11.02.2012 08:28 PM

The Dawkins-Kinsella Thesis?

That seems a bit silly, particularly from a guy as smart as Potter. Also, I don’t proclaim my “piety.” Also, he misquotes me.

Also…never mind. Atheists slay me. They are more, um, bedeviled by religion than are the religious. They spend way more time thinking about me than I do about them, for example.

Some things are ineffable, which makes them more wonderful. The ineffable things have no place in politics, however.

Weird piece. I’ll bet he’s writing a book or something.


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    Lawrence says:

    “What,” it will be Question’d, “When the sun rises do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea?” O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty”


    To my atheist friends I simply say ‘imagination makes us infinite.’

    And advise them to read some Norrie Frye.

    Or John Muir.

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    Kelly says:

    Here’s a thought experiment: A man takes to the airwaves declaring his belief in the literal historical infallibility of his scripture, Grimm’s Fairy Tales. He professes to read the scriptures daily and seek wisdom in thier pages during times of stress and needing guidance in decision making. They will be his guide when formulating policy and taking the country to war. He will seek to chance American law to conform to the precepts of the church of grimm. Would you vote for this man, or even take him seriously as a competent adult? I didn’t think so…

    Then how can anyone take Romney seriously. In my ipview voting for him amounts to an act of suicidal lunacy.

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    Laurence Gifford says:

    If Potter takes the trouble to research the Mormon religion and the disgraceful life of Joseph Smith deeper, he may be impressed by the scope of the fraud. Many of Mormonism’s reprehensible practices persist, such as shunning so-called apostates.

    Christianity on the other hand is an ancient tradition based on a historical figure whose teachings have guided western morality and life principles for two millenia.

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    Monica says:

    I’m an atheist and I don’t ever think about anyone religious unless they happen to cross my path. Why should I? I am curious as to your concerns. What are you afraid of? I’m not worried, are you?

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    Michael says:

    A gross oversimplification of the meaning of faith.

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    dave says:

    One of my favourite lefties, Terry Eagleton, has a rejoinder to Dawkins and Hitchins in (I think) REFLECTIONS ON THE GOD DEBATE. Sometimes I thought Dawkins’ target was creationists, and that that shaped his arguments. Dawkins does make the point though, that for 99.5 % of the deities that humans have worshipped, we are all atheists.

    I have lived where I live for 4 decades, and the Mormon church locally has always been an integral a part of our community. Friends, acquaintances, families have always struck me as very family and community oriented. Other faith traditions here have often been the same. I have even come across the odd member of one group or the other who has leaned left in economics and politics. So, the Mormon tradition might be a karass that works just as well as any other, and the members are as brave and kind and content as members of any other karass.
    I know, some faith types use their beliefs to rationalize a horse apples take on economics and politics, but, if a person pays attention, that kind of thing can be taken into account. It’s usually no secret. I would suggest that people deeply involved in their sects tend to cling feverishly to those granfalloons we call political parties with special fervour.
    As for atheists spending a lot of time thinking about religion, George Bernard Shaw might qualitfy that to say that intelligent atheists spend a lot of time thinking about religion.

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    Bob B. says:

    Potter, as a fundamentalist materialist true believer ideologue, has more in common with religious folk than he cares to admit. And if he’s a true believer in science first & foremost for explaining the universe, he should know quantum mechanics has demonstrated the universe is far “spookier” than what used to pass for rational common sense would allow for, & confirm in the language of physics the reality of “non-locality” & “entanglement”. For millenia, mystics have known the universe is non-local & entangled.
    Modern physics is catching up with mystics of long ago! But fundamentalist materialists like Potter & Dawkins refuse to acknowledge obvious connections between mysticism & modern science, just as certain Biblical creationists refuse to acknowledge scientific findings the universe is older than 6,000 or 10,000 years.

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    patrick says:

    Having thought about this for a while I don’t believe defining myself as an athiest serves any usefull purpose. A group could claim the moon is made of green cheese and as a disbeliever I could claim to be an anti cheezy, but that just justifies that there is a debate.
    There is no magic. There is no god. And the notions only servive through the pious vanity of religious power and indoctrination from birth.
    What I find absurd is the notion that a God created world is a wonderful miracle. No. It is a whim created as casually as a celestial fart by a bored, petty sorcerer who soon lost interest and move on with more important things, like tetris.
    Now, in the real world, in an galaxy with light years of separation from object to object, life took grip on a small planet that was just the right distance from a minor sun. That is special. That is precious, unique and glorious. And, what is truely magical we are aware enough of our lot in the universe to be able to ask who, what were and why?
    The sooner we can move past magic plates, all you can eat bread and fish and 72 virgins (really, isn’t that just dinner, a movie and blue balls for eternity X 72?) the sooner we embrace reality.

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    David_M says:

    I perfer the George Carlin Theology.
    When in need of prayer, turn to Joe Pesci.
    The results are about the same.

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    que sera sera says:

    “Atheists slay me. They are more bedevilled by religion than are the religious.”

    I live MY life without a (or any) god(s) as a point of reference & I find it very hilarious listening to the archaic but incredibly sincere beliefs of those who don’t. It is even more hilarious watching the religious force the world into only two camps: believers and non-believers. Like those labels are even relevant to people who serve no god and like religious labels take precedence over all else.

    What I find tiresome about many religious is the assumption that the world is (and should be) all about their particular religious “faith”. Get over yourselves already. Stop knocking on my door 24/7/365. Harassing people for their souls to satisfy proselytizers specious “belief” that doing so will get their ticket to heaven punched has given most proselytizing religions (xianity is one) an incredibly unsavoury & usurious reputation. Like the religious, by virtue of their religion, have not only the right but the obligation to interfere with other people’s soul journeys.

    Personally, in spite of tangible evidence to the contrary, I tend to discount the intelligence and emotional maturity of religious people. It is a bias of mine that I cannot seem to overcome and has absolutely nothing to do with the particular “brand” (or sliding scale of relative craziness) of religion. I cannot help but wonder what other secret “icky-ness” the religious are harbouring.

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    Robert Jago says:

    I certainly wouldn’t say that every Mormon, or Muslim or Christian individual should be judged on official doctrine of their faiths. But Romney was a bishop, and then president of his ‘diocese’. He’s not a layman – his job was to enforce and interpret doctrine.

    That doctrine that he was raised in, and that he pushed door to door in France was officially racist right into the Reagan era – with Mormon’s commanded to believe such things as black skin was a curse, and that Native Americans ‘improved’ after becoming Mormons so much so that their skin literally turned whiter. That was the old time religion that Romney was raised in, that he preached abroad, and that he chose to lead. He should be judged on that.

    As for atheists obsessing about the faithful … I would imagine the kind of person who would say that is also the kind of person who would say that atheism is a religion. And more, also the kind of person who would otherwise be ashamed of using that sort of generalization against the adherents of any other religion.

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    Joseph Krengel says:

    Religion is like sexuality, nobody else’s matters until they try to jam it in you.

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    The Dude says:

    I’m an atheist and the only time I think of religion is when I see something stupid happening in the world because of religion. Which is almost daily. Why was that poor girl shot in the head for wanting to go to school? The answer is religion. People can say it is other things and rationalize, but no atheist ever killed anyone becasue of his relgious beliefs. And the usual, “Hitler and Stalin were atheists” argument doesn’t wash. They were bad men, religious or not.

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      MCBelleourt says:

      Adolf Hitler was actually raised as a Catholic, although after he grew up his only religion was absolute power…but you can find that info almost anywhere with dear ol’ Google…

      I don’t know nearly so much about Stalin. I find it kind of weird that, going to school, we got taught lots about Hitler and almost zilch about Stalin.

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    Joseph Krengel says:

    @The Dude, you write:

    “And the usual, “Hitler and Stalin were atheists” argument doesn’t wash. They were bad men, religious or not.”

    Could you not make the same argument for the men who shot Malala in Pakistan? They were perhaps bad men too, religious or not. I’m an atheist myself, but if non-religious people are capable of extreme evil (which you yourself assert), then how do we know that the evil done by religious people is a function of their religion? Could we not just as easily conclude that the evil that men do is tied to their ideology in general; and just that religion is just an environment where people prone to extreme ideologies are prone to congregate?

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    Jonathan Michaels says:

    First, Mormonism, a religion started by a 19th century con artist, is wackier than other religions. Joseph Smith was actually charged with fraud. Take but one small example. No archaeological digs have ever revealed Nephite coins mentioned in the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is an actual historical record of real people and real events, then wouldn’t you expect these to be surfacing in areas where these “supposed” people groups lived? The issue of coinage is a real problem for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. BTW, the coinage mentioned in the Bible can be purchased in a coin shop or via the internet.

    Second, Mormonism is is even wackier than people who are fully devoted to another religion started by Darwin. If evolutionary biology is to be a science rather than a religion, its devotees(Potter included) have to be willing to ask scientific questions. Leave God out of it and start showing the evidence of descent with modification. Start responding to the problems with the fossil record and the Cambrian Explosion.

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    MCBellecourt says:

    I find the science behind beliefs rather fascinating. As for evidence that Jesus didn’t exist? Au contraire, there is some evidence out there that he very well could have been a real person. They still haven’t figured out the Shroud of Turin yet, but partly because the Vatican will not allow conclusive scientific testing on it. Once in a long while, between those stupid reality shows, there might be a new discovery chronicled on the Discovery Channel, but they are few and far between–in fact, all the good stuff is found more on American and British TV than Canadian TV.

    Archeologists, mathematicians and other scientists are working diligently on the mystery, though, and in spite of all the roadblocks, they remain optimistic that they will find answers. It is when religion suppresses science that we are all cheated, and kept in control.

    My beliefs are my own, but I reject organised religion in all its forms, the main reason being the sentence above, and the other reason? The horrors committed in the name of this religion or that religion, and they are too numerous to mention here. To accept any one denomination over another is to tacidly accept what was done in that denomination’s name, and I accept none of it.

    I do know this. You cannot conquer evil by doing evil. Too much evil because of organised religion. Too much. No true justice.

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    Carlos Alexandre says:

    As an atheist I find all religion silly. As a singular human being without the resources to conquer this planet (yet), I’m not too bothered by people holding religious beliefs provided they don’t trample on the rights and freedoms of others and stay the hell out of politics.

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    Carlos Alexandre says:

    This is wildly inaccurate. Atheism isn’t a religion; it is, by definition, by its very etymology, the rejection of theism.

    It takes zero “blind faith” to believe there is no God; it takes merely the pointing out that the burden of proof is on the claimant, and claims of Gods and faeries and magic carpets and mermaids require empirical evidence backing them.

    And while lack of evidence doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no God, it isn’t logical, it isn’t reasonable to assume the existence of anything unproven, lest one be called a hypocrite for telling a child the tooth fairy isn’t real.

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      Carlos Alexandre says:

      This is, again, inaccurate. No, the scientist doesn’t assert, with 100% certainty, thing X doesn’t exist. Science isn’t about 100% certainty. It’s about getting as close to it as possible based on what we know, have observed, have quantified, have experimented with/on, etc.

      Claims aren’t negative. There’s no onus on me to “disprove” god, just as there’s no onus on you to “disprove” I’m a time traveler from the year 3000 who needs you to PayPal me $1000 to fix my time machine and return to the future to stop New Babel from destroying spacetime.

      This isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact. Your opinion of what requires evidence isn’t one; it’s a claim without evidence, and it is wholly logical to proceed as if thing X with zero evidence doesn’t exist until said evidence is presented and scrutinized.

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