Sunday, September 15, 2013

Internet Break Two

At left, Bachelor's buttons on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Going to the coast! And doesn't that make me sound just SO RICH?! Actually, the coast is within driving distance, or we'd go somewhere else.

And so, I am hereby leaving you with the most recent online scandal du jour: Atheist author/spokesdaddy Richard Dawkins decides child sexual abuse is no biggie. Suck it up you whiny tittybabies, and stop your sobbing! (To their credit, other atheists have wasted no time in condemning this most recent nonsense.)

For those who missed Dawkins' last Twitter tantrum, trashing (nah, go on) Muslims, the details are here. (Another good account HERE.)


:: Also, check out Lynda Barry's "20 Stages of Reading" comic, which is perfect and priceless.

:: In this heartbreaking clip, a baby elephant cried for five hours after his own mother attacked and abandoned him at a zoo in China. :(

And no, I simply couldn't leave you with anything so sad (sniff)... so I am hereby signing off with a tried-and-true monthly dose of cute. This video has well over 54 million views on YouTube!

Yes, it really does deliver on the cute front:

Talking cats

See you all when I get back! (kisses)


southcarolinaboy said...

Ugh...why don't Dawkins just stop talking already...?

JoJo said...

Have fun on your trip!!! The coast is awesome! I always feel better at the beach.

Sevesteen said...

I vaguely remember a pair of fairly minor incidents as a child. If I were to witness a similar incident done to a child now, I'm not completely sure I could refrain from violence--but at the time I thought of them as kind of icky, but not particularly noteworthy. I'm not scarred or broken, and rarely think about those incidents. Even if I could remember who the perp was, I wouldn't be interested in retribution 40+ years later. (that's not saying I wouldn't speak up if there was the slightest suspicion of current abuse)

I'm guessing Dawkins attitude is similar, combined with his Atheist's version of Christian Forgiveness. I'm not seeing anything to be outraged about, unless you're already inclined to be outraged by Dawkins.

Anonymous said...

Dawkins is a pig. Always has been, always will be.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Sevesteen, did you read the two pieces I linked? Dawkins has repeatedly said that children raped by Catholic priests are MORE harmed by being raised as Catholic in the first place than they are by rape (!)... which is a morally-reprehensible statement. (This is likely why Anon calls him a pig) He won't take that statement BACK and has instead defended himself nonstop since saying it. Dawkins' comments were obviously made in the context of this ongoing brawl--and I should have made that clear, but I was hurrying. (My bad.)

I don't know how much you know about the priestly-sex abuse scandal, but much of this is CHILD RAPE we are talking about, Jerry Sandusky style (not the benign-sounding word "fondling"--which always sounds to me like something you'd do to a kitten or puppy). The problem is that Dawkins' arrogance means he automatically sees everything as it relates to HIM, and does not understand that for some children, this is about brutal rape and pedophilia extending over a decade or more, as well as spiritual abuse peculiar to religious authority (i.e. "if you tell on me, you go to hell"--which is an abhorrent thing to say to a frightened and powerless child. At least Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens got this part right.) But since this particular "fondling" episode was Dawkins' experience and it was no big deal, he extrapolates and implies this must be the situation for everyone... NO, it certainly isn't, and PZ Myers and Melissa explain why. Please read the comments too, in which many atheist-survivors have weighed in. (Ironically, the priest-scandal nurtured the nascent atheism of many ex-Catholics, and he seems to miss that whole aspect of the discussion! Thus he is INSULTING A LOT OF ATHEISTS WHO OTHERWISE ADMIRE HIM and seems totally unaware of that... tone-deaf, arrogant, and thoroughly insufferable.)

2b continued

DaisyDeadhead said...

reply to Sevesteen continued.

Dawkins calls all religious people "delusional" (its right there in the title of his book, "The God Delusion") and positions atheists as the (smarter) guardians of reason and rationality. This is similar to Christians positioning themselves as the (holier) guardians of morality and goodness. In fact, believe it or not, I have met numerous dopey/deluded atheist-leftists in my life and I am certain that atheism is no guarantee of brilliance or rationality--it simply means one does not believe in God. Likewise, Christianity does not guarantee goodness or morality, and we all know examples of this (see priestly-pedophiles, mentioned above). There are atheists who believe in UFOs and astrology, but they are regarded as "not really atheists" unless they are Dawkins-style atheists. (No True Scotsman) just as some Christians insist that Jim Jones was not a real Christian, all while he was praying End Times apocalyptic gibberish right up until the end. OF COURSE he was a Christian. (No True Scotsman)

What I personally find problematic is that when you advertise atheism as "what the smart people think"--you appeal to people's egos and personality problems... just as when you advertise Christianity as "what the moral people believe/do"--you appeal to people's egos and personality problems... by fiat, this translates
(in pop culture) as: intelligence is the exclusive province of atheism, as morality is the exclusive province of Christianity. You can't have one without the other; they are flip sides of each other. Dawkins wants the first, but rejects the other... then he says things like this, that sound really... immoral. (just like when the Christians argue against evolution, they sound really... dumb).

I did not agree w/Christopher Hitchens about Iraq, and he pissed me off with his casual sexism, but there is no doubt he was truly brilliant and understood the Left and Right instinctively (having aligned himself with/hung out with both groups at various times in his life). He never made these kinds of mistakes. Likewise, I dislike Sam Harris' Muslim-baiting but I do appreciate his understanding of the mystical experiences (I bond with other ex-acidheads!) and I think he has something important to bring to the table and look forward to hearing and engaging w/what he says.

Dawkins? Not so much. He represents all that is wrong with the old guard, and he needs to just go away and shut up. Just my opinion of course...

But the atheists on those two threads I linked, state this far more emphatically than I just did.

Yes, I am outraged by him, but probably not for the reasons you initially believed. Quite simply, I think he is doing irreparable harm to atheism, and does more damage every time he opens his mouth. As a Buddhist, I back the secularists unreservedly and want them to succeed politically.

In that sense, Dawkins is doing far more harm than good.

My new favorite atheist is Rebecca Goldstein (Pinker's wife) and I have read two of her novels already, going on the third. Like Harris, she gets it. She understands the cultural pull of religion (having been raised in an Orthodox Jewish home), as Harris the ex-acidhead understands the desires of mystics and contemplatives.

I would like to hear more from these folks and less from Dawkins the blowhard.

Sevesteen said...

I assumed that the first link was the most important, the key to what you were writing about, and that subsequent links were similar supporting material. I read the first one, did not read the rest.

The institutional reaction to child rape within the priesthood of the Catholic church is evil, and eliminates considering the Church a moral authority on any subject. Individual members might be worthwhile, but that is despite their membership and not because of it.

DaisyDeadhead said...

My own journey away from the Church can be dated/clocked from the onset of the scandal in 2001/02... although I did not fully realize this until years later. It was a slow process, like a rock wearing away in the wind... but it nonetheless finally wore down: Enough is enough. (And then, I needed to figure out where else to go for my ethical guidelines, spiritual disciplines and community, all of which have been of lifelong importance to me.)

I am sure many, many others can say the same.

DaisyDeadhead said...

As I said here, I think many atheists are intrinsically more moral/ethical (or maybe have a 'sturdier internal moral compass'?), and don't need these things I have mentioned, that I think religions/belief systems provide.

Nobody wants to talk about that, though. (sigh) It's like I've said something dirty or something. I can't take atheism seriously (as a movement) until they do. Instead, you get atheists saying some version of, "saying there will be riots in the streets is not a very good argument for religion!"--actually its a great argument, and you should consider it. The problem is that atheists reply to this argument as (see 2nd link) "an argument for moral superiority"--when its really just a statement of fact.

As a result, atheists arrogantly dismiss a dialectic that I believe (know in my gut) is at the heart of religious belief and one of the main reasons for it.

Sevesteen said...

Penn Jilette is one of my favorite celebrities. His response to "don't we need religion to keep us from raping and murdering?" said "I've already raped and murdered everyone I care to, and that number is zero". That's true of the majority of people. I doubt you really need a spiritual guide to keep from hurting people, if you did, you wouldn't be searching for spiritual guidance in the first place.

Next time you have an hour free to listen, search for Penn Jilette Unmaksed on Youtube. Ron Bennington is a great interviewer, Penn is a great subject, and at least the first 15 minutes are on atheism from Penn's point of view. (I just found it when searching for the above quote, and I'm still listening) Apparently the interview converted Ron's radio show partner from Lutheran to Atheist.

DaisyDeadhead said...

We ran his rant on marijuana on our show, which was some stellar radio:

I thought that was damned awesome.

Most of the time he is too sexist for my taste, though. And I found his attack on the ADA to be unconscionable... he has NEVER apologized or modified his views in any way--or even corrected his mistakes (which were extensive). For instance, lots of people were not even permitted to even go to public school before the ADA (include some in my family, so don't get started), which is one reason why it was necessary in the first fucking place, so I found his TV-piece prejudiced, totally ignorant and irresponsible. I DARE him to say "there were good things about segregation!" on TV... pretty easy to attack a nearly-powerless group. In fact, his piece was tantamount to asserting that societal segregation of disabled people WASN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL (he might change his mind if he gets hit by a car and requires a wheelchair by tomorrow morning, you know?). He shoots off his mouth too fast, without thinking... and yes, I do that too, so I understand the temptation. But when I am proven mistaken in my facts or just plain wrong (10th Step out of 12) I promptly admit it... and have little patience with those who do not. But I AM smart enough to realize that such an entertaining rant as the one above, usually comes from someone who just "lets loose"--the problem is his (white male?) ego forbids him from ever admitting that he's gone too far.... and he often does.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Just watched that Youtube video again... almost willing to overlook his ADA bullshit, because that is so great.

I feel like playing it on the radio every single day. :)


Sevesteen said...

His rant on drugs is awesome.

To use "Government run schools discriminated against the disabled" as an argument that we need more government doesn't seem logical to me. The standard libertarian line is against public schools entirely--but I'm near certain that most would say that while they exist they should not discriminate.

(and for the record, Jilette is a strong supporter of Opportunity Village, a Vegas charity that provides job training for mentally disabled people)

...and I've heard him say where he was wrong.

DaisyDeadhead said...

So churches should run the schools? God forbid. Around here, it would be an unmitigated disaster; science would be virtually outlawed in such schools.

What about those of us who come from uneducated/ignorant people (or very hard-working people with NO spare time) who couldn't homeschool us?

As usual, I have issues with the whole "Let them eat cake" tenor of libertarianism.

Sevesteen said...

Education is where I have my biggest disagreements with standard libertarianism--but I don't have better ideas. It is unfortunate, but some people need to be forced to send their kids to school--including my wife's father. If he'd had his way, she would never have learned to read, it only makes women uppity. (Reading is so fundamental to her personality, without it she would be someone else entirely)

I think that some education should be mandatory and probably subsidized (unlike most libertarians), but the government's involvement in curriculum and methods should be minimal. I have no idea what this would look like--but I had no idea that I'd be buying bicycle parts from Amazon, with a better selection and drastically lower prices than 15 years ago. Curriculum is in some ways similar to software-once a superior method is found, without roadblocks it can be duplicated at very little additional cost. I don't think it will be unionized teachers with education degrees and lifetime employment teaching a schedule based on 1800's farming.

I think there would be some problems with idiot creationist parents, but there would also be vast improvements in inner-city education opportunity--and I think a poor urban minority kid needs the improvement more than a kid whose parents care enough to make choices in curriculum, even if those choices are misguided at best.