Is atheism bad for science?

Since publication of books like Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in the mid 2000’s some reviewers and commentators have argued that the “new atheists” and  vocal “atheist scientists” are “bad for science.” That they are turning people, especially students, away from science. Even that a hostile public will endanger future funding science funding.

Some of these naysayers have an obvious motive. The militant religionists who just wish the people like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers would STFU.  Their concept of a pluralist society does not extend to allowing a public voice to people who disagree with god beliefs. They are “offended” by such voices.

But there have also been the non-religious who disagree with what is being said. Or, agree but don’t think the way it is said is polite or quiet enough. Possibly these people are more honest in their concern that scientists who are up-front about their atheism could be endangering public acceptance of science and its future funding. I don’t think that is a principled position –  surely in a democratic society atheists have as much freedom to being “vocal” as believers have. But should they be concerned about public opinion?

Another myth

I suggested in my last post, Myths within a myth, that perhaps this impression of public attitudes is mistaken. Perhaps it is just another myth. Well, I have been continuing to check out data indicating public attitudes towards scientists. The US Science and Engineering Indicators: 2010 has some relevant data taken from Harris Polls (Harris Interactive 2008b). These have asked questions about public attitude to professions in the USA. The relevant question was: “tell me if you feel it is an occupation of:

  • very great prestige,
  • considerable prestige,
  • some prestige, or
  • hardly any prestige at all?”

The data in the figure below show responses of “very great prestige.” As the complaint about “atheist scientists” and “new atheists” causing a decline in support for science have come from religiously motivated people I thought I would also include the data for religious professions.

%age of US public considering professions of "very great prestige."

It seem to me that since the 70’s, attitudes to scientists has been fairly constant in the range 50 – 60%, with a mean of 55%, of the US public considering the science profession has “very great prestige.”

Contrast this with the public’s opinion of the religious professions. The mean numbers supporting “very great prestige” have been about 40% – with a minimum of 32% in 2004.

Now, I wouldn’t make too much of these sort of statistics. But they certainly don’t support the thesis that “atheist scientists” or “new atheists” are responsible for turning the US public off science. Remember – the “new atheist” phenomena that theological commenters complain about started in the early to mid 2000s. Books like “The God Delusion” and the new willingness of scientists to be open about their atheism, especially after September 2001, do not seem to have led to the feared loss in  prestige for the profession among the US public.

“New Christians” too strident?

Maybe the “new atheists,” “atheist scientists” and their books have turned the public off the religious professions? Or more likely, the decline in the mid 2000’s could have resulted from the attack on the US by religious terrorists in September 2001.

But what about the religious attacks on evolutionary science and promotion of creationism and “intelligent design” alternatives? Perhaps publicity around the Dover trial and the legislation being promoted by creationists in various State legislatures have influenced public opinion. Even the proliferation of books attacking “new atheism” – after all there have been many more of these than “new atheist’ books themselves.

Perhaps these religious militants should be told by their more liberal brethren to STFU. Perhaps the more thoughtful believers in our society should turn their attention and concern away from “atheist scientists” and “new atheists.” Maybe they should be warning their own militants to stop being so “strident” and militant”. That their brash behaviour is endangering the public’s acceptance of religion in our societies. Maybe even threatening future funding for religion.

Just imagine of the public got so pissed off they agreed to do away with the privileged position religions have with tax exemption?

 

34 responses to “Is atheism bad for science?

  1. I think that if someone is religious (and let’s face it, religiosity seems to be a very human condition) then atheists who use the derogatory terms ‘naysayers’ and ‘militant religionists’ are more likely to push them away from science than toward it. (At least, from my personal experience that was how I reacted when I was still a Christian. It was the more inclusive approach that allowed me to draw my own conclusions without being made to feel like shit that worked for me.)

    And the same would likely apply to Christians who use terms like ‘militant atheist’. Who are you going to persuade with that?? I’m convinced that any time the word ‘militant’ is used to describe a group of people who don’t actually carry weapons it only serves the purpose of mutual in-group gratification (or, a circle-jerk, to put it bluntly).

    My gut-feel is that it would be more productive to be more like Sagan and less like Cedric.

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  2. I appreciate your points, Damian And I am sure Cedric can speak for himself. However let me develop some of the aspects – I think that will be useful:

    1: Why should my use of specific words (which I agree may well offend some religious and others) as an atheist push these people “away from science?” Atheism perhaps, but why science? That would be a childish reaction as we know how heterogeneous scientist’s beliefs are. I even knew one who was a member, and advocated for, the ACT Party! Should his activity turn people away from science. I myself was very actively politically for a period – should that have turned people away from science?

    I think the US data shows that despite very diverse public and ideological positions by some scientists the general public does not change the high regard it holds of the profession (as some of the critics have claimed).

    2: I used “naysayer” as a specific description, not pejoratively. It describes people who are generally critical (perhaps in an instinctive fashion) of something. As you can see I applied this to those making this criticism of “new atheists” and “atheist scientists’ – people who are atheist or non-religious as well as religious. I am an equal opportunity offender in this case.

    I used “militant” and “strident” provocatively. As an ironic way of trying to make a point. Yes I can see how people can be offended by these words. Notice, though, how these words are automatically attached to certain names – eg Dawkins. Now, I don’t think Richard is at all strident or militant. he is a clear speaker and does not usually go out of his way to offend. However, the “trick” of always attaching such adjectives to a name create a connection without a justification. (During the cold war this was a common form of imposing group thinking. It still survives, for example, in the way that the media might describe a crashed plane as “Russian built” but never “American built” – this was a strong message). Its a cheap trick which is used by some atheists, non-religious and media, as well as some (actually quite a lot) of the religious.

    In fact words like “militant” and “strident” are far more applicable to some religious extremists promoting creationism/ID and other anti-science ideas (and that is a significant proportion of local Christians). Even religious leaders like the pope who attacks secularism.

    I am hoping a bit of irony may bring this point home.

    (Actually, in many languages “militant” is a positive term – as for example in describing a political active person. I have never seen it as implying use of weapons.)

    3: Your point about inclusiveness and using that approach is important – and one that has always struck a chord with me. Perhaps because of my own experience in the Nuclear Disarmament and Anti War campaigns. The experience of working alongside people of different beliefs (from Quakers to Communists) on a common purpose was not lost to me. That is why I have been so critical of the interfaith movement which pretends to be inclusive but actually excludes a huge section of the population.

    But I have also learned over the years that sometimes one’s own principles and understanding also need to be advocated. We are not always in inclusive situations. I think this has been a characteristic of atheism over the last decade. It’s been a matter of consciousness raising – and that was the real value of Dawkins’ book (and the others). They may have not convinced many Christians of the “error of their ways” but they have certainly given a lot more confidence to the non-religious. They are less likely to be quiet about violations of human rights, and their own rights, with that consciousness.

    I think that is a good thing. And perhaps many atheists may never get past their own assertiveness – that is only human. But I am sure that the more politically active ones will (and already do) recognise the value of working together with Christians and the religious on specific issues. There are plenty of issues requiring common action.

    I just hope that more religious people can overcome their current obsessiveness with exclusionary tactics like “interfaith”. My impression is that irrational hostility towards atheism still runs very deep. Perhaps the current willingness of atheists to be more open about their own beliefs will eventually change that.

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  3. Most of the Christians that I knew when I was involved were quite wary of science and many associated it with atheism. For good reason I guess as it would seem that the more scientific you are the more inclined toward atheism or at least not the kind of Christianity that believes in 6-day creation or demons or virgin births. To many Christians, science and atheism are almost synonymous.

    I was raised to be fairly scientifically illiterate (in fact, hostile to science wherever it conflicted with prior beliefs) and when I began to take an interest in the universe around me and to start asking questions that challenged my own beliefs and those of my fellow Christians it created a degree of awkwardness.

    When I wanted to get to the bottom of exactly how old scientists thought things were and how they had come to those conclusions I was doing it as a person who had certain preconceptions but I was genuinely interested to learn. Often when some people would learn that I held a number of conflicting beliefs they would focus more on those and deride them (perhaps to make themselves feel more powerful?) which would only cause me to shut those voices out and ignore the scientific endeavour for a while. But it was the voices of people like Sagan, Attenborough and even Dawkins in The Selfish Gene who presented the facts in a way that I could mull on and, in my own time, compare them to the ‘facts’ that I had inherited from the culture I’d been brought up in.

    Obviously I can only talk from personal experience and there may well be some people who are jolted into re-examining their beliefs when they are called ‘militant religionists’ but I’ve never met anyone like that.

    If I were to meet myself in some kind of weird ‘back to the future’ way and the old me was asking me questions about how I knew that the earth was older than 6000 years I would just try to present the facts. If he wanted to know whether I believed in God or not I would be up-front about it and say that, no, after thinking about the matter I’d come to the conclusion that God was an imaginary concept but I would try not to make him feel stupid for having drawn a different conclusion (which can be difficult to do especially if they’re being a bit of a dick). Probably the most fruitful result that can come out at that stage would be to either leave it be and let them work it through or to enter into a neutral discussion about good methods for finding truth.

    I think there’s definitely a time and a place for saying what you do or don’t believe in and for fighting against the spread of misinformation, discriminatory legislation and so on. But when it comes to dealing with Christians like what I was, the ‘just the facts’ inclusive approach was a far more effective way of getting me interested in the scientific endeavour.

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  4. Damian – when I use words like “militant” and “strident” as in this post my motive is not to jolt people into re-examining their basic beliefs. just to be conscious of how those words are used dishonestly to create a them vs us situations.

    Maybe if a “true believer” can appreciate this they may be more likely to actually read something written by the vilified author – that may lead to them changing their beliefs.

    I agree with you about time and place. Obviously in a mixed situation talking to largely believers I would be less ironic and more willing to explain what is happening. Yes it would be more of “just a facts approach” (as for example Dawkins recent book promotion lectures). But given the situation I am sure there are always people who must raise the atheism or “world view” aspect.

    A blog is of course different – one normally has to be more provocative. I actually don’t think the person you describe is likely to be following this blog – unless with their own provocative motives. I get “snipers’ like that from time to time.

    In posts like this I am not at all interested in getting across any scientific theory or practice. It’s more political, dealing with the myths actively promoted by malicious people. Hopefully I have provided some of the facts as I have them, but also my opinion and another way of looking at the issue.

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  5. “Their concept of a pluralist society does not extend to allowing a public voice to people who disagree with god beliefs. They are “offended” by such voices.”

    How exactly is disagreeing with someone and engaging in dabate with someone “not allowing them a public voice” or not acepting pluralism? Accepting pluralism does not mean agreeing with your opponent! No western critic of Dawkins that I know of has actually suggested his books be banned (there may be some extremists – but not his well known opponents).

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  6. Max – if you read what I wrote you wouldn’t have made that mistake. Of course people participating in debate and airing disagreements do not oppose pluralism. Clearly I am all for that normal social dialogue. Bring it on. I respect people like you who are willing to engage. I don’t respect those who delete comments from their blogs.

    But I wrote:
    “The militant religionists who just wish the people like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers would STFU.”

    These are not debaters or engaged in normal dialogue. They are trying to prevent it. That’s what STFU means, surely? People like this delete commnents or deny opportunities to comment on blogs.

    And, you must admit – when it comes to religion some people are easily “offended.” They would like to prevent discussion (how many times have I heard the interpretation “freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion.”)

    And we all know of people who have been murdered or are under protection because some religionists were “offended” by what they said or wrote.

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  7. “The militant religionists who just wish the people like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers would STFU.”

    So what. I wish Dawkins would shut the fuck up. This does not mean that I deny his freedom of speach or do not accept pluralism. I also wish John Key would shut the fuck up – but this does not mean I am against democracy. You are confusing two separate issues.

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  8. No I am not Max. This article was about testing the claim of some Christians and non-religious that “new atheism” and “atheist scientists” in the US are turning the public away from science. Particularly as advocated so forcefully by Eckland. It’s a refrain quite often expressed by the critics – a cheap unsupported claim.

    The data I presented show no support for this claim. If anything the data shows that something has been turning the US public off religion.

    My point (somewhat tongue in cheek) is that if this sort of thing was an honest concern (rather than the undemocratic desire that people should STFU) then religionists should be telling their own “militants” and “strident” advocates to STFU because they are turning the public away from religion.

    I notice you don’t comment on the substance of my article. You aren’t using the old theological red herring tactic are you Max?

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  9. “You aren’t using the old theological red herring tactic are you Max?”

    Yawn.

    No Ken – as you astutely observed (must be that scientific training) I commented on a small part of your “article.” Well observed.

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  10. Kiwiobserver

    Wow. I can’t believe how extraordinarily backwards the US still is (its like reading a debate from New Zealand of the 1950’s). Meanwhile the rest of the western world has moved away from arguments based on faith and have embraced rationalism. Long live the march to a secularist atheist future! Lets hope the US catches up sometime soon and does not slide backwards into a superstitious medieval society.

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  11. Yes – I often marvel at how backwards the USA is technologically and how they make no scientific advances.

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  12. @Kiwiobserver I concur, but lets not forget that the US is a predominantly christian nation, unlike secular little old NZ. Belief in god is almost hardwired into the US psyche, and certainly plays a much larger role in day to day life in the US than here. Why this might be (aside from the puritan roots involved in its foundation) I will leave to other commentators.

    @Max I suspect Kiwiobserver wasn’t referring to technological backwardness, but that (s)he was equating continued national religious belief and scientific denial as a measure of social retardedness. But then I’m also sure you knew that, and were just being a little sarcastic & possibly mischevious.

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  13. @Lats I suppose the media versions of USA religious culture are accurate and never exaggerated?
    I think Ken has posted elsewhere some statistics showing a majority of Americans hold to some kind of deism or theistic evolution.. but hype is the norm in US public discourse

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  14. @Ropata Absolutely, I don’t doubt for a second that my view of the US is skewed by the media. I’ll admit that. I still think it is fair to say that it is a much more theistic culture than ours, and arguments surrounding the place of god in education tend to suggest that this is so.

    On the topic of this thread, I at times feel a little uneasy at the enthusiasm with which Dawkins and co wage war against belief. I am athiest, although dabbled with religion as a teenager (many many years ago) mainly because my friends at the time were believers. However I have since decided that belief is little more than a crutch for the weak and fearful. Having said that I am happy to let believers go their own way, and fill their heads with myths and allegorical nursery rhymes if that is what makes them happy. But to claim creation theory has any sort of basis in science is a tad silly in my view, and attempts to rebrand it as intelligent design and equate it with evolutionary theory is doing a disservice to both religious faith and science.

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  15. “But then I’m also sure you knew that, and were just being a little sarcastic & possibly mischevious.”

    You are right I did know that. And yes I was being sarcastic. But there was a more serious point. The claim is often made that religious belief in a society retards scientific research and advancement. But the USA is huge counter-example to this claim – so I was not being mischievous as such.

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  16. I wonder about the statement that creationism is “doing a disservice to both religious faith and science.” it’s obviously not science but perhaps it is consistent with faith?

    I have see it described as bad theology (isn’t all theology bad?). But the fact is the ordinary believer doesn’t give a stuff about theology . They rely on their own intuitions supporting their religious behaviors and faith. These will often come into conflict with theology – with the doctrines of their leaders. And they will often express strong opposition when they feel this theology goes against their faith.

    I think there is actually quite a strong tendency to support creationism amongst lay believers. In NZ about 40% of Christians actually reject evolutionary science. And I understand that many ministers are actually afraid to clearly support the science because it would put them off side with their flock.

    So I think creationism is actually consistent with the faith that many believers have. That really comes back to the different epistemologies required in religion and science.

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  17. Max, I am not aware that anyone is seriously making the claim “that religious belief in a society retards scientific research and advancement. ”

    Surely it’s not that simple. Strong religious belief will often occur in countries with poor education, traditional lifestyles and suppression of women (think Afghanistan). But there is also religious belief in modern societies which are pluralist, liberal, educated and don’t discriminate against women. There are also a significant minority of religious believers who are professional scientists (even a majority in some situations – most Indian scientists are Hindu). People can and do adopt different ways of thinking in different parts of their lives. Religion is also more usually a matter of inheritance than conscious development of understanding as science is.

    The USA is often confusing – it’s part of the excitement of the place. There are big regional differences in religion. And a lot of the anti-science attitudes come from non-religious people. I think it’s the anti-science, anti-intellectual attitudes, rather than religion, which are seen as a threat to science in the USA. Think climate change.

    I think those in the US worried about the future of science usually don’t worry about religion. More this anti-intellectualism. And the poor educational level. Introduction of creationism into science classes us religiously motivated but its effect is poor education. There is concern that so many US scientists now are new immigrants.

    Realistically. We will probably soon be seeing the US as a has been and China as the new science leader anyway.

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  18. “So I think creationism is actually consistent with the faith that many believers have. ”

    Which ones? How many? What analysis of different belief systems and their compatibility with different theories on the emergence of life have you done? A complex issue that cannot be summarized in a simple soundbite.

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  19. Max, I am not aware that anyone is seriously making the claim “that religious belief in a society retards scientific research and advancement. ”

    * Not today at least and that is good to hear🙂

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  20. @Ken Allow me to expand on my comment above. Many of your readers here will have at least some grounding in scientific discipline, and no doubt possess well developed critical thought processes. Sadly this isn’t the case with a large proportion of our population. So when I suggest that bundling creation theory into the science curriculum at schools does a disservice to science it is because many will be unable to distinguish between proper scientific theory and faith based theory, thereby effectively diluting the value of scientific pursuit. I wasn’t in any way suggesting that science itself suffered, more that the public perception of what is acceptable as science might. I hope I have explained that a little better.

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  21. I might also add that this may lead to greater acceptance of pseudo-science, hacks, and snake-oil salesmen like Ken Ring…

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  22. great article, was a joyful read

    -fellow ex-christian now atheist

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  23. Max, I am basically talking about the actual evidence rather than theoretical explanation. The surveys show a number consistent with about 40% of NZ Christians reject evolutionary science. That’s just the empirical data however one wishes to explain it.

    There is no doubt that there are theological groups advancing creationist ideas. Even young earth. Dembski’s employment had even been challenged at a Christian university because his ID ideas did not include a young earth, etc.

    Yes I know Christians who don’t reject the science but I am continually coming across ones that do. Particularly the more prosletysing god botherers. (I regularly get this from students at a local bible school inducating this is how they are taught). And just look at some of the vocal commenters on Matt and Glenn’s blogs. Just have a look at a number of Christian blogs in NZ.

    Sure, this is not a detailed study but the data is there, isn’t it?

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  24. “The surveys show a number consistent with about 40% of NZ Christians reject evolutionary science. That’s just the empirical data however one wishes to explain it.”

    What surveys? What percentage of non-Christians reject evolutionary science according to the same definition? Alone, with nothing with which to make a comparison, this statistic is meaningless.

    “Just have a look at a number of Christian blogs in NZ.”

    Using blogs or another internet site to inform oneself of public opinion is never going to give one an accurate picture – even worse than using talkback radio for the same purpose. Especially if one is inclined to deliberately seek out extremist web-blogs.

    “Sure, this is not a detailed study but the data is there, isn’t it?”

    Sure – if your methodology is to deliberately select a sample which will give you the result you want. But I am sure you know the mantra: trash in, trash out. In other words if your data collection methodology is biased your conclusions are worthless.

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  25. Max, I think you are in denial.

    The survey I am referring to is a regular UMR poll and I wrote several posts on it a couple of years ago. One if them is at https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/new-zealand-supports-evolution/.

    Unfortunately I don’t have access to my PC – it was attacked by a virus and it will be several days before I can reinstall Windows and my programmes. So please understand I cannot provide you with all my details and data. My suggestion of 40% is an approximation but shows a significant fraction of Christians have this attitude.

    Surely you must have come across this problem and have some idea of numbers involved? Quite large?

    As for non Christian I expect the proportion of Muslims rejecting the science is large but they are a small contributor to the figures. As for the non-religious I would expect very few. In fact you can check this. Go through the Discovery Institue’s Darwin Dissenters list and identify the religious affiliation (google search). I have done that with a random sample and couldn’t find any identified as non-religious.

    I really don’t think my observation is at all controversial – especially as I don’t try to be accurate. I am surprised you attempt to deny it. As I say, seems you may be in denial?

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  26. “Max, I think you are in denial.”

    That’s nice Ken. What about exactly? How does my desire to know more facts about the studies and verify your conclusions for myself rather than taking your word for it make me “in denial”? Odd definition you have – but whatever.

    “My suggestion of 40% is an approximation but shows a significant fraction of Christians have this attitude.”

    Yes – but as I said without a figure for non-Christians this is a meaningless statistic. If the figure was also 40% for atheists this would lead to very different conclusion than if the figure was only 5% for atheists. But apparently asking this to clarify the situation and get more insight is me being “in denial”.

    “Surely you must have come across this problem and have some idea of numbers involved? Quite large?”

    No idea – this is what I was asking. Ie. for some data before I come to a conclusion – what you call “denial”

    “I really don’t think my observation is at all controversial – especially as I don’t try to be accurate.”

    I never said they were. I asked for a clarification and some more information.

    “I am surprised you attempt to deny it.”

    I didn’t. you made this up for some reason known only to yourself.

    “As I say, seems you may be in denial?”

    I can only assume that this is some new use of the word “denial” that I am not aware of meaning something like “wishing to obtain more data so one can make a decision based data rather than accepting an opinion without individual thought.” Thus coming from you, Ken, I can only assume that “denial” is a virtue.

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  27. OK Max, perhaps you are just being contrary.

    However, I have given you a link. Can’t improve on that until my PC is working again. So you could do you own work on it.

    As I said its surely not controversial and you will be able to hunt down sufficient information to come to an informed conclusion.

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  28. After reading Carl Sagan’s ‘The Demon Haunted World’ it’s hard to believe that the approach back then was doing any good. If you read the responses he was receiving from students on science education in the U.S. (or lack thereof), it was a colossal failure.
    I actually think the “New Atheists” speak to the younger generation better than the guys I grew up with like Bill Nye. They may have a blunt approach or in hindsight have been too harsh but it’s a gateway into the world of science. It’s not like the “New Atheists” don’t do what all the science popularizes of the past have done. It’s just a different approach and I think a new approach was needed considering I didn’t see any significant progress with the old one.
    If the old accommodation approach was working, it definitely didn’t show. Just look at the number of non-religious people back in Sagan’s day and now look at the number. It’s continuing to grow so what are people complaining about? More people are becoming non-religious as well as gaining an understanding of important scientific concepts.

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  29. My gut-feel is that it would be more productive to be more like Sagan and less like Cedric.

    Often when some people would learn that I held a number of conflicting beliefs they would focus more on those and deride them (perhaps to make themselves feel more powerful?) which would only cause me to shut those voices out and ignore the scientific endeavour for a while. But it was the voices of people like Sagan, Attenborough and even Dawkins in The Selfish Gene who presented the facts in a way that I could mull on and, in my own time, compare them to the ‘facts’ that I had inherited from the culture I’d been brought up in.

    Damian, I appreciate your position and I’ve read what you have written very carefully. To a certain extent, I agree with you. There is a time and a place for sweet reason and bridge building. When that is the viable option then I’m all for it.
    There was a TAM speech given by Phil Plait that strongly advocated that very thing when dealing with believers of all stripes on all kinds of issues-not just religion.
    However, there is also a time and a place for bluntness.

    The ridiculous deserve to be ridiculed.
    Treat the ridiculous with a thin veneer of respect and you run the other risk of giving a false impression that the ridiculous is actually worthy of respect.
    Frauds trade on that respect.
    They crave it.

    Sometimes, the other side is just plain wrong.
    It does happen.
    Sometimes, the other side is indeed using dishonesty and hypocrisy.
    It does happen.
    Sometimes, it’s very appropriate to take a big fat red marker and label it as such in bold lettering for all the world to see.

    For example: When someone says “You are using an ad hominem” either they are right or they are wrong.
    The nature of an ad hominem is not up for debate. There’s no confusion in the real world as to what is an ad hominem. It’s something anyone can look up and understand follow clear examples on.
    If some new kid on the block accuses someone of attacking them with an ad hominem-and they are in the wrong-then I’m happy to assume they just don’t understand what an ad hominem really is. No problem.

    The first time around, they will get a respectful and reasonable correction complete with links and even a nice video.
    Even the second time around, they will still get a link and only a slightly strained voice of reason.
    Yet as time goes on and the same person repeated the same pattern, then it becomes clear to all that they are just playing silly buggers.

    If someone is using multiple sockpuppets on one thread then they richly deserve everything aimed at them.
    If someone just repeatedly cut and pastes and then they are going to get nothing but stick. Same goes if someone gets all passive-aggressive or do the royal flounce or starts into special pleading or doing a tu quoque etc.

    Atheism has become more vocal over the past few decades.
    It’s become much more successful and popular.
    Yet the arguments that are put forth are not very strange or new.
    Nor has it has become more polite or conciliatory.
    It’s most well know champions are not known for being very “touchy-feely”.
    Yet atheism as entered a new era and people are casually discussing it like never before.

    The mollycoddling days are well and truly over.
    There’s a time and a place not to be a dick but there is also a time and a place where you should indeed be a dick.

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  30. Richard Christie

    Pat speaks for me on this
    Your faith is a joke:

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  31. I find this post to be ridiculously hypocritical. I suppose the only rational response is mockery, since the OP is a random Gish gallop

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  32. This gnu atheist finds that religions are the emotional and intellectual scams of the ages!
    And how could this God allow people to do evil in His name,ah, but then the Shoah occurred, and that means, He cannot exist, because that would mean that He is no better than Yahweh who states that He is the author of good and- evil and does evil, disqualifying Him from being God, but then again no sane God would allow evil whatsoever as Fr. Meslier’s the problem of Heaven, the corollary of the logical problem from evil procliams!
    So ever mock stupidity!
    Google the problem of Heaven, now a major argument itself!
    http:// fathermeslier.posterous.com

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  33. Pingback: Are scientists hostile to religion? | Open Parachute

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