Dawkins’ gene centric view is exactly that: clear, simple and wrong.

          Actually, it is a debated matter in evolutionary theory. Saying it is “clear, simple, and wrong” is an outright lie. The current understanding of evolutuinary theory DOES NOT state what you are saying, and quoting a couple of scientists who share your position is cherry picking. Isn’t it?

          Also, your talk of “replicators” and “saddles” suggests you are confused by metaphors.

        • Paul Harwood

          I feel I have misunderstood.

          You state that a majority of evolutionary biologists disagree with Dawkins and, when challenged produce as proof two blog posts written by … you!

          That is not a majority of evolutionary biologists, that is not even a majority of evolutionary biologists named Charles, that is a majority of you.

          To quote Wikipedia “Citation Please”

          • CharlesInVermont

            The statement that the majority of evolutionary biologists disagree with Dawkins is my opinion. It is based on my observations over the past 20 plus years as a well known and established evolutionary biologist. I don’t have any data to back it up, and it is not clear how I would get the data.

            The blog posts are to explain why Dawkins is wrong. My view that he is wrong is based on data, not popular opinion, or any dislike I may have of him. His view simply does not work. I think those two posts do a reasonable job of explaining why. You may disagree.

  • jbrisby

    Anybody else catch the irony of the author implying that Dawkins is a cult leader because he solicits donations for his foundation, but right at the VERY BOTTOM of the article is a little blurb asking the reader for money to gain a subscription to the Spectator. I guess that makes the Spectator a cult!

    All in all, a very poor piece, mostly due to complete lack of context. The author never spares a moment’s attention to what the Richard Dawkins Foundation does with its money. Nor does he have any grasp of the personalities and motives of those in the atheist community who are “embarrassed” by Dawkins’ “racism and sexism”. I’ll skip to the back of the book: they’re the kind of people who are perpetually offended for the sake of offense; hyper-leftist nimrods who think that a man trying to have sex with a woman is a form of oppression, and that anything that offends a black man is racist. And the atheist community at large is far more embarrassed by these people than they are by Dawkins.

  • <–Ed balls dressed as a Nazi

    I find Dawkins interminable; I loved Hitchens, I don’t see what Dawkins has to offer, he’s not particularly charming and just repeats the obvious….

  • http://withtwist.wordpress.com/ moso1

    http://withtwist.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/tarquins-travels/

    It’s about the modern loss of faith – in atheism.

  • Ms. Newton

    While the central government was shut down in 10/13, Obama’s criminal regime actively obstructed Christian services at military chapels.

    • Shame OnYou

      Fib. Big fib. And so far off topic that it’s circling around behind it.

      Please shoo now.

  • Abu Zakariya

    So Dawkins atheistic evangelism is extracting finances for his religion (or himself?) like other religious cults. The question is where does all this money go? We’re not aware of any Dawkins Foundation funding the feeding of the poor…only the innocent minds of his followers.

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    As I understand it, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science is a registered non-profit charitable foundation (in fact, two such foundations, on in the UK and the other in the USA). Are you suggesting it’s somehow a scam, or that Dawkins is embezzling the money or otherwise profiting from it personally? If so, I suggest you present your evidence to the relevant authorities. If not, where is all this bile coming from?

    • Ignatz

      [Are you suggesting it’s somehow a scam, or that Dawkins is embezzling the money or otherwise profiting from it personally?]

      If some televangelist offered lunch with him in exchange for a $100,000 contribution, I’d sure as hell think it was a scam. So yes.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        Huh?? No I wouldn’t necessarily think it was a scam. Donations for private dinners are a common fundraising method used by politicians, NGOs and yes, religious figures.

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    Dawkins Derangement Syndrome: The condition of being obsessed with sliming Richard Dawkins, regardless of what he actually says and does. There are several reasons to be critical of particular aspects of Dawkins atheist activism, but none of them appear in this (or, as far as I can tell, any) article by Andrew Brown.

  • avd420

    Religion

    n. noun

    The belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers, regarded as creating and governing the universe.

    You could have saved yourself the embarrassment of this article if you had of looked up that word, Andrew.

  • Hamish

    ‘For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak.’

    210 X 12 = 2520. Do math much?

  • http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html TNT

    What a fantastically fatuous piece of writing! There should be some sort of award for this type of shyte.

  • XaurreauX Pont DeLac

    Just another elaborate tune whistled by a believer past the graveyard.

  • RanndymChance

    There are no atheist babies using the oldest definition of the word, which was used to label non-theists as people who denied the existence of their mythical god. Babies are born non-theists. Until someone fills their brains with nonsense by indoctrinating them into a religion the natural state is not believing in deities. There is not one documented piece of evidence of any supernatural events occurring. Not one, in all of human history. Dawkins is definitely fighting the good fight for common sense and science. We have a lot of loons trying to twist individual phrases, or in this case, a single word, uttered by Dawkins to try and distort the meaning and obfuscate the message.

  • Paul Brocklehurst

    It’s me, I am that ‘bearded bloke, bulging in a white T-shirt, who asked very angrily where Dawkins had said there were any [atheist babies].’ at the recent Skeptics In The Pub event. I decided to attend having read on the Facebook S.I.T.P. webpage that Andrew Brown ‘feels that Richard Dawkin’s stance that all children are born athiest is silly.’ I could prove this assertion is demonstrably untrue and further more I could prove it was untrue. Yes Richard Dawkins had tweeted

    ‘When you say X is the fastest growing religion, all you mean is that X people have babies at the fastest rate. But babies have no religion.’

    It is not true that he is saying, or for that matter even implying, that babies born to Christians or Jews or whatever have decided ‘Hmmm… Mum & Dad can’t actually demonstrate the empirical existence of a supernatural cosmic creator and I reject this claim!’ any more than a child born to atheist parents could possibly think ‘Hmmm… Mum & Dad are right to doubt the supernatural claims about a metaphysical creative intelligence.’ and yet this was the gist of his entire talk & the skeptics in the pub audience showed distinct ambivalence towards Andrew Brown’s claim that Dawkins believed this, after I had pointed out. It is very easy for Andrew Brown to assert that ‘Much of the atheist/humanist/secularist movement is now embarrassed by him [Dawkins]’ -but where is any substantial evidence for this claim either? He’d forgotten where he was: Skeptics in The Pub events are predominantly populated by… erm… what are they called again? -Oh yeah: ‘skeptics’. -Now is that really SO hard to believe?

    The irony is that this is the very point which Dawkins was making in his tweet was the very thing Andrew Brown is twisted into it’s antithesis by suggesting that the professor pointing out babies having no religion is the same as saying they have decided to reject supernatural claims which obviously is ludicrous. But is Dawkins tweet even equivalent to saying this as Andrew Brown suggested? No of course not. Brown went on to say that seeing as nationality is a recognised identity we attach to babies. But nationality is a legal definition hospital staff write on birth certificates which relates to the nationality of it’s parents, but religious affiliation -or a lack of it (by the ‘age of reason’ ONLY) is not in any sense equivalent to this. To suggest Dawkins is attempting to claim every newborn is some kind of rational empiricist is completely missing the point. A point he makes abundantly clear when he admonished an atheist for even suggesting it at one of his Q&A sessions (seen 5 minutes in here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPbGbTrMY3E This is the sound byte I replayed at the Skeptics event to counter Andrew Brown’s assertion that Dawkins really was saying babies are born atheist.

    Perhaps the most mendacious aspect of Andrew Brown’s article is his convenient omission of ‘speech marks’ around Dawkins tweet to confusing it with his own fictitious statement added after it: ‘How dare you force your dopey unsubstantiated superstitions on innocent children too young to resist? How DARE you?’ (NOTE, I’ve added ‘speech marks’ to indicate those words belong to Andrew Brown).

    I presume he wrote this article to stand up for Christianity as any decent Christian should. But is Andrew Brown a really good Christian? Even an angry bearded unbeliever like me I can see the value of the 9th Commandment ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.’ – but it seems that this God given law flies straight over Andrew Brown head whenever he feels the uncontrollable urge to misrepresent Richard Dawkins (and he frequently does in his articles.) He is also misrepresenting the course of events at the Cambridge SITP Q&A’s as well. His response to me exposing him a bare faced liar was to shout ‘F**k off!’ followed by claims that Dawkins was ‘always contradicting himself’ -but when I asked him exactly where and when whilst offering up my copy of The God Delusion (which he confirms in this article) he declined to point any any of these numerous ‘contradictions’. Funny that eh? But hey, what do I know? I clearly think Dawkins is God like all those stupid fan boys described in this article.

    So Andrew, here’s another opportunity to set the record straight: where has Dawkins ever explicitly stated that new born babies intrinsically atheist? Surely you can justify your assertion while remain true to the 9th commandment? Silence speaks volumes you know.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      While I like this comment, I have to point out that, as far as I know, Andrew Brown claims to be an atheist, though of the “I’m-an-atheist-but” sort.

      • Paul Brocklehurst

        While he may give that impression, I’m pretty skeptical about it seeing as he writes an awful lot of articles ‘demonizing’ Richard Dawkins. Were he to insist that this is because Dawkins is on a crusade against Christianity (& remember who invented crusades) I’d slap a bible down in front of him & say ‘OK, swear you doubt God’s existence right here right now then.’ I think we’d see whether on not he was an atheist / agnostic or not in the blink of an eye from his excuses why he didn’t need to comply. Of course I can’t know this for sure but he’s style is nothing like those of Melvyn Bragg who clearly is an atheist who is critical of Dawkins. At least Bragg’s criticisms are not built on the sort sophistry which Brown’s arguments employ. This is why I went to the trouble of exposing him, – Dawkins cannot deal with every lie told about him in the media (& there are plenty of them e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uz1CiDDIq4 ) I detest lies & what Andrew Brown hates is being challenged in public about them which is why he felt the need to rewrite history in this article but I won’t idly stand by & let him do it without putting the other side of the story to counter the version he has conveniently edited & rehashed for public consumption.

      • midnight rambler

        though of the “I’m-an-atheist-but” sort.

        Is there any other kind writing for the Guardian?

  • tzioneretz

    Your drivel is too long to read in its entirety, but it’s clearly predicated on your deliberate misunderstanding of Prof. Dawkins’s statement.

    His point was very straightforward: A baby is born without a particular religious belief or opinion. In other words, a child is not congenitally Christian or Hindu or Moslem or whatever. Left to their own devices, children may or may not develop strong religious belief of any flavor. What happens, however, is that the religious beliefs of a child’s parent(s), community, and/or society are inculcated into him/her from the earliest age. The logical outcome of that is that the religionists who have the most kids have the highest natural growth rate of their religion. Q.E.D.

    As far as a “cult” of Richard Dawkins, I would be very wary of introducing the notion of cult in any discourse involving religion. After all, a religion is a cult of an imperceptible (imperceptible because nonexistent, of course) sky-daddy who–very conveniently–happens to have “his” representatives down here on earth.

    Andrew Brown: FAIL.

    • Sean L

      Yes but religions *are*. It follows that left to their own devices people do become religious. And since some form of religious belief is universal it’s not unreasonable to suppose that a propensity to such belief may indeed be congenital. Unless one posits supernatural sources. . .

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        The tendency to religious or supernatural thinking is as natural to us naked apes as xenophobia or racism or rape or sexual infidelity. And like all those things, it needs to be minimised.

        • tolpuddle1

          So religious faith should be punished by the state, as in the late Soviet Union ?

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Why would xenophobia, racism, rape or sexual infidelity be any more wrong if God did exist? You cant get an ought from an is, even if the “is” is devine.

            If an act is “moral” only because God commands it, then performing that act isn’t morality, merely blind craven obedience to a divine dictator – who, if the Old Testament is to be believed, frequently ordered his worshippers to commit genocide, rape and child abuse.

            OTOH, if you believe God only commands acts that are moral (and thus that the Old Testament is not literally true), then morality is in some sense prior to God and thus you don’t need God to be moral.

            In short, “meta-ethics” is at least as much of a problem for the theist as it is for the atheist – it’s just that more atheists are honest enough to face up to the problem.

            So what is the answer tothe meta-ethical conundrum? I don’t know. But I suspect it lies in some as yet unformulated reconciliation of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics with neo-Benthamite utilitarianism. I think Ronald Dworkin was getting somewhere with”rights as trumps over utilities”, but it’s far from a complete solution.

          • tolpuddle1

            Our capacity to be moral – even to consider morality – is a gift from God, who has built morality into the fabric of the universe.

            Since God is wise and good, disobedience to God is necessarily foolish and evil. His commandments are not the edicts of a dictator.

            But if God doesn’t exist, why bother to be moral, why bother to be good ? What happens to you if you’re immoral ?

            And what is good anyway, in the Moral Maze ? How do you prove that the neo-Nazis or Islamic State are in the wrong, except by an appeal to Christian Truth ?

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            That doesn’t ask any of the questions I raised…

        • FredO

          Aren’t we just “dancing to our DNA” ? If that means murder, rape, or oppression, what’s wrong with that ?

      • tzioneretz

        You have a point: Religion did not come out of nowhere. Someone somewhere–actually, many people, in different areas and eras, independently–thought of it. Of course, they did not conjure up religion per se; it was mere belief in the supernatural.

        Belief in the/a supernatural is a natural step in evolution. What we cannot control and/or what we cannot understand we ascribe to someone/something that can. That is a logical step in primitive human thinking.

        It does not in any way indicate a congenital predisposition to believe, let alone believe in a particular set of doctrine/dogma.

        • Sean L

          The point isn’t so much the object of ‘belief’ an inapt term derived from theism – the Romans couldn’t fathom that the Jews’ god was invisible which now seems normal to us, the notion of an invisible god. ‘Worship’ or ‘idolise’ would be better since most religions properly understood are forms of community. It’s the ritual and worship that’s primary and of course persists in our world, permeated as it is with all forms of idolatry and pagan worship. Of course the religious *object* couldn’t be congenital, that wouldn’t make any more sense than saying food was congenital. What’s congenital is hunger. *What* we eat is another question. . .

    • tolpuddle1

      So if God is imperceptible, God doesn’t exist ?

      You are paying a tribute to human perception that it doesn’t deserve.

      • tzioneretz

        If it cannot be proven scientifically or logically–indeed, if it can be DISPROVEN logically–, then yes: an interventionist “god” does not exist.

        • tolpuddle1

          God constantly intervenes in the world, generally through human or natural agency. How else did we survive the Cold War ?

          Science observes, measures and explains the natural universe. It has nothing to say one way or the other as to whether the supernatural exists; and it would be presumptuous of science even to try.

          As for the logical abilities of a clever primate, homo sapiens – they’re not some sort of final truth. But if it’s logic you want, then:
          (a) Logic doesn’t and can’t disprove the existence of an interventionist God
          (b) The fact that you exist, suggests that somewhere along the line God HAS intervened. Nature has no will, no self-starting capacity.

          The (ivory tower) God of Deism is even more fantastical than Atheism.

          • tzioneretz

            Goodness, what vapid, uninformed, ignorant, selfserving drivel.

            (1) Logically, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have an interventionist supernatural force that is omniscient and omnipotent on the one hand, and human free will on the other hand. The two cancel each other out. Either “god” knows (knew!) every millisecond of a person’s life in advance (in which case our choices are not our choices, but were preprogrammed in us), or “god” does not know what we will do before we do it (in which case “he” is not omniscient or omnipotent, hence not much of a “god.”)

            (2) ” Nature has […] no self-starting capacity.” I suggest you familiarize yourself with abiogenesis. It requires some knowledge of chemistry and biology, but it explains perfectly how life began from inanimate organic material.

            Bonus: We survived the Cold War because human reason and survival instinct trumped ideological conviction.

          • tolpuddle1

            God has made us gods by giving us free will, by granting us a portion of His omnipotence, thus surrendering (for a time, not eternally) part of His own omnipotence.

            And human free will IS free – we aren’t programmed. The fact that God knows in advance what we will do, in no way limits our freedom.

            Abiogenesis may explain how life could (against astronomical odds) emerge from inanimate material, but no branch of science will ever explain why the inorganic material was there in the first place, why anything whatsoever exists. Nature didn’t create itself – either Chance or God brought the universe into being.

            There were a few near-misses in the Cold War, notably the Cuban Missile crisis in autumn 1962, when human folly and unreason (which are very real) came within a whisker of trumping human common sense.

            A study of WW 2 reveals that Hitler was defeated only thanks to flukes which were certainly “miracles” in a natural sense, though (perhaps) not in a supernatural sense.

          • tzioneretz

            *sigh*

            (1) How is “free will” either “free” or own “will” if ALL our thoughts, words, and deeds from our birth to our death are already known to “god” before we are even born?

            (2) So, you are not questioning how LIFE began but how EVERYTHING (i.e. the Universe) itself began. One, most popular, theory is, of course, the Big Bang. Your follow-up statement will predictably be: Well, what set off the Big Bang? I don’t know. No-one does. But that does not mean that the answer defaults to a “god” of any type.

            And, naturally, if the Big Bang had to have a progenitor, then the “god” that initiated it must have had one, too, and so back indefinitely.

            Incidentally, astronomical odds (re abiogenesis) is PRECISELY what we are talking about. When you consider the tens of billions of light-years of space, the billions of years of time, the hundreds of billions of galaxies (each with countless starts such as the Sun and planets around most of those), the chances that at least ONE of them would at some point in time achieve the right conditions to generate organic life are actually pretty good!

            (3) Yes, a lot of “miracles” happen every single day in many people’s lives. Likewise, a lot of miracles that could happen do not happen. There is no more logical explanation than entirely random chance.

          • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

            Don’t you just live in a little box.

            Just because someone knows you have a (or any) particular thought, doesn’t preclude you having that thought all on your own.

            It is illogical to think that someone else knowing your thoughts does not make them yours, and yours alone – and that you have them freely.

            Just because the LORD intervenes in the affairs of men, does not mean that He plays puppetmaster. Intervening in some events, or events, does not mean that He intervenes in all events. It is illogical to think so.

          • tzioneretz

            What is already a pretty lame argument on your part, relying on semantics, falls apart completely once we consider that the “god” punishes and rewards individuals for “their” thoughts, words, and deeds.

            If “god” knew each and every second of an individual’s life from before the Universe itself was created, then how can that individual be rewarded or punished for them?!?

            It is like programming an application knowing exactly what it will do, and then throwing the computer out the window when the application does what you knew it would do. It is the apotheosis of absurdity.

          • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

            Your idea of God is that which exists in your head. It is not the LORD God of the Scripture. When He created man, he made man in His likeness in 5 aspects:

            Man is a tri-unity (soul, spirit & body) The LORD God is a tri-unity of Persons
            Man has free-will
            Man has the ability to judge
            Man is creative
            Man has the moral imperatives of grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, & love.

            The LORD God will not violate the free-will of man. Rather, He deals with man so as to maintain His righteousness while not forcing unrighteous man to do His will. Hence, He reflects back to every individual what that individual is in their hearts:

            With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. (Psalms 18:25-26)

            I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)

            Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)

            Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

            The LORD God seeks to persuade man, not force him. The end He has in mind is the reconciliation of every person to Himself. The LORD God wants man to choose Him freely and without coercion. Thus, though the LORD knows every thought every person will ever have, He does not force anyone, but Has set things so that what we are comes out in our actions. In short, we reap what we are in our hearts.

            Thus, if you do not want to know Him, you won’t — until you die and enter eternity. In eternity, you receive the fruits of how you were and are. You don’t want to know Him, you won’t have to for long. You will spend eternity in Hell. As you hated Him, He will reflect that hatred right back at you. If you love yourself above all others, you can spend eternity all by yourself – in Hell. But that is not the LORD’s desire or will for anyone.

            For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:3-6)

            It is obvious to me that you do not understand anything about the character, nature, or Person of the LORD God. The choice is yours — He isn’t going to make it for you, and He isn’t going to force you.

            If you truly want to know Him, He will make Himself known to you. If you do not, He will let you go your own way — until you die. Then you will reap the consequences of your choices.

          • tzioneretz

            Let me give you a few pieces of advice:
            (1) Copying and pasting lines upon lines upon lines of baloney from a “holy” book generally turns people off. Hardly anyone bothers to actually read it.
            (2) Throwing a bunch of lines from a “holy” book does not constitute a response. It contributes nothing to the discussion.
            (3) You cannot justify claims made in a source by using that same source.

            Nothing that you wrote–or copied and pasted–addresses my point. It is all regurgitated, circular, selfserving, and ultimately meaningless hooey. The contents remind me of the vapid statements made by the likes of Deepak Chopra: They sound profound and reflection-worthy, but are totally devoid of any meaning. Take a look at http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/ so you can see how you come across to others.

            Now, to address some of the points you actually bothered to make:
            (1) “It is obvious to me that you do not understand anything about the character, nature, or Person of the LORD God.”
            Oh, wow. You presume to ascribe to yourself an ability to understand the putative “creator” of everything. And you call atheists arrogant and pompous!

            (2) “The choice is yours[.]”
            Does your supposed “god” know which choice I am going to make or not? Did “he” know it before I was born?

            (3) “If you truly want to know Him, He will make Himself known to you.”
            In other words, I should blindly buy into the risible, infantile dogma of a gang of bronze-age cattle herders. Yeah, I don’t think so, pal.

            (Bonus) “Heaven” and “hell” are supremely embarrassing childish, facile, unimaginative concepts: Based on anything between a few hours and a few decades on this planet, a person spends ETERNITY (and stop for a minute to consider what eternity means!) in the same place doing the same thing. How utterly ludicrous.

          • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

            “(3) You cannot justify claims made in a source by using that same source.”

            Just where do you get your information that there is no God, no spiritual world, and no eternity? Cough it up. You want to sling stones, then you better ante up.

            “Nothing that you wrote–or copied and pasted–addresses my point.”

            Yes, it does. You are just blind, and not a very engaged thinker. You miss things and have gaps in your logic.

            “(1) “It is obvious to me that you do not understand anything about the character, nature, or Person of the LORD God.”Oh, wow. You presume to ascribe to yourself an ability to understand the putative “creator” of everything. And you call atheists arrogant and pompous!”

            Well, when the LORD God states plainly that I can “know and understand” Him, and men say I cannot, I believe the LORD rather than men. And, just because you hate references (Jeremiah 9:23-24, KJV).

            “(2) “The choice is yours[.]”Does your supposed “god” know which choice I am going to make or not? Did “he” know it before I was born?”

            Yes, He has always known every thought you, I or anyone else, had, has, and will ever have. But, the LORD God is not man. Where man cannot resist controlling, the LORD does. BTW, you sound just like a Calvinist.

            “(3) “If you truly want to know Him, He will make Himself known to you.”In other words, I should blindly buy into the risible, infantile dogma of a gang of bronze-age cattle herders. Yeah, I don’t think so, pal.”

            No, I didn’t say that, you did. I am not asking anyone to believe blindly. The LORD God is not asking anyone to believe blindly. One of those passages you derided plainly contradicted this assertion by you. (Isaiah 1:18)

            You are the one who is being foolish and ludicrous here by mocking and making light. Why don’t you prove your case instead of simply mocking and casting aspersion.

          • tzioneretz

            “Just where do you get your information that there is no God, no spiritual world, and no eternity? Cough it up. You want to sling stones, then you
            better ante up.”
            Firstly, again, it is not my duty to prove anything. You are the one who wants others to conform to your beliefs–including through law–so you have to present incontrovertible scientific evidence to support your claims.

            Secondly, science is very close to conclusively proving that our self-consciousness/self-awareness (what you would call a “soul”) is a product of our brains. Nothing “spiritual” there. As far as “eternity,” that is a vapid, sui generis concept; even so, it neither requires nor presupposes a “god.”

            “Yes, it does. You are just blind, and not a very engaged thinker. You miss things and have gaps in your logic.”
            *GUFFAW* *CHORTLE* *GUFFAW*

            “Well, when the LORD God states […]”
            The “lord” “god” doesn’t “state” jack. You’re copying and pasting from a book that’s been revised and translated dozens of times through three different languages and a handful dialects, and whose content is similar to literary works of the time it was composed in.

            “”Does your supposed “god” know which choice I am going to make or not? “”Did “he” know it before I was born?”

            “Yes[.]”
            In that case, I was programmed to make that choice when I was “created” by your supposed “god.” If your “god” doesn’t like my choice, tough.

            “You are the one who is being foolish and ludicrous here by mocking and making light. Why don’t you prove your case instead of simply mocking and casting aspersion.”
            How would you view someone who in all honesty and with all fervor zealously believed in Santa Claus or in Zeus, and who challenged you to prove they don’t exist? You’d think they were mentally challenged, to say the least. Well, that is how you are coming across to me.

          • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

            “Firstly, again, it is not my duty to prove anything.”

            As expected. The refuge of the intellectually bankrupt. I have had supposed Christians tell me the same thing when they could not prove their doctrine from the Bible they said they believed. Why should I consider you any different from them.

            You are the one who wants others to conform to your beliefs–including through law–so you have to present incontrovertible scientific evidence to support your claims.”

            Guy, you have serious paranoia issues. I have never tried to force anyone to believe anything. Besides, you don’t even know me. Your accusation that “I” am trying to make others conform “through the law” is unhinged.

            What I want is for people to believe the truth. I want people to do an intellectually honest evaluation of ALL available information, and make their own decisions. Besides, you are utterly hypocritical to claim that I want others to believe what I believe, while pretending that you don’t want others to believe what you believe. If you didn’t want others to believe like you, you would never continue to present what you think are valid points. In fact, you would have never commented on this article in the first place. If you only cared about what you believed, you would keep your opinions to yourself.

            “Secondly, science is very close to conclusively proving that our self-consciousness/self-awareness (what you would call a “soul”) is a product of our brains.”

            And we are so smart, right? Sorry, science cannot conclusively “prove” anything. Here are two articles, one by an atheist and the other by someone who claims to be Christian. Funny that they agree that science cannot prove anything.

            http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200811/common-misconceptions-about-science-i-scientific-proof

            http://blog.drwile.com/?p=5725

            “In that case, I was programmed to make that choice when I was “created” by your supposed “god.” If your “god” doesn’t like my choice, tough.”

            Again, what are you, a Calvinist? This is a cop-out, and not a very good one. It is a projection of how you are upon what you conceive God to be. It is also straight out of the mind of Satan.

            You know, you really should consider that what you don’t know, can actually kill you.There is a spiritual world. By completely and totally discounting it, you make yourself vulnerable to persons in it.

            Man, I feel sorry for you. You have anger issues, resentment issues, and not a little paranoia. I’ll hazard your not much in the way of company. I hope you get over whatever is eating you alive inside.

            Since I am only a messenger and you don’t listen – Goodbye.

          • tzioneretz

            “What I want is for people to believe the truth. I want people to do an
            intellectually honest evaluation of ALL available information, and make
            their own decisions.”
            Done. I looked at your “holy” book, found it to be full of inaccuracies, contradictions, and anti-humanist diatribes. Much of the content is plagiarized from previous works of civilizations long gone. Its origins and authorship are also extremely suspect. I would rely on Beowulf sooner than the Torah or the Bible.

            As far as the rest of your drivel, I won’t bother. Someone who believes in satans and such nonsense is seriously mentally unbalanced. There’s more reason to believe in the Tooth Fairy than any of the “gods” the human race has conjured up over the millennia.

          • tolpuddle1

            That God had foreknowledge of the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc (and of their followers) doesn’t mean that these people were in some way compelled (or half-compelled) to commit such crimes – they chose, as wholly free agents, to commit the crimes.

            More generally, you fail to realise that God is
            – the Alone (not a dynasty)
            – the Eternal, who – unlike any universe or multiverse – has always existed, from all eternity and to all eternity
            – the Real, whereas any universe (ourselves included) is a mere figment (or artist’s canvas, if you prefer) of God’s imagination, created and held in being solely by His will and at His pleasure.

          • tzioneretz

            (1) Do/did “Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc” get rewarded/punished by your “god”?

            (2) Did your “god” know what “Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc” would get up to even before they were born?

            Do not philosophize or prevaricate. YES or NO to the first question; YES or NO to the second.

            I await your two answers.

          • tolpuddle1

            Answers:
            (1) YES – any of them who repented before dying are in Purgatory; the rest are in Hell.

            (2) YES – God is a fervent libertarian who wants free people (however wicked or unhappy) rather than benevolent and cheerful slaves / puppets. God always seeks to bring goodness out of human wickedness or tragedy.

          • tzioneretz

            Spare me the script, okay pal?

            So, your “god” knew very well what Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. would do before they were born. “He” knew they would murder tens of millions of people and then “repent” or not (we don’t know). Yet, “he” still “created” them.

            If you don’t see the utter imbecility and lack of logic of that scenario, then you are beyond redemption (no pun intended).

  • Wendy Vermeulen

    It was because of egregious rubbish like this that I no longer subscribe to the Spectator

    • mdavt

      Gored your ox, did it ?

  • Roy_Lofquist

    As I understand it, Dawkins came to prominence as an evolutionary biologist. One of the core tenets of neo-Darwinian theory is that natural variations occur in living things and that they get sorted out by the proliferation of the most suitable.

    Since all human societies through recorded history have embraced a religion of some sort doesn’t that imply that religion is, at worst, a benign adaptation? Yet Dawkins asserts that religion is virulently inimical to human well being.

    I must admit to being more than a little confused.

    • Paul Harwood

      You argument has nothing to do with article. However, despite that it is interesting so I am going to engage.

      First of all – you are on dangerous ground when you talk about “most suitable”. The wording here always causes problems – but broadly what the theory says is that the genes currently in a species are those that give rise to “stuff” that is most likely to get that individual to breed successfully. There is nothing to say that this is good for the individual or the species or is moral or just. Part of being neo- darwinian is freedom from naturalism.

      Secondly – as you said all communities seem to develop some religion but they are all different. So, from experience we can say that it is not the form of the religion that is important – it is the fact.

      To cut a long argument a bit shorter, the most likely theory would be that there are certain behaviours underlying religion – such as leadership, authority, compassion and racism that are successful adaptations in humans. Religions are just a virus (in the informational or computer sense ) that finesse these behaviours and thus get passed down through the societies.

      This does mean that there may be nothing intrinsically bad about these viruses – you could say for instance that civilisation is one. However – it also means that there is nothing intrinsically good about these religions either – they have to be valued based upon their results. Dawkins, amongst others, would argue that in the modern age none of the current main religions has shown itself to be exiguously “good” for the species.

      • Roy_Lofquist

        “Dawkins, amongst others, would argue that in the modern age none of the current main religions has shown itself to be exiguously “good” for the species.”

        Might I remind you that in this modern age we have had some experiences with Dawkins’ prescriptions. The Soviet Union and Mao’s China enforced atheism as state policy. The estimates of the toll range from 60 millions to 120 million people who met an untimely end. I don’t know about this exiguously “good” crap. It seems to me that it resulted in monstrous evil.

        • Paul Harwood

          So what?

          The implied challenge was “prove that religion is good”. It as not “prove that communism is bad”. I will raise you ISIS and LRA, the Rohingas, the partition of India, apartheid and slavery and every other atrocity justified or done in the name of religion but that is not the point.

          Point me at a religion that has not been used to justify violence.

          • Roy_Lofquist

            “The implied challenge was “prove that religion is good”.”

            Red herring. You can not make a bold assertion that is contrary to conventional wisdom and then insist that it be disproved by your rules.

            “It as not “prove that communism is bad”

            I did not say communism. I said atheism. Kinda low down slimy to put words in my mouth.

            “Point me at a religion that has not been used to justify violence.”

            Of course not. The world is not perfect nor even knowable, nor are any religions all good and pure. The point is that the religion that you advocate has been tried and it resulted in unspeakable horror.

          • Paul Harwood

            “You can not make a bold assertion that is contrary to conventional wisdom and then insist that it be disproved by your rules.”

            I did not make any bold assertion – let alone going against some “convention wisdom” that you have chosen not define or reference. I explained – as you requested – how religion can be explained in an evolutionary framework and the implication from that that religion is not intrinsically good or bad. I did assert that Dawkins believes that it is bad – I do not think that this assertion is in anyway unsupported or unexpected.

            You should really try to reply to what people say and not you want them to say.

            “I did not say communism. I said atheism.”

            Yes- but what you proved is that communism is bad. Judge by results.

            “Of course not. The world is not perfect nor even knowable, nor are any religions all good and pure. The point is that the religion that you advocate has been tried and it resulted in unspeakable horror.”

            The double standard in this paragraph is palpable.

            I would also note at no point have I advocated any opinion – let alone a religion. I am certainly not a communist :).

            Despite all of that – there are and have been many, many religions in the history of mankind. It should not be that hard for you to come up one that is unequivocally good?

  • Paul Harwood

    This diatribe is ridiculous unbalanced clickbait. To become an old,old cliche I have decided to not renew my subscription because of this – I refuse to pay to line the pockets of snake oil merchants.

    To address what seems to be the central point – if you cannot see the difference between the propositions “babies are born without religion” and “babies are born atheist” you do not deserve to be let near a keyboard. It is quite clear that what he has said is that babies are not born christian or muslim or hindu. If it were otherwise then a baby from christian parents (for instance) would resist being raised (again purely as an example) muslim and vice versa and were this to be true then (practically) all religions would not exist since at some point they relied upon converting large communities of people who had a different religion.

    Dawkins central point – as raised in his books – is that people should decide what they believe for themselves at an age when they can make balanced decisions and they should not be brainwashed into following a particular brand before they are old enough to understand what is happening.

    As for you implications that Dawkins is only in it for the money – I read (and do not always agree with ) his blogs and posts and have never paid the poor bloke anything for the privilege. There are thousands of us out there. Just like the author and the Spectator – he does ask for subscriptions from the particularly dedicated – with less force that the Spectator does. It seems particularly craven for the author to criticise Dawkins for the same thing that he does.

    Dear Spectator (and Guardian) – stop muddling in the mud with badly based incendiary opinions and work to improve and enhance the discourse in the world like you used to.

    • Roy_Lofquist

      “Dawkins central point – as raised in his books – is that people should decide what they believe for themselves at an age when they can make balanced decisions and they should not be brainwashed into following a particular brand before they are old enough to understand what is happening.”

      Are you saying then that parents should refrain from teaching their children how to live? Potty training? Dressing before running into the street? Hot stoves? Being respectful to others and not hitting their little sister with a hammer? Just where and how do you draw the lines? Dawkins decides? Sounds like a little tin god to me.

      • Paul Harwood

        If you find a reasonable community and point of view that supports and encourages shitting where ever you want to, running around naked or hitting your sister with a hammer then I would say exactly that. However, since you deliberately chose behaviours where there is no true plurality of opinion, your argument is meaningless.

        I would rather argue that just because you are (hypothetically) a Def Leppard fan does not allow you to forbid your child from listening to Bach or to teach that Stravinsky never existed.

    • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

      Babies are naturally closer to God than we can ever be, with or without any religious opinions or arguments about the relationship between God and atheists.

      • Paul Harwood

        Would you care to justify that extraordinary statement or are we just supposed to take it on trust. Also – why until recently did babies who died before being baptised have to be buried in unconsecrated ground because they were born in original sin and only baptism can save them ?

    • trytoseeitmyway

      So I guess you mean that you don’t find it ironic or amusing that Dawkins is making a pay-to-play club out of his atheism, just as might do the kind of religious hucksters he condemns. OK, you don’t have to find it ironic or amusing. But you don’t need to go on for five paragraphs about it. It just seems like an unbalanced diatribe, ya know?

      According to you, there is this obvious dichotomy between having no religious belief (which you and Dawkins presume without evidence is the natural state of children) and being atheist. But since atheism is widely defined in terms of the absence of religious belief, the dichotomy that you suggest is incompatible with proximity to a keyboard doesn’t actually exist. Hey, maybe you should not be allowed near a keyboard.

      If I were a subscriber to you, I would cancel. 😉

      • Paul Harwood

        Atheism is widely defined to be a statement that God does not exist – rather than the absence of religious believe. There is a massive difference between those statements. You can no more be born an atheist than you can be born a christian or a muslim.

        As for the rest – I did not say that I found anything ironic or amusing. What I did do was the complain about the appallingly lax and unprofessional journalism in the article, an argument you do not address so I will choose to assume that you agree with me.

        For the final line – if I was a professional journalist or commentator like Andrew Brown or Richard Dawkins then you could indeed decide not to pay me for what you considered not good. However, since I am merely a member of the public – your last line falls a bit flat. It sounds like the triumph of teenage exuberance over reasoned thought.

  • Jonathan Swift

    What’s wrong with saying islam is evil?

    • whateverdear

      Because, RACISM.

      No, I don’t get it either, but that’s the supposed reason. It makes about as much sense as they make at most times.

  • Tomper

    Read the Sinclair Lewis novel ‘Elmer Gantry’.

    • mdavt

      Yes, Dawkins does resemble the protagonist, doesn’t he?

  • Ignatz

    “But babies have no religion.’

    Dawkins is a jerk, so I resent you making me defend him. “No religion” and “atheist” are not the same thing. I don’t think babies are atheist. But they unquestionably have no religion.

  • David Bush

    Dawkins really gets under the skin of religious types . We have this silly article , using upper case letters to describe someone who sounds like the comic magazine shopkeeper in the Simpsons . Andrew Brown keeps trying to undermine Dawkins and equate him with a cult ( so he can say , Look , Dawkins is like any other cult ) but fails miserably. I’ve never bought a Dawkins book. I have no wish to meet him, although he seems like a pleasant enough chap. I agree with a lot of what Dawkins says because I’ve read the scientific data, I’ve had experience of religion and religious cults. I held these views long before I had ever heard of R Dawkins. It seems that once Dawkins has given someone a beating, they never forget . Mehdi Hussain uses his position in the Huffington Post and his Twitter account to snipe at Dawkins, all because Dawkins made a fool of him at an Oxford debate by being shocked that Hussain believed in flying horses . That naughty Dawkins, he will talk facts !

  • mikewaller

    This article puts me in mind of Gandhi’s observation that “we would all be Christians if it weren’t for the Christians”. Certainly it is very hard to find much Christian love in this poorly executed attempted character assassination. Beyond that, I would have thought that even the most purblind fool could have seen that the only time the religiously minded give serious consideration to acting on the fundamentals of their belief systems (as in, for example, “doing unto others…) is when hard-nosed atheists are forcing them to justify their very existence. Where no such challenge exists, or is allowed to exist, we finish up with horrors such as the Spanish Inquisition, the burning of what usually become martyrs, the Thirty Years War and the equivalent behaviour of the murderous scum currently rampaging through Northern Iraqi. In short, Brown ought to kneel down at the foot of his bed each night and thank his God for Richard Dawkins. Who else otherwise would keep him on the straight and narrow?

    • http://sunderedsheres.com Renaissance Nerd

      You really need to get out more. If your experience of Christians is entirely confined to what you read in the newspapers then no wonder you’re unable to see the continual good things Christians do every day. I’m a Mormon, and many Christians classify us as too heterodox to be included with other Christians but I have no trouble seeing and acknowledging the good things they do even though they’re not all nice to me and mine personally. Even Anti-Mormons do good works, and it doesn’t pain me to admit it because resentment is not central to my worldview. It’s EASY to look around the world and see all the bad things, how awful people can be to each other, and at the same time miss all the good stuff, which is far more numerous but invisible because it’s so ordinary and commonplace. I mean how many parents do you know who are at this very moment sacrificing time and effort and their own dreams not only for their own children but for somebody else’s kids by being a Boy Scout leader or volunteer youth pastor or coaching a soccer team without getting paid a dime? I feel better about the world every time a store clerk does her job well and efficiently, demonstrating that professionals exist even when they get paid poorly. The world is a much better place, peopled by much better people, than a lot of us ever notice, because we stare so hard at the awful exceptions that we miss the rule.

      • mikewaller

        I was responding to a distinctly unChristian attack by one I take to be a Christian on an individual whose sole “sin” is an aversion to religion of all kinds. Both my parents were avowed Christians and my Mother, in particular, was a source of endless acts of kindness to folks of every kind. However, both scientific research and personal experience tells me that being religious is far from an infallible predictor of such behaviour. Like the rest of the population, some religiously minded people go a considerable way in acting upon what I believe to be the gold standard of ethical behavior, Christ’s injunction to “do unto others as you would be done unto”; but others very clearly do not.

        My general point was that religion is at its best in (a) a free society where there people like Dawkins ever ready to judge it by its own standards and in doing so keep it up tot eh mark, and, (b) in an oppressed society where the Church aligns itself with the oppressed rather than, as has been too often the case, with the oppressor. In those instances where religion becomes the dominant force, the results are usually appalling. For example, with the putative “Islamic State” wherein we have learned this morning that some sad sack with a UK passport has executed an American journalist. In such cases, as a very knowledgeable UK expert has said this morning, guys who find Western liberal democracies don’t give them the kind of recognition their malformed egos cause them to think they deserve, can go to the Middle East and use religion as an excuse for acting out their disgusting sociopathic drives.

        • http://sunderedsheres.com Renaissance Nerd

          I would agree completely that belonging to a religion is no predictor of good behavior, not even my own religion, and more’s the pity. I can’t disagree with your point, which I suppose I missed before I responded. The trouble with religious people is not that they live their religions, but that they don’t. This even covers Islam, which if lived fully would preclude a lot of the bad behavior we see from supposedly fanatical Muslim; they pick and choose what they follow and what they won’t. Their version of Islam is nothing but a death cult, which ignores half or more of the whole, and to be entirely fair, they have a good deal of tradition on their side, though as written, the Quran is far superior to any version of Islam as practiced.

          This goes for atheists as well, except they pick and choose from other religions, and can be as moral or immoral or amoral as they choose, depending on the host culture they live in and what mores they choose to maintain, and which they choose to ignore.

          I think the real key in these matters is sincerity; in a Medieval Catholic milieu, it is not necessarily the Inquisitor who is the most sincere; he may not believe at all, but if he ever said so he knows exactly what torture awaits. The most zealous is often the doubter in that kind of situation, as, I think, happens now in Muslim countries. If you doubt in your heart, but expressing those doubts means death, what better way to camouflage yourself than a surfeit of piety? I think this also surfaces in a lesser way as hypocrisy in free societies. Those who are not sincere, but want to appear pious or righteous or what have you, are often the most judgmental and cruel to those who make mistakes, and drive away those who are sincere. I reckon arrant hypocrisy makes more atheists than Dawkins and every atheist writer who ever lived.

          For this reason I always look askance at any semblance of self-righteousness, because it seems to me that anybody who is so anxious to arrogate superiority is really a doubter at heart, and will lead me wrong. I much prefer a sincere person who really tries and hates making mistakes, but still makes them, to one who seems perfect.

          • mikewaller

            You are restating Christ’s parable of the pharisee and the tax collector, He too much preferring the ordinary guy fully aware of his sinfulness to the religious person with an entirely false view of his own meritworthiness. However I am not convinced that to term the latter as “insincerity” takes it any where near far enough. In general I am not a great admirer of the work Rensis Likert, the American social scientist. However one aspect of his theories is, I think, of immense importance: the idea that people are motivated by those things which serve “to increase their sense of personal worth and importance”. With your hypocrites, this seems to me to be clearly at work. Whether they being acting at the behest of a cruel regime or a cruel religion, they do what they do because being able to exercise unfettered power meets some deep emotional need and thus makes them feel good about themselves.

            What is more problematic is the question whether, in reality, those who, in our view, act well are motivated any differently. I think the best treatment of that question is T.S.Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in which even at the end the martyr, Thomas a Becket, never fully resolves the question of whether he is “doing the right deed for the wrong reason” i.e. could he be staying to meet those who will murder him not because this is the will of God, but because it will secure his own immortality? At the practical level I think we can put this aside because really good people being rarer than hen’s teeth, we should cherish them. However, as a died in the wool evolutionist it is my inclination to think that the Likertian motivation applies throughout.

          • http://sunderedsheres.com Renaissance Nerd

            I think the difference relates to gratitude, which is almost always left out of the equation when trying to determine motivations. Those I call sincere are motivated mainly by gratitude; they’re not running after self-importance, nor is the hope for reward even a major impetus for their actions.

            Imagine if you can a man (of woman if you prefer) who looks around at the world and sees not only squalor and cruelty everywhere, but also the astonishing variety and beauty, the endless good things that other people do for each other, the sacrifices, the little kindnesses, the enjoyment of each other. Then look farther, at the million people that make this man’s life better though the people who do it don’t know him, even CAN’T know him.

            This man doesn’t even care whether they’re motivated solely by money or lust or self-importance or anything else; the guys who stand on the wall to keep out the barbarians and keep the electricity flowing and the sewers from backing up and the roads in repair and drive the fruit to the store and make my clothes and build by computers and phones etc ad infinitum, make his life a thousand times better than he could do on his own. Whatever their motives, what they give him is real and concrete, and so he is grateful. He cannot despise them even if they hold beliefs totally opposed to his own. So he serves other human beings not from hope of reward, nor from fear of punishment or death, but from gratitude both to God and other human beings.

            I see this attitude a lot, because I share it to a degree. And believe me, being a news junkie doesn’t help. It’s easy to feel like the whole world is going to pot from following the news, because news covers the exceptions. It requires an effort to step back and look at the invisible rule, to discern what we don’t see because it’s so ordinary and normal.

            When you see somebody in any religious organization, or charity, or any organization really, who really seems sincere, if you look hard enough, you can see their gratitude. It’s really obvious after a while, but at first it can be very difficult. And that sense of wonder at all the marvels of the world, and the gratitude it awakes, makes life better in every way. For myself it’s been a slow transition over a period of almost twenty years. Once upon a time I had a business that went belly up and I was not grateful for the experience. 19 years later I am grateful; I don’t want to go through anything like that again, but I learned so much I can’t help but be grateful.

            That’s why I go to Church, it’s why I evangelize, it’s why I write, it’s why I’m a Scout Leader and a Sunday School teacher etc. I am grateful to God and practically the whole world, otherwise I wouldn’t even get out of bed.

            And here’s the really funny thing. Rewards come anyway. Which makes me feel even more indebted. Which motivates me to serve more, try harder. And then MORE rewards come. The debt can never be paid, but I’ll pay everything I possible can, because how can I not?

  • Anthony Clifton

    Dawkin’s following is a reminder that today’s atheists are intellectually far behind the atheists of say Nietzsche’s time.

    • Sean L

      Yes for Nietzsche the man of science *was* the modern incarnation of the man of God, the same ‘ascetic’ type, having renounced faith in the one true God for faith in Truth itself: for him the theistic concept of the one true God, a remarkably radical idea in its time, originating with the Jews, is a precursor of science or the valuing of truth for its own sake, itself derived from Greek philosophy: as he put it, Christianity was “Platonism for the people”, though there’s more to that notion than the valuing of unconditional truth, which for him is itself relies on an act of faith, as if there is some kind of pure truth ‘behind’ as it were sensory experience.

      • Anthony Clifton

        Well done. Though, I would add that faith and spirituality were strengths and goals rather than objectionable to Nietzsche.

        Wouldn’t you agree that his perspective was far more compelling than the modern atheists? I mean, would Nietzsche ever suggest that it is an imperative that great humans spend their time trying to get “In God We Trust” off of coins?

        • Sean L

          Ha ha, yeah I wouldn’t even refer to N as an atheist in that sense. For him it’s cultural: that man must face the world as it is and can’t take refuge in the notion of some other realm or afterlife as compensation for the privations of this one. But “atheist” is just a word, as is “science”. And just because the atheist styles himself as against ” religion ” doesn’t mean that the will behind his belief, the “will to truth” as he termed it, is not identical physiologically with that of his ostensible foe. Again the *form* or *object* of belief is a matter of history and culture. And you can easily imagine Dawkins as a Victorian parson – he looks and sounds the part. Otherwise the kind of humanitarianism espoused by Dawkins is also thoroughly Christian in kind and inimical to the aristocratic, some might say quasi-fascist values advanced in N’s philosophy.

          • Anthony Clifton

            I think that his ideas were abused by fascists. But, he applied the same truth-worship criticism to nationalists. So, I would say he was more of a moral relativist than quasi fascist. And even there, he tried to clarify some form of moral constraints with a novel concept of health. When exactly an idea went from healthy to unhealthy was a bit unclear to me.

            Isn’t it fascinating though that Nietzsche developed a distaste for Dawkins style sciencism at that time? Back then, it had to look more like the hipster movement than the mass industry it has become.

  • http://www.minidiazmusic.com M Diaz

    “Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins contain numerous contradictions: inThe God Delusion itself he moves within 15 pages from condemning a pope who had baptised children taken away from Jewish parents to commending Nick Humphrey’s suggestion that the children of creationists be taken away because teaching your children religion is comparable to child abuse. ”

    sorry can you spell out the contradiction… indoctrinating young impressionable minds into adopting a superstitious mentality as a good thing IS child abuse and a crime against humanity…no where can we find the audacity to appeal to a supposed all encompassing authority, without any evidence one is mind you, to warrant discrimination other than in religious dogma…you Mr. Brown are also a victim of this…

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    You forgot to disclose the annual $1,000,000,000 “Circle of Understanding” membership level (which affords the member a weekend with the Master, at a location chosen by the member), where Dawkins (1) explains the secret behind how a simple bacterium cell evolved; (2) how “early man” survived the quicker and stronger quadrupedal predators that now concentrated on the awkward walking, low-brain capacity, bipedal; and (3) why soft body tissue remains on the fossilized bones of sixty-million year old dinosaurs.

    Because of the high annual fee for this particular membership level, Dawkins hasn’t yet had to explain how a simple one-cell bacterium evolved, how “early man” survived his/her hostile environment, let alone explain how soft body tissue exits on the bones of dinosaurs after sixty-million years.

    “…not really helped by his claiming that it was all a matter of logic…”

    Then Dawkins will absolutely love the following logical imperative…

    Law of Beginning:

    “Since all things in our Universe, including our Universe, had a beginning (the Universe had a beginning; space had a beginning; time had a beginning; matter had a beginning; gravity had a beginning; stars had beginnings, life had a beginning, etc.), therefore there must have been an ultimate beginning to all things (“all things” meaning the physical realm that, if it exists, includes our Universe), otherwise the Universe’s and its constituent parts’ beginnings were arbitrary, but the Universe and its constituent parts can’t operate arbitrarily.

    Therefore, since inanimate matter itself cannot bring about the ultimate beginning of the physical realm, only a conscious entity could do this, we therefore have proof that a God exists outside of space and time who created the physical realm that our Universe resides in.” — Dean Michael Jackson (circa 1995)

    And don’t bother replying with, “Then who created God”, because the two main attributes of God are (1) omniscience; and (2) omnipotence; and a created God would be neither since (1) He didn’t know He was going to be created, so He can’t be omniscient; and (2) since He was created by another, He can’t be omnipotent.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

      Part II

      More proof for the fraud that is Richard Dawkins and his organization…

      Back in March 2012 I made a comment on his American website concerning a debate he had back in 2008 with John Lennox, titled “Has science buried God?” The comment I made was a then recent discovery of mine that proves that science is faking science to bury God. Well, my comment was deleted, and I was banned from making further comments!

      Here’s the offending comment in full…

      The Physics Community gives the constant 0 (zero) to Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE).

      http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mechanics/gravpe.html#c1

      The Physics community says that the constant is an arbitrary value (any value will do, they say), yet:

      (1) this value of 0 (zero) for GPE is necessarily 1, since the POTENTIAL of anything at its maximum is always 100%; and

      (2) a GPE of 0 (zero) is necessary for Stephen Hawking and others who use that value in order to prove that our universe popped up from nothing: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” – ‘God did not create the universe, says Hawking’, Reuters, By Michael Holden, LONDON | Thu Sep 2, 2010 9:08am EDT.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/02/us-britain-hawking-idUSTRE6811FN20100902

      For example, if the universe consisted of only the Earth and the Moon, and the Moon is catapulted so far away from the Earth that its gravitational energy no longer affects the Earth, the gravitational energy doesn’t disappear. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy, the gravitational energy becomes POTENTIAL energy (GPE). This GPE Stephen Hawking (and the Physics community) assigns the constant 0 (zero) to. Now, when we return the Moon back to Earth’s orbit, GPE is said to be -1, according to the Physics community.

      Here’s the math for Stephen Hawking and the Physics community and my correction:

      Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [-1] = 0, so universes are for free,

      however if we use correct constants for what we are describing, the equation reads like this:

      Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [0] = 1, so universes are not for free.

      Let’s further examine the above:

      When the Moon’s GPE ceases when back in Earth’s orbit, that is when ACTUAL Gravitational Kinetic Energy (GKE) is 100%, which would have a constant of 1. Now GKE is simply the CONVERSE of GPE, so now let’s move the Moon away from the Earth again. KGE declines as the Moon moves further away from the Earth (.9, .8, .7, .6 and so on), and conversely GPE increases (.1, .2, .3, .4, .5 and so on until the Moon has reached infinity distance from the Earth, in which case, logically, GPE would be 1, not 0).

      GKE and GPE are the same phenomena, just separated by space, not unlike the duel sides of a coin. This converse relationship between GKE and GPE is also the discovery of what I call the Gravitational Converse Principle.

      Stephen Hawking’s (and the Physics Community) assignment of the constant zero to GPE at infinity is inexplicable.

      Proofs:

      1. If GPE is 0 (zero) at infinity, then there can be no GKE; and

      2. ask yourself how could Stephen Hawking and the Physics Community not know what “potential” means by assigning 0 (zero) to something (in this particular case, Gravitation POTENTIAL Energy) that is 100% potential? Obviously, if something is 100%, the constant one would use to quantify it is 1, and such a constant wouldn’t be an arbitrary assignment (as the Physics Community says the assignment of the constant zero to GPE is, it could be any number, they say), it would be a NECESSARY assignment.

      • Paul Harwood

        The levels of silliness in this post are many fold so lets take a few.

        1 Your proof is meaningless. It claims to be an argument against the arbitrary placement of the zero point at infinity. Zero points mean nothing since everything is relative (potential energy relative to some other point). You are are arguing against something equivalent to moving the zero Longitude from Greenwich to New York by saying that it is not possible because all of the points on the Earth would have to have moved!

        2 Dawkins was presumably also not impressed by your post since you seem to be accusing him as a person and as a biologist based on your disagreement with Hawkins and physics. I can understand your mistake since the names are similar :)

        3 You accuse Dawkins of fraud ( a criminal offence) in public (sounds a bit libellous if you are not careful ) because he deleted a post he did not like from his page. Even in the absence of other arguments – how is that fraud?

        • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

          “You are are arguing against something equivalent to moving the zero Longitude from Greenwich to New York by saying that it is not possible because all of the points on the Earth would have to have moved!”

          As I said, “a GPE of 0 (zero) is necessary for Stephen Hawking and others who use that value in order to prove that our universe popped up from nothing: ‘Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.'” – ‘God did not create the universe, says Hawking’, Reuters, By Michael Holden, LONDON | Thu Sep 2, 2010 9:08am EDT.”

          The value of 0 (zero) is a NECESSARY constant for GPE and the scientific claim that universes can be created from nothing!

    • Paul Harwood

      Pathetic!

      “And don’t bother replying with, “Then who created God”, because the two main attributes of God are (1) omniscience; and (2) omnipotence; and a created God would be neither since (1) He didn’t know He was going to be created, so He can’t be omniscient; and (2) since He was created by another, He can’t be omnipotent.”

      You provw that God cannot exist and think that this a proof that she does? Douglas Adams would be proud of you.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “You provw that God cannot exist and think that this a proof that she does?”

        I proved God does exist! Misread much?

        If you paid more attention to reading comments carefully and not making snide remarks (“she”), then you wouldn’t be embarrassing yourself so often.

  • jbspry

    Those “followers” who sing hosannahs to RD are obviously sad and pathetic ex-religionists who have not really gotten past belief but simply substituted Dawkins for Jesus.
    And as for his hierarchical donation scheme, it smells awfully, not of Christian televangelists, but of L. Ron Hubbard. He was a profoundly cynical man who created a religion out of whole cloth in order to enrich himself just as, apparently, Richard Dawkins has.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

      “Those “followers” who sing hosannahs to RD are obviously sad and pathetic ex-religionists who have not really gotten past belief but simply substituted Dawkins for Jesus.”

      Agreed. They’ve fallen for the mis-interpreted Gospels’ narratives and found those the Gospels to be flagrant forgeries, which they would be unless one applies what we know of (1) how Roman governors immediately behaved towards charismatic figures such as Jesus who attracted large crowds (immediate execution of the charismatic and followers); and (2) how the Jewish religious authorities immediately treated blasphemous persons such as Jesus and disciples.

  • Pardon my mustard

    Dawkins seems to make the oddest correlations.
    He measures people by the awards they win.
    I don’t think women like that, huh.
    Men win much more awards than women. Why is that?
    Men are smarter of course? hahaha

  • FredO

    Dawkins is the best thing to happen to theism in decades. His astonishing arrogance and uber-creepy personality are the perfect stereotype of the nasty, odious atheist. He is a towering embarrassment to that community, but his massive ego won’t let him just shut up.

  • James1754

    Sounds like Dawkins has a good scam working.

  • Walter Adams

    We have it on good authority that a tree can be judged by the fruit that it bears.
    Apparently the Dawkins tree consumes all of the fruit before it can be picked by anyone else.

  • Cleombrotus

    If Spielberg and George Lucas ever decided to do a remake of the original Star Wars, they couldn’t do better than Dawkins cast as the Dark Sith Lord.
    There is nothing warm, poetic, beautiful, or drawing in this guy’s presentations. I can’t think of a more bitter spirit out there.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Read his Unweaving the Rainbow and then come back and apologise for your profoundly ignorant statement.

      • Cleombrotus

        READ him? Now what would induce me to read him if I’ve already been turned off by his stage presence?

      • Cleombrotus

        Hitchens I would have been interested in reading. At least his objections were made in an interesting manner, but Dawkins? I suspect your judgment is clouded by your predisposition towards religion.

  • Gustave Eugene

    When I go to sleep at night, for eight hours none of this crap matters to me. I am not in any category of victim or perceived oppressor. I take nothing and allow others to pursue their own dreams. One-third of my life.

    I wish everyone a good sleep, wake up on their own but hopefully with someone they love.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

      “…but hopefully with someone they love.”

      Is that the philosophy that will endure the West to the rest of the world? Using others for sex simply because you “love” them? I see a fast approaching cliff for any civilization that holds to such a philosophy of life!

      • SusanWo4p

        Did “evolution” create the emotion of Love too?

        • Bad Girl Bex

          Well oxytocin, the bonding hormone which is not only released to induce contractions of labour in childbirth, but which is released after an orgasm during sex, would certainly have been a beneficial development to human beings. It gives mothers a chemically created sensation of connection, nurture, protection and ergo love for their offspring, meaning that they are likely to stick around and rear them once born.

          It also creates a sense of connection between two sexual partners, which would hopefully ensure that should procreation take place, the father and mother would be more inclined to stay together to give the child two parents to raise it. The father to hunt and gather, the mother to raise, rear and nurture. (And make the man a sandwich when he got home.)

          As these two instances of the benefits of oxytocin show, it would make sense for evolution to allow for a set of chemical reactions to take place when mating, procreating, giving birth to and raising children. They help encourage the parents to create an environment that will provide the best start for offspring.

          As much as we like to imagine love to be some intangible, ethereal concept made of magic and fairy dust, it is just as all emotions are, a set of chemical reactions in the brain and body, which exist because of the benefits they provide to the continuation of our species.

          Oh and of course, even when you take children and procreation out of the occasion, the act of bonding means that we humans are better able to find and choose another person with whom to spend our lives with. Giving us a partner with whom to split duties and also take care of one another when sick, injured etc. We are social animals and for the most part thrive when in the company of a like-minded, supportive partner. Oxytocin makes that much easier.

          So yeah. Evolution is behind the emotion of love too.

          • SusanWo4p

            Love is “is just as all emotions are, a set of chemical reactions in the brain and body, which exist because of the benefits they provide to the continuation of our species.”

            Thank you for your answer.

            Life must seem very cold to atheists. I am really trying hard to understand such a joyless, flat view of the most beautiful thing in all of creation.
            Love and Life seems so mystical and supernaturally mystifying to me…

          • axelbeingcivil

            Forgive me for stepping in to answer something set to someone else, but… I think that you consider it joyless is a result of your interpretation. A materialist view of the cosmos need not be any more joyless than a Christian one. Love as merely a series of chemical interactions doesn’t give it any less soaring power or sensation. I love my family dearly and am well aware that this is in part a result of a kin-protective instinct, part culture, and part my brain generating positive associations with them.

            It doesn’t make my feelings of love for them any less real, especially not to me. When they laugh, I laugh. When they cry, I cry. I feel their joys and pains with them. It being chemical diminishes that for me not at all.

          • SusanWo4p

            Again, thanks for giving me an atheist perspective on Love.
            I once had an atheist friend who possessed a “what difference does any of it make” attitude towards relationships. Since that time, I have always just assumed that all atheists share a similar view (especially those who think that following Jesus Christ is something from which one must be cured.)
            Very enlightening. Very helpful.

          • axelbeingcivil

            Glad to be of assistance. I’d recommend considering that, too, in future. Atheists aren’t homogeneous, they’re as varied a bunch as anyone (this grand thing we call humanity has room for much variety).

            The same does need saying for any group, Christians included. A single word encompasses a whole slew of people from a thousand-thousand traditions. If someone’s Christian, do they mean Catholic? Mormon? Protestant? Orthodox? If the latter, which strain? Eastern? Russian? Greek? If Protestant, are they Methodist, Calvinist, Quaker, Baptist, Evangelical, Born Again, Anabaptist, Anglican…? If so, which sect?

            And that’s not even touching the people who don’t identify with one given denomination. Most people aren’t perfect examples of their sect, even if they DO identify with it.

            The same is true of atheism. Atheism has no dogma, no doctrines, no creeds; all that’s required to be an atheist is to say that one simply doesn’t believe in the existence of deities. Beyond that, there’s no actual belief system. Hence, atheists come from every walk of life and philosophy. Some are positivists, some are cynics, some are nihilists, etc. Even then, people are still people; if they choose to identify with that philosophy, they aren’t that philosophy themselves, they simply find some of its ideals admirable.

            I suppose that, in this long rant, what I’m saying is, avoid stereotyping where you can, y’know?

          • Bad Girl Bex

            Cold? Not at all. Understanding something doesn’t devalue it. Just as fairy stories about invisible sky fairies and ridiculously contradictory 2000 old books based on blood cults do not increase the value.

            Atheists do not imagine some sweet hereafter and as such value every moment of the wondrous conscious life we get to experience. We don’t force ourselves to accept our shitty lot because it’s part of some deity’s big plan which will hopefully lead to an eternity of heaven. We understand just how amazing it is to be a sentient being alive and able to perceive the world around us. We don’t want to squander it on whichever ‘one-true-religion’ we happen to have been coincidentally and conveniently born into, or within the locality of.

            Theists completely misunderstand atheists over so many very simple truths:

            We do not hate your god (or any of the gods invented by humans throughout the years) there is no god to hate.

            We aren’t immoral – in fact we’re more moral than religious people really, because we choose to adhere to social mores, not because we want to get into heaven, but because we want to live in and contribute to, a workable society.

            We don’t lack a sense of awe and wonderment at the beauty and complexity of the world. We appreciate and love it so much that it makes us want to know and understand just how it works and came to be; for there is beauty and truth to be appreciated beyond the cellular level of living things also.

            Refusing to accept some silly medieval, archaic, notion of a deity does not hold an atheist back from experience – far from it. It pushes us to want to experience, see and understand more. All religion does is fob you off with contradictory rules and sound-bites of nonsense, to stop you questioning and keep you herded nicely together like the sheep you’re all proud to be.

            We just aren’t satisfied with woo-woo, mystery, ghost stories, biblical fable and mythology. We want facts, knowledge, explanations, elucidations and a greater understanding of the cosmos.

          • SusanWo4p

            For someone who doesn’t hate my God, you sure did spend a lot of time denigrating Him.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            Which came first, hormones, wombs, muscles to contract, veins associated the muscles, etc.? In order for the first mammal to come about, EVERY FEATURE peculiar for a mammal needed to be in-place instantly. That’s why evolution imploded when first espoused, so why do you propagate it?

      • Gustave Eugene

        Dean. I did not mention sex or anything about taking advantage of anyone. So as a philosophy you should subscribe to is f*** off.

  • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

    “Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins contain numerous contradictions: in The God Delusion itself he moves within 15 pages from condemning a pope who had baptised children taken away from Jewish parents to commending Nick Humphrey’s suggestion that the children of creationists be taken away because teaching your children religion is comparable to child abuse. So believers can always find a scripture where he agrees with them, which naturally cancels out the one where he doesn’t.”

    Obviously, Andrew Brown hasn’t read a proper Bible, and if he happened to, he really didn’t understand the context of most of its passages. One cannot compare a passage written in a physical context, to a passage written in a spiritual context, and expect them to agree. The Bible itself tells us you cannot do that.

    But, I do agree with his conclusion and many of his points. Dawkins is (not surprisingly) all about money. Of course, the vast majority of “religion” is about money, influence and privilege. In sum, the vast majority of religion is a scam to get the masses to pay for the “good life” of a few (sounds like government). The problem is sorting out the chaff from the wheat, because the truth is there – and strangely, it is in plain sight.

  • mdavt

    I had not realized that the Dawkins personality cult had evolved to this level. Amazing that any supposedly rational thinkers would be duped like this.

  • http://www.larryfarlow.com/ Larry Farlow

    “But what has got him in trouble with his own side is not biology of that sort, but the appearance of racism and sexism.” Yet another inconsistency. Why would Dawkin’s followers care what his opinion is on such things? I mean it’s not like there’s an absolute right / wrong to which they can compare them, right?

    • axelbeingcivil

      They’re human beings, likely with a sense of compassion and/or utilitarian understanding that discrimination based on race or sex is something that harms them and people they care about. A society that judges on arbitrary, superficial characters is one that is inefficient, that endures civil strife, and that could actively harm its participants. As a participant in said society, they have a reason to oppose it.

      • http://www.larryfarlow.com/ Larry Farlow

        So? Survival of the fittest is messy business. You may think harming people is wrong but why should everyone else share your opinion? Besides, “utilitarian understanding” is what’s driven every murderous despot in history.

        • axelbeingcivil

          They share it in part because humans have, by and large, some degree of empathy and because there’s the threat that someone who steals from others or harms others will, in turn, be robbed or hurt themselves. If you value a society that’s productive, and one that tries to ensure the maximum happiness and freedom for all involved, then you’ll generally agree. This is why the Golden Rule is so prevalent throughout the world; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

          This isn’t survival of the fittest, it’s simply a method of existing as a social creature, which is basically what humans do. It works enough that we have civilization and society from it, so there’s that going for it.

          • http://www.larryfarlow.com/ Larry Farlow

            So some people have empathy. Again, so what? Why is having empathy good? You’ve still not addressed why anyone should share your beliefs about what is right when there is no objective standard. Bottom line is, if there is no standard above and apart from human beings, actions and beliefs just “are,” there is no “ought” or “should.”

          • axelbeingcivil

            I think you’ll find that, even if there is such a standard, we run into the same issue. Ultimately, unless someone holds something valuable as an axiom, you cannot reason with them. If someone doesn’t value self-protection or a basic compassion for others, you can’t really argue with them as to why the police are necessary, for example. If someone doesn’t care about self-preservation or fear pain or suffering, how would you convince them that the notion of Hell is a bad thing?

            Ultimately, you must start with some common ground, some common interest or axiom, before you can produce any sort of reasoning. Even if some deity exists and says “This is right and this is wrong”, the natural response one must produce is “Okay. Why should we care?”

            Once you do that, you realize you have to justify that divine commandment exactly as you would anything else.

          • New Centurion

            I see your point, however The “Golden Rule” outside of the bible is simply “He who has the gold makes the rules.” One only has to examine human history to see this in action. The “Golden Rule” is to love God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself. Read the beatitudes: blessed are the peacemakers, the meek will inherit the earth, blessed are those who seek after righteousness etc. these activities are antithetical to “normal” human behavior, yet these are the very activities that are bound up in the “Golden Rule”. The fact that we as species innately realize there is a “Universal Golden Rule” which we concede is beneficial for all yet we do not universally follow it, is a proof that there is something fundamentally wrong with human nature. The bible tells us that is sin.

          • axelbeingcivil

            I don’t think those things are antithetical to human behaviour or we wouldn’t see them as desirable or valuable. I think human nature causes plenty of upset and problems for humanity, but I think it’s only wrong in the sense that it doesn’t fit what we might like it to be.

            Every culture on Earth has come up with its own version of the Golden Rule, though; it’s not unique to the Bible.

            “…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I
            inflict that upon another?” is a famous Buddhist passage from the Samyutta Nikaya, made more explicit in the Udana-Varga. Some others include:

            “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to
            you” – Confucian version from the Analects.

            “This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would
            cause you pain if done to you”. – The Hindu Mahabharata

            “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for
            his brother what he wishes for himself.” – One of Islam’s many hadiths.

            “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.” – Shayast-na-Shayast, from the Zoroastrian tradition.

            Everyone realizes this same basic truth. It’s just simple reciprocity. It’s not a law of reality, just the simplest system by which to encourage further reciprocity.

    • New Centurion

      Spot on Larry, the fundamental flaw in their “religion”

  • SusanWo4p

    A few questions for atheists:

    1. Where did the initial spark of “evolution” originate? Did it just suddenly appear out of thin air billions of years ago?

    2. Butterflies, the fragrance of roses, the purr of pleasure that comes from a cat (and all the complex beautiful things of nature)….how did something so random, unthinking and cold as “evolution” create such wonder?

    3. Why and how did “evolution” invent human creativity? If evolution exists to only further the species to better compete in the cold, rational “survival of the fittest” and to survive “natural selection”…why was there ever a Beethoven, Shakespeare or a Michelangelo…how does poetry, architecture, music, drama, sculpting, painting, writing, dancing, landscaping, clothing fashion, philosophy…how does any of that help us to survive in the world of nature if we are nothing more than just animals? Shouldn’t our Lord and Master called “Evolution” phase out such nonessential fluff as Human Creativity and focus on making us better killing machines…sharpened for survival in the animal kingdom?

    4. At what point do you begin to realize that “Evolution”…and the breathtakingly beautiful world “Evolution” has created, sounds a lot like a God?

    • axelbeingcivil

      There are more questions for anyone with an understanding of biology, than atheists, but I’ll give them a shot.

      1. Evolution is a process, not a “thing”, it has no spark. Life began approximately 3.8 billion years ago on Earth, as far as our best understandings go, arising from prebiotic self-replicators. If you want more on that, go read about abiogenesis (the RNA World hypothesis is fascinating).

      Once living creatures with a genetic code exist, though, natural selection is not merely possible but inevitable; some descendants are created with genes slightly different from their forebears. If these changes are profitable to the organism, it leaves more offspring like it. That is more or less the most basic explanation of how evolution works. Over time, these changes simply accumulate until you have everything from iguanas to flamingos.

      2. See above, really. What you see as wonder is, to all those organisms, a useful adaptation to enhance its reproductive ability. The scent of a flower guides insects; the patterns on a butterfly’s wings attract mates or deter predators or help it camouflage. Cats purr as a social behaviour, because clear indicators of mood are useful in communication, and possibly because it actually helps them heal; there’s some evidence that purring can help bones knit.

      All it takes is time and selective pressure, and the result is all the amazing diversity around you. One of nature’s most fascinating features is that you will not find an adaptation that exists purely for the benefit of another species spread throughout an entire population. Even domesticated animals were selected for by humans; all their traits that may seem to make them weaker are ones that ensured they reproduced more by our guiding hand.

      3. This is a fun question, and the answer is an interesting one. I suppose my best answer is, how many humans are alive today? Something to the tune of seven billion. If all the arable land in the world were set to traditional farming methods, there would only be enough food to feed something to the tune of four billion people. The reason modern humanity can exist is because of our creativity and our capacity for abstract thought.

      Thus, human being’s capacity to think and feel are useful, adaptively advantageous traits. We are descended from apes. We have no claws, no enormous teeth… Our greatest skill lies in our tool use. However, evolution isn’t a programmer; it doesn’t design, it simply tinkers. The same brains that let us devise flint spears and complex hunting strategies and fur clothes are the same ones that let us play Beethoven Sonatas. The same brains that receive an endorphin rush in seeing patterns in prey movements and thus being more capable of hunting is the same brain that receives an endorphin rush in hearing patterns in music.

      Everything that is human culture might be called a wonderfully happy accident. Nature tuned us to be social, to be creative, and capable of thinking in the abstract, and our brain’s reward mechanisms are very general. These things combine to allow us to be the most capable organism on our planet (except for prokaryotes. Those things have done more to change the world than we ever have).

      4. If you want to call a natural process a deity, that’s your business, but evolution isn’t an entity. It has no thought or feeling; it’s just a description of an action. When I say chemical reduction, there’s no abstract force inducing the reaction in question. The same is true of evolution; it’s merely a description of an organic phenomena, not some kind of elan vitae. Calling it a god, to me, is like calling cellular division a god.

      I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to ask more.

      • SusanWo4p

        Thanks for the detailed answer.

        You wrote: “However, evolution isn’t a programmer; it doesn’t design, it simply tinkers.”
        This is where, I suppose, people who believe in Intelligent Design and those who are atheists disagree.
        I see the complex and joy-filled wonder of this world and see a designer (and “tinkerer”) that used the Perfection of Mathematics to measure out the equally spaced perfect swirl in the seashells and mapped out the mass of neural connections in the human brain.
        Atheists, on the other hand, see it as the result of a “process” that randomly started in the dirt billions of years ago.
        I guess either side sees the other’s explanation as hard to believe.

        • axelbeingcivil

          I’m glad to be of assistance. In response to this, I suppose the best I can offer you is my assurance that I don’t see the world as it is (I’ll add the caveat of “as I think it is”, at least, for politeness’s sake) as lacking in complexity or joy or wonder. Indeed, I find beauty in the notion that chemistry can lead, perhaps inexorably, to life; that everything from trees to frogs to fish to Man had its beginnings in humble muck. That the laws of Nature can produce such sophistication is awe-inspiring.

          I find the notion of intelligent design hard to believe simply because I see no evidence for it. The list of reasons why is long but one of the big reasons is because life truly does bear the marks of a “tinkerer”; evolution cannot design new, it merely alters what already exists. The eye, it has been remarked upon, is tremendously flawed in its design, but it develops the way it does because that’s how our ancestor’s developed and a new pathway cannot be carved; we follow the old road and can merely diverge from it. The brain has a thousand little “cleaning” mechanisms that clean up and filter the images we see, removing errors.

          Since this started with an article about Dawkins, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which controls gills in fish and thus makes a short path from the brain to the gills through an archway of veins but, in mammals, the same nerve is responsible for speech. The direct path is bypassed by some several feet in humans, because it follows the same developmental path through the archway of veins, but one that it loops under descends to become the aortic arch in human beings. This is true of all mammals, and we see in the giraffe this nerve having to go out of its way by some several meters to perform its journey.

          I see beauty in this; I see a complex, ordered system that runs algorithmically from simple natural laws, blossoming outwards into the Tree of Life. I think this is beautiful regardless of whether you believe a deity was behind it or not.

          • SusanWo4p

            Thank you for your response. It was pleasure to converse with you.

            As a Christian, you have really helped me to understand how some atheists view the world.

            Have a beautiful day….

          • axelbeingcivil

            You, as well. Every day’s a blessing.

      • FredO

        ALL of the above is the rankest speculation, a series of just-so stories. There’s NO evidence for the RNA World, it can’t be duplicated in vitro; there’s NO evidence that natural selection has any significant effect (other than the instinctual) on human behavior. If it did, why don’t humans spend most of their time reproducing and seeking to dominate the next generation with their offspring ? Isn’t that the SOLE criterion for evolutionary success ?? Why do we have abortion, and contraception, and homosexuality, or even culture itself, which only distracts from reproduction ?

        Answer–human behavior is largely independent of evolutionary pressures, and fairy stories as in the above are pure fiction.

        • axelbeingcivil

          Actually, there’s a fair amount of evidence for it. Just because we can’t recreated 200,000+ years of chemical evolution in a lab doesn’t mean we don’t have evidence of something, just like how, simply because we can’t produce astonishing quantities of hydrogen and helium and make them fuse in a lab to demonstrate the means by which the Sun fuses material leaves us with a lack of evidence there.

          As for the rest of the post, this may take some time to dig apart:

          1. Natural selection’s effects on humans: This may come as a surprise to you but no organism is born with what you might call an “evolutionary drive”. What creatures are born with is a brain feedback system that rewards them for certain behaviours and punishes them for others. Humans, like just about every animal, is rewarded, as an example, for having sex, or eating fatty/sugary foods. However, these aren’t the only things humans derive pleasure from and, furthermore, they can actually induce punishment responses when taken too far. Humans also have complex means of satisfying these needs and similarly complex considerations as a result.

          Hence, natural selection has, indeed, left a very obvious stamp on human behaviour. You just actually have to understand how behaviour works before you do; otherwise, as you’ve done here, you make simplistic assumptions about what “must” be the case, rather than what’s actually there.

          2. We have abortion and contraception for the same reason we have diets. Humans experience a pleasure response for eating fatty or sugary foods because those are scarce but exceedingly useful in the wild. We control those urges, though, because we, unlike many animals, have the capacity to realize that there is a tomorrow to come and weigh immediate benefits versus long term and risk against reward.

          It’s not useful to have a ton of children at once if you can’t support them all. Similarly, as noted above, humans have other desires that children might interfere with. We’re a complex species, though, and these creative, individualistic drives have clearly been useful enough that they’ve been propagated.

          3. Homosexuality has a few hypotheses as to why it occurs. The best might simply be that it’s a “cost” of other genes. Genes that promote more attractive female offspring might also feminize male offspring and, occasionally, produce homosexuals. This might have a general cost to reproductive success in one manner, but this is offset by the fact that gay offspring, in hunter-gatherer societies, tend to stay with their parents and raise children, providing the same reproductive benefit as, say, old women do who, despite being incapable of reproducing and consuming resources, reduce the work burden on other members of their group that can and thus allow for greater reproductive success of those who share their genes. This increases the rate those genes are passed on with, in the same way worker ants do for their fertile relatives.

          4. Culture, as noted, may be something of an accident, but it’s an exceedingly useful one. Cultures reward human beings for working together; it provides benefits for social behaviours. These rewards encourage mutual cooperation which, as can be seen by looking around anywhere, has allowed the human population to skyrocket.

          Hope this answers some of your questions.

    • David Glen

      Fair points, and ones that concern atheists as well.

      I’m only going to point out the selective nature of your argument.
      Why did my lovely kittens die of cat flu? Did god make viruses after kittens by mistake , or were they first attempts he couldn’t put back into the bottle when he got to kittens?
      Is there beauty in genocide, earthquakes and Tsunamis? Beethoven provides me with spiritual nourishment for life , but I can’t think of a meaner trick than making a great composer deaf.

      An ‘earthbound’ trial necessary to elevate his art? One seamingly unessential for all the others we celebrate.

      Finally it should be obvious that creativity has ultimately lead to some of us now largely being free from the worries that weeded out our ancestors.
      Working out how the world works bring warmth , shelter food in abundance, and even ways to fight those odd, dangerous microscopic lifeforms god seams to be fond of.

      • SusanWo4p

        I will try and give you the Biblical explanation as I understand it.
        God gave us all a perfected creation in which to dwell. Peace on Earth.
        He placed human life above all of creation.
        Humans were given the choice: to continue living in a perfect world and obey God 100% of the time where everything would forever remain the same, or receive FREE WILL and Intelligence.
        The humans picked Free Will and Intellect, knowing that ALL of creation would now be “freed” and have its own form of free will (instinct/evolution.)
        Viruses and diseases and natural disasters…all of them occur because our entire planet now exists in this imperfect, clumsy (and painful) state of growth and change.
        In other words: growth and death on the planet is a result of free will.
        But God promises us that He will help us to take “that which is meant to do harm and use it to do good.” This belief that GOOD can come from EVIL (whether the source of evil is a disease or another human being) is what gives us HOPE for the future.

        • David Glen

          Well that seams to tally with the ‘standard interpretation’, and one I’m not going to pick it apart here.
          However for me, and none – believing family members who have faced the worst trials and tribulations, the last clause – good from evil , or working positively through slings and arrows – has been perfectly possible without the god bit, or the promise of an afterlife.
          It still makes no sense to me to invent a convoluted story instead of accepting the fight for survival as being inspiration enough – which of course for most it is. Whatever alternative spiritual realms they concoct for themselves – who truly lives free from the motivation for self preservation and material gain?

          • SusanWo4p

            What I am seeing is a godless world that doesn’t see much Darwinian logic or rationale in a “fight for survival being inspiration enough.”
            Euthanasia and Abortion are thriving in a godless world that sees hopelessness/uselessness in people of all ages or a disabled child.
            Sure the young and healthy are going to want to survive…but what of those who aren’t in the Darwinian Upper Class?
            I once knew a blind, deaf 105 year old woman who woke up every day praising God….and wanting TO LIVE…for no other reason than to spend her day in prayer for the rest of world. She exuded joy because she knew she was loved by something bigger and better than anything here on earth. She had the Peace that Passes All Understanding.
            I wish no ill will towards atheists…and I do hope that you have joy in this life that sustains you no matter what your physical or material state may someday be.

          • JIMJFOX

            How about Original Sin- do you see your newborn baby as ‘full of sin’?
            Just wondering…

            Also, Darwinian evolution does NOT trump human empathy as you suggest; it operates by natural selection, which sentient beings can (and mostly do) choose to reject.

        • JIMJFOX

          What I admire most about the religious mind is its self-centredness. Every day we hear some idiot Christian praising God for saving them from disaster, with NO thought of the others he (for some reason) chose not to save.

          He sure ‘moves in mysterious ways’ Susan.

    • JIMJFOX

      Ah, the dopey argument from irreducible complexity, one of many beloved of the religious mind. See–
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

      Specifically, “Paley’s Watchmaker’ is a fine example.

  • Richard Martin

    I was waiting for the bit where you showed that Richard Dawkins actually did say that babies are born atheist. Since you didn’t return to it I can only guess that the bearded man in the white ‘T’ shirt was right and you were wrong.

    Of course, you would think he was slightly obsessive to press you on this point. People who have just been proven wrong can generally find something wrong in the tone – or beard, or shirt – of the person who was right. It is the coward’s way of not admitting that they have just been proven wrong in public.

  • Walpurgis

    Everything from birth to death is noise and information
    Knowing which is which presents a stunning complication

  • Chris O’Neil

    “Much of the atheist/humanist/secularist movement is now embarrassed by him, and repelled by the zeal of his cult of personality.” What is this based on?

    • David Glen

      Nothing of course.
      For rock stars, footballers, film stars reality ‘celebs’ – celebration of personality is fine. For an intelligent scientist – it’s suddenly cultish. The paradox of men dressed in frocks and silly hats accusing someone of being like them, lecturing to flocks, some of whom maybe hang to much on every word – which is a…errr bad thing

  • Robert Robinson

    Mr Brown – what a sad man you are. Your jealousy of Richard Dawkins is almost palpable.
    Fortunately your ramblings make little, if any, impact

    • Alec Leamas

      To be fair, most people are jealous of a shyster who can scheme $500,000 to labor through a meal with a sycophant.

  • Kevcol

    “When you say X is the fastest growing religion, all you mean is that X people have babies at the fastest rate. But babies have no religion.” Brown claims that that quote is proof that Dawkins says there are atheist babies. Such sloppy reasoning on Brown’s part. Having no religion does not equate to being an atheist, unless one hold’s a militant theist perspective-one person who thinks that if another person does not believe in the same deity as they do, that therefore that person is an atheist…kind of like the members of the Islamic State, who call other Muslims, infidels.

  • DiverCity

    “But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality.” A marvelous turn of phrase. I, too, am embarrassed by Dawkins, but more so because of his unprincipled exceptions, such as his teleological approach to “progress” and his fumbling between philosophical “ought” and “is.” He undeniably contends that progress on “race relations” and GLBT issues is a moral good — something that humanity has progressed toward on the evolutionary time scale. But evolution, with which I wholeheartedly agree, cannot be understood to “progress” in ANY sense of the word, nor can one claim that evolution results in moral goods.

  • http://www.mlmdiary.com/mlm/22024 Juan Samsel

    Very Nice Article Post & I am Apriciate With Richard Dawkins

  • Stephen Milroy

    Just because atheists/agnostics are more passive aggressive, and pass laws to make their crimes legal before they commit them, does not change the fact that secularism has done way more damage to this country than any jihadist could have.

    • JIMJFOX

      You are just fucking WEIRD!

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    You forgot to disclose the annual $1,000,000,000 “Circle of Understanding” membership level (which affords the member a weekend with the Master, at a location chosen by the member), where Dawkins (1) explains the secret behind how a simple bacterium cell evolved;* (2) how “early man” survived the quicker and stronger quadrupedal predators that now concentrated on the awkward walking, low-brain capacity, bipedal; and (3) why soft body tissue remains on the fossilized bones of sixty-million year old dinosaurs.

    Because of the high annual fee for this particular membership level, Dawkins hasn’t yet had to explain how a simple one-cell bacterium evolved, how “early man” survived his/her hostile environment, let alone explain how soft body tissue exits on the bones of dinosaurs after sixty-million years.

    “…not really helped by his claiming that it was all a matter of logic…”

    Then Dawkins will absolutely love the following logical imperative…

    Law of Beginning:

    “Since all things in our Universe, including our Universe, had a beginning (the Universe had a beginning; space had a beginning; time had a beginning; matter had a beginning; gravity had a beginning; stars had beginnings, life had a beginning, etc.), therefore there must have been an ultimate beginning to all things (“all things” meaning the physical realm that, if it exists, includes our Universe), otherwise the Universe’s and its constituent parts’ beginnings were arbitrary, but the Universe and its constituent parts can’t operate arbitrarily.

    Therefore, since inanimate matter itself cannot bring about the ultimate beginning of the physical realm, only a conscious entity could do this, we therefore have proof that a God exists outside of space and time who created the physical realm that our Universe resides in.” — Dean Michael Jackson (circa 1995)

    And don’t bother replying with, “Then who created God”, because the two main attributes of God are (1) omniscience; and (2) omnipotence; and a created God would be neither since (1) He didn’t know He was going to be created, so He can’t be omniscient; and (2) since He was created by another, He can’t be omnipotent.

    ———————————–
    *Which came first, the cell wall? Hmm, no cell wall when there’s nothing to enclose. How about any of the hundreds of specific internal compositions of the cell? Hmm, none can survive without a cell wall, and none can survive without each other too, meaning the first simple bacterium cell came ready made, and therefore the process of natural selection is an obvious fraud.

    • JIMJFOX

      Please shut up- I don’t want to sleep just yet. And TRY to learn how evolution works…

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “And TRY to learn how evolution works…”

        RD groupie, why don’t you explain how evolution works? You’ll be the first to do so! Let’s make it easy, how did the first simple bacterium cell evolve [sic]?

        • JIMJFOX

          Read Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable” and “The Selfish Gene”. The first simple bacterium did NOT evolve; evolution deals only with what happened AFTER the first living cell formed. You can google this (if you’re not too lazy) but here’s a sample— The first living cells on Earth may have appeared between 3.5 and 2.8 billion years ago in the form of prokaryotes. (Scientists have yet to pinpoint the actual dates, as one-celled organisms are almost impossible to detect in ancient rock.) These most-primitive organisms still exist today and include bacteria and related organisms; they have cells that lack a nucleus and other membrane-bound internal structures.

          Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/what-were-the-first-living-cells-on-earth#ixzz3BIF7ueVk

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “The first simple bacterium did NOT evolve…”

            I know the first simple bacterium cell didn’t evolve, it magically appeared fully formed, which is my point!

            “…evolution deals only with what happened AFTER the first living cell formed.”

            No kidding!

          • JIMJFOX

            IF you assume early man was ‘dim-witted’ may I suggest he was not as dimwitted as you.
            Honestly I am not in the least interested in wasting time on Creationists, idiotic concepts like Irreducible Complexity or fatuous arguments about biblical texts. Which is what you are getting to, no doubt.

            As I said, read the science IF you are interested- but I’m betting you are only interested in arguing about stuff that is accepted as fact by the rational mind.

            Get it now?

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “Honestly I am not in the least interested in wasting time on Creationists…”

            You’re not in the least interested because you can’t answer the questions put to you, proving both you and Natural Selection are obvious frauds, otherwise you and that fraud Dawkins’ groupies would have easily explained the faults in my observations. But you can’t fault my observations since they’re logical imperatives that implode the internal contradiction that is Natural Selection.

          • Alec Leamas

            So, prokaryotes were the product of magic, “appearing” ex nihilo. Science! Isn’t it grand?

  • Sebastian Ramirez

    Mr Brown, I think you should make a difference between Dawkins’ “groupies”, and people interested in his arguments. Like you, most of the millions of people that have bought or read The God Delusion, are not groupies.
    And regarding the way he collects money: 1) I think that money is mostly used to spread even more his ideas (and the ideas of many other people); and 2) Everybody does that… William Lane Craig does it. The Vatican does it. The G.O.P does it.

    So, what’s exactly is the point of your article, that there are crazy fans of important figures out there and that those figures sell products to collect money ?… Really ??

    • Alec Leamas

      Perhaps the point is to postulate – as you no doubt do in the cases of the Vatican and GOP – that the administrator/launderer of the alms is taking a healthy cut for himself?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stefmowords StefMo

    Andrew Brown writes latest of his millions of Dawkins-bashing articles for The Guardian. Then writes Dawkins-bashing article about his own Dawkins-bashing articles for The Spectator. Nice way to make a living. I’m no fan of the lunatic Dawkins has bizarrely metamorphosed into recently, but if he stopped coming out with ludicrous statements, what would Brown have left to write about?

  • Truth Teller

    Methinks you doth protest too much.

    As atheism grows around the world, it will eventually become the majority in the USA as it has in civilized countries such as Sweden.

    The best that theists can hope for then is that atheists don’t treat them as they have treated atheists.

    • Alec Leamas

      The best that theists can hope for then is that atheists don’t treat them as they have treated atheists.
      _____________________________

      You mean ignoring you? What is it that you have planned, sir?

  • Jum1801

    Anti-theism is a faith, with man the substitute deity.

    • JIMJFOX

      Fuck off, stupid!

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lotharson

    Dear Andrew,

    I cannot congratulate you enough for this incredibly profound, witty and insightful article.

    As a progressive Christian I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote and I burst out laughing after having read your remark on all religious holy books being full of conflicting statements, leaving to devout believers the opportunity to pick and choose according to their good pleasure .

    I’m a proud Germanic Frenchman living in the UK and I find that in Continental Europe, discussions between theists and theists are far more civilized and reasonable than in the English-speaking world, especially in America.

    When I look at religious fundies in the States on the one hand and at Dawkins and his underlings on the other hand, I cannot help but see a clash of irrationalities.

    Anti-theists have a bigoted, intolerant and dangerous mentality and there have conspicuous similarities with religious extremism.

    It is no wonder if one considers the fact that most belligerent atheists have been deeply traumatized by harmful religious groups .

    I think that all moderate and liberally-minded people should join their forces against all extremisms for ensuring an open society accepting all tolerant folks regardless of their worldview.

    One first step in that direction consists of overcoming binary thinking . Questions such as “Is religion good for the world?” are extraordinarily helpless and misleading because there are countless harmful and beneficial secular and religious groups under the sun.
    Pointing out the atrocities of Islamists and drawing the conclusion that ALL religions are bad for mankind is breathtakingly absurd.

    Finally, let me say there was a time Dawkins made me really angry. Not because I found his arguments for atheism convincing (they’re only good against Biblical inerrancy) but because of the constant misrepresentation of his strongest opponents.
    Now I just find him utterly pitiful and merely hope he’ll let go of his hate-mongering because he’s truly making a fool of himself.

    • JIMJFOX

      Hate mongering? Example, please!
      Atheism; non-belief in supernatural phenomena. Unconvincing?

  • James Scott

    Nature abhors a Vacuum. So it is not surprising some groups of organized Atheism might take on the aspects of a pseudo-Religion. Usually the stupid bits even us religious types wish where not there.

  • tom_atkins

    Andrew Brown is at it again.
    So what does his latest bout of mud-slinging amount to?
    His objection to the idea that all babies are atheists? Well, in the sense that they come into the world not believing in any god(s) (until indoctrinated into whichever of the world’s religions is practised in the family/society into which they have been born) they are atheists. So what?
    If people are willing to pay money to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science in return for a chance to meet Dawkins, again, so what? It is just fund-raising.
    Many people are genuinely grateful to Dawkins for changing their lives and are effusive in their gratitude. So what?
    The selfish gene again. Oh God. It’s a metaphor.
    Dawkins tweets. He should probably stay away from Twitter. It is just not possible to express nuanced views in 140 characters (as he himself has admitted in connection with his recent tweet on Downs syndrome).
    You can like and admire Dawkins or think he is vain and arrogant. But the only question that really matters, when it comes to the main issues he addresses, science and religion, is this: is he right? I think he is.

    • http://www.reproachofmen.org/ Paul W. Davis

      So, should we take your “So what” view to its logical conclusion?

      “Many people are genuinely grateful to Dawkins for changing their lives and are effusive in their gratitude. So what?”

      So what if he has perpetrated a fraud upon them, and they have believed a lie? So what if they suffer for all eternity because they believed Dawkins and his lies?

      So what if you atheists are selective in what you see and understand. So what if in your blindness you accuse those who do perceive of being deluded.

      What does it matter anyway? For that matter, if we want to continue: so what if you have no way to determine truth, and accuse those who do of being crazy?

      If none of these things matter, so what if someone blows your brains out today or tomorrow? What does it matter?

      There are many of us that happen to think it does matter. Having a “So what” attitude is the road to destruction – not just in the life to come, but in this life, and in this world.

      The truth matters. It would behoove you to figure out how to determine truth.

      • JIMJFOX

        “So what if you atheists are selective in what you see and understand. So what if in your blindness you accuse those who do perceive of being deluded”

        What ‘we atheists’ perceive is the blindness of ‘Faith’. Belief with NO evidence. ‘You faith heads’ are welcome to your beliefs but DON”T tell us about truth- a commodity for which you show contempt.

  • macheath99

    Has anyone else noticed that since this article was published Dawkins revised his “Dawkins Circle” sign-up page and dropped the highest priced three “circles”; the Fifth Horseman Circle: $10,000 to $24,999 annually, the Evolution Circle: $25,000 to $99,000 annually, and the Magic of Reality Circle: $100,000 to $500,000 annually? Now the highest priced membership ends at the Darwin Circle.

    Did he get embarrassment when the Spectator article making fun of all this went viral? It looks like he’s doing damage control.

    Take a look;

    http://donate.richarddawkins.net/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/contribute/transact&reset=1&id=7

    And I’m not the only one who noticed it;

    http://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/dawkins-quietly-tosses-inner-circles-into-the-memory-hole/

  • F1

    Man, I shouldn’t have scrolled down to these comments. Of course the cult followers of Dawkins who pay monthly fees like a church-goer offerings to keep his message going is lost on the faux-elitists who would fail to acknowledge their hypocrisy and instead dismiss anyone judgmental of their leader. You guys are beyond laughable and so irresponsible. I’m neither religious nor Islamic, is it okay if I think he’s a boorish dick?

  • Stuart Resnick

    Many people define an atheist as someone who doesn’t hold the belief that God exists. Try asking a few babies — right out of the womb — to explain their belief in God. I’ll bet hard-earned money that you won’t find a single one who will declare himself a believer in Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

    Are babies born as non-chess-players? Of course they are. There’s never been a newborn who plays chess. Are babies born non-astrologers? Of course they are. There’s never been a newborn who could do your horoscope. Are babies born as non-believers in God (sometimes called “atheists”)? Of course they are. There’s never been a baby who espouses belief in any religion.

    • Alec Leamas

      This is silly. There’s never been a baby born who espouses anything, because babies are born without the ability to communicate in language.

  • Muhannad

    Interesting read.

  • http://www.Drystorm.co Louis Sayers

    I do think that you can take this stuff too far, but at the same time, religion is very f#*!ed up, and so im happy that there exists a cult to preach from the other side, just to balance things out a bit.

    • JIMJFOX

      Every bit as f@%$*d up as the minds of the believers.

  • Always Vigilant

    Compassion? Here we find yet another example of Obama’s criminal marxist regime denying life-saving health-care to Americans: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/19/cancer-patients-treatment-put-on-hold-over-obamacare/

  • JIMJFOX

    “Some of the stuff that he has written and retweeted about ‘evil’ Islam is shocking”

    Jesus Christ!! Here’s something ‘shocking’- straight out of the Koran, you tool!

    “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.'” (Quran 8:67; Ishaq:327)

    You want more- I’ll direct you to 140 similar verses of hatred and bullshit from the Religion of Peace. Just ask. Oh, you don’t find this ‘shocking’??

  • JIMJFOX

    Andrew Brown writes on religion for the Guardian.

    Surprise, Surprise. A soulmate of Mehdi Hasan, the BBC & other promoters of Islam

  • JIMJFOX

    Which religion are babies born into, Brown?

  • JIMJFOX

    AND- how gratifying to hear a charitable Christian whiner at full volume. Lovely.

    • SpaceCommie

      4 comments in a row? Someone thinks they have a lot to say.

      • JIMJFOX

        Best you can do?

        • SpaceCommie

          Best I care to do.

  • Jeffrey Witthauer

    Oh look. Yet another article slamming Richard Dawkins. How entirely predictable. And how quite self-defeating, in this case.

    He begins with a collection of ad hominems against a follower of Dawkins, describing him in unflattering terms. Then he defeats his own argument regarding babies.

    I mean, he clearly doesn’t realize he does. But any fool can see that if he has to take a single tweet from Dawkins, then stretch it and re-interpret it to pretend that Dawkins IMPLIES something, then he really has nothing. Especially when the other guy has evidence to the contrary.

    This was not an encounter between an independent thinker and a cultist. This was an encounter between a liar (the author), and a man who is tired of seeing Dawkins slandered everywhere.

    He then goes on to quote mine Dawkins to find contradictions that don’t exist, about topics that are irrelevant.

    Ah, he also brings up the fact that people have praised Dawkins! Many of them in ebullient terms. Because that is in no way evidence of the man’s genius, but rather proof he is running some sort of sinister cult. As a former fundamentalist Christian, I would quite exuberantly typify atheism as having saved my life. In my case it wasn’t Dawkins’ book that did so, but I can easily see how someone set free from religion by reading that book would thank him with exuberance. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

    About the only interesting thing he says is pointing out the donations asked for the group. But this is not unusual for any independently operated group. Go on Kickstarter and see how much you have to donate to get a private dinner with a game designer, or author. They must all be cult leaders!

    It’s ridiculous to criticize Dawkins for doing what many other groups do, and finding ways to reward those who donate to his organization. So the author is left with merely haggling over prices… that is if we can trust the author’s representation of those prices at all, which given his dishonesty thus far, I do not think we can.

    • paradise 33

      You make some valid points but in my view the central argument of the article is entirely accurate.

      Dawkins is the most pernicious kind of fool – an intelligent one.

  • Tom McLachlin

    If this drivel about Richard Dawkins is the caliber of writing published by The Spectator, then why would anybody pay for a subscription? I had hoped for more than just a libelous rant. Doubtless, additional revenue is required to deal with the stream of litigation which arises from such shoddy articles. Isn’t there an editor at the Spectator?

    • Alec Leamas

      What is libelous about it? Please cite the false and defamatory statement of fact. If you don’t, I will be left to conclude that you are the sort who goes about using words of which he has no understanding in order to seem more erudite than he happens to be.

  • Sherrie Henry

    All babies, by pure definition that their brains have not developed fully, ARE atheist. They do not believe in anything. They have to be taught to believe. That’s what ‘Sunday School’ is all about. You lost me after the third paragraph.

    • Alec Leamas

      Likely babies consider their parents and caregivers as gods, who are beyond them and supply them with life, nutrition, warmth, comfort, etc. So it is more accurate to say that babies have no specific belief in a God or gods but believe in the magical abilities of adults to do god-like things, no different than a belief in Zeus, Hera, Ares, etc. Babies also don’t believe in mathematics or plenty of other things, none of which precludes 2 + 2 from equaling 4.

  • Kit Ingoldby

    So, Dawkins is bad because an admirer of his was rude and boorish, because he has the temerity to raise money for his foundation and finally, because you don’t understand the science of ‘The Selfish Gene’…..

    Oh, and you think that criticising Islam is ‘racist’.

    I think you should take your woolly minded appeals to emotion back to the Guardian where drivelling mush heads belong.

    • Jim Fox

      Well pointed out. How on earth do people as stupid as Brown become writers for allegedly serious publications?
      Well, he is a writer on religion so rationality is not his forte.

  • Graham Freeman

    Mister Brown, seeing as “atheist” means “without a belief in god(s)”, then by definition all babies are atheists.

    I suggest you learn the difference between an atheist and an anti-theist if you wish to be taken seriously in this and any other debate involving religion.

    • Boy Catamite Lover

      Graham Freeman will not have time to take you seriously, theist idiots, because he will be busy serving as a human toilet and sperm receptacle.

      • Jim Fox

        WTF is this supposed to mean?

  • shawnsBrain

    when atheism is taken to its extent, you wind up at ‘mild paedophilia’

    • Jim Fox

      Not unlike Catholicism then- where you end up with hundreds of thousands of raped children worldwide and the Vatican paying out millions in compensation to keep it quiet…

      • shawnsBrain

        I think you’re confusing the Catholics with the government school system

        • Jim Fox

          And you’re confusing factual data with moral relativism

    • Jim Fox

      Your evidence for this ridiculous claim is????

  • Jim Fox

    Next Brown will bring up the pathetic claim that atheism is a religion… what do such people use in place of functioning brains?

  • Jim Fox

    Still can’t work out how Brown concludes that children are not born atheist.
    Its just such a bizarre statement. Must be his religious indoctrination; I assume he thinks they’re born christian. Or muslim. Or… what?? Please tell us, Brown.

  • Jim Fox

    “about whether there are any atheist babies — clearly not, in any interesting sense”

    What ‘interesting sense’ would that be? What can such a statement possibly mean? Brown is non compos mentis, surely?

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    JIMJFOX says (see below), “The first simple bacterium did NOT evolve…”

    I know the first simple bacterium cell didn’t evolve, it magically appeared fully formed, which is my point!

    JIMJFOX says (see below), “…evolution deals only with what happened AFTER the first living cell formed.”

    Once scientists discovered cells weren’t simple forms of life called cytoplasm that could spontaneously pop up into existence, but complex organisms with hundreds of individual compositions that work together to keep the cell a living organism, it was then up to evolutionary scientists to explain the evolution of the first bacterium cell.

    JIMJFOX says (see below), “The first living cells on Earth may have appeared between 3.5 and 2.8 billion years ago in the form of prokaryotes.”

    How did the first Prokaryote evolve? Which came first, (1) cell membrane; (2) ribosomes; (3) cytoplasm; (4) nucleoid; (5) plasmids; (6) Glycocalyx; or (7) mesosome?

    Which came first and survived alone, allowing the rest of the cell’s general compositions* to evolve?

    Get it now?

    If you want to go for the really big money, explain also how bipedal, wobbly footed, dim-witted, weaponless “early man” survived his hostile environment on land with the faster, stronger quadrupedals concentrating now on this easy to catch marvel of de-evolution.
    —————————-
    *Not to mention internal features such as (1) DNA repair; and (2) protein-based microcompartments.

    • Jim Fox

      SO- GOD DONE IT is a better explanation?
      Fuck off, creationist retard.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “SO- GOD DONE IT is a better explanation?”

        Since inanimate matter can’t magically form into a fully complete life form, that means a cognitive entity did it, sport! Deal with the logic, why can’t you? Swearing won’t help your case either!

        • Jim Fox

          Well Dean you ARE as irritating as a mosquito and with about the same intellect. There is no reason for me to answer your ‘ex nihilo’ argument since it has been done to death by minds greater than mine.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo

          AND like Dawkins I don’t debate Creationists…sport.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “There is no reason for me to answer your ‘ex nihilo’ argument…”

            Since matter already exists, there is no ‘ex nihilo’ argument for you to hide under!

  • andybbn

    This is a snide and ignorant rant. The author should be ashamed.

    I really can’t fathom the author’s objection to being challenged to provide the source of his quote on Richard Dawkins; this is a perfectly reasonable demand given Brown’s history of always misquoting Dawkins.

    And why is it fine for religious mugs to extort donations to fill their personal pockets or spread their lunatic preachings, but not for a secular charity like RD’s with mission statements like”Reason. Science. Progress.” or “Combating Scientific Illiteracy & the Stigma Surrounding Nonbelief”?

  • Jj

    So Richard Dawkins is obsessed with convincing people that God doesn’t exist, and what exactly is his point? Does he think somehow the world will be more civilized if people stop believing, I simply can’t see exactly what he thinks he is accomplishing other than proving that any idiot can say there’s no God, after all you can’t see “him” or hear him or talk to him, it takes considerably more intelligence and creativity to believe that all things, even God, are possible. I find Dawkins to be an incredibly depressing human being….one who could perhaps benefit from believing in something greater than himself if that’s possible

  • MrsBethel

    “But babies have no religion.
    How dare you force your dopey unsubstantiated superstitions on innocent children too young to resist? How DARE you?” (Dawkins)

    “These seemed to me to suggest quite strongly that Dawkins believes that babies are born atheists” (Brown)

    What we have here is a false dichotomy.

    Anyone with half a brain would agree that it is absurd to claim either that babies have a particular religion, or indeed that they are atheists.

    There is a third option. They are neither. They have simply not considered the matter!

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    Given Brown’s long history of misrepresenting Richard Dawkins’ views, I would have thought it was perfectly reasonable to demand to see his sources whenever he claims Dawkins said *anything*…

  • Lee Christmas

    As part of its war against civilization, Obama’s marxist regime has forced the USAF to stop teaching St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Just War” theory.

  • trotnixon

    C’mon, the irony MUST be intended…the personal profit as well.

  • http://worldboat.blogspot.com.au/ Sharka Todd

    I am confused about the “selfish gene” theory. What are the means by which the genes manipulate the consciousness? Can someone provide the biochemical pathway for how the genes influence thinking? Is Dawkin’s theory nothing more than pseudoscience, or is it something more substantial? Thanks.

  • Jeremy

    No such thing.

  • Anne Droid

    Keep in mind, folks: The failure to prove man-made global warming over the last 20 years makes the case for it even less plausible.

  • Joe Strummer

    What Muslim women do is not the business of Americans. If they felt repressed, they’d do something about it. I’m tired of Americans thinking they are the world’s saviors. I believe in freedom of religion unlike these New Atheists creeps. As an “atheist” myself, I steered away from Dawkins and Harris – I can recognize a cult when I see one.

  • Kevin Russell

    Shock-horror – man makes money from a hard-worked career. From the “Bloke I met in a pub” weekly. Classy article Spectator. Who came up with it?

  • A.Alexander

    “Atheist revolution” is as dangerouse as any humanitarian revolution in History(mine atheist opinion).

  • Kenneth James Abbott

    I laughed my tail off when the issue with the feminists came up and all of a sudden atheist women discovered that Dawkins is a jerk.

    He didn’t suddenly become a hero to those of us he made a life out of slandering–he was a hate-addled, dishonest, and just plain evil person before it happened, and he was the same after. But female atheists were happy to support his hatred, his dishonesty, and his urge to destroy, so long as it was aimed at people who they also hated. Once it was aimed at them too, suddenly it wasn’t so cool anymore.

  • Dale Young

    So, there’s a great deal of anger here in the comments section but I have hardly found anything specifically addressing the points made in the article concerning the various memberships discussed and their costs. Rather, nearly everyone is talking about stuff that does not address the content of the article itself.

    If the article is accurate about the costs of the various memberships such as membership into “The Magic of Reality Circle”, etc., and no one seems to dispute this, am I the only one that finds it distasteful, irrespective of one’s views about Dawkins’ writings. Personally, I would find the article a little more interesting if it avoided the personal attacks on Dawkins and discussed substantively where all this money goes to and for what purpose, assuming of course that people are actually joining these silly groups.

  • TemporaryLodging

    Meh Richard Dawkins is an Evangelist just like the rest of them. Atheism with a capital A is useless to me. I have bigger concerns.

  • screwy yu

    “Andrew Brown writes on religion for the Guardian.”
    Also known as “The Guardian (of Islam)” to everyone outside of a burka…

    spot on.

  • James Cope

    Jesus talked with poor and rich alike — free of charge. But to have
    breakfast or lunch with atheist Richard Dawkins? Prepare to hand over
    $100,000. You tell me who truly cares more about human beings and who
    cares more about money.

  • disqus_LDWaGlaqyK

    The article relates how Dawkins is ripping off his followers yet the comments below are about Islam? Talk about blind-siding. Oh how devout art thoud disciples of Dawkins.
    The Dawkins Foundation is a cult without a God. Or rather has Dawkins as a messiah figure. Full of fervour and bigotry, it is no better than the worst excesses of organised religions. It’s worse in fact as there is no charitable arm for the needy, only a fund to feed Dawkin’s ravenous ego.
    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an atheist, but the worship and funding of that cynical bitter failed scientist Dawkins is as vile as it is bewildering.
    Actually I don’t know if Richard Dawkins even exists, I’ve never seen him, nobody I know has seen him, They cannot prove to me that he is real. I think Dawkins is perhaps a fairytale for the delusional … either that or he’s a Dick.

  • A.Alexander

    Leftism is not too new religion,so the atheism of R.Dawkins and millions of atheists-Chines and Soviets means nothing.They are mor dogmatics then the secular Christians.

  • http://www.salmaniac.com Salman R

    I’m still undecided about Dawkins. He’s intelligent when it comes to biology, especially evolution, but regarding everything else he comes off as ignorant.

    • DaReaperZ

      I’m intrigued. What would be ignorant?

  • mlerman

    A meshugas! Michael Lerman, Ph.D., M.D.

  • James Buckley

    You will also find that charging someone a fee for membership doesn’t therefor = RELIGION.

    Stupid article on too many levels.

    • King Beanzybawz

      Yawn. If you’re going to play the stupid card again and again, can you at least learn to spell “therefore” correctly?
      Dawkins has a messiah complex, and an evangelical army of disciples, constantly patting themselves on the back like a bunch of flagellating monks. And that, therefore = RELIGION.
      Can he not get you all to take a vow of silence or something? That would be a miracle!

  • DaReaperZ

    Andrew. Dawkins was saying that babies are born babies. Nothing else. They have no official titles. But if you have to give them a label then, yes, absolutely they are born atheist.

  • Amrit Pal

    Every movement creates its figureheads,not by the intellectuals who praise the message and change their lives accordingly but by the masses who give credence to the messenger.Humans look outwards and blame others rather than looking inwards and blaming own self.Hence we will be in this mess a long time to come.

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