CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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pie charts from Pew study

In the late 90s, atheists began making the argument that less than a majority of scientists believe in God. In addition to this they argued that the National Academy of Sciences had only about 5% members who believed in God. All of this was due to the publication of a 1998 article entitled "Leading Scientists Still reject God." In that article, the author got hold of a survey done in 1914 by a guy named James Henry Luba and Nature Magazine noticed that the stats had not changed. So the conclusion that scientists are such great priests of knowledge, if they don't believe in God there must not be one.

Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].
In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater" scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents. (Nature, ibid)

Atheists made the most of this since Luba echoed the fallacious conclusions they themselves drew from the data. "Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and experience" (ibid). Of course this is fallacious, scientists don't have any special knowledge that would tell them God doesn't exist or that he does. It was Nature that polled the NAS. One of the things that I argued at the time was that the questions were rigged to slant the discussion toward the fundamentalist concept of God portrayed in a literal understanding of the Bible. I argued that if you factored in a more liberal concept of God belief among scientists would go way up.

There are now several studies or surveys that reflect this assumption and a new set of findings changes the ball game. Several studies:

(1) Trow, Martin and Associates. 1969. 35% of scientists do not believe God exists. This is a lot more than the general population but a lot less than the over 50% promised by Luba and Nature. It also raises the question if the Luba and/or Nature weren't confusing the issue by assuming that "un-churched" or "non-affiliated, no religious affiliation" means the same as don't believe in God. It does not. Over and over again that distinction is made clear in the better studies.

(Carnegie Commission National Survey of Higher Education: Faculty Study [computer file]. Berkeley: University of California at Berkeley, Survey Research Center [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: University Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor].

(2)Elaine Ecklund, and Christopher Scheitle: Disbelief in the existence of God was not correlated with any particular area of expertise:

Disbelief in God by Academics4
Discipline %
Physics 40.8
Chemistry 26.6
Biology 41.0
Overall 37.6
Sociology 34.0
Economics 31.7
Political Science 27.0
Psychology 33.0
Overall 31.2


(tabel is from GodandScience.org article)

That contradicts the findings of nature which had most unbelief in hard sciences (physics and biology) and more belief in 'soft' or social sciences. Elaine Ecklund, and Christopher Scheitle" questioned 2,198 faculty members in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and psychology from 21 elite U.S. research universities.4 Overall, 75% of professors contacted completed the survey."

Euklund and associates also found that in a sample of 21 major universities only 15% of scientists found that science and religion were always at odds. Euklund's findings show that factors which lead scientists to be unbelieving are not usually related to science but to personal aspects of their lives, such as being emigrants, or being raised in atheist households. It's a cultural thing. Think about it, if a kid is bright he wants to excel in the things to which he is exposed, he going to be more likely to go into a religious vacation if he's exposed to religion and less likely if he's form an unbelieving background. The odds are a bright kid will go into science rather than business if his temperament doesn't lead him/her into liberal arts.

"Instead, particular demographic factors, such as age, marital status, and presence of children in the household, seem to explain some of the religious differences among academic scientists... Most important, respondents who were raised in religious homes, especially those raised in homes where religion was important are most likely to be religious at present."
3) Pew Forum on religion in pubic life: (2009) 51% of scientists believe in some form of diety


According to the poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. By contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power, according to a survey of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July 2006. Specifically, more than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) say they believe in God and 12% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. Finally, the poll of scientists finds that four-in-ten scientists (41%) say they do not believe in God or a higher power, while the poll of the public finds that only 4% of Americans share this view.
The finding here totally contradicts Luba and the atheist argument. They would have it that more than half don't believe. It's much less than the general public but much more than Luba thought.

A surprising finding is that medical doctors tend to be very religious.

The first study of physician religious beliefs has found that 76 percent of doctors believe in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife. The survey, performed by researchers at the University and published in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 90 percent of doctors in the United States attend religious services at least occasionally, compared to 81 percent of all adults. Fifty-five percent of doctors say their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine.
These results were not anticipated. Religious belief tends to decrease as education and income levels increase, yet doctors are highly educated and, on average, well compensated. The finding also differs radically from 90 years of studies showing that only a minority of scientists (excluding physicians) believes in God or an afterlife.
“We did not think physicians were nearly this religious,” said study author Farr Curlin, Instructor in Medicine and a member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University. “We suspect that people who combine an aptitude for science with an interest in religion and an affinity for public service are particularly attracted to medicine. The responsibility to care for those who are suffering and the rewards of helping those in need resonate throughout most religious traditions.”

In the general popularization belief my decline with increases in education but this is not so among the most educated. Professors across the board (all subjects) reflect belief in God similar to that of the General Population. My own explanation is that people who get degrees and go into non-acadmeic jobs know just enough to be dangerous, they don't continue the life of thought they know the old image of atheism was an intellectual image but they don't keep up with learning and thinking as professors do.

Tim Radford writes an article for the Guardian (sept 2003) on how science doesn't have all the answers, give several examples of scientists who have religious beliefs:

Colin Humphreys is a dyed-in-the-wool materialist. That is, he is professor of materials science at Cambridge. He believes in the power of science to explain the nature of matter. He believes that humans - like all other living things - evolved through the action of natural selection upon random mutation. He is also a Baptist. He believes in the story of Moses, as recounted in the biblical book of Exodus. He believes in it enough to have explored Egypt and the Holy Land in search of natural or scientific explanations for the story of the burning bush, the 10 plagues of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea and the manna that fell in the wilderness -and then written a book about it.
"I believe that the scientific world view can explain almost anything," he says. "But I just think there is another world view as well."
Tom McLeish is professor of polymer physics at Leeds. Supermarket plastic bags are polymers, but so are spider's silk, sheep's wool, sinew and flesh and bone. His is the intricate world of what is, and how it works, down to the molecular level. He delights in the clarity and power of science, precisely because it is questioning rather than dogmatic. "But the questions that arise, and the methods we use to ask them, can be traced back to the religious tradition in which I find myself. Doing science is part of what it means in that tradition to be human. Because we find ourselves in this puzzling, extraordinary universe of pain and beauty, we will also find ourselves able to explore it, by adopting the very successful methods of science," he says.
Russell Stannard is now emeritus professor of physics at the Open University. He is one of the atom-smashers, picking apart the properties of matter, energy, space and time, and the author of a delightful series of children's books about tough concepts such as relativity theory. He believes in the power of science. He not only believes in God, he believes in the Church of England. He, like Tom McLeish, is a lay reader. He has con tributed Thoughts for the Day to Radio 4, those morning homilies on the mysteries of existence. Does it worry him that science - his science - could be about to explain the whole story of space, time matter and energy without any need for a Creator? "No, because a starting point you can have is: why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there a world? Now I cannot see how science could ever provide an answer," he says.
Radford expresses surprise that so many scientists believe in God, even with the old figures that gave atheists such solace. The figure he uses is the outdated 4 in 10. We have to keep in mind atheism is not a rational choice made by thinking machines who feel nothing. It's an emotional choice made by people with low self esteem. They need to put themselves up by putting Christians down. They can't say they hate God, even though they hate themselves and thus they must hate at least the idea of a creator, so the next best thing is to hate those who believe in God. It's very important for them emotionally to believe that they are smarter and that all intelligent people validate their world view. The atheist ideology suggests that science is a priesthood of knowledge and scientists are the only people who know anything. These are not rational analysis based upon empirical data from studies, but articles of faith.



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Mural by Jose Clemente Orozco "Christ Destroying
his Cross," 1943

This post comes under the heading of "what I want to tell atheists positively about Jesus." I started it back when I posted that one about Jesus and Dylan. It's based upon my outrage or dismay (I should say) over learning that so many atheists don't admire or respect Jesus as a historical figure. I re-posting it because after reading it again it seems pretty good.It's also in response to the statements by Weekend Fisher.

I have been deeply moved by Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco's (1883-1949) painting of Jesus chopping down his own cross. The Christ of this mural prostrate is drawn in a very primitive style. Christ is not the Pascal lamb but refuses his destiny and will not go to the cross. The painting is disturbing because the first impression is that of blasphemy. Is the artist mocking Christ? Is he rejecting faith at its most sacred level? Orozco is not trying to blaspheme Jesus, nor is he denying the atonement. I find this painting very moving not our any rejection of Christ’s sacrifice or any desire to defame the doctrine of atonement, but because for me it says Jesus would, weather as the son of God, or if he was only a man in history, refuse to be the poster boy for institutional hypocrisy, Jesus would NOT allow himself to be used as symbol to sanctify the institution as it oppresses the poor and ignores the needs of the people. I believe that the real Jesus of history is both the Son of God and the man of history, and he does refuse this role. The real Jesus was a revolutionary of a most remarkable kind. Often we hear that Jesus is the great ethical teacher, and he claimed to be the Messiah, and savior of the world. We usually understand his ethics as an addendum, something any self respecting son of God would be required to have, but mainly irrelevant to his claims of godhood. Jesus ethics were far from being an addendum, however, they were the weaponry and major battle tactics of his amazing revolution. Politics and religion were intertwined in first century Hebrew society. Jesus’ ethics and his Messianic claims work together to fulfill his ultimate mission of world saving and together they make for one the most unique revolutions in human history.

It is not so strange to think of Jesus as a revolutionary. There were even Priests in Latin America in the 60’s, such as Camillio Tores but joined Che and became gorilla fighters. But Jesus the man of history was a true revolutionary. The region from which Jesus is said to have sprung is known as “the Galilee.” The Galilee was a hot bed of revolution, filled with uprisings and tensions. The Romans regarded it as the seat of Zealotry where the real revolutionaries were based. Just four miles from Jesus’ family farm “Nazareth” is a major metropolis known as Serapes. Just four miles down the road Jesus would have had access to what was then modern sophistication, political unrest and new ideas. Nor did he have to go to India to learn of traditions beyond his native prudential Judaism, the major trade route to India went right by his house,. That route lay on the plain of Megiddo where the end of the world is supposed to take place, the final battle between good and evil. Nazareth overlooks the plain of Megiddo and apparently the battle of Armageddon. All of these influences would have been at work in Jesus upbringing. Not to mention the fact that he was a descendant of David, born in Bethlehem and named as the high priest of Zechariah (Joshua = Jesus) who is linked to the Messiah (Zechariah 4).

Jesus revolution, however, was a bit odd. He did not lead an army nor did he command his followers to fight or pick up weapons. His was a non-violent revolution in the mode of Gandhi and that is where his ethics play a major role in backing his mission. The role of the Messiah in the society of Israel was that of political liberator, but it took on overtones of cosmic proportion. In the book of Isaiah we see the concept of Messiah first begins to be introduced, and is then back read into previous statements such as Moses admonition that “a prophet like me will come” and even God’s word to Eve “I will place enmity between the serpent and your seed.” The Messianic kingdom sketched out at the end of Isaiah is not the millennial kingdom of Christ’s post epochal reign on earth, but Israel after the return from the exile. By the second temple period and the time of Jesus, the concept had grown to almost divine proportions. The Messiah was to stand on the top of the temple and shout “Jerusalem your time at hand” the end of the world would ensue. The Messiah was to rise from the dead all of fallen Israel and for that reason he held the keys of life and death. The Jews did not see the Messiah as world redeemer; they did not see him as atoning sacrifice. These weren't entirely Christian innovations, they were foreshadowed at Qumran. But they weren't mainstream. The Jews certainly did not expect the Messiah to be crucified and raise from the dead.

Jesus was such a radical revolutionary, that is a "strange" different, unconventional one, that when his guys made noises about actually installing him on the throne the ran from them. That's because he knew, as everyone from the Galilee knew, the futility of trying to fight the Romans. The slaughter of the innocents in the book of Luke, is not recorded in history. Atheists are always quick to remind us of this. But it does not have to be recorded to have happened because that kind of thing happened all the time. Even a gathering as innocent as the sermon on the mount risked attack by Romans even though nothing provocative was being said. When they started talking about making Jesus king he slopped away and ran from them. Not because he lost his nerve, but because that would totally divert the people from his true purpose. Jesus has no intention of leading an armed revolt that was the opposite of what he had in mind. neither did he intend to pacify the people to accept pain and hardship with platitudes about pie in the sky. Was his program escapist? Was it just a personal nirvana with no touch stone in reality or responsibility to the world? It was not this ether. It was a practical and pragmatic system fro changing the nature of the world by changing the way people relate to each other. He accomplished this by taking people out of the world while keeping them in it.

In Jesus' system we live by the dictates of a higher citizenship, a world beyond this one ruled entirely by God. This is echoed in the model prayer he taught the disciples "thy kingdom come thy will be don't on earth, as it is in heaven." The device Jesus used for this trick of living by the rules of world while being physically in another, we the kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God was the essence of Jesus' message:



Mt 3:2
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."



atheists think Jesus was saying "If you don't believe in me you will go to hell." But he actually never says this. All the action is in the kingdom and the kingdom is the big deal. The coming of the kingdom Jesus makes out to be an immanent, immediate, almost emergency status event that will happen soon, and when it does, man is it a big thing!

Mt 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Mt 4:23
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Mr 1:15 - Show Context
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"





He never says the Kingdom is reward becasue you had the good sense to believe on him, but he does speak as though its the answer to all our troubles:



Mt 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



Most revolutionaries come to abolish the standing order, not impose a kingdom, one kingdom over another.It is within this context that he talks about the ethics and personal relationships and how to relate to people. This is not just some ad-on that's in addition to believing the right things, nor is it unrelated, but it is an outgrowth, a logical extension, one is the basis of the other. The Kingdom is coming. It's power is already here. We can be part of it now, because it has two aspects. This is "realized Eschatology" which was developed by the theologian C.H.Dodd; the kingdom has an "already" dimension" and a "not yet" dimension. We live in the kingdom now even as we are in the world. How we treat each other is an integral aspect of the kingdom.



Mt 5:20
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


Mt 7:21 - Show Context
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.



Jesus ethical and moral teachings may be the greatest ever recorded, of course that's a biased and culturally bound appraisal. But they are certainly among the greatest, and the leaders and theologians of other world religions laud him for his teachings and many of them try to claim him as their own; the Muslims, The Hindu, and the B'Hai. Yet is was not the originality of his moral thinking that makes him great; the Stoics and others said many of the same things. And yet there are certain factors which do make Jesus' teachings unique and worthy of particular attention above and beyond that of most if not all ethical teachers...

Let's use a crash course in Jesus' ethics as a means of understanding his values:

Beatitudes

The "beatitudes" that Jesus speaks in the Sermon on the mount indicate the value system out of which he worked. Blessed means "happy" but he is saying more than "happy are the peacemakers." In pronouncing them blessed he is saying basically 'these are the good guys' and indicates a natural Tao working through the divine economy to protect and vindicate those who live by such values. "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted;...meek will inherit the earth...those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled...merciful shown mercy...pure in heart will see God...peacemakers called sons of God...those persecuted for righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heave." (Matt.5:3-10)

This is the way, this is how to be, these are the values one should hold. This is basically what he is saying. Essentially these qualities are those of a righteous person, they are oriented around God as the primary value and love for the neighbor as the main manifestation of love for God. To mourn probably means repenting for the evil we have done, or at least being able to empathize with other, to care about the pain others. "poor in spirit" refers to real poor people made more explicit in Luke, but the poor in the Bible are the righteous poor who trust in God for their sustenance.

prioritize: Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God...

"Do not be anxious saying 'what shall we eat?' 'what shall we drink?' 'what shall we wear?' The Gentiles seek all fo these things and your heavnly Father knows that you need them all, but seek first his kingdom and his riaghteousness, and all these will be added unto you..." (Matt. 5:28-33)

prime directive: Golden Rule

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." ..Other religions, probably all, have similar injunctions, but I have not found has this qualifier making it a self-reflexive command.


Self-Reflexive nature

By placing the command in terms of one's own standard of well being, the command becomes an exhortation to "love the neighbor as you love yourself." No higher standard could be given, one does to himself only that which he/she most desires to be done. By placing the command in these terms one cannot refuse to come to the aid of anyone in need. We would all prefer that others come to our aid. If the command were stated negatively, "do not do unto others that which you would not have done to yourself" one could ignore the neighbor in need. If the command stopped at merely loving the enemy or the neighbor one could refuse to help. By placing it in these self reflexive terms it is made active. One must go out of his way to seek out the needy.

b) Categorical Imperative.

Kant's great ethical system the categorical imperative was based on the Golden Rule of Jesus.

3) Love for Enemies

If you love those who love and hate those who hate you even the Gentiles do that, but I say unto you love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you

matt 5-6....

4) Greatest commandment

Matt 22:35. "and one of them, a lawgiver, ask him a question to test him, 'teacher what is the greatest commandment?' ...37 "and he said to him ye shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first command,and the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commands depend the law and the prophets." (RSV).

Note: All legal regulations and striving of law keeping are summed up in love of God and love of neighbor. This shows that Jesus' ethics surpass the rule keeping stage and ascend to the highest level of conceptual morality, that of the ideal stage where actions are motivated by internalized principles. Moreover, by basing the second command upon love for the neighbor, but relating to love for self, it forms it's own second version of the categorical imperative. Note also if we love our neighbor as ourselves we are commanded to love ourselves, to rectify the self image in relation to reciprocal nature with others. At the same time, we cannot get off the hook by loving enemies any less (since even enemies are neighbors). Thus the will for the good of the other is indexed by our own will for our own good.

Psychological Motivations

Great Compassion


The compassion of Jesus can be seen in many of the stories. The woman caught in the act of adultery is taken before him and the mob wants to stone her. She has broken the law, she is worthy of death (accordion to that culture and that time). Jesus stoops and writes in the sand. We don't know what he wrote, but perhaps it was the names of those in the mob who had slept with her (they weren't being accused). He says "let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." There is the compassion he exhibited to the many people who implored him for healing, and he never refused anyone.We forget anyone else would have been running from those lepers and demoniac that he healed. The demoniac were dangerous, and the leapers thought contagious. But the also demonstrates a total lack of hypocrisy in being unafraid to associate with those who needed him most. When he was criticized for being in the company of drunkards and prostitutes; he merely made fun of the prudes and said, in affect "well, I didn't come to help those who are so well off (the self righteous people) but those who know they need help" There is no way to capture the greatness of Christ's compassion and moral teachings in one of these sub points, but I urge you to get a Bible and read the Gospels over and over, and with an open heart and you will see no greater compassion than that of Jesus Christ, and that of course is culminated in his sacrifice on the cross for our sins.

Greatest Sacrifice

He did lay down his life for the sins of the world. "Greater love hath no man than to give up his life for a friend," yet Jesus' died for everyone; and his own understanding of what he was doing was that he laid down his life as a "ransom for many." But it seems unlikely that his followers would enlarge upon his mission to this extent. Perhaps they could have enlarged upon his death o include the mission to Israel and it was Paul who expanded it to the rest of the world. But there is great likelihood that he understood himself to be doing something beneficial for all humanity. After all it was not Pauline Theology but the understanding of the Beloved Disciple of the fourth Gospel who puts into Jesus mouth the statement "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life."






Living as though we were in the kingdom now is the most radical move of any revolutionary program. We don't need to hurt anyone, we don't need to fight anyone. ;We just treat people the way God wants us to treat them, out of love. Over time like the mustard seed int he parable he told, the kingdom will grow into a mighty tree that will shade the world. Of course that brings up a sore spot. Some might suggest that has not happened. Others might suggest are still working on it. I think it's worked out much better than skeptical types are willing to admit. Of course the problem is the quasi religious types who think they can manipulate the truth for their devices, and the legalistic types who think they have to kiss up the quasi religious types or they aren't religious enough. While there's a long way to go we need to be cognizant of the fact that Christianity is more than just a social agenda and plan for living. The Kingdom of God is not just a social club or a political program it's a spiritual reality. What Jesus was offering was not just membership in heaven, but a heaven that starts now on earth and is manifested in the way we treat people.

Atheists are always coming up with little gimmicks. Anytime you trump them with real knowledge they get up set and find a gimmick. The Jesus myth theory was such a gimmick. Jesus was such a compelling figure and there is some decent evidence he rose from the dead, so to counter that they just pretend he never existed, and give it a little name and make up some pseudo intelligent sounding crap pertaining to it. The "default" and the "extraordinary evidence credo" these are all gimmicks atheists made up and they are passed off as pseudo official sounding quasi logical tactics that in actuality mean nothing.


The latest is the Courtier's reply. This is it:




I recently referred to the "Courtier's Reply", a term invented by PZ Myers to rebut the claims of believers who insist that their superstitious beliefs are ever so much more sophisticated than the simple version that Dawkins attacks.


PZ's response deserves much more publicity because it goes to the heart of the debate between rationalism and supersition. I'm going to post his original Courtier's Reply below (without permission, but I'm sure he'll understand) but before doing so I need to remind everyone about the original fairy tale [The Emperor's New Clothes].
This is a statement by a reductionist scientism king Larry Moran is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He's on a blog called Sand Walk.

So what this couriter's reply is saying is that if the sketpic says stupid things about theology and demonstrates that he knows nothin gabout it and the theist says "O your criticism is invalid because you don't understand what you are criticizing" then al lthe atheist has to do is say "that's the courtiers reply" and the theist is supposed to go "O my God, I've violated a law of logic!" and give up and stop believing in God. But in realty it's nto a log of logic, I never heard it in a logic class.It's not in a lgoic text book, and the menaing of it is silly. I'ts just saying 'You can't point out my ignorance of theology because I will not allow theology to have any kind of validity or importance and religous people may not not any sort of human dignity." That's all it's saying. It's nothing more than anti-intellectual stupidity.


Here is Myers statement about it:


The Courtier's Reply
by PZ Myers



I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.


Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.


Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.


Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.



In other words, knowledge of theological subjects is just plain bull shit and it doesn't matter if Dawkins doesn't understand it because it's not worth understanding. So it's not valid criticism of him to say that. Except the problem is, if he understood theology he would see that his criticisms are wrong. The criticisms he makes are almost always about fundamentalists views. Since he refuses to accept that there are other non fundamentalist types of theology, when you point it out he just says O that's ridiculous because all theology is crap so it doesn't matter--but if he knew that he might not make the criticisms becasue they don't apply. But it's not worthing knowing that. he's just reasoning in a cirlce.

Here's his logic:

Him: religion is evil superstiion because fundies believe X

Liberal: we don't beileve x

him: that doesn't matter becasue religion is all crap no matter what. so even if you don't believe the thing I say is crap you still your own crap that must be stupid because you are religious. I know it's stupid because religion is stupid. Of course that's based on the stuff that you don't believe but that doesn't matter.

Narrow minded anti-intellectual brinkman ship in a most unsophisticated manner.

A very emotionally immature atheist tried this on me recently. Here's how it went.

Brent: All religious people believe in big man in the sky.

Me: process theology doesn't believe in big man in the sky

Brent: that's nonsesne all religous people do so they mustt.

Me; you clearly don't know enoguh about theology to say that

Brent: Courteiers reply! Courtiers' replay!

Like some magic king'x X that's suppossed to mean something. Clearly it's stupid because they are only trying to dodge the fact that their criticisms are based upon things they don't understand and that don't apply. Its' an attempt to hide their ignorance. They are committing an informal fallacy with the use of this gimmick. It's called "ipsie dixit." It means "truth by stipulation." They are saying in effect "I simply stipulate that I will not allow you to have knowledge. AT this point on your knowledge is now void becasue I declare to be so, since it's religion and religion is stupid."

Again their reasoning is quite circular since the reasons they would give for reducing religion to superstition don't' apply to modern sophisticated theology, but the fact that it can be labeled "theology" and they don't even know what that means, they stipulate that it must be stupid. So even though their reasons don't apply they just demand that they must do so any way.

Again they are merely stipulating truth and insisting they are right without any just reasons. It's idiotic to try and criticize a whole field you know nothing about. To make up for appalling ignorance they imply a third rate gimmick that is actually made up of two informal fallacies: ipsie dixit and circular reasoning.

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Today an estimated sixteen percent of Americans—or about 49 million American men, women, and children—live without religious affiliation.* As a group, religiously unaffiliated Americans are more numerous than any single religious denomination except Roman Catholics.

They are more numerous than Hispanic Americans or African Americans ... more numerous than the estimated gay and lesbian population … more than seven times as numerous as American Jews … more than fifteen times as numerous as religiously active American Jews.

Not all of the religiously unaffiliated would describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, but recent studies suggest that the actively nonreligious make up about two-thirds of this population, with spiritual seekers and persons between church affiliations making up the rest.

How do we know these things? Recent—and authoritative—data comes from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) and from surveys conducted in association with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. ARIS studies in 1990, 2001, and 2008 documented the doubling of “nones” (people declaring no religious affiliation). Studies by Pew and other researchers have confirmed this pattern and offered more detailed information on the makeup of this fast-growing group. For example, a 1994 Pew-University of Akron study gave us our most detailed portrait of the people who make up the unaffiliated 16 percent. It found that about a third of this group identifies itself using labels like atheist and agnostic. Another third does not use these labels, but when asked about their lifestyle (church attendance, beliefs about life, and the like) is otherwise almost identical with the first group; pollsters call these the hard seculars. Combined, self-identified atheists and agnostics and the hard seculars make up 10.7 percent of the total population, equivalent to two-thirds of the unaffiliated. Spiritual seekers and persons without current church affiliation make up the balance.

Many Americans imagine that they don’t know a single person who lives without religion. Yet if confirmed nonreligious people compose 10.7 percent of the population … and if one American in six has no religious affiliation … how likely does that seem? Or is it more likely that you already know neighbors, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, or family members who live without religion?

* NOTE: According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Popclock, as of February 22, 2011, the U.S. population is 310,868,110. Sixteen percent of this = 49,738,898 religiously unaffiliated Americans of all ages.

Back to Home


Today an estimated sixteen percent of Americans—or about 49 million American men, women, and children—live without religious affiliation.* As a group, religiously unaffiliated Americans are more numerous than any single religious denomination except Roman Catholics.

They are more numerous than Hispanic Americans or African Americans ... more numerous than the estimated gay and lesbian population … more than seven times as numerous as American Jews … more than fifteen times as numerous as religiously active American Jews.

Not all of the religiously unaffiliated would describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, but recent studies suggest that the actively nonreligious make up about two-thirds of this population, with spiritual seekers and persons between church affiliations making up the rest.

How do we know these things? Recent—and authoritative—data comes from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) and from surveys conducted in association with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. ARIS studies in 1990, 2001, and 2008 documented the doubling of “nones” (people declaring no religious affiliation). Studies by Pew and other researchers have confirmed this pattern and offered more detailed information on the makeup of this fast-growing group. For example, a 1994 Pew-University of Akron study gave us our most detailed portrait of the people who make up the unaffiliated 16 percent. It found that about a third of this group identifies itself using labels like atheist and agnostic. Another third does not use these labels, but when asked about their lifestyle (church attendance, beliefs about life, and the like) is otherwise almost identical with the first group; pollsters call these the hard seculars. Combined, self-identified atheists and agnostics and the hard seculars make up 10.7 percent of the total population, equivalent to two-thirds of the unaffiliated. Spiritual seekers and persons without current church affiliation make up the balance.

Many Americans imagine that they don’t know a single person who lives without religion. Yet if confirmed nonreligious people compose 10.7 percent of the population … and if one American in six has no religious affiliation … how likely does that seem? Or is it more likely that you already know neighbors, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, or family members who live without religion?

* NOTE: According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Popclock, as of February 22, 2011, the U.S. population is 310,868,110. Sixteen percent of this = 49,738,898 religiously unaffiliated Americans of all ages.

Back to Home

New atheist study fudges data to create propaganda. This is a poll done by Center for Inquiry. CFI is nothing more than an atheist propaganda machine and their mission statement basically say so. I'll get to that in a minute. Their poll came up first on Google when I put in the question "what percentage of Americas are self defined atheists?"

The big head line of the study "one out of every Six Americans has no religious affiliation." Assuming that was true, (which it's not becuase it's assinign if you know the studies) it seems totally taken for granted that having no religious affiliation is a bad thing for religion. I'm not sure that's true. They are equating it with unbelief and that's not right. Here's their pie chart break down:

Unaffiliated 16%.
Evangelical Protestant 12%
Evangelical Baptist 11%
Other religions 37%
Catholic 24%

What's wrong with this picture? Do we really think that with the tea party blazing and right wing hysteria foaming that the largest religious group in America is "other religions?" This is totally ludicrous. I fyou study the Pew study, which is the major valid best study done in 2007 (to date the state of the art) on religious land scape in America one can see how they have fudged on this. for one thing all studies give Chrisiantiy at least 75% or more. This one gives it (adding all the Catholic, protestant, and Baptist(?) Christinty as a whole only has 44%.

It is inconceivable to me that just since 2007 things changes this drastically. Here's the Pew findings:


unaffiliated 16%
Evangelical protestant 26% *(not 12)
Catholic 23%
Mormon 1.7%
Historically Black chruches 6.9%
Mainline Protestants 18.1% (separate from Evangelical protestant)
Other Christian 0.3%
Other religions 0.3% (Pew also adds to "other" Jews 1.7%, Muslim 0.6% what it calls "other faiths" as distinct from major world religions, in that slot they put unitarians, new age, mind scinece and so = 1.2%). While CFI has a whopping 37% the better study by far, Pew, has abotu 2%. How

Breaking down the unaffiliated at the top, Pew lists atheists as 1.6%. not 16, but 1.6. If you see my page on Doxa about how atheists inflate their numbers, there are several studies that show atheists down around that figure. Pew figure is the most conservative. Adherent's.com gives them 4%. Gallop in May 2008 give 3% with 3% margin (so between 3-6%).


you see they split Baptist from Protestant for some absurd reason because Baptists are protestants of course. Makes both groups seem smaller. Then they just ignored half the Christian population.

The reason for these discrepancies is not far to seek. CFI is a propaganda wing of the Atheist movement and all do to know this is look at their mission statement. One might also take note they own Skeptical Inquirer Magazine.. Their mission statments pulls no punches in admitting they are out to destroy religion.



mission Statement of CFI.

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

That's the head line on the mission statement. That's no atheist propaganda is it? It's even touting their rhetoric.


To oppose and supplant the mythological narratives of the past, and the dogmas of the present, the world needs an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.

To oppose and supplant. Supplant means to replace, to destroy. Like all good little dawkies they confuse scinece with hating religion. Their aim they state clearly to destroy religion. why should we believe they are above lying to achieve that end? We know they don't believe in truth. Their little solider have fabricated data before. I have no evidence on CFI but I have shown atheist websites that just out and out fabricate the statistics. If this is guilt by assocaition one might look at the wildly off target statistics above. Giving 34% to "other religions" when the valid study gives 2%. This survey wasn't done yesterday. Things couldn't change that much since 2007.

more of the mission statement:

At the Center for Inquiry, we believe that evidence-based reasoning, in which humans work together to address common concerns, is critical for modern world civilization. Moreover, unlike many other institutions, we maintain that scientific methods and reasoning should be utilized in examining the claims of both pseudoscience and religion. We reject mysticism and blind faith. No topic should be placed off limits to scrutiny—certainly not fringe science and religion, which have an enormous influence on beliefs and conduct.
If they knew anything about mysticism they would know that it's backed with empirical scientific evidence. They are using that as a pejorative catch phrase that means any and all religion.

We also maintain that values are properly the subject of study and discussion as much as empirical claims. The Center for Inquiry studies and promotes human values based on a naturalistic outlook. Ideological doctrine and religious dogma have no more right to dictate our moral norms than they do to influence scientific research.

That's exactly what their rhetoric has spelled out, ideological doctrine. Look at the obvious philosophical contradiction: "values are properly the subject of study and discussion as much as empirical claims" that means we will teach you to hate religion too. then they ahve the gall to say "Ideological doctrine and religious dogma have no more right to dictate our moral norms than they do to influence scientific research." That statement is ideolgoical in and of itself. To make good on that they have to argue for a philosophical ethical position that has to be justified by argument. They are merely presenting their own ideology and dogma. When they talk about values they stepping beyond the limits of science. Science is not about teaching values.When religious believes talk about values they holding up the progress of science.


The Center for Inquiry supports research, but our mission activities go far beyond sound scholarship.

they sure do! there you have it folks a frank admission of what I'm saying. Going beyond includes lying and fabricating numbers!

The Center for Inquiry, and its affiliates, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism, also carry out their work through education, publishing, advocacy, and social services. The Center for Inquiry has established dozens of regional centers and communities, which provide a means of delivering educational programs and services on a local level and provide a venue for like-minded individuals to meet and share experiences. In addition, the Center for Inquiry has affiliates and sponsors programs in many different countries. A secular society ultimately should embrace all of humanity, not just selected countries.

what they are describing is the actives of a political campaign. I think this violates their 501c(3)

that statement tells us they are a propaganda machine. I am not trying to accuse all "humanist" of being in a conspiracy, but it's obvious there is an organized group making war on Christianity. We have to oppose them by spreading truth.

ABC Poll = 38% of Americans are Christian, 48% of world.

Eighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the rest, 13 percent, have no religion. That leaves just 4 percent as adherents of all non-Christian religions combined — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and a smattering of individual mentions.

That's quite different from the world at large: Fifty-two percent of the world's population is non-Christian, compared to 4 percent in the United States; and one-third is Christian, compared to 83 percent in the United States. (These are rough comparisons, because the world figures, reported by the Encyclopedia Britannica, are for the full population, while the U.S. figures are among adults only.)

Non Christian religions given 4% no Religion in America 13% (somewhere in that 13% is the atheists).

CNN (not the best)= 75% say Christian in America (2009)

Seventy-five percent of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1990, the figure was 86 percent.
Newswek Poll = 81% self identified Christian in America (2009)

By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Apr. 08 2009 11:50 AM EDT

A new Newsweek poll reveals that although most Americans are still holding on to their faith and describing themselves as Christians, fewer believe religion can answer today’s problems.

According to the poll of 1,003 adults, released Tuesday, 60 percent of American adults say religion is very important in their lives and 78 percent say prayer is an important part of their daily lives.However, less than half (48 percent) believe religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. The percentage is the lowest number Newsweek has recorded since it began polling Americans on that issue in 1957 (when 82 percent believed religion could answer the problems of that time).

Washington Post reports on poll in 2009 that finds the group that says it has no religion is at 15% That doesn't mean atheits are at 15%. 12% of the "no religion group" doesn't' mean they don't believe in some kind of God it means they have organized religion. Most polls don't bother to make that distinction but the better one's do.

Gallop = self id Chrsitians in America at 77%. this is probably the same survey all those above are keyed to, it was actually done in 2008, just a year after the Pew study came out.

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My Actual Score
(that block thing at the right
is my score, it's off scale)


I've seen it two ways, Know the Bible better or know "religion" better; both are misleading.
example: tpix "Atheists Know the Bible Better than Christians?"

How much do you know about religion? In a recent survey by the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life, most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life. The survey surprisingly found it's not evangelicals or Catholics who did the best - it's atheists and agnostics. It's not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest - they where at the bottom of the survey. What a sad state of affairs when atheists and agnostics know more about the Bible than Christians.




Last week the net was abuzz with talk of a Pew study that said atheists know the Bible better than Christians do. I found about 14 blogs referring to it and it was on message boards all over. The Actual study is available on the Pew site it's called "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey." The press began saying the study shows "atheists know more about religion." what it really says is that atheists know more about religion other than Christianity, than do Christians. That's not so unreasonable given the exclusivity most Christians believe their faith has over others. The media turned it into "atheists know more about religion" us as the Los Angels Times, (Tuesday Oct, 19th)"Atheists, Agnostics most knowledgeable about religion surveys say."

"Religious IQ: Why do Atheist Outscore Christians?" The Week "A significant number of Christians don't know the basics about their own professed faith or other major religions, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, while atheists and agnostics have the highest "Religious IQ,"

The study doesn't say anything about an IQ, but it's plots the answers on a bell curve. The Pew Site offers a short version of half the questions (the original is 32 the short version is 15). I took the short version (see my score above I'm the only one got every question right and went off scale). The site "debating Christianity and religion" says "Atheists know more about the Bible" than do Christians.


The point is of the 15 questions11 were not about the Bible or Christianity. So the test was biased in the beginning to screen out Christians. I suggest it was a put up a job, designed to give other than Christians a higher score. Why would Pew want to do this? Pew is a respected polling organization but is ran by an private family that is very Evangelical and the Pew Evangelical trust gives a lot of evangelistic enterprises. They want to do that because they are the tough kind of Christians. They want to shame the chruch into learning more about the bible and about religion in general.

"The United States is a nation of religious illiterates," says Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, whose research on Americans' spiritual ignorance inspired a new study that has religion teachers and ministers aghast,"(from the Week)

Here's what the study actually says:

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

So it's up front about world religion and the media turns into religion as a whole and atheists sites turn into "know more about the bible." The actual study doesn't say that. The 15 question version 11 questions were about subject not in the Bible and off those about 3 were Christian history. Most the study is about world religion (I got them all right anyway). The study results say and the site reflects with a table and big capital letters that atheists know more about world religion But Mormons and Evangelicals know More about Christianity. That would seem to contradict the whole mocking point upon which most atheists are gleefully claiming that they know about "the Bible" than do Christians. On Bible White Evangelicals score 7.3, Mormons 7.9 whle Atheists score 6.7.

from the Pew study site:

Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world’s developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week. But the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own. Many people also think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are stricter than they really are.
religious-knowledge-03 10-09-28More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.
In addition, fewer than half of Americans (47%) know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. And only about a quarter of all Americans (27%) correctly answer that most people in Indonesia – the country with the world’s largest Muslim
The survey should shame Christians, however, because it shows some shocking ignorance. Catholics have had a tradition of placing Church authority over Bible, but half of these guys don't even know their own church's stand on transubstantiation. Come on that's the one doctrine that is more uniquely Catholic!

There is a crying need for Christians take more of an interest in learning. Its also apparent that we need to branch out from just the bible and learn about religion as a whole.

It is not shocking once you look at the questions why atheists would do better than Christians on those questions where they scored higher. Most of those are world religion questions such as "which of the following is an Islamic Holiday, 'Ramadan, Duwali or Christmas.' I got this one right too. Most Christians don't learn enough about Hinduism to even know their major holiday. BTW Duwali is the festival of lights. The celebration of rebirth and triumph of good over evil, they celibate with lots of little candles and lanterns and lights, they have parities. I think it should be a point with Christians to learn about festivals of re-birth.

This was originally posted atheistwatch. also I linked to it on carm. The carm guys never read it. They read the first line then said "he expalined that hd didn't mean it." The article is not saying that the guy really wants to kill anyone. My point is lot more subtle than that. Read the whole thing please. Its' so typical of Dawkies not to read the article then insist they know all about it.


This was first reported on the Tea Party blog "Blaze." It's here listed form the right wing source RS Red State. It's validated well enough because it's being reported on a hundred other blogs of all stripes. It's been admitted to and damaage control done by Stefanelli himself.


Our pals at American Atheists are in the news again; surprise, surprise. The hateful bigots just can’t seem to avoid controversy, although truth be told, I’m sure they know exactly what they’re doing. In a column that would make Bill Maher and Christopher Hitchens proud – entitled Taking the Gloves off, Al Stefanelli, the group’s state director of Georgia, draws bizarre comparisons between “fundamentalist Christianity,” and radical Islam — referring to them both, as “sociopaths,” “psychopaths” and “delusional.”

The entire article exposes the irrationality of this bigot — including the laughable “NOTICE: INTOLERANCE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED” image included in the post. He makes broad-brush comments throughout his diatribe, while offering no proof for any of his ridiculous comments or comparisons. Here are a few of his best delusional comments:

”Intolerance toward beliefs and doctrines that serve only to promote hatred, bigotry and discrimination should be lauded, as should extremist points of view toward the eradication of these beliefs and doctrines.”

“Bigotry, discrimination, hatred, coercion, terrorism, slavery, misogyny and everything else that is part and parcel of fundamental Christianity and radical Islam should not be tolerated.”

“The fact is that fundamentalist Christians and radical Muslims are not interested in coexisting or getting along. They have no desire for peace. They want us to die.”

“Their interpretation of the Bible and Koran are such that there is no other course of action but to kill the infidel, and if anyone believes otherwise they are only fooling themselves.”

“The underbelly of fundamentalist Christianity and radical Islam does not operate in the legal system. They don’t respond to lawsuits, letters, amicus briefs or other grass-roots campaigns and they must, must, must be eradicated.”

“We [atheists] will become extinct not due to natural selection, but at the hands of those who believe that the supernatural has made the selection.”

In a May article, entitled Why do Atheists Ridicule Christianity? I discussed Greg Epstein, the “Humanist chaplain” at Harvard University, and author of Good Without God: What a Million Nonreligious People Do Believe, who has a different view of the role atheism and its believers should play in society.


Catholic Blog Creative Minority Report

Stefanelli wrote at Atheists.org:
The fact is that fundamentalist Christians and radical Muslims are not interested in coexisting or getting along. They have no desire for peace. They do not want to sit down with us in diplomatic efforts to iron out our differences and come to an agreement on developing an integrated society.

They want us to die.

Their interpretation of the Bible and Koran are such that there is no other course of action but to kill the infidel, and if anyone believes otherwise they are only fooling themselves. It is not just in the best interests of atheists to be intolerant of fundamental Christianity and radical Islam, but it is also in the best interest of mainstream believers within these faiths, as well. Moderates and even Progressives who stand in support of extremists just because there is a claim to the same deity are not doing themselves any favors. Fundamental Christians make all Christians look bad and radical Muslims make all Muslims look bad.

The growing ranks of fundamental Christians and radical Muslims should be of concern to everyone who is not part of these two groups. Everyone. Again, bigotry, discrimination, hatred, coercion, terrorism, slavery, misogyny and everything else that is part and parcel of fundamental Christianity and radical Islam should not be tolerated and anyone who agrees with this needs to adopt extremist points of view that includes the intolerance of their very existence. The only reason these groups exist is because they are allowed to, and we, as a society, are allowing them to...

But the underbelly of fundamentalist Christianity and radical Islam does not operate in the legal system. They don’t respond to lawsuits, letters, amicus briefs or other grass-roots campaigns and they must, must, must be eradicated. As long as they are allowed to exist, we will continue to be inundated with accounts of buses, buildings, markets and abortion clinics being blown up, rape victims being murdered for adultery, wives being beaten (sometimes to death), airplanes being flown into buildings, people being tortured and sometimes beheaded for blasphemy, people being burned for witchcraft and sorcery and all the other horrific, inhumane and insane practices that are part of fundamental Christianity and Radical Islam.

If we don’t take a stand and, as a society, insist that these doctrines and beliefs are treated just the same as they would be if religion were not part of the equation, we will become extinct not due to natural selection, but at the hands of those who believe that the supernatural has made the selection.
Naturally the atheist community is all atwitter moving fast to deny hat it means anything, as though people speak of "eradication" all the time without meaning anything.

message board where atheist denies that it's a call for violence.

http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=142535

Blue Crab of Pain (O him again) on the message board:
Scam.com (9/16/2011)

I suppose it wouldn't take too much time out of your day to actually look into it just a tad further.
Quote:
It is most certainly NOT a call for violence. Not once did I ever suggest that we use weapons, violence or physical contact. Not once. Nor did I say we be “mean” to them. Nor is my article aimed at a majority of believers in the world of any one specific religion. The individuals that I am referring to, and that I was very careful to point out, are the fringe groups. The minority of the religious. The fundamentalist extremists who have no desire to talk with us, to open a dialog with the exchange of ideas.

What is so hard to understand that these people want us to die. They want us dead. They do not want to negotiate, they do not want to budge from their points of view, they do not care about what we think and they could care less about the things we hold to high value.

We need to be firm with them, we need to counter their activism with our own activism and make sure that we stay within the bounds of the law, and use the legal system to our advantage. We need to call them out on their doctrines of hate, bigotry and discrimination. We need to let them know that we are not going away, no matter how much they want us to.

I work very hard and with due diligence to create relationships between theists and atheists, including organizing “Freethought Awareness Day” events and getting involved in interfaith activities.

So, with all due respect as well, my position stands regarding the fundamental extremists.
It's hardly surprizing that Stefanelli denies that he meant to call for violence. It's hardly surprising that the atheists deny that he meant it or that they wish to pursue it.

Wasn't his language badly chosen? I'm sure all would agree, including himself. I don't buy it. He's speaking this way for a reason. It's a tactic and he knows what he's doing. It's an old political tactic and I've seen it done. As for proving what he's up to I present first an Atheist and student of rhetoric who has some interesting things to say:



atheist professor Mirada Celecest blames Stefani for "lazy and schoking langaue."

http://mirandaceleste.net/2011/09/27/american-atheists-are-an-embarrassment-to-atheism/

9/27/11

No surprise here: American Atheists are once again engaging in reckless and unproductively antagonistic behavior. This time, though, they’ve really gone beyond the pale. In a recent post on their “No God Blog”, “Taking The Gloves Off…“, American Atheists’ Georgia State Director Al Stefanelli uses lazy and shockingly vitriolic rhetoric, unsupported assumptions, and sweeping generalizations in a futile attempt to defend an indefensible thesis.

Throughout his rant, Stefanelli fails to provide any actual evidence in support of his assertions, instead relying on generalizations, stereotypes, assumptions, anger, and arguments from personal experiences. He wants his audience to believe that his rant is a legitimate argument that should be taken seriously, yet the combination of its extreme nature and his refusal to engage in civil, rational, and evidence-based argument results in a thesis that is ultimately indefensible. Stefanelli is not deterred by this fact, though. He is determined to defend his thesis no matter what, and the result is a completely ineffective, vitriolic, and potentially dangerous rant dressed up as a legitimate argument.

one snippet from a statement by Stefanelli

Intolerance toward beliefs and doctrines that serve only to promote hatred, bigotry and discrimination should be lauded, as should extremist points of view toward the eradication of these beliefs and doctrines. (ibid Miranda Celest)
This guy knows what he's doing. he's agitating. This is an old tactic used by both sides, but by very serious people on both extreme ends who want to foment violence. It's the tactic used agaisnt Obama in the summer of the big health care reform squabble when the insurrance company provocateurs started teh lies about death panels and fights broke out at town meetings. The object is to create an atmosphere of hysteria in which others will do your dirty work for you because you work them up. They stand back and go "I didn't say to hurt anyone, I didn't say burn churches. I just said we need to fire to the problem." That's an example.

This guy talks like communists I knew when I was a communist. He talks just like the older more experienced comrades who were working up the crowd. Different slogans, different isseus, the same style of speech; both the CPUSA (Stalinist--Moscow) and the Fourth International types (Torkskyists). They all that same tendency to stick in a bunch of epithets about the enemy; "those evil, hysterical, rampant bad people who are supporting this bill." Make the other guys sound like Nazis as much as possible and create a climacteric of hysteria, like the troops are marching this way now!

Here's an article by a leftist from Australia who is talking about the Spartacists an they way they use inflammatory language.

Green left discussion message

Green left discussion: policies like Hitler.

this use of language is typical of the provocateur.

Re: "Howard's land policies like Hitler's"
By Bob Gould


Inflammatory language creates the potential for violence on the far left

here's a left wing analyst who agrees with me, although he's writing about the Sparticist, a left wing extremest group and Australian politics. The tactics are the same.



On the basis of the evidence presented, I'm not certain whether the
Spartacists are telling the truth about a bit of an incident recently
in Melbourne. I'm aware over many years of the Spartacists' capacity
to whip up small things into big things, and they themselves use
inflammatory language against their opponents, including in this
particular case.

I don't intend to join the Spartacist campaign on this question
because I'm not sure what happened, but I would point out that the
Spartacists solicited support, and they even mailed me a document to
which they attached a statement by an ostensible non-aligned
bystander, who signed his name. This person claimed that he didn't
know either of the groups involved before the event, and he saw the
male thump the woman.

If it's true that he's a mere bystander, that's significant evidence,
but I don't know enough about the incident, or about who this bloke
is, to form a firm conclusion.

Over 50 years of activity I've seen a few pieces of marginal violence
and I've been thumped a couple of times myself by political opponents
on the left. I've made a bit of a verbal scandal about it, but I've
never made a public hullabaloo, not wanting to draw the media or the
right wing into the affairs of the left.

A bit of a fuss and the embarrassment of there being witnesses is
usually enough to calm down the people doing the thumping, and that's
the best way to proceed. I was present at a famous May Day booze-up at
which some proletarian Stalinists thumped Denis Freney, and I made
myself scarce, not wanting to be the next victim. Some may regard that
as cowardice. (I've was also roughed up by coppers quite a few times
in the Vietnam period.)

I've been in the room while old experienced communist agitators plotted to use this form of agitation. It was a priest from Peru who was a friend of the great liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez and a labor Union guy and member of the Socialist Worker's Party who wrote a speech for a protest agaisnt the gulf war that was just a born burner. I said said "hey this is really laying it on thick, this could lead to an altercation." They said "that's what we want. This is a tactic called 'agitation.' We can create a climite in which people will act but we can deny having worked them into it."

This is obviously what this guy is doing. Go back up there and read the comments by Miranda. she sees it too but she isn't as up front about naming it that way. This is not just this one guy. It's obviously the tactic of his group and even though a lot of atheists back off form it (it's designed to be backed off from that's the beauty of it--only the idiots will carry out the dirty work but it's what they want all along).

The book the God haters, research by Don Boys demonstrates his finding that many athiests want to take away freedom to believe in God:

The God Haters
New Book By Former Indiana Legislator
Email Message ^ | September 29, 2011 | Don Boys, Ph.D.

Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011 6:45:37 PM by John Leland 1789


Every atheist states his motives clearly: It must be illegal for any teacher, preacher, or parent to teach any child an exclusive salvation based on the death and resurrection of Christ and a literal Hell. It should be treated as child abuse. Boys asserts that the prohibition will be expanded to apply to adults and sees a major confrontation where real Christians will refuse to obey that obtrusive, offensive, and obviously unconstitutional law.

Dr. Boys characterizes these New Atheists as being tyrants and totalitarians in the pursuit of their desire to remake America in the old Soviet image, and suggests that blood will flow through the streets if children are taken from homes and Sunday schools and parents are charged with child abuse.

The author says he documents outrageous statements, mistakes, general errors, and many lies by atheists to prove their case against a sovereign God. He charges that his opponents identify the “fruits, flakes, and nuts” in some churches as mainline Christians. “It would be like generalizing, the average atheist coming home each evening with a bottle of cheap rum, kicking his dog, bullying his wife, beating his kids and getting roaring drunk terrorizing the whole neighborhood,” says Boys, “when that doesn’t characterize the group as a whole. It shows how desperate, disingenuous, and dishonest some atheists are. Even honest atheists find that offensive and shameful.”

I am not the only one who sees the totalitarian movement growing in New atheist Dawkametnalist ranks. When I started atheist watch no one else talked this one. No one saw the totalitarian potential shaping up, not even me. Now I find others starting to see it. But that can't be. Atheism is not a movement, it doesn't have an ideology, and it's not organized.Just like there is no organization called "American Atheists." So then Stefannelli doesn't exist and thus there's no problem.

So here's an argument based upon arguments atheists make a lot.

(1) Empirical science has produced knowledge, technology, medicine, etc., etc. It's awesome.
(2) Abstract philosophy has produced nothing at all; it appears to be mere navel gazing.
(3) Therefore, we should base all of our beliefs on empirical science, not abstract philosophy.
(4) The arguments for God are abstract philosophy of exactly the kind that has proven so worthless.
(5) Therefore, we should reject all of the arguments for God.

To me, this seems to be a powerful argument for non belief. It doesn't prove that there's no God, but it does provide a potential reason not to believe in God, which is the same thing for all practical purposes.

The theist has two ways out, maybe. The first would be to muddy the distinction between philosophy and science. I think that this is probably doable to some extent, but I'm not sure how doable it actually is. The second would be to attack (4), and argue that some of the arguments for God are different from medieval philosophy in significant respects. Again, I'm not sure how doable this is.

Anyway, I'd like to hear what people have to say about this argument. I haven't seen anyone formulate it explicitly before.

So here's an argument.

(1) Empirical science has produced knowledge, technology, medicine, etc., etc. It's awesome.


* That is not a reason to assume that it's the only form of knowledge (which he does assume in the argument).

*Doesn't make it a competitor with religion.

* he's essentially arguing truth is indicated by it working. working = truth. Religious belief works too to produce the things it's supposed to produce.

(2) Abstract philosophy has produced nothing at all; it appears to be mere navel gazing.

bull honky do do that is BS!

*philosophy has produced many things including empirical scinece!

* you can't interpret data in the context of a hypothesis without philosophical thinking.

*"nature" is a philosophical construct and all the more so is "naturalism" You can't have an ideological framework such as naturalism without philosophical thinking.

* Religious belief does not reduce to just philosophy. Trashing philosophy is not a defeat for God argument nor is it a defeat for belief in God.


(3) Therefore, we should base all of our beliefs on empirical science, not abstract philosophy.

*that would not follow even if we granted the premises.

science works
philosophy doesn't do anything
therefore science is the only way to think

that does not follow. There can be other ways to think even if they are not philosophical.

*Of cousre the truth is it's not the case because you can't think scientifically without thinking philosophically.





(4) The arguments for God are abstract philosophy of exactly the kind that has proven so worthless.

*not necessary. arguments from experience are not abstract philosophy.

*God pod argument is not abstract philosophy

*reverse quantum is no more abstract philosophy than QM theory is.

* nor are God arguments the only basis for belief in God. Trashing philosophy does absolutely nothing to negate the warrant for belief.

*You can't have a coherent understanding of naturalism or it's implications without abstract philosophy. Atheism is just as dependent.


(5) Therefore, we should reject all of the arguments for God.

since every premise above is disproved so is this

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