They’ve got a little list

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

–Gilbert and Sullivan, The Mikado

We should be getting used to this now: our fellow atheists proclaim their eternal allegiance to the cause of godlessness, but then decry the incivility of certain people who besmirch our joint cause.  The thing is, these miscreants are never named.  If really pressed, the accusers usually name someone who has made intemperate remarks in the “comments” section of Pharyngula.   It’s not clear to me why atheists, who, after all, are supposed to rely on empirical evidence and reason, are so reluctant to give examples of Atheist Bad Behavior.

And so we have, over at 3QuarksDaily, Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse, who are about to release a pro-atheist book.  But, in a post called “Accommodationism and atheism,” they’re plenty peeved:

Our book Reasonable Atheism does not publish until April, yet we have already been charged with accommodationism, the cardinal sin amongst so-called New Atheists.  The charge derives mainly from the subtitle of our book, “a moral case for respectful disbelief.”  Our offense consists in embracing idea that atheists owe to religious believers anything like respect.

I don’t know who has called them “accommodationists”—it’s certainly neither me nor P.Z., and Aikin and Talisse are silent about who has ticked them off.  But never mind.  They go on to draw the usual distinction between attacking ideas and attacking people, and fault many atheists with the latter behavior.  We’re said to regard the faithful with contempt, treating them to their faces as fools or even as being afflicted with mental illness.   Here’s how, they say, we behave:

The proper response to this state of affairs [apparently rational but faithful people] is to address religious believers as fellow rational agents, to elicit from them their best arguments and their conception of what evidence there is, and to make a case for one’s own view.  Correspondingly, it is foolish to begin with an effort to discredit the intellects of religious believers or to diagnose them as benighted, foolish, and intellectually cowardly.  To be sure, there are plenty of religious believers who fit these descriptions.  But there are plenty of atheists who do too.  It is here we part ways with the New Atheists, as what makes one a fool is not what one believes, but rather how one’s beliefs are related to one’s evidence. . .

. . . But notice that to hold a person in contempt is to ascribe to him a capacity for responsibility.  Accordingly, we do not hold the mentally deranged in contempt for their delusional beliefs; rather, we see their beliefs as symptoms of their illness.  To see religious believers as proper objects of contempt, then, is to see them as people who should know better than to believe as they do.  It is hence to see them as wrong but, importantly, not stupid.

The thing is, Aikin and Talisse do not name a single person supposedly guilty of this behavior, nor give a single example of it!  We should be getting used to this, I guess, but it’s still annoying.  Remember this unsupported accusation?:

Many of my colleagues are fans of Dawkins, PZ, and their ilk and make a point AT CONSERVATION EVENTS to mock the religious to their face, shout forced laughter at them, and call them “stupid,” “ignorant” and the like – and these are events hosted by religious moderates where we’ve been ASKED to attend. They think it’s the way to be a good scientist, after all.

Of course, it’s proper to hold some believers in contempt.  Aikin and Talisse note that maybe this is okay if the people have been given a chance to see their errors:

Yet having false beliefs does not make one stupid; it simply makes one wrong.  The stupid person is one who believes against what he takes to be evidence.  And, as it turns out, there are very few stupid people.  Yet there is a lot of false believing going on; in fact, we hold that in matters of religion, there is a lot of belief in what is demonstrably and obviously false.

So who are these atheists who continually harangue reasonable religious people, calling them stupid to their faces? I guess P.Z. and I sometimes mock the faithful, but those are almost always folks who have been informed of the evidence against their beliefs (creationists, for example) but hold onto them despite that.  Clearly I don’t always treat the faithful with contempt. When I recently chewed over faith and science with some Methodists, for example, I was polite and civil.

Who are these sinners?  It can’t be Dan Dennett—he’s cuddly and nice. (One of my great moments was getting a hug from him after Big Meanie Robert Wright went after me at lunch in Mexico.)  Dawkins?  He goes after religious beliefs like a pit bull, but have you ever see him be contemptuous to an believer unless she’s repeatedly shown willful ignorance? (Remember Dawkins getting mad at the woman who, refusing to look at hominin fossils, kept maintaining that humans hadn’t evolved?).  Stenger?  He’s firm but polite.  Bill Maher?  He’s a comedian, for crying out loud, and in Religulous he let the faithful mock themselves.  Eric MacDonald?  Give me a break—he’s as gentle as an atheist can be.  Hitchens is a likely candidate, but, recently rereading God is Not Great, I found far more attacks on ideas than on people.

I applaud Aikin and Talisse for writing a book that diagnoses faith as an error.  As they say, “We affirm in Reasonable Atheism that we believe that distinctively religious beliefs are false, and that religious believers are therefore wrong.” But why the failure to be explicit about those atheists who have a). accused them of accommodationism or b) pulled a Tom Johnson on the faithful?

I’m at a loss to understand these many atheists who say that they have “a little list”, but, like Joe McCarthy, refuse to divulge it.  Are they trying to protect the guilty, who are, after all, fellow atheists? Somehow I don’t think that’s the answer.  Perhaps the answer is this:  while Gnu Atheists may sometimes descend to mockery, they spend far more time going after religious belief than after believers.   That’s why the lists always come down to anonymous commenters on Pharyngula who suggest that the faithful perform sexual acts with rusty knives.

Perhaps Aikin and Talisse will come over here and give us their little list.  I hope so.  I’d like to see who among us is guilty of continual and contemptuous verbal assaults on the faithful.   And let’s not have a few statements taken out of context, either. How about showing, among Gnus, the ratio of invective devoted to attacking the faithful themselves as opposed to attacking their beliefs?

125 Comments

  1. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Well Tom Johnson at least named names: it was all Greg Laden and Ophelia Benson.

    Those big meanies.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      And Jerry Coyne! Jerry Coyne loomed very very large in Tom Johnson’s magic slide show.

      (And actually Laden and I were nowhere. We came in later, at YNH. Tom Johnson was focused on 1) his “colleagues” and 2) Jerry Coyne, plus PZ and Dawkins – more colleagues, you see.)

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        This is what I mean; you fail to understand blah blah…

        I was going to attempt another YNH parody, but it’s so played out. Templeton automatons are what all the kewl kids like these days.

  2. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    The cowardice of people yelling “don’t be such DICKS you… people (who I will never, ever, name)” is pathetic and annoying.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Name them!

  3. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I really do wonder who they think characterized them as accomodationist. This line, in particular, is pretty much anything but accomodationist:

    [I]n fact, we hold that in matters of religion, there is a lot of belief in what is demonstrably and obviously false.

    Many people would consider that to be strident and disrespectful!

    In fact, this raises an interesting point. The existence of the gnus — and the contempt for them — allows people like Aikin and Talisse to represent themselves as the nice guys, while being extremely forthright.

    “Hey, we’re not like those mean nasty atheists who don’t respect you. Really, we’re nice guys. We may think your beliefs are ‘demonstrably and obviously false’, but hey, we respect them (or something)! Not like those other guys…”

    I’m being snarky, but there’s actually some value in A&T being able to take this position. They can rattle cages without seeming like cage-rattlers.

    And all they need to do is to refer to their little list…

    • wonderer
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Good-cop/bad-cop does work.

      As someone who has been debating Christians regularly on the internet for years, I’ve seen many examples of a Christian – having been the recipient of a beat down from a ‘bad atheist’ – become more open and reasonable than is typical when discussing things with a ‘good atheist’. I personally play good-cop or bad-cop as seems warranted by the flow of a discussion. “A foolish consistency…”

    • Tulse
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      And thus is the value of the Overton Window.

  4. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    They should see some of the comments made by ID advocates at Uncommon Descent (the difference being a lack of veracity and wit).

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      A lack of veracity & wit is WHY they are creationists.

  5. Curt Cameron
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    “But notice that to hold a person in contempt is to ascribe to him a capacity for responsibility. Accordingly, we do not hold the mentally deranged in contempt for their delusional beliefs; rather, we see their beliefs as symptoms of their illness. To see religious believers as proper objects of contempt, then, is to see them as people who should know better than to believe as they do. It is hence to see them as wrong but, importantly, not stupid.”

    I’ve read this a few times now. I think the authors are saying that we shouldn’t look at religious believers as sincere people who should know better; we should look at them as we look at the mentally deranged.

    That’s so much more respectful. I’d like to see the results of them visiting a group of liberal Christians like the Methodists that Jerry visited recently.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Ahhh–is *that* what it means? Somehow I don’t think they quite said what they think they were saying… (I thought about trying to use Google Translator to see if I could understand that passage–but no need, since you’ve done an admirable job translating!)

    • Helen Wise
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Completely agree.

      This paragraph is dense, and not in a good way.

      If the book is written in the style of that paragraph, it looks to be a painful slog.

    • Tulse
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      I took as their point that we either get to call the religious contemptible or stupid, but not both. (I think that reading makes sense, given that the following passages talk about gnus mocking believers as stupid, and how it is not necessarily stupid to be wrong.)

    • Marella
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      It seems to be to be advocating treating believers with contempt, I can probably manage that :-)

      • Michael Kingsford Gray
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        I read it as an exhortation to treat them with pity, not contempt.

  6. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I’m trying to picture Ophelia Benson as a big meanie. It’s not happening.. ;-)

  7. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    The stupid person is one who believes against what he takes to be evidence. And, as it turns out, there are very few stupid people.
    Didn’t I read somewhere that 40% of the US population did not agree with the theory of evolution, despite a comprehensive education? Or maybe the definition of “very few” is about 124 million people?

    • Kevin
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      One might be able to quibble about the definition of “comprehensive education”.

      In the US at least, biology can and is taught right up through high school without giving so much as a sideways glance at the ToE.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I was going to quibble with that line to until I re-read it. They have an out with the “what he takes to be evidence” clause (emph. mine). You’re only stupid — by this definition — if you agree that the evidence contradicts your position, and you maintain that position anyway.

      I actually couldn’t disagree more. I have an iota of respect for those Creationists who say, “I realize the evidence for evolution is incredibly strong, but I don’t care. The Bible says the universe was created in seven days, so therefore it was.” That position is at least intellectually honest. Oh, it’s pigheaded and silly, but it’s not stupid. To me, it’s far stupider to be presented with strong evidence but to fail to recognize it as such.

  8. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Are they really ascribing the following views to Gnu atheists?
    “Part of what fuels the charge of accommodationism is the view that religious believers should be treated with contempt.”
    OK some atheists behave in this way but it’s very rare overall and certainly not something common to gnu atheism in general. To me, the difference between gnus and gnices is the question of whether it is rude to criticize a religious belief in the same way you criticize a political belief. Gnus think that is acceptable while gnices think it is not.
    Both groups consider belief in Jesus rising from the dead to be factually similar to a belief in the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny – but only one is prepared say that out loud.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Of course, I agree with the statement — with the insertion of the word “some” at the appropriate place.

      Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, William Dumski, Michael Behe, Kirk Cameron, William Lame Craig, et al…yes, I have contempt for them. And I’m not shy about proclaiming that. The actively invite contempt. They seek it out. They are arrogantly ignorant and make their livings out of fleecing the sheeple. What’s not to be contemptuous of?

      My friend the Presbyterian minister? Not so much. (Seriously, he’s cuddly cute and the nicest man you’ll ever meet.)

      • Sajanas
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        The problem I have with accomodationism is the nice minster friends don’t really stand up for their liberal values. They don’t want to offend their conservative members and get rid of their 10%. When I was younger I sat through a church budget meeting where a church member, with a straight face opposed the church’s charity work, since they should focus on worshiping Jesus, rather than doing what he told us to do. This is the sort of person the Pastors need to hit out at, but they never do. I heard constant pleas for charity, but never once did I hear a “don’t be a racist”, or “don’t be a homophobe”. They preach to the lowest common asshole, to keep in as many as possible. And that ruins them as a moral force, and ruins them as a way to oppose extremism. They’re just a business with a charity wing.

        • Kevin
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          I agree. It’s hard to be a moral guide when you’re depending on those who need the guidance the most for your income.

          It does happen occasionally — that’s how Thomas a Becket got hisself kilt.

          More often, though, there is an — cough(sellout)cough — accommodation.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      But you’re talking about the real gnus. The article’s authors are talking about their strawman gnus who, as far as I can tell, don’t exist in real life.

  9. Doug
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I think it should also be noted that every single one of their (non-fabricated) examples is from ANONYMOUS COMMENTERS ON THE INTERNET. I wonder what other position they would ever in a million years use ANONYMOUS BLEEPING COMMENTS ON THE BLEEPING INTERNET to define, denigrate, and therefore proclaim false or completely misguided?

    Whenever I see this oddly large group of people call out a movement over what some BLEEPING ANONYMOUS BLEEPING COMMENTERS ON THE BLEEPING INTERBLEEPINGNET (without actually pointing to the message board that contains them no less!) I can’t help but think it smacks of liars, er, pervasive intellectual dishonesty and an incredibly false, er, weak argument.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Doug wrote:
      -snip-
      “Whenever I see this oddly large group of people call out a movement over what some BLEEPING ANONYMOUS BLEEPING COMMENTERS ON THE BLEEPING INTERBLEEPINGNET (without actually pointing to the message board that contains them no less!) I can’t help but think it smacks of liars, er, pervasive intellectual dishonesty and an incredibly false, er, weak argument.”

      Do you mean like this?

      I’ll confess that I enjoyed this video of Richard Dawkins reading hate emails from the religious. The contrast of hateful ignorance being read with a posh British accent is very funny.

      But it’s an instance of someone using anonymous internet comments to serve as a straw-man example of a movement.

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        That’s creative humor. Besides, Dawkins prefaced it as a reading of “hate” mail. This was in no way an attempt to characterize all Christians.

        My experience is that comedy done well requires a rational mind and a keen sense of the absurd.

      • Doug
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I second John. It was clearly meant as humor. Did you notice the suspicious lack of “they said this therefore their arguments shouldn’t be taken seriously” and the suspicious amount of laughter?

  10. TrineBM
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    … ma in Espagna, son gia milletre!”

    I wonder if there is a precedent anywhere of people who agree about substance and positions, but disagree about tone … AND where only one side is fighting the battle.
    By now I see a lot of – in this case, self-proclaimed – “accomodationists” who are swordwielding, huffing and puffing, standing on one side of the “battlefield”. And on the other side I see a lot of “dicks” with their arms hanging down their sides, jaws agape going “Huh?”. It is really strange and annoying.

    (and did I ever use a lot of “…” in this post!?!)

    • JS1685
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I see what you did there.

      “…il catologo e questo…”

      • TrineBM
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        yup – also a long list with no names! :-)

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Without the straw man, how much thinner would the book be? That might be the key.

    Otherwise, it seems we haven’t heard from NewEnglandBob in nearly 3wks. Hope it’s just computer problems, amigo.

  12. Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    First, I do believe that the traditional invective command is to engage in carnal relations with rusty (and expensive) photographic equipment, not knives.

    But never mind that.

    The other half of the problem is that there are individuals who are wholly deserving of contempt, scorn, and ridicule. And who should be subjected to it, publicly and loudly.

    I’ll name one right here. Pope Benny “The Rat.” This is a man who heads a global child rape racket and whose genocidal efforts to spread AIDS throughout sub-Saharan Africa has a body count that makes Hitler look like an amateur.

    I’ll name-without-names another class of people: those who defend The Rat’s record on child rape and AIDS. When they come out of the woodwork and start excusing the rapes because everybody was doing it and it was all teh ghey, they deserve a facefull of mean words.

    The only reason The Rat and his vocal defenders aren’t treated with the same contempt as the Klan and whoever its Grand Iguana is these days is because of their PR team and because of the huge numbers of innocent dupes they’ve fooled into giving their support.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Marella
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      And porcupines, don’t forget the porcupines, though they aren’t usually rusty!

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      “Contempt” is far too weak a term for what Joe da Rat deserves.

  13. AdamK
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    One shakes ones spear and shouts at the strawgnu to show ones prowess at spear-shaking and shouting. The strawgnu continues as straw. The real gnus are unimpressed.

  14. Dominic
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    “Reasonable Atheism” – oh I see!

    “Reasonable publicity ‘cos we are publishing a book & this will get people talking about it”!

    At least there is ‘reason’ in the title. It is however sadly lacking in the religious folk.

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed. It’s a tough market, and I don’t wish them ill. But the 3QD piece makes it clear that it is their intent to distinguish themselves this way regardless whether there’s any merit to the distinction. I mean, you really can’t conclude that new atheists don’t treat believers as rational agents, but you can assert it.

      • Dominic
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        To be honest, I am sneering, shrill & strident in my disbelief – that god-lovers can be so, well …ignorant – but mainly in private! So maybe they have me in their sights – or would have were I important enough.

    • Tulse
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      It says a lot about how far things have come that there might be a market for a “reasonable” atheist book. Remember when there wasn’t a market for any atheist book?

      See how far the gnus have taken the issue?

  15. Bernard J. Ortcutt
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I’ll put my name down as someone who doesn’t think that religious folks deserve respect. As Sam Harris has put it, we need to have “conversational intolerance” because religious folk consider their beliefs off limits to criticism or doubt and see “respect” as the absence of challenge. Furthermore, many religious people believe the post-modernism relativism in which someone’s religion is true-to-him. Asking whether it is true, however, is such an “intolerant question”. Asking whether there is evidence for the existence of the supernatural is “rude”, “arrogant”, and “disrespectful”. These are rules that theists made up that I didn’t sign on to. If theists find me “rude” so be it. Theists have gone through their entirely lives with smug superiority based on “faith”. We need to explain that believing things on no evidence or counter to evidence is not a virtue, but a folly.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I respect religious people enough to argue with them, instead of treating them as mentally deficient flowers who are incapable of reason or of changing the minds, those poor dears.

      I usually refrain from arguing against religion with the aged, though, unless he/she is attacking someone else. I just feel sorry for them, having wasted so much of their lives for nonsense, and would just as soon spare them the pain of realising that they’ve been cheated out of life.

      • MrLokiNight
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        ###
        Ray Moscow: “I usually refrain from arguing against religion with the aged, though, unless he/she is attacking someone else. I just feel sorry for them, having wasted so much of their lives for nonsense, and would just as soon spare them the pain of realising that they’ve been cheated out of life”

        ###
        Hi Ray. Being quite old myself ~ how do you define “aged” ?

        How do you decide who has achieved ‘coffin dodger’ status & thus merits condescension rather than reason ?

        Michael

        ###

      • Bernard J. Ortcutt
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        I’m more than willing to have a discussion of these issues. The thing that frustrates me and the New Atheists generally, is what results isn’t a purposeful discussion. Theists make claims about evolution which are flatly contradicted by science. They appeal to faith. They respond to requests for evidence with universal skepticism. They make appeals to non-evidentiary concerns, like “It makes me happy”. It is quite simply a waste of time and one that makes you wonder whether the other person is engaged in the same truth-seeking activity that you are.

        • Darrell E
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          No no no. “It makes me happy” is so plain, so yesterday. The hip phrase these days is “deeply comforting”.

          • Darrell E
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Oops. Does that sound too much like mocking?

  16. Sven
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    “shout forced laughter at them”

    How dare they!!

  17. Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Why should I make nice to someone who thinks and tells me I am going to Hell?

    • GregFromCos
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Because you’re never going to change someone’s mind being mean. And depending on your region of the country, don’t confuse being direct, with being mean.

      But if we as New Atheists truly believe that fundamentalist religion is a bane on society, then its in our best interest to be nice, even when niceness is not deserved, in order to possibly put a tiny chink in someone’s fundamentalist belief.

      That at least is my theory. I wish I could say I always succeeded in following it.

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        … and what do you do when you realize that the person in front of you will never ever change their mind and is intent on changing yours?

        • Kevin
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          …well, that’s the art of engagement, isn’t it?

          One always is aware that certain people have fixed positions. Sometimes you engage them not to change their minds, but in order to influence the bystanders.

          Other times, you cut off their favorite arguments at the knees, and they learn humility.

          Last week or so, I had a theist offer $5,000 to me or anyone who could demonstrate a fulfilled prophecy of any religion other than Christianity. When I did a 5-second Google and came up with thousands and thousands of hits for Islamic fulfilled prophecies (really, they call him the PROPHET Mohammed for a reason, right?), Hinduism, Mormonism, and Jean Dixon (the “psychic” who made her name predicting JFK’s assassination), he shut right up.

          I didn’t get my $5,000, but he surely isn’t going to use that argument anytime in the near future.

          • truthspeaker
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            “I didn’t get my $5,000, but he surely isn’t going to use that argument anytime in the near future.”

            I wouldn’t be too sure about the latter.

            • Marella
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

              Exactly, he’ll use it so long as you are not there to call him out.

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        When you are dealing with a group of people whose primary defense is to act offended it is simply bad rhetorical practice to give them the opportunity to evade the question at hand. I prefer to force them to explain the consequences of their claims.
        My favorite approach is to get them to explain the solution to the heaven and hell problem (how can anyone really be happy in ‘heaven’ if they know that one of their loved ones is being tortured for eternity in ‘hell’).

        • Mike Haubrich
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          I just wondered if one of the “blisses” of Heaven if forgetfulness of life on Earth. After all, it’s supposed to be an eternity of orgasmic spiritual praise on bended knee, and singing with the angels.

          I honestly think that eternity would be equally as horrifying and agonistic in either Hell or Heaven.

          Mark Twain:

          Singing hymns and waving palm branches through all eternity is pretty when you hear about it in the pulpit, but it’s as poor a way to put in valuable time as a body could contrive.
          – Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven

      • Tulse
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Because you’re never going to change someone’s mind being mean.

        You may not change that person’s mind, but you may influence all the other fence-sitters who hear you make religion sound ludicrous. (Dawkins has said that the ultimate target for his work are not the fundies that he directly attacks, but those less-fundie folks who might read his arguments.)

  18. Egbert
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    There is a certain irony and hypocrisy in personally insulting a group of people for using personal attacks.

    This kind of slagging off is not helpful, however I welcome the book and any criticism that is justified.

    • David Leech
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Good point.

      The irony and hypocrisy does seem to be lost on them. Then again aren’t some of us atheists suppose to be ‘dicks’ I just thought it was supposed to be us and not them. Ah! Well live and learn.

  19. Sajanas
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Huh, I’d never heard of such a book until now. Perhaps this is their way of generating buzz? They aren’t making big waves attacking the faithful in a respectful manner, so they attack atheists and get the faithful to buy their book, thinking it will back them up? Kind of a lame way to generate controversy. Maybe once they interact with the really zealous through the tried and true method of hate mail, they’ll see just how poorly new atheists match up to the labels ‘strident’ and ‘militant’. Pound for pound, I don’t think any New Atheist can match the vitriol of even a moderate baptist preacher.

  20. Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    “erhaps Aikin and Talisse will come over here and give us their little list. I hope so. I’d like to see who among us is guilty of continual and contemptuous verbal assaults on the faithful. And let’s not have a few statements taken out of context, either. How about showing, among Gnus, the ratio of invective devoted to attacking the faithful themselves as opposed to attacking their beliefs?”

    Quantifying this kind of thing is really hard/time-consuming. So instead we all just trade subjective opinions on who is being rude, and how much, and nothing is ever resolved on this point.

    It would be nice if Google or someone made an app that would take a blog and quantify how much invective was in the opening post, produced by various commentators, etc. Obviously this wouldn’t be perfect — as some commentators note, “sometimes they deserve it” (although presumably every rude person would say that in their own defense if challenged) — but it would be something.

    I’d be surprised if this kind of thing didn’t already exist, has anyone heard of such?

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Quantifying this kind of thing is really hard/time-consuming.

      Oh, come on. We’re not asking for an exhaustive dissertation-quality annotated list.

      If all this nastiness is as prevalent as you would have us believe, you should have no trouble offering up, say, three or four representative examples of the worst of the worst.

      And if it is hard to do, then congratulations! You’ve just defeated your own windmill.

      Cheers,

      b&

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Nick, I hope you can see the glaring double-standard there.

      Generally, when Gnus rail against idiocies committed by persons or by groups, they have no trouble providing specifics. Hitch, Dawkins, Coyne, Myers, Harris, Dennett et al have all done this, at times at great length. If they didn’t, they would rightly be chastised, from all points on the spectrum, for lack of rigor.

      Yet here you are, saying that providing specifics relating to times someone was offended in the other direction is “too hard” or would take too long.

      Excuse my militant stridency, but that’s the most gutless & lazy evasion I’ve ever heard. A more cynical person than myself might surmise, based on that attitude, that you’ve got absolutely NOTHING.

      “It would be nice if Google or someone made an app that would take a blog and quantify how much invective was in the opening post, produced by various commentators, etc.”

      And that’s another of the laziest things I’ve ever heard. If you’re responding to a specific insult, all you have to do is provide a URL! But I guess if you’re only responding to some vague “feeling” that all the Gnus are nasty buggers out to get you, your only possible response is to be vague and general yourself. Far be it from any upstanding accommodationist to explore whether their vague feelings are supported, justified, or even plausible.

      I’m starting to think you’re an accommodationist Poe – but I won’t hold my breath for the winking smiley.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        “the most gutless & lazy evasion I’ve ever heard.”

        Me too.

        I believe we have asked for one example of what has been much discussed but never exemplified.

        [But there has never been someone asking gnus who they think are "dicks", so where the "trading" bit comes from is anyone's guess.]

        And now after much silence it is suddenly “hard”!? So what was Tom Johnson about?

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          Btw, foot-in-mouth syndrome. Just saying, again.

        • gillt
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Sure Tom Johnson was specific and named-names (ironic?) but the charges didn’t stick because every alleged quote that was sourced was either taken out of context or made-up whole cloth.

          • Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Yep, very interesting that the only Nu-Framer to ever name names was lying through his teeth and was himself a fabrication.

          • Mike Haubrich
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            No. Tom was really a nice guy. Chris and Sheril vouched for it.

            And they’re both pretty, so we can believe them.

  21. JBlilie
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Why should I respect a bunch of fairy tales?

    1. Because the believer will be emotionally crushed
    2. Because the believer will not like you
    3. Because the believer will go after you with a deadly weapon

    All I can say to the believer is: Grow up! (Or “you are under arrest” for option #3)

    If you want to play in the big-kids pool and debate ideas with grown-ups, then you have to be prepared to openly defend your ideas. If they are found wanting (all the “higher” and “deeper” seeking after a sense of the possibility that perhaps there’s something transformational to be discovered in the poetry of the interactions with the faithful and the vibrant knowledge derived from the findings of quantum physics and the sacraments of the “world’s great religious traditions™” [does that sound theo-illogical and accomodationist enough?] just makes me want to vomit) then buck up and reassess your metaphysics!

    Don’t whine to me about respect!

    • madamX
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget option #4: because the believer will give you a million dollars.

      In situation #3, the proclamation of “Allaho Akbar” may be more effective in a crunch

  22. Kevin
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    As one who has engaged in his fair share of invective, I think I’m mature enough to take fair criticism and to assess my “rules of engagement”.

    An opening salvo of “you’re an idiot” probably isn’t the wisest course of action. Even if the person you’re referring to is — well — an idiot.

    That doesn’t mean direct, forceful language has to be eliminated, or that statements of fact need to be qualified into mushy oblivion.

    Focus on the argument, not the arguer. Got it.

    Next issue?

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      I say “go for the arguer” as well as the argument, if he/she is a deliberate liar/fraud.

  23. Kyle Anderson
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    [quote](Remember Dawkins getting mad at the woman who, refusing to look at hominin fossils, kept maintaining that humans hadn’t evolved?)[/quote]

    No! Does anybody have a link to that video? Or know where one can view it?

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      It was the Channel 4 “The Enemies of Reason” series, I think. It should be on Youtube.

  24. Posted February 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I think there are a number of things wrong with Aikin and Talisse’s piece, but it is clear that they want to take the polite tack. They are reasonable atheists, the implication being that many others (most others?) are not. Here is where the rubber hits the road and skids:

    One can wholeheartedly and unequivocally deny the truth of the religious believer’s commitments without thereby impugning his integrity as a cognitive agent. The claim that religious believers deserve respect, therefore, need not entail any degree of positive regard for religious belief; the call for respect rather is a call to respect religious believers.

    In many cases this is simply not true. Intelligent people who are devoted to shoring up a lost cause with every argument they can lay their hands on cannot be criticised without impugning their integrity. Their very intelligence means that there is something wrong for which they deserve criticism and justified contempt. Aikin and Talese cannot separate out reasonable atheism in the way that they suggest. It is reasonable to hold intelligent people in contempt when they use their intelligence to lay down smoke.

    • Matt Penfold
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      No! Does anybody have a link to that video? Or know where one can view it?

      I think it might be this women, Wendy Wright.

      Quite how Dawkins manages to keep his cool is beyond me.

      • Matt Penfold
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Sorry, meant to post this as a new comment.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I’ve added that link to the post above. Thanks!

        • Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          I simply do not understand — I’m listening to the interview now — how Dawkins kept his cool! This is bizarre! They say that Dawkins is strident. I’d be tearing my hair out by this point!

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      There’s even one place in the book where they say that. I think they didn’t really notice what they’d done, because it undercuts part of their argument!

  25. Matt Penfold
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    No! Does anybody have a link to that video? Or know where one can view it?

    I think it might be this women, Wendy Wright.

    Quite how Dawkins manages to keep his cool is beyond me.

  26. John
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    PZ said on camera “you are an ignorant fool and I am an educated scientist”. That is where he lost the debate.

    If you can’t convince someone of your point of view with facts and rational debate, then calling them stupid isn’t going to do it either.

    • Matt Penfold
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Would you care to provide a link to the video ?

      • John
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_572326&feature=iv&v=4j28XpaACZg time stamp 16:08.

        • Sajanas
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          Not necessarily to comment on the video (I don’t have sound at work), I think that the comparison Dawkins made to the Latin teacher who has to deal with people that argue that the entire Roman republic, Roman Empire, and current day Rome don’t exist. It is bound to be very, very frustrating, and I can imagine that after a while debating these people, it is very tempting to call them idiots, since they ignore or deny evidence, as the woman who debated Dawkins in the video linked above did.

          Its a damned if you, damned if you don’t problem…. if you don’t do talks or debates, you get called out for not engaging the public, and if you do, and lose your temper (which is pretty easy to do) you get called disrespectful. Never mind that the creationists dismiss your entire life’s work, and that of all your colleagues in favor of a book they’ve barely read.

          • John
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            I understand that and I experience that frustration as well. I think we need to get better at presenting our case in a thoughtful and respectful manner. I think that Dawkins does it very well and only very rarely gets visibly excited. That hasn’t stopped the religious from calling him shrill but really, that is their problem.

            • articulett
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

              I don’t think you can really have a rational discussion with someone who imagines they are saved for what they believe (and that you are damned for not believing it.)

              It’s also tiresome dealing with those who need to vilify you in order to keep their magical beliefs alive.

        • Tacroy
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          My transcript, starting at 15:30

          PZ:”You know, that’s what you’re saying though, that God is willing to lie to us about the age of the earth.”
          IF:”No, he’s allowing us to see how, I mean, the wonder and beauty of the Earth, and to allow a star – I mean, you can’t just create… time… of… from a star… from the light of a star to reach us like that (snaps fingers), I mean, we have to be able to, you know, test it and say ‘it’s this far away, it would take this many light-years to get there’, well, He knows that, He created it, that’s the mysteries of God, that’s the wonderment of God.”
          PZ:”Mysteries, uh okay”
          IF:”I mean, I understand that you’re not gonna believe me, and I’m not gonna believe what you’re gonna say”
          PZ:”Yeah, but there’s a good reason for that, and that’s because you’re an ignorant fool and I’m an educated scientist.”

          And good grief, looking through the rest of the video, the guy spends about 12 minutes talking to PZ before getting to that point. If this segment is indicative of the quality of his end of the conversation throughout, I’m surprised PZ limited it to simply “well, you’re ignorant” and not, say, projectile vomiting.

          But: I do like that the best example you’ve come up with is PZ Myers, the most “strident” of New Atheists, ending a long and calm conversation with “our difference of opinion seems to stem from the fact that you’re ignorant and I’m not”.

          I’m pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees with PZ’s assessment.

          • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Good point, he actually won “the debate”.

            The segment right after was describing how it was a demonstration against Skepticon III, handing out Ray “Comforters” (RC hacked up OOS Darwin). It was not a “debate”.

        • Mike Haubrich
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          The guy had proved he was an ignorant fool, by stating that he didn’t believe that God was a trickster God even though the guy had just said that God created the “appearance of age so that we would be in awe of his Creation. He had said that his god was no better than the Great and Terrible OZ. And he shook his hand, and didn’t spit on the guy.

          He didn’t shoot the guy, either. Sometimes PZ is a very disappointing representative of militant atheism.

    • Egbert
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      He was being honest in that particular case. And PZ currently holds the prestigious title of Idiot of the Month for daring to hate us cuddly dictionary atheists.

      • Mike Haubrich
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Well, Idiot of the Week. I was surprised that VJack missed the point.

        And perhaps you should re-read what PZ wrote about dictionary atheist before you glue that particular chip on your shoulder.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      No, but it might convince other people not to listen to the ignorant fool.

      • John
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Can you honestly think back to a time when you stopped listening to someone because someone else called that person a fool?

        • Marella
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Sure, if someone I respect tells me that someone else is an ignorant fool I will probably not waste my time listening to them. My time is precious and I spend it carefully. If PZ or Jerry tells me someone is a dickhead I believe them. Mostly.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Yes.

        • articulett
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          Can you honestly think of a time when you had a rational discussion with someone who was bent on proving to themselves that you were vile because you didn’t believe in the magic story they thought they were “saved” for believing in? And you refused to defer to the notion that it was good to believe such things?

          I don’t really know many creationists who are actually interested in the discussion they pretend they are interested in having with biologists. Do you? Most just want to ask loaded questions so they can pretend any unsatisfactory answer means that they stumped the scientist and, therefore, Jesus is real. I don’t think this is a problem with the scientists or framing– it’s a problem with people trusting those who denigrate science while claiming faith in a certain unbelievable story will lead to “happily ever after”.

          Face it, most people who have a complaint with the gnu atheists are just irked beyond belief that the atheist dares to think of the theists magical beliefs the way the theist thinks of all those other crazy religions and superstitions. And the gnu atheist isn’t afraid to say so. This makes the believer (and accommodationist), “need” to find something to dislike about the atheist– even if it means provoking the nastiness, exaggerating it or imagining it. (See Nick Matzke for an example).

          I think some people imagine harshness from the gnu atheist because they aren’t used to hearing religious supernatural beliefs and pseudoscience treated the way scientists treat other supernatural beliefs and pseudosciences. The people who do this also seem to underplay the general obnoxiousness of theists because they’ve been trained by society to protect “faith”.

          In my opinion, those who complain about the gnu atheists being dicks are bigger dicks than those (often unnamed)atheists they complain about. In true Dunning Kruger fashion, these “accommodationists are ironically unaware that their dickish passive aggressive complaints make them poor candidates for offering advice; moreover, they don’t often seem to be the experts at communication they imagine themselves to be.

          I often wonder if the complaints are really sour grapes. Are the complainers anywhere near as effective at communicating science as those they are complaining about? To me coddling faith just makes the faithful think their faith is worthy of coddling.

    • Thanny
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      You’ve missed the point *entirely*.

      If you can’t convince someone with facts and rational debate, then that person is an ignorant fool. You may choose to point that out or not, but anything you do say is no longer aimed (if it ever was) at convincing that person of anything – it is designed to influence bystanders who may be ignorant but not fools.

      • John
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        So the non-foolish but ignorant bystanders wouldn’t have understood the facts and rationale until the point when you call the person you are debating with “an ignorant fool”.

        Thank you for clearing that up for me because I clearly did miss it entirely.

        • Nate
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Do you like holding ignorant, foolish ideas? Would you be more or less likely to reconsider ideas that people consider to be ignorant and fooolish?

          The problem is that these ignorant fools do not think of themselves as ignorant fools. Instead, they run in circles in which their ignorant, foolish ideas are respected. You, personally, may not be persuaded by someone calling you an ignorant fool, but if it was someone I otherwise respected, or at the very minimum I recognized as intelligent and thoughtful, I’d be more likely to reconsider an idea that that person described as ignorant and foolish than if that person treated the idea with faux respect and engaged it as if it were not ignorant and foolish.

          • John
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            That is a good point. I wouldn’t want to debate ID in a science lecture for that very reason. But I would debate that in a philosophy/socials setting without calling the person names.

            • Mike Haubrich
              Posted February 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

              Good luck on that, after you have politely run around in circles with someone only to realize that they are chasing their tail, and you are betwixt snapping snout and tail.

            • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
              Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              “without calling the person names”.

              Still missing the point: if the label fits. This is the dilemma of diagnosis, when unavoidable subjectivity and unwillingness to accept the verdict is on the table.

              “Naming” would happen if there was no attempt of diagnosis.

  27. Ken Pidcock
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Did you notice that this thread is at around sixty comments, and no one has yet used the word framing? Neither do Aikin and Talisse. Damn, how fast memes expire.

  28. Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve read the book, and it’s a good one. I don’t agree with all of it, and there are places where I just don’t understand. Now that they’ve initiated pre-publication conversation, I’ll talk about those at B&W – I’ve been waiting since the pub date was so far off. But it’s definitely not simply a gnu-bash. They agree with gnus on a lot, and say so (not under that name of course!).

    But I do think they should have said who called them accommodationists in advance of publication. Saying they’ve “been charged” with accommodationism without saying by whom does make everyone a suspect, which is indeed rather unfair. That’s just what Plait did, and many many people have cried foul.

    I also think they have a wrong understanding of the word “accommodationism,” and that’s one of the things I disagree with in the book.

    But don’t think of them as Tom Johnsons; they’re not.

    • Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      That was addressed to readers/commenters in general, not to our host. It’s just that I happen to have extra background information, and I can say that the book is mostly better than that 3Q post.

    • Matt Penfold
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      My understanding of the term accommodationism includes treating religious believers as though they are intellectually incapable of dealing with criticism of their beliefs.

      • Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        My understanding of it is that it’s not the word for all royalists or gnu-haters or faitheists or atheists who disagree with explicit atheism, but rather, the word for atheists who think atheists should “frame” (there we go: a mention) their atheism in a particular way for political reasons. It picks out a subset of atheists who disagree with explicit atheism as opposed to naming the whole group.

        • Matt Penfold
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          I would not disagree with that.

          • Matt Penfold
            Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            I would add that when I made my comment I had in mind Chris Mooney, who does seem to think that if religious believers are criticised over their beliefs they will cease any co-operation with atheists in fighting issues such as creationism being taught in schools.

            It is a foolish belief in many ways, not least because there is evidence that being a vocal atheist critical of religious belief does not stop the religious joining with you. Richard Dawkins had no problems working with religious leaders to fights attempts to introduce creationism into some UK schools.

            It is also wrong because the type of religious believer who is happy accepting evolution (to give one example) tends to realise that one does not need to agree with potential allies on all issues. One can agree to co-operate on one issue whilst retaining the right to be highly critical of those allies on other issues.

            • Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

              Broadly speaking, most sane people tend to realise that one does not need to agree with potential allies on all issues!

              :- )

  29. H.H.
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The proper response to this state of affairs [apparently rational but faithful people] is to address religious believers as fellow rational agents…

    The problem with this is the great majority of faithful people are not rational agents, and the ones who are have developed the ability to turn off their capacity for reason whenever discussing theology. Even very smart people will cling to horrible arguments if they need to believe badly enough.

  30. Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    That’s why the lists always come down to anonymous commenters on Pharyngula who suggest that the faithful perform sexual acts with rusty knives.

    And to be fair to us commenter Pharyngula, it’s not like we’re dealing with those who will sit down, have a glass of port and talk in a careful and constructive way…

    • Sajanas
      Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      And at least the commenters at Pharyngula can string their sentences together. I’ve actually found a lot of very smart people both here and there. Then I go look at On Faith posters and people are CoMEnTInG LIkeee THEEssse and such, and it looks like a bunch of the religous right is just face rolling on their keyboards. At least the PZ posters can spell their four letter words right.

      • TrineBM
        Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Then I go look at On Faith posters and people are CoMEnTInG LIkeee THEEssse and such, and it looks like a bunch of the religous right is just face rolling on their keyboards

        Ooops – made me laugh out loud. Thanks.
        Another nice thing about Pharyngula commentators is that they stick to the point for a long time. Some of the Pharyngula discussions can show commenters changing viewpoints slowly as the commenting goes on and the good arguments prevail. It’s nice! Not mean – nice!

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          It is nice, but not in a “gnice” way.

          • TrineBM
            Posted February 9, 2011 at 1:28 am | Permalink

            Or is it precisely gnice, and not nice? As in: nice the gnu way??? Now I’m confused!

            • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
              Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

              I was thinking of #8 Sigmund: “Gnus think that is acceptable while gnices think it is not.”

  31. Peter Beattie
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The best thing is that a couple of years ago these crack philosophers wrote a paper titled “Two Forms of the Straw Man”. Now go back and read their first paragraph again. I think they might just have discovered a third form, which should perhaps be called “crying Gnu”. :)

  32. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lively debate on this book going on over at Butterflies and Wheels.

  33. Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I can explain one thing. The charges of accommodationism were in emails from random strangers after the book was advertised in the Prometheus catalogue.
    You know how catalogue-readers are…

    :- )

  34. Nakada
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    We know at least one person who’s on the little list: Wayne.

  35. Egbert
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Greta Christina writes a nice article about why all this respect rhetoric is bullshit:

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/149588/no,_atheists_don't_have_to_show_%22respect%22_for_religion/?page=entire

    We should remind ourselves to stop playing by our enemies rules all the time. We have our own rules!


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Coyne addresses Aikin and Talisse’s post from a completely different angle over at Why Evolution is True. It’s really worth reading. We were doing this independently of each other, but more and more [...]

  2. [...] Coyne, a man who can’t pass an alligator in the street without mistaking it for a pair of shoes, complains here that the critics of new atheism are “reluctant to give examples of Atheist Bad Behavior”. So I [...]

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