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Do Americans Still Dislike Atheists?

Theists are stupid, say atheistsThe answer is: Americans hate atheists just as much as they hate theists. Residents of these grand United States had always disliked prigs of any stripe and are not shy about saying so.

What riles is not a man’s theology or the lack of it, but the way that man non-humorously and forcefully pushes his belief on another. When a zealot, in the manner of an insurance salesman behind on his quota, says you are a fool or a dupe for not thinking as he does, it’s only natural to want to see that man’s tongue stung by fire ants.

Take the academic philosopher Daniel Dennett, a leading proselytizer of atheism—a fellow not entirely unrepresentative of that breed. This tenured gentleman says that a mother teaching her daughter to believe in God is “child abuse.” He doesn’t mean Bible reading is akin to abuse, but it is abuse actually. Now I ask you, if a pollster queried you about your fondness for this man, what would you say?

Gregory Pauland and Phil Zuckerman, both academic sociologists, fret that you might not like Dennett. Even worse, they feel your dislike would violate Dennett’s “rights” in some vague sense. In the Washington Post the pair wonder if American’s “knee-jerk dislike of atheists [is] warranted”.

After all, there’s plenty to love about atheists:

A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers…

An unfortunate injury to which many professors are prone is selective deafness: academics can hear what others are saying but the words which issue forth from their own mouths and pens fail to be registered. This sad malady is the natural consequence of lecturing too many snoozing students and writing too many unread papers. If academics actually listened to themselves, they would go crazy.

This disease has struck our pair with force. Consider their statement that “research reveals” atheists are “more ethical” when it comes to considering the death penalty, gay marriage, “environmental degradation,” and so forth.

If they would have been able to read what they wrote, they would have realized that their statement implies that there is only one indisputably correct answer to each of these questions. They assumed that the (politically) correct positions are so well known to readers that the positions need not be given. Do all atheists concur on the subject of “environmental degradation”?

Atheists are better people:

As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy. They tend to raise their children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule. They are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric. They value freedom of thought.

Gosh, what cads theists must be, what rustic rubes! Why would anybody want to be one of these things when they could be an atheist? Atheists are brainy, rational, scientific. The kind of folk that know how to pronounce “existential”, people who are careful while rutting to not spread disease nor their distrustful genes; the kind of intelligent beings that look upon patriotism with the disdain that that outmoded concept deserves.

Most importantly, atheists value freedom of thought. Dennett’s grip of freedom is so strong that he preaches prison for parents who drag their offspring to church.

Why, given their puissant philosophical purity and obvious ethical superiority, aren’t atheists loved and acknowledged as leaders in thought and deed? Pauland and Zuckerman think that it’s because, “Psalm 14 claimed that atheists were foolish and corrupt, incapable of doing any good”, and that this notion stuck.

Further, surveys “find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists” and that Americans “intrinsically suspect” atheists. “Negative stereotypes of atheists are alive and well. Yet like all stereotypes, they aren’t true”.

Here, as Bertie Wooster might have said, is where our pair have made their bloomer. For stereotypes are almost always true. It is the explanations about stereotypical behavior that are often false. As Steven Goldberg1 has shown, “Stereotypes reflect a population’s nearly always correct observation that certain groups exhibit certain temperamental or behavioral tendencies that set them apart from the rest of the population.”

Atheists aren’t disliked because of their philosophy. They are disliked because the most vocal of them (like the unknown artist responsible for today’s graphic) aren’t likable.

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1Steven Goldberg: When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe is False, 1991. Prometheus Books. Buffalo, New York. p. 151.

39 thoughts on “Do Americans Still Dislike Atheists? Leave a comment

  1. Besides articles like yours, there are plenty of reasons people project delusional evils and anti social behavior aspects on to atheists. Atheists aren’t liked because that’s been drilled in to people’s heads from day one. Go into any sermon on any day of the week, and you will hear someone saying that the non-believers are the most vile.

    Perhaps if you had been lied about your entire life, if sitting Presidents question your patriotism, or if you are part of the one group its ok to mock, then yes. Maybe you would come off as cranky every once in a while.

    Sorry, but it’s hard to be nice to someone who ends an article pretty much broad swiping all atheists. If someone concluded an article by saying some people that fit your description are “unlikeable”, well how would YOU respond?

  2. Important

    Earl,

    The fallacy you make is in supposing my argument is that if most atheists aren’t likable, then most theists are. This is obviously false, and I even imply it is false at the beginning of my piece. Too, it is no answer to say that atheists should be liked because most theists are unlikable.

    It is irrelevant whether most theists are disliked or disagreeable. The only question before us is why most atheists are disliked.

  3. The answer is: Americans hate atheists just as much as they hate theists.

    Ahh yes, the law of “making stuff up just because I can”.

    You are, of course, projecting your own feelings towards the whole mass of americans. But you aren’t that.

    So, try to be a little humbler and just say that you dislike atheists just as you dislike theists.

    Now I ask you, if a pollster queried you about your fondness for this man, what would you say?

    … and what has fondness to do with proposing a controversial judgement about children indoctrination? Many people have strange beliefs, and dare to profess them. Why would we hate them for it? If this was the case, then I’d say that you’d be easily hated. Specially by me, since you seem to have this strange ability to really say silly things from my point of view. But, alas, I don’t dislike you at all.

    Which is evidence, ironically, that you have stated another silliness here ;).

    blockquoteIf they would have been able to read what they wrote, they would have realized that their statement assumes that there is only one indisputably correct answer to each of these questions.

    While I fulyl agree with this sentiment and admit I had the exact same chuckle and yellow smile at the silly proclamation you are exposing here, it is also very ironic coming from someone who preaches that morality is indeed objective. And then, I meta-chuckle, ar ar ar.

    Atheists aren’t disliked because of their philosophy. They are disliked because the most vocal of them aren’t likable.

    This flies in the face of american history, which is somewhat longer than the current provocateurs’ moment of fame. So it’s a ridiculous statement without any justification. A religious belief, I might even add.

    And, if you had actually read or listened to Dennett, you’d probably find out that he’s a pretty decent and likable man, despite the controversial sound byte that you so cherry pick, and then sillily proclaim that he wants parents imprisoned.

    Why do certain people make these silly unwarranted claims? I have no clue. Why don’t you actually listen to what his proposals are, which involve nothing of the sort of imprisonement, but rather the inclusion of comparative religion in schools.

  4. Atheists aren’t disliked because of their philosophy. They are disliked because the most vocal of them aren’t likable.

    Well, I can say the same thing about the religious too. They are disliked not because of their philosophy. They are disliked because the most vocal of them aren’t likable.

    Most, if not all religion, is actually vile. It is the large congregation who bring their good virtues under its umbrella that accord religion its respectability, moderation and acceptability. What you say about academics is truer about religion and priests – we would all go mad if we were to listen to and follow religious precepts word-to-word.

    Dennett is actually quite unrepresentative of atheists, and, it is not clear at all that there is such a ‘breed’. If they do exist, then all of us belong in that ‘breed’. Which honest and honorable man would, in the present world, believe that a God exists? ‘God’ is well and truly ‘dead’.

  5. I read this as an attempt to separate people into opposing groups. Why do you do that? If there are atheists who do that, so? If there are theists who do that, so? Why do YOU do that?

  6. Earl,

    I don’t attend church, never did. I think my parents are christian, but I’m not sure, regardless they’re not the worship services kind. You could call me a theist in that I believe that the origin of all of this is beyond our understanding, but beyond that I don’t really care.

    I find many atheists as detestable as jehovah’s witnesses and vegans, simply because they’ve just got to educate you about their parroted and highly emotional philosophy that they themselves don’t even understand.

    It’s the “I’m special and you need to know about it” self-aggrandizing from the ones that wear their affiliations on their sleeve that grate.

  7. To unequivocally believe that there is no god is an act of faith.

    The vocal Atheist is absolutely as vile as the Evangelist. If you don’t believe what I believe, that is fine. Don’t jam my nose in it! Don’t tell me that I am going to Hell. And, at the same time, don’t tell me that I am an idiot because I believe that there is an order that is beyond my understanding.

  8. And the ‘The Captain Louis Renault Award’ (spring, 2011) goes to the group of liberal atheist social scientists who conducted the research proving that the liberal atheist subset of humanity positively reeks of general bonhomie and is the wellspring for the River of The Milk of Human Kindness.

    Bob Ludwick

  9. “To unequivocally believe that there is no god is an act of faith.”

    I have always failed to see the reasoning behind this statement. Even if we disregard the use of believe (instead of something like “the evidence suggests”), how is believing in the absence of something equivalent to or as faith-based as believing in the existence of something? Why is burden of proof thrown on the window on spiritual matters?

    As cliche as it is, I really don’t see how substituing any number of seemingly ridiculous things in place of “god” in the above quote changes the legitimacy of the argument. Is it an act of faith that I don’t believe ghosts exist? I guess to some extent it technically is since you can never unequivocally prove that ghosts don’t exist. But does it give reason to justify belief in ghosts? I don’t think so.

    I have no problem with the argument that believing in God is entirely faith-based and outside the empirical realm of science. I may disagree, but it is what it is. I do, however, have a problem with the argument that lack of belief or belief in non-existence is based on faith in the same way that belief is.

  10. FATAL ERROR: The stereotype of the atheist is very misleading — the current stereotype is based on an outspoken minority and not the silent majority masquerading as ‘non-atheist.’ Study that study of stereotypes and find the salient parts regarding stereotypes about sub-groups that exercise considerable effort at appearing as something else. Put another way, how accurate is the stereotype about those atheists that are perceived by those around them as Christians? Answer: there is no such stereotype as, under such circumstances, it cannot exist.

    Aethists are probably MUCH more prevalent in society than anyone realizes — like gays long ago, they conceal their disbelief & go along with the prevailing view. Consider the Tufts study, Preachers Who are Non-Believers: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP08122150.pdf

    Curiously, AETHISTS ARE, generally, MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT RELIGION IN GENERAL AND THE BIBLE IN PARTICULAR THAN BELIEVERS. PEW research demonstrated this: http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

    INTERESTING SOCIAL TRENDS:

    1. Emphasis on “Being a Christian/Believer” in the USA has shifted from faith consistent wit the very introspective focus of Christianity — introspection based on self-improvement relative to the theology to be more deserving of getting entrance into Heaven when the time comes for that (these basic values are indistinguishable from the basics of Buddhism)…to…mere “belief” in Jesus — what some call “free lunch salvation.” This latter emphasis on “believing” and then “getting saved/being saved” as the end-all is very common with the Mega-Churches. The lure of effortless salvation, with no strings attached (unlike exercising self-discipline & introspection to identify areas of weakness then actually working on becoming a better person in those areas — hard work) really draws in the donating crowds — donating, mind you, tax free money and lots of it. Its a pitch that really sells. It commonly manifests such that “believers” don’t even address or acknowledge expectations of self-conduct, they’re merely content to ask, “Are you a Christian?” and anyone answering “yes” is instantly accepted into the club. What typically follows are vapid discussion about the faith & how wonderful the benefits are, often how wonderful they are, etc. Anyone working with or otherwise subjected to this ilk are consistently impressed with thier hypocrisy. These are the fan clubs of Jesus that aethists often point to.

    2. Tremendous emphasis on literal Genesis–a 6,000/10,000 year old Earth, etc. and some very pronounced anti-science views & positions. This has real political implications, especially for elementary school curricula. Thing is, why does this matter at all? If one truly has faith & truly has belief, science, evolution, etc. should not be a concern — science, including evolution, isn’t at odds with the Catholic Church/Catholic Doctrine. But it is with very sizable group of Young-Earth Fundamentalists. But Why? The answer is, from a psychological standpoint really clear: that group in general has latched onto religion, a very particular set of beliefs (varied as the various groups/churchs involved) to compensate for a LACK OF BELIEF. PROOF IS FOR DOUBTERS. What we are seeing in society, and this is predominantly a USA social phenomena, is a sizable group of “believers” that are in denial about thier agnosticism/atheism, or at least leaning in that direction. Its what in psychology/psychiatry is called a “Reaction Formation” — emphasis on doing/believing the opposite of one’s internal conflicts. Its a clear pshychological defense mechanism. Analogy: Recall ‘Ted Haggard’s’ (name/spelling) anti-gay sermons; seemed like excessive interest in that theme to many…and lo & behold the truth comes to light he was gay & having gay affairs all along. Same thing [psychologically], just a different topic.

    What this latter trend illustrates is that a sizeable population of Christians/Believers are not really Christians–rather, they are people that agree with certain Christian principles & values while blissfully unaware of their own shortfalls with actually adhering to those values. “Belief in/of” has usurped “actual practice of” those behaviors & values. They are the “luke warm” Jesus-vomit variety.

  11. Tom M,
    “how is believing in the absence of something equivalent to or as faith-based as believing in the existence of something?”

    You really don’t know? See (2) and (3) below. Perhaps you are confusing belief of non-existence with assumption of non-existence. You do know there is a position between theist and atheist, don’t you? Why should atheism be the default position?

    be·lief
    n.
    1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as strong as ever.
    2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of what happened defies belief.
    3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.

  12. Ken says: “Aethists are probably MUCH more prevalent in society than anyone realizes.”

    I have assumed that at least half, and probably closer to 80%, of the people I meet have no particular religion.

  13. If nothing else is proven today, I’m noticing an abnormally large sampling of atheists participating in this conversation with stunted senses of humor. Not all, mind you. 🙂 But – and this is important – so do most of the theists. 🙂

    One other catbird seat comment. Pastor Briggs frequently preaches to quasi-statisticians, “You are much too certain of your assumptions”, or words to that effect. I think his credo also applies here.

  14. Those pesky atheist gloaters. At least they are not fence sitting agnostic peaceniks who refuse to fight in this great war of monism vs dualism.

    On Dennett, I broadly agree with his work on compatibilist free will. Where we differ is that I wouldn’t normally call determinism, or determinism plus a few quantum random number generators, freedom. That said, even if we are bound by physics to choose the path we take, we still need to decide what’s for dinner, and that’s no less a free choice from not having a dualist soul or miracle to guide us.

  15. Gregory Paul and and Phil Zuckerman

    These guys are not to be trusted as rational, objective purveryors of truth…Both continue to rely on Paul’s dodgey, badly done research to try and score points in a culture war

    The following posts did a good job of dissecting Paul’s research
    http://magicstatistics.com/2007/01/13/gregory-paul-shot-down-again/
    http://www.verumserum.com/?p=25

    Dennet (and Dawkins) claim raising children in religion is child abuse, but both are actually the abusers…if you consider that the health, wellbeing, lifespan of believers is consistently found to be higher for regular Christian church attenders, then NOT raising children in the Christian faith is essentially harming their well being.

  16. Nomen
    Maybe I should have phrased that differently. Obviously what I wrote could be taken to mean that those who believe in God are dishonest and dishonorable, which is not what I wanted to say.

    I’ve always thought about this-are we in a particularly ‘godless’ period in history, or have there always been a substantial number of people who do not believe in God, in previous periods in history as well?

  17. “how is believing in the absence of something equivalent to or as faith-based as believing in the existence of something?”

    It’s a bit like my hobby of not collecting stamps…

  18. DAV-

    I’m assuming you mean agnosticism towards God should be the default position, in which case I agree. I am technically agnostic towards belief in God (as most atheists probably are, even Dawkins “technically” is), but it’s really only a philosophical basis. Inductive reasoning can only make you so certain, never entirely. I’m technically agnostic about ghosts. Hell, I’m technically agnostic about everything!

    But my agnostic position which (to dichotomize the situation) leans towards atheism is not based on faith in the same way that another (technically agnostic) person’s position might lean towards theism, is it?

  19. TOM M – completely agree. It is the absence of faith that defines atheism and separates it from being considered a religion (religion obviously being narrowly defined here as a set of beliefs based on faith). I, personally, think that ‘lack of belief in a deity’ and ‘belief in the non-existence of a deity’ are surely two entirely different things. I suffer (and it is in many ways an affliction) from a lack of belief in lots of ‘conventional wisdoms’ and ‘scientific certainties’ because I am sceptical of the processes through which the conclusions were reached. This is certainly not the same as saying I ‘believe’ in the opposite of those conclusions. Just as theists define themselves by their beliefs, I like to define myself by my lack of beliefs; so making a faith-based decision to believe there is no God would be hypocritical. Rather, I simply have no belief in a God until such time as irrefutable evidence for a deity is found. This is not agnosticism, as I have no doubts about what it is I don’t believe in. 🙂

    I used to be a fervent atheist until I realised that a lot of fervent atheists are sadistic bullies who like to make their inferiors squirm. Now I keep my non-beliefs to myself.

  20. I’d be interested to see a quote of Dennett stating that “a mother teaching her daughter to believe in God is “child abuse.””. Could you provide one?

  21. I am atheist .
    I am that probably because I was born in circumstances and in a country where religion was considered at best as an abuse and at worst as a crime .
    Kind of circumstances where the quasiDennets and metaDennets have the power .
    Then when I grew up I never felt an overwhelming need to become religious so I stayed a default atheist .
    .
    However my wife is not atheist and her uncle is priest .
    From my observations which are limited to Europe and are based on a sample of several thousands of atheists and non atheists (to 95% christians) , those populations are really clearly different .
    .
    Some of these differences .
    – non atheists believe in something bigger than them while atheists believe that they are the end of all things . So modesty is more often found with non atheists than atheists .
    – non atheists have explicit and well defined rules while atheists choose their rules according to their convenience . So I found that it is easier to trust a non atheist because he is mostly predictable . I am not talking here “laws” , I am talking a set of guidelines for personnal behaviour .
    For instance a study I read (and personnal experience) show that juvenile criminality is more frequent in monoparental families . It also makes sense to me . Statistically a non atheist considering the “sacred” character of marriage is then on the good side of this equation . Just an example among many .
    – If I had to make my personnal Top 10 of the kindest people I ever met , they would be without exception non atheists . Symetrically the Top 10 of the meanests bastards I ever met would be without exception atheists . Of course then there are the thousands in between where it is more balanced . But the distribution on the tails also says something about the properties of the sample .
    .
    Especially this last point relates to William’s topic – the likability .
    Yes in my personnal experience I like (and trust) non atheists more than atheists despite the fact that I am myself atheist .
    I find that paradoxally I share most values with the christians with the exception of the one (they consider) most important , the existence of God and the transcendental character of the Bible .
    Actually I might believe in some “ultimate” being/principle transcending Man but I can’t believe in the formalised anthropomorphic version given by the condensed historical layers called religion .
    .
    I asked one day the uncle of my wife if I was going to Hell because I was not baptised and didn’t believe in God .
    And he told me “I know you for a good but mistaken man . However God will weigh your true soul infinitely better than I could ever do .”
    So … wait and see 😉

  22. You know you’ve won the argument when the ones who are arguing against you quote a frakking dictionary to prove “their” point.

    They don’t care about reality, only what dictionaries tell them about what words mean. For them, atheists aren’t people to be listened to what they actually believe or disbelieve. “Atheists” are people who are defined by a dictionary.

    What intellectual bankruptcy.

  23. I’d be interested to see a quote of Dennett stating that “a mother teaching her daughter to believe in God is “child abuse.””. Could you provide one?

    Of course not. It is well know the liberal use that Mr Briggs has with this thing called “truth”…

  24. TomVonk, that is a series of too much BS for me to pass on it. It is riddled with non sequiturs, full blown lies and romanticizations of your own personal anecdotes. I’m sure you want to appease your beloved wife, and by no means I would ever go against that, but if you really expect an half intelligent man to believe in a single word that you sprouted there, fat chance.

  25. A short time in google turned up this site, with this Dennett quote (emphasis mine):

    On the one hand, many declare, there is the sacred and inviolable right of life…On the other hand, many of the same people declare that, once born, the child loses its right not to be indoctrinated or brainwashed or otherwise psychologically abused by those parent, who have the right to raise the child with any upbringing they choose, short of physical torture, Let us spread the value of freedom throughout the world-but not to children, apparently

    …which is cited as: Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell – Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Penguin Group, 2006), p. 326

    I think a fair reading of that could have Dennett saying that bringing up a child to be religious is psychological abuse.

    Some of the responses here remind me of what happens on Scott Adams’ blog. He often refers to this as people, “commenting on what they imagined [he] said.” Briggs said that many outspoken atheists are jerks, and that may be why people tend to say that they don’t like atheists.

    As a self described atheist (TMI: raised Catholic, but somewhere along the line, I lost my faith in the beliefs), I, too find Dawkins and similar unlikeable, similarly to, say, Pat Robertson.

  26. Debunk,

    Besides Matt’s quote, there is this source (Freethinker), which contains that same quotation and an interview.

    He also gave a written “advice column” to the Washington Post, in which he said (full article):

    I also look forward to the day when pastors who abuse the authority of their pulpits by misinforming their congregations about science, about public health, about global warming, about evolution must answer to the charge of dishonesty. Telling pious lies to trusting children is a form of abuse, plain and simple. If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not clergy for making their living off unsupported claims of miracle cures and the efficacy of prayer?

    I emphasize: according to Dennett preaching to children “is a form of abuse, plain and simple.”

    Richard “Arrest That Pope!” Dawkins makes the same call, according to the speech on the website “God’s Delusion“.

    And let’s not forget the insufferable “brights”, that enlightened group of thinkers of which Dennett is a prominent and outspoken member.

    Incidentally, and although it is strictly irrelevant, I have no love for the Pat Robertson’s of the world. Begging for “tithes” on television is reprehensible.

  27. Regarding teaching/preaching to children the wrong thing consititutes “abuse” consider the brief article, “Teens Get Failing Grade on Understanding Climate Change,” from LiveScience, a copy is at:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110418/sc_livescience/teensgetfailinggradeonunderstandingclimatechange

    Note the terms & emphasis used there at the outset: “Only about half of teens accurately BELIEVE [emphasis added] climate change is occurring, …” An ostensibly science-based news source doesn’t address this particular topic scientifically, if they did they’d have written something like:

    ‘Only about half of teens accurately understand the mechanisms of [or accuratly understand] how climate change is occurring…”

    That “discipline” of science is couched in terms used by religious groups. That & more is intrinsic to that particular arena unlike others.

  28. Begging for “tithes” on television is reprehensible.

    So it’s okay if you say this, but if it’s the “insuferable brights” then it’s not?

    And why oh why is it so criminous to propose that child indoctrination (in which many cases we do see parents warning their children of the burning fire of hell, BTW) is a form of abuse?

    We do already acknowledge that psychological abuse is a real thing. It does exist. If you tell your children to fear and obey an invisible boogey man that is always watching him, otherwise they will go to hell, I’d classify that as a clear psychological abuse of your children. And this stuff happens.

    Why do you shrug yourself in these matters, pretend that this is a non issue? Is it that you hate the “brights” so much that you just wipe these things under the carpet and hope no one will notice it?

    Personally, and I can’t speak for Dennett obviously, but personally I do agree with that sentiment (so hate me at will!), while at the same time having nothing against parents who do teach their kids about their religion, if they don’t use it in the way I described it above, like the fear of hell, etc.

    The devil is in the details. But you want none of it, you just want to hate the guy.

  29. Alright, I’ll bite.

    Religious instruction is a form of mental abuse. But it is the kind of stupidity that one will grow up and see through eventually (if you keep your mind in working condition).

    So what I cannot truly figure out is: why does Dennett get so worked up? Why this kind of altruism from him? Why does he not mind his own business and go his way?

    I watched a video where Dennett goes on and on about the genetic reverse engineering of religious beliefs. Yes, very nice. But not one time does he mention that this problem has more than admirably, perhaps even conclusively tackled by Nietzsche in The Geneology of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil. When I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, all I could think was – ‘what is this guy going on and on about?’.

    My conclusions is, that ‘bright’ as he is, Dennett is not perhaps the brightest man to convey his own insight and it is anyway, not an easy thing to do. Dennett combines in his vision, an odd expection from society, from existing forms of social orthodoxy and with a yearning for religious/theologic radicalism. He expects parents, teachers and other educators to perform their assigned roles in society, as they would in a Godly society, but yet inform and educate their children about the non-existence of God. He manages to do this so passionately, that anyone violating this rule is indulging in ‘child abuse’.

  30. I agree with Dennett insofar as this quote:

    If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not …

    except that I would include Dennett and other Global Warming Hoaxers in the criminal bunko artist category.

    If atheists are such rational realists, why is that when you inspect them carefully they turn out to harbor bizarre beliefs, such as Global Warming Paranoid Delusionism, that invariably include (are based on) reprehension for the human race?

    The one commandment given by Jesus was to love thy neighbor, and that’s the one the atheists hate the most. They hate their neighbors and are proud of it. Their situational ethics always end up with mass murder of some variety. They hate Christians for not hating the human race like the rational [sarc] atheists do.

    Child abuse!!! Atheists have no problem with man/woman/child abuse. They are dedicated to abusing their fellow men/women/children. They have no ethical constraints. They celebrate immorality. That’s what atheism is all about: guilt-free anti-humanism. You won’t find atheists in church, foxholes, or serving real charities. Atheism and charity are opposites. Note that Marxists are atheists, and then look at the mass slaughters with millions of victims committed by Marxists. There is a reason for that. I bet dollars to donuts that Dennett is an avowed Marxist, too.

  31. Mike D. –

    Good God, talk about nasty generalizations and unfairly attributing stereotypes…

    Unless your entire post was tongue in cheek.

    The only (seemingly) valid generalization is that atheists are probably far more likely to give credence to AGW…but I think you’ll find that left/right is a better way to separate the two camps rather than atheist/Christian.

  32. Doug M, above stated he thought roughly 80% of people have no particular religion.

    I suspect that this poll may give a rough indication of what percentage of Americans are religious, what percentage are atheists, and what percentage are agnostic:

    http://www.wsoctv.com/osama-bin-laden/27773445/detail.html

    “So do Americans think that the founder and leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network is now in hell?

    According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday, 61 percent of the public says yes, with 1 in 10 saying no and nearly a quarter unsure.”

    From that poll, I’d guess at least 61% of Americans are religious, at most 10% are atheist, and the rest, 29%, are unsure- agnostic if you will. So the actual figures are probably closer to 30% than Doug M’s 80% estimate- at least in the US.

    I say “at least 61%, because I happen to know some religious people who don’t believe in hell, some who don’t believe evil doers will be consigned to hell until “judgment day”-
    they’d answer “no” to the above poll question even though they’re religious.

  33. Mike D.,
    Just FYI, I am an atheist and yet have managed to escape the clutches of the CAGW crowd, do not hate the human race, have pretty good relations with my neighbours, have not yet committed mass murder, do have ethical constraints, like to sing and dance and eat good food and celebrate lots of things but don’t remember celebrating immorality (whatever that means), am a regular (monthly) volunteer shopping for and cooking up breakfast for homeless in my town and do many other volunteer jobs like coaching basketball, soccer, etc., and finally, am a free-markets kind of guy. What it that you’re batting there as regards atheist me – 0 for 8?

    Let me try one of those generalizations on and see if I do any better. It stems from the discussion here about how happy we should be that the USA managed to kill Osama Bin Laden. In very broad terms, some people celebrated the killing and some people did not. Do you think knowing whether somebody else was a theist or an atheist would allow us to make a better guess as to which camp that person fell into?

  34. I am an atheist at least I think I am, apart from when Mum is ill and then I have a quiet word, under my breath with that which I don’t really believe in. Thankfully the Warfarin kicked in and she was fine.

    Celebrity atheists, I agree are dicks.

  35. “Most importantly, atheists value freedom of thought. Dennett’s grip of freedom is so strong that he preaches prison for parents who drag their offspring to church. ”

    Liar.

  36. I’ll be happy to believe the true theist religion, so if all the different theists could be so kind as to prove their variant is true.

  37. Diaz
    .
    TomVonk, that is a series of too much BS for me to pass on it. It is riddled with non sequiturs, full blown lies and romanticizations of your own personal anecdotes. I’m sure you want to appease your beloved wife, and by no means I would ever go against that, but if you really expect an half intelligent man to believe in a single word that you sprouted there, fat chance.
    .
    You just made my point thanks .
    It never ceases to amaze me how cheaply agressive and vulgar some people can be .
    If William wanted to have a good example of what dislikable means , then the quote above does perfectly the job .
    One can imagine the guy slavering all over his keyboard to vent his hate of everything and everybody . Especially if it goes against his primitive gut feelings which keep overriding his brain .
    .
    However what ellicits this comment is that the trash you wrote is bottomlessly stupid .
    I guess that you don’t even realize how stupid and uneducated you appear .
    How the heck can a personal account of my experience with this matter contain “full blown lies” ?
    And what about this drunken babbling about “romanticization” and “non sequiturs” (you have obviously no clue what that means) ?
    So just to make sure , yes I expect that any intelligent man understands that our opinions and behaviours are shaped by personnal experiences and I didn’t claim to have done anything else than to give an on topic account of my personal experience .
    Which is worth anybody else’s .
    But no , an only half intelligent man or worse , somebody of your hateful kind , has no chance to get it .

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