Tuesday, August 4, 2009

While Waiting in Moderation

# 44. Anthony McCarthy Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
August 4th, 2009 at 9:00 am

Observer, the vicarious and undifferentiated blaming of religious believers, including liberal religious people for ‘creating an atmosphere in which fundamentalism can thrive’ is one of the distinguishing aspects of new atheism. I don’t think I’d ever have commented on the phenomenon once if they didn’t practice that double standard. Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Myers, etc. have all asserted essentially that position. Are you denying that idea isn’t prevalent as statement and practice among the new atheists?

Atheists who reject that standard aren’t atheists I’d consider “new atheists”.

And as I tell you guys all the time, I submit all bigots to the standard they reserve for their opponents because to not do that allows them to rig the rules in their favor.

Skeptic, you’re rather credulous about the evidentiary value of surveys, I’m considerably more skeptical of them. I’m absolutely certain that the new atheists who maintain the same superstition as some of the most benighted religious fundamentalists that religion and science are incompatible have some influence, they’ve been thanked by some of them for making their job easier. However, I’ve pointed out from the beginning that there are religious fundamentalists who either have training or careers in science even as they are religious fundamentalists, so you can be a religious fundamentalist and a scientist at the same time. The point being that the situation in real life isn’t a simple either/or proposition, it’s a lot more complex and nuanced, I’d suspect sufficiently so much so that the kind of survey you propose would be totally useless.

As to the “hundreds of individual charges” in the books, there are billions of religious believers in the world, hundreds of millions in the United States alone. Even “hundreds of millions of individual charges” wouldn’t make a single person who wasn’t “guilty” as charged responsible for them, especially if they specifically and vigorously rejected them.
If the Dawkins-Harris standard of justice was applied to science, they’d be culpable for some pretty awful stuff, crimes rivaling the worst of those committed by religious figures. By that standard, Dawkins would have to answer for eugenics and “race science”. Would you like that standard applied to him?

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