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40 Lashes and the Evil of Religion in the eyes of Atheists

I don’t suppose you’ve read about the British teacher in the Sudan who allowed a student named Mohammed to name his teddy bear Mohammed. She was in danger of getting flogged but now she will only spend 15 days in jail, guilty on the charge of insulting religion and inciting hatred. As that article explains, there were also people who wanted her killed. Hmmm. I guess I won’t say which object around my house I’ve given a certain name.

Now, meanwhile, there are thousands of atheists looking at this incident and thinking to themselves, “See, religion. It is all bad.” That’s an interesting response since I’m looking at the incident and I’m thinking it is bad, but I have a different conclusion, “See, Islam. Bad.” I could refine it further to exclude westernized Muslims and focus on the Sudanese, but the basic idea is that a reasonable person will only go as far as the evidence will allow. Over the last decade, I have noticed an increasing number of atheists arguing about the evils of religion and usually citing examples from Islam. Does that even begin to make sense? The whole notion of ‘religion’ is ridiculous on its face because of the many absurdities and abuses we find in Islam?

As a case in point, consider this gent posting on my discussion forum. He’s talking about the recent outcry in Turkey about the publication of Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion” which, to be fair, really does insult religion and incite hatred. Watch what happens:

For centuries it was a virtual death sentence to declare oneself as Atheist. The modern world is becoming more enlightened but religious fervour can still wield a powerful fist. Just look at a current news story where Turkey is attempting to prosecute the publisher of Richard Dawkin’s book ‘The God Delusion’ because it may be “an attack on religious values”.
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/11/28/dawkins.turkey.ap/index.html
Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Religion is of course an attack on rational values.

Not, ‘Islamic fervor’ but ‘religious fervour’ [sic]. You can easily find atheists continuing this rant of late in regards to the Christian reaction to Pullman’s Golden Compass. It really torques them off that some Christians have called for a boycott for the series. Oh, those evil, evil Christians. Don’t they know that good and decent people are obligated to buy the products perpetuating things they don’t agree with? Such intolerance! Such evil! See, religion bad!

Now, I haven’t heard a Christian call for Pullman to be flogged, or thrown in jail, or beheaded. Have you? It doesn’t matter to many atheists. They only have one brush and it is ten miles wide. For them, it has to be, because it is only by lumping Islam with Christianity as ‘religion’ that they can have their argument.

One of the clearest examples of this argument was in fact found in Dawkins’s Delusion. He talks about religious fanatics flying into the WTC towers on 9-11 and the calls for beheadings and, if I recall correctly, the fatwa on Rushdie. I agree, all bad. But he shows how Christianity is not immune to such abuses by showing… how a school board in Dover brought in a text book that de-emphasized evolution and focused on intelligent design. OOOOOOH the travesty! The agony! The HORROR of RELIGION! Elected officials did their job in a way that some people didn’t agree with! Why not un-elect them, if you don’t agree with them?

Why, that is exactly what happened. Was that enough for our tolerant atheists and Darwinists? Heaven’s no! A lawsuit, please! These damned evil Christians who were properly elected and then voted out- and went out peacefully without threats of jihad- proof positive of the dangers of religion! So, let’s slap a lawsuit on them, too, Freedom from Religion style, that’s the way tolerant unreligious people handle it. Much better.

Naturally, when you start digging into the question, the old standbys begin to emerge. Let’s not forget the Crusades or the Inquisition, for example. Yes, let’s not forget the evils of the past perpetuated while most of Europe’s population was illiterate and couldn’t read the Scriptures for themselves to see if what the leadership was saying was true. But we have evidence in modern times, too. Look at Eric Rudolph. And not just Rudolph… there is also… uh Rudolph… (give us a minute and we’ll think of another example…) oh yea, and those damn Christians trying to pass constitutional amendments and boycotting things they don’t like. Yea, that’s the SAME THING as flying into buildings, blowing oneself up in coffee shops, beheading infidels, and trying to hang, and if not flog, and if not flog, imprison a woman for 15 days when her student names a teddy bear after Mohammed.

The SAME thing.

So this is just a little note out to the atheists out there… I think reasonable Christians would agree that some discussion about things like events hundreds of years ago like the Inquisition is in order, but if you can’t tell the difference between a religion whose adherents flock to be suicide bombers and a religion whose adherents- now able to read their writings for themselves- generally work through the legislative process, you are completely discredited. You can call yourself ‘rational’ all you like, as did Dicoll in the forum thread I posted above, but really rational people know better.

Haven’t you noticed the historical trend where Christians who know their Scriptures well tend not to advocate violence in the name of their God or religion while Muslims who know their Scriptures well do?

Meanwhile, there will be atheists upset that I did not talk to them with ‘gentleness and respect.’ I used ALL CAPS, more evidence that Christianity is vicious and its proponents are unloving, which one can fully expect since religion is bad, bad, BAD. Beheadings, flogging, suicide bombing, ALL CAPS, and of course, my playful tauntings. All in a days work for those wicked religionists, ya know?

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    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 12:59 am

    It’s true that fundamentalist Islam is not AS BAD as fundamentalist Christianity, but clear thinking atheists (including Dawkins) don’t make such an equivocation. So, I fail to see the point of your rant: you’re pointing out an illegitimate conflation well-respected atheists don’t make.

    You wrote:
    —————

    One of the clearest examples of this argument was in fact found in Dawkins’s Delusion. He talks about religious fanatics flying into the WTC towers on 9-11 and the calls for beheadings and, if I recall correctly, the fatwa on Rushdie. I agree, all bad. But he shows how Christianity is not immune to such abuses by showing… how a school board in Dover brought in a text book that de-emphasized evolution and focused on intelligent design. OOOOOOH the travesty! The agony! The HORROR of RELIGION! Elected officials did their job in a way that some people didn’t agree with! Why not un-elect them, if you don’t agree with them?

    —————

    You’re misunderstanding Dawkins’ point, which is NOT: sneaking pseudo-science into the science classroom is equivalent to flying planes into buildings. Rather, his point is: fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity are similar in that both religions advocate stupid, irrational beliefs that are harmful to society. Perhaps you ought to interpret him charitably, instead of engaging in strawman.

    If you’re insistent on believing that Dawkins thinks that fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity as equally bad, then you need to quote him where he explicitly states (or implies) this.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 1:28 am
      Author

    So, You’ve read Dawkins’s Delusion, have you? How do you know it is a strawman if you haven’t read it? Have you?

    You could interpret my comments more charitably by going to the effort of actually showing from Dawkins’s Delusion that he didn’t make this equivocation rather than flatly asserting he didn’t?

    Are you saying that Dicoll is not a clear thinking atheist?

    Assuming you haven’t read it (you can correct me if I am wrong, of course) you can take a look at this website which offers corroboration for my claim: http://blog.kingsley.edu.au/christian-apologetics/2007/06/05/richard-dawkins-and-fundamentalism/

    Pay attention to why I am submitting this. ONLY for corroboration on this one point. Whip out your copy and show where he distinguishes between the quality of the threats posed by ‘fundamentalist islam’ and ‘fundamentalist Christianity’ the way Sam Harris has.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 2:11 am

    —————-
    So, You’ve read Dawkins’s Delusion, have you? How do you know it is a strawman if you haven’t read it? Have you?

    You could interpret my comments more charitably by going to the effort of actually showing from Dawkins’s Delusion that he didn’t make this equivocation rather than flatly asserting he didn’t?
    ————-

    No, I haven’t read the God-delusion. But if you’re going to flatly assert on a PUBLIC blog (without evidence!) that Dawkins made an outrageous and highly offensive claim, then you ought to, you know, back it up with proper quotation.

    I’m willing to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t make such as equivocation, since he strikes me as a fairly stand up guy: to equate murder on a mass scale with teaching psuedo-science is beneath the character of any dignified person. Unlike you, I give Dawkins a little more credit (he doesn’t have the moral intelligence of a 6 yr-old).

    ————
    Are you saying that Dicoll is not a clear thinking atheist?
    ————-

    I don’t know who that person is.

    ————-
    Assuming you haven’t read it (you can correct me if I am wrong, of course) you can take a look at this website which offers corroboration for my claim: http://blog.kingsley.edu.au/christian-apologetics/2007/06/05/richard-dawkins-and-fundamentalism/
    —————

    I assume you wanted me to pay attention this statement: “He stated that Christianity in the west, especially in America, in its declaration and practice of faith is presenting a mirror image of Islamic fundamentalism that threatens society. His premise for this statement was the opposition of Christianity to the precepts of evolution, and its promotion of the ‘designer theory’ of creation.”

    Again, even if Dawkins made such a statement, it doesn’t commit him to the view that fundamentalist Islam is AS BAD AS fundamentalist Christianity. All he’s committed to is the claim that there are disturbing parrallels between the two at the level of religious belief–irrationality, dogmatic certainty without sufficient evidence, anti-scientific mindset, etc.

    —————–
    Pay attention to why I am submitting this. ONLY for corroboration on this one point. Whip out your copy and show where he distinguishes between the quality of the threats posed by ‘fundamentalist islam’ and ‘fundamentalist Christianity’ the way Sam Harris has.
    ——————

    I don’t see why I have the burden to do this: you’re the one who PUBLICLY charged him with making such as offensive equivocation. Besides, since you’ve obviously have a copy of the book, why don’t you simply settle this matter by providing your readers with the necessary quotation that proves your point?

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 8:05 am
      Author

    “No, I haven’t read the God-delusion.”

    That really says it all, I think. You want to get on here and accuse me of fashioning a strawman and you haven’t even read the book? Shame, shame.

    Your protestations about this being a public accusation forgets its a bluming blog and not The Journal for Philosophical Investigations.

    As for a quotation, that’s how I knew you hadn’t read the book. There isn’t a quotation, there is a running argument over the course of a whole chapter. I’m not going to quote a whole chapter for you.

    I have now produced a nice little link for you describing something Dawkins said on the TV to the same effect. You now have evidence that he would say such a thing. We are talking about the same Dawkins I hope. A stand up guy? There is a reason why he doesn’t get a ‘charitable’ reading.

    Finally, I’m not going to take lessons on charity from a fellah who immediately leaps to accuse me of a strawman when he hasn’t even read the book in question for himself… or even seem to be aware of Dawkins’s numerous offensive statements. There is a reason why many atheists have distanced themselves from this ‘stand up guy.’ Judging from your reaction here, I guess we have hope that as you educate yourself on the man, you will too.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    “That really says it all”

    Actually, it doesn’t. I’m willing to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t make the equivocation you charged him with until I see evidence (which you have to provide!) to the contrary. Your task is very simple: please support your claim with proper quotation that Dawkins thinks fundamentalist Islam is just AS BAD AS fundamentalist Christianity. Can you do this or not?

    ————-
    Your protestations about this being a public accusation forgets its a bluming blog and not The Journal for Philosophical Investigations.
    ————–

    Oh, I see now. Although making offensive accusations in a published journal is a big no-no, doing so on the net is perfectly okay (morally speaking).

    ————-
    As for a quotation, that’s how I knew you hadn’t read the book. There isn’t a quotation, there is a running argument over the course of a whole chapter. I’m not going to quote a whole chapter for you.
    ————–

    Either you can provide support for your accusation or you cannot–it’s that simple. If Dawkins indeed made such an equivocation, you should be able to point out SPECIFICALLY where he did it. I’m not going to buy a whole book just to prove that you misread a single chapter.

    ————
    I have now produced a nice little link for you describing something Dawkins said on the TV to the same effect.
    ————-

    This ignores my earlier response to that link you sent me. First, the owner of that blog didn’t quote Dawkins, so I don’t know exactly what he said. Second, I pointed out that, even if Dawkins compared Islam to Christianity (which I’m sure he did), that alone doesn’t commit him to viewing the practitioners of both religions equally.

    ———
    Finally, I’m not going to take lessons on charity from a fellah who immediately leaps to accuse me of a strawman when he hasn’t even read the book in question for himself… or even seem to be aware of Dawkins’s numerous offensive statements.
    ———-

    Just because I haven’t read Dawkins’ book doesn’t mean I haven’t paid attention to what Dawkins says in the media–in fact, I do. The claim that he thinks fundamentalist Islam is as bad as fundamentalist Christianity just doesn’t cohere with what I know about him. Although I may disagree with Dawkins on various issues, he never struck me as being that blatantly simple-minded. But, like I said, I give him more credit than you do.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 1:28 pm
      Author

    Well, you give him the benefit of the doubt.

    I have no reason to do so.

    Let’s remember, you didn’t lead off with “I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.” You led off with “Perhaps you ought to interpret him charitably, instead of engaging in strawman.”

    You led off with an accusation. You may feel that I have an obligation to support my accusation of Dawkins, but you certainly have an obligation to support your accusation of me. You don’t know that it is a strawman. How could you? You haven’t read the book.

    If you had led off with “I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt until I hear more” I would have said very well, you do that. But that’s now how you started.

    If you’re wondering if I’m going to give you your chapter length quote any time soon, it isn’t going to happen. There is a reason why Dawkins is being termed a fundamentalist even by atheists. Read the book. Those that have know I speak the truth.

    (You’re welcome Dawkins, looks like you get another sale)

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 2:13 pm
      Author

    As tempted as I am to try to show just how simple-minded Dawkins is to your satisfaction, I don’t think that is going to be a good use of my time. If anyone has any question about whether or not I am willing to back up my claims- or the ability- I invite them to peruse this link where I caught Dawkins’s in a terrible piece of shoddy scholarship. And documented it. http://sntjohnny.com/front/archives/33

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    ———–
    Well, you give him the benefit of the doubt.

    I have no reason to do so.
    ———–

    Actually, you do have a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt–it’s called the principle of charity. If Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity doesn’t commit him to viewing suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates as morally equivalent, then you shouldn’t charge him with thinking so.

    And like I said, although I haven’t read his book, I have followed him in the media, and your charge of equivocation doesn’t cohere with what I know. I’m almost certain that Dawkins doesn’t make the equivocation you charged him with.

    If he really did equate suicide bombers and intelligent advocates in his book, you wouldn’t need to quote a whole chapter to prove your case–it should be rather obvious. That you’re unwilling to quote any passage in support of your case is very telling.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    ————-
    As tempted as I am to try to show just how simple-minded Dawkins is to your satisfaction, I don’t think that is going to be a good use of my time.
    ————–

    In other words, you’re unwilling to back up your accusations.

    ————-
    If anyone has any question about whether or not I am willing to back up my claims- or the ability- I invite them to peruse this link where I caught Dawkins’s in a terrible piece of shoddy scholarship. And documented it. http://sntjohnny.com/front/archives/33
    ————-

    So, you’re willing to demonstrate Dawkins’ “shoddy scholarship” but unwilling to demonstrate that he lumps intelligent design advocates and suicide bombers into the same category?

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 2:38 pm
      Author

    “Actually, you do have a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt–it’s called the principle of charity”

    No, I don’t. Not after I’ve read and studied the man for myself. Then I am in a position to make an informed decision. If I challenge him on making an equivocation in that scenario, it is not being uncharitable. The principle of charity here will only apply to me if I was not someone who had studied the book and was still making conclusions about it. You know, like you’re doing. 😉

    I hope you noticed the post I included in the comment above yours. You may not have noticed it if you were writing your own comment.

    BTW, you’re wrong about it being rather obvious. It spans the entire chapter and you’ll have to take my word for what I don’t mention. Will you be as charitable with me for not including these as you insist I be with Dawkins? Heck no.

    BTW, apart from the copyright restrictions, apart from the fact that just because Spence says “Jump” I don’t feel compelled to jump, and apart from the fact that if you weren’t just out to cover up your own transgression of leading off with an accusation that you don’t have the ability to defend yourself (oh, the irony), there is one very good reason why I am not doing your work for you.

    Perhaps if you lived by the principle of charity you’d inquire. But no. You choose to focus on it as ‘very telling.’ What is ‘very telling’ is that you have no problem making an accusation without defending it while simultaneously demanding that I do.

    You see, Spence, that’s just bad form. You’re never going to get me to cooperate with you even when you have reasonable requests if you’re going to lead off with accusations and then be unrepentant when called on them.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 2:39 pm
      Author

    “In other words, you’re unwilling to back up your accusations.”

    At this time, yea. Not the same as a strawman, not that you care.

    “So, you’re willing to demonstrate Dawkins’ “shoddy scholarship” but unwilling to demonstrate that he lumps intelligent design advocates and suicide bombers into the same category?”

    Not at this time, no. It hardly makes any sense to do so since you don’t have the book, anyway. You would never believe anything I said, period. Ever. You’re better off reading it on your own.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    ————
    No, I don’t. Not after I’ve read and studied the man for myself. Then I am in a position to make an informed decision. If I challenge him on making an equivocation in that scenario, it is not being uncharitable.
    —————

    Yes, it is–if it’s possible to read Dawkins’ comparision in a more positive light, then your failture to do so is, by definition, uncharitable.

    ———-
    The principle of charity here will only apply to me if I was not someone who had studied the book and was still making conclusions about it.
    ———–

    You’re getting it all wrong. You can study his book all you want, but that in itself doesn’t mean you’ll arrive at charitable conclusions. Dr. Robert Price has spent many years studying the Bible, and he has come to the concluion that it has some serious problems. Perhaps, then, you ought not to question the charity of his reading since he’s studied the book!

    ————
    You know, like you’re doing.
    ————

    This is perhaps the third time I’ve said this: although I haven’t read his book, I have followed him in the media, and your charge of equivocation doesn’t cohere with what I know.

    ———-
    BTW, you’re wrong about it being rather obvious.
    ———–

    oh??? So it’s NOT obvious that Dawkins equates suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates. Is the equation subtle, then? Tell me: if Dawkins ever states on his website or in an interview that he doesn’t think suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are equally bad, would you retract your accusation? Would that, then, mean your interpretation of Dawkins was indeed off?

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    “At this time, yea. Not the same as a strawman, not that you care.”

    Then tell me: is it POSSIBLE to interpret Dawkins as not suggesting that suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are equivalent? Is it POSSIBLE?

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 3:03 pm
      Author

    “This is perhaps the third time I’ve said this: although I haven’t read his book, I have followed him in the media, and your charge of equivocation doesn’t cohere with what I know.”

    But that isn’t relevant, since I specifically referenced the book. I gave a link that if you would have researched would have also gone after your feelings about what is in the media.

    “Yes, it is–if it’s possible to read Dawkins’ comparision in a more positive light, then your failture to do so is, by definition, uncharitable.”

    Note the conditional clause, ‘If.”

    You have no way of knowing if it is possible or not. I provided you a link showing that other Christians have observed the same theme. It wasn’t from the book, but it was from some of his media (channel 4, Britain, I think) which you say you’ve been following.

    “Then tell me: is it POSSIBLE to interpret Dawkins as not suggesting that suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are equivalent? Is it POSSIBLE?”

    That would depend on a reading of the text, wouldn’t it? Which you haven’t done.

    Why don’t you just apologize for leading off with the accusation that I had erected a strawman? You can’t possibly defend it. For all you know, I already am giving the charitable reading of the Delusion.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    ———–
    But that isn’t relevant, since I specifically referenced the book. I gave a link that if you would have researched would have also gone after your feelings about what is in the media.
    ————-

    Of course it’s relevant. Presumably, what Dawkins says about his book in the media should correspond well to what it actually says. Also, I pointed out that the blogged you linked me to did not demonstrate that Dawkins made such an equivocation.

    ————
    Note the conditional clause, ‘If.”
    ————-

    Again, I’m asking: Do you think it’s possible to read Dawkins more charitably?

    I asked you: is it POSSIBLE to interpret Dawkins as not suggesting that suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are equivalent? Is it POSSIBLE?”

    You said:
    —————-
    That would depend on a reading of the text, wouldn’t it? Which you haven’t done.
    —————–

    Can I get a straight yes-no answer, or will you continue to dodge the question?

    Anyway, here’s a link that you mind find interesting: http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25349-2552017.html

    That’s Steven Weinberg’s review of Dawkins’ book, and he says: “Dawkins treats Islam as just another deplorable religion, but there is a difference. The difference lies in the extent to which religious certitude lingers in the Islamic world, and in the harm it does. Richard Dawkins’s even-handedness is well-intentioned, but it is misplaced. I share his lack of respect for all religions, but in our times it is folly to disrespect them all equally.”

    Notice the key phrases:

    a) “but there is a difference.”
    b) “The difference lies in…the harm it does.”
    c) “Richard Dawkins’ even-handedness is misplaced.”

    So, clearly, Weinberg thinks Dawkins is being TOO charitable in thinking that Christianity is a bit better than Islam.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 3:23 pm
      Author

    Is that a ‘no’ you aren’t going to apologize?

    Uh, you better re-read Wienberg’s quote. “I share his lack of respect for all religions, but in our times it is folly to disrespect them all equally.”

    In other words, Weinberg is saying that Dawkins is… disrespecting them equally.

    Your Weinberg quote says the opposite of what you think. Weinberg is specifically saying that Islam is worse than Christianity, but Dawkins treats them the same. I didn’t read the article, just your quote. Your quote supports exactly what I said.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Is that a ‘no’ you’re not going to answer my question?

    I will apologize if I am proven wrong. Will you retract your statement if you’re proven wrong?

    “In other words, Weinberg is saying that Dawkins is… disrespecting them equally.”

    I will concede my error in this–I misread Weinberg. However, that quote doesn’t support the claim that Dawkins thinks suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are morally equivalent.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 3:49 pm
      Author

    “Is that a ‘no’ you’re not going to answer my question?”

    More or less. We’re back on familiar ground. I’m looking for good faith discourse and you led off with an accusation that you not only had no intention of supporting but didn’t even have the capability to do so.

    “I will apologize if I am proven wrong.”

    And that is charitable? It is charitable to start with an accusation you don’t even have the knowledge to support if you wanted to?

    “Will you retract your statement if you’re proven wrong?”

    Of course.

    “I will concede my error in this–I misread Weinberg. However, that quote doesn’t support the claim that Dawkins thinks suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are morally equivalent.”

    You think it doesn’t support it only because you don’t have the background from the text to know that in fact this is what Dawkins does. He treats them all with contempt- equally. As examples he gives on the Islam side things like 9-11 and the Mohammed cartoon incident. On the Christian side he gives examples like the Crusades and the Dover decision.

    At no time does he indicate that the threat of one or the other is of more severe threat to civilization.

    If you thought I was irresponsibly making accusations before, the Weinberg quote should prompt you to reconsider. I may have been reading him right after all… 😉

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    ———–
    More or less.
    ———–

    So, you won’t even concede that it’s POSSIBLE that an alternative, more positive and charitable reading of Dawkins’ comparision is avaliable? You WON’T concede this? I, at least, can concede that I MIGHT be wrong.

    ————–
    We’re back on familiar ground. I’m looking for good faith discourse and you led off with an accusation that you not only had no intention of supporting but didn’t even have the capability to do so.
    ————–

    You want me to support my accusation, but you’re completely unwilling to support yours. Yeah, that’s really good faith discourse. Let me remind you that YOU asserted without evidence that Dawkins thinks flying planes into buildings and teaching pseudo-science is the “SAME THING.” This is a pretty offensive accusation. Again, why not support it? If I’m convinced of your support, I will retract my strawman accusation with an apology. How is this not “good faith discourse?” I’m willing to meet you half way, but you won’t even budge an inch.

    ———-
    And that is charitable? It is charitable to start with an accusation you don’t even have the knowledge to support if you wanted to?
    ———-

    I could ask you the same question: Is it charitable to publicly accuse someone of making a highly offensive remark without evidence?

    ———–
    You think it doesn’t support it only because you don’t have the background from the text to know that in fact this is what Dawkins does. He treats them all with contempt- equally. As examples he gives on the Islam side things like 9-11 and the Mohammed cartoon incident. On the Christian side he gives examples like the Crusades and the Dover decision.

    At no time does he indicate that the threat of one or the other is of more severe threat to civilization.
    ————

    The fact that he doesn’t indicate that the former is more of a threat than the latter doesn’t imply he thinks the practicioners of each are morally equivalent.

    ———-
    If you thought I was irresponsibly making accusations before, the Weinberg quote should prompt you to reconsider. I may have been reading him right after all…
    ———–

    It’s one thing to equate one religion with another; its quite another to equate the practioners of one religion with the pracitioners of another.

    I can maintain that Islam and Christianity are equivalent at the level of irrationality and dogma, while maintaining that the specific actions commmitted by Muslims are false than the specific actions committed by Christians.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Should have been:

    “I can maintain that Islam and Christianity are equivalent at the level of irrationality and dogma, while maintaining that the specific actions commmitted by Muslims are WORSE than the specific actions committed by Christians.”

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 4:23 pm
      Author

    “So, you won’t even concede that it’s POSSIBLE that an alternative, more positive and charitable reading of Dawkins’ comparision is avaliable? You WON’T concede this? I, at least, can concede that I MIGHT be wrong.”

    You haven’t conceded anything. You started out with the assertion that I had erected a strawman. Not I might have erected a strawman, but that I did.

    I think your line of questioning is very inefficient here. Like I said, the idea of ‘charitably’ is tested against what is actually said. You haven’t read it, I have. It is my best judgment that I have assessed it correctly.

    Is it ‘possible’ I have assessed it incorrectly? What do you win out of me pointing out that obviously such possibilities exist? What are you going to do to convince me I was wrong? Nothing. You haven’t read the book. It is also possible you don’t exist. My best judgment is that you do. But I might be wrong. 😉

    “You want me to support my accusation, but you’re completely unwilling to support yours.”

    You started the hypocrisy, not me. Check the record.

    “If I’m convinced of your support, I will retract my strawman accusation with an apology.”

    I don’t believe you, but it isn’t relevant. You are a hypocrite. If you have a problem with the way I handled Dawkins you shouldn’t commit the same error.

    “I could ask you the same question: Is it charitable to publicly accuse someone of making a highly offensive remark without evidence?”

    You could ask me the same question, but I’m not going to even begin to get you what you want in the face of your unrepentant hypocrisy.

    As I said earlier, if you would have started out by saying “That’s quite the claim, but unless you can provide some quotations, I’m going to reserve judgment” this conversation would have gone much different. But that isn’t how it started.

    “The fact that he doesn’t indicate that the former is more of a threat than the latter doesn’t imply he thinks the practicioners of each are morally equivalent.”

    Yea, right. Now you’re not being charitable. You’re being completely biased in his favor.

    “I can maintain that Islam and Christianity are equivalent at the level of irrationality and dogma, while maintaining that the specific actions commmitted by Muslims are WORSE than the specific actions committed by Christians”

    But is that what Dawkins did? Doesn’t look like it, and even Weinberg is taking him to task for it.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 4:24 pm
      Author

    We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you had read the book.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 4:31 pm
      Author

    Because I love you, I found one excerpt online. I don’t love you enough to type in 10,000 words. 😉

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5372458.stm

    Note the equivocation in the section from chapter 8…

    He leads off talking about Muslims and the London train bombing. He ends talking about Christians killing abortion doctors. A good example of Dawkins’s simplemindedness right there. There have been what, 3 such incidents? (note my Eric Rudolph comment in the original blog).

    Do you see any indication that he is making any distinction between Christianity and Islam?

    Feel free to find more excerpts if you like. But then, you should have been doing that all along.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 4:46 pm
      Author

    Just in case you have trouble connecting the dots, let’s remember that excerpt quotes chapter 8: “FROM CHAPTER EIGHT: What’s wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?”

    At no point does it make any distinctions between Christianity and Islam. Near the end, Dawkins’s quotes a gentleman approvingly for making the very accusation I have made in my blog. Here is the full segment:

    “The respected journalist Muriel Gray, writing in the (Glasgow) Herald on 24 July 2005, made a similar point, in this case with reference to the London bombings.

    Everyone is being blamed, from the obvious villainous duo of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, to the inaction of Muslim ‘communities’. But it has never been clearer that there is only one place to lay the blame and it has ever been thus. The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance is of course religion itself, and if it seems ludicrous to have to state such an obvious reality, the fact is that the government and the media are doing a pretty good job of pretending that it isn’t so.

    Our Western politicians avoid mentioning the R word (religion), and instead characterize their battle as a war against ‘terror’, as though terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of its own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure ‘evil’. But they are not motivated by evil. However misguided we may think them, they are motivated, like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors,”

    Just like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors, see. This example follows immediately on the heels of “The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance is of course religion itself,”

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    ———–
    You haven’t conceded anything. You started out with the assertion that I had erected a strawman. Not I might have erected a strawman, but that I did.
    ————

    This is false. I conceded that I might be wrong, did I not say this? If you’re going to attribute statements to me, then the least you can do is represent what I say accurately.

    ———-
    I think your line of questioning is very inefficient here. Like I said, the idea of ‘charitably’ is tested against what is actually said. You haven’t read it, I have. It is my best judgment that I have assessed it correctly.

    Is it ‘possible’ I have assessed it incorrectly? What do you win out of me pointing out that obviously such possibilities exist? What are you going to do to convince me I was wrong? Nothing. You haven’t read the book. It is also possible you don’t exist. My best judgment is that you do. But I might be wrong.
    ————

    I want you to answer the following questions (don’t dodge them): “if Dawkins ever states on his website or in an interview that he doesn’t think suicide bombers and intelligent design advocates are equally bad, would you retract your accusation? Would that, then, mean that your interpretation of Dawkins was indeed off?”

    ———-
    You started the hypocrisy, not me. Check the record.
    ———-

    uh…no. You’re demanding that I support my accusation of strawman, and you won’t even lift a finger to support your accusation against Dawkins. If I’m a hypocrite, then so are you.

    Besides, I mainly based my accusation of strawman on your blog article. I pointed out that it doesn’t follow from a comparision of religious abuses that suicide-bombing and ID advocacy are equally bad.

    ———
    I don’t believe you, but it isn’t relevant. You are a hypocrite. If you have a problem with the way I handled Dawkins you shouldn’t commit the same error.
    ———-

    And if you have a problem with the way I handle you, then you shouldn’t commit the same error against Dawkins.

    ———–
    You could ask me the same question, but I’m not going to even begin to get you what you want in the face of your unrepentant hypocrisy.
    ————

    First, it’s a fair question. If I’m a hypocrite for demanding evidence for a claim while not supporting my own accusation, then you’re also a hypocrite for demanding evidence for a claim while not supporting your own accusation. You don’t have the moral high-ground here.

    And, as I said above, based on your representation of Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity, it seems like a pretty straightfoward strawman, though I could very well be wrong. If you successfully back up your claim (which you should have done in the first place), then I will retract my accusation with an apology.

    But I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t go anywhere–knowing you, you won’t budge an inch not matter what I say

    I said: “The fact that he doesn’t indicate that the former is more of a threat than the latter doesn’t imply he thinks the practicioners of each are morally equivalent.”

    ————-
    Yea, right. Now you’re not being charitable. You’re being completely biased in his favor.
    ————-

    I don’t know why you can’t see the distinction. Islam and Christianity may be equally irrational, dogmatic, and untrue, but that doesn’t mean the actions committed by Muslims are just as bad as the actions committed by Christians. You’re refusal to recognize that such an interpretation may be avaliable to Dawkins shows just how completely biased you are AGAINST him.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    ————-
    He leads off talking about Muslims and the London train bombing. He ends talking about Christians killing abortion doctors. A good example of Dawkins’s simplemindedness right there. There have been what, 3 such incidents? (note my Eric Rudolph comment in the original blog).

    Do you see any indication that he is making any distinction between Christianity and Islam?
    ——————–

    First, there is nothing in the excerpt you linked me to that equates the actions of suicide bombers with the actions of ID advocates. Do you still maintain your accusation that Dawkins thinks flying planes into buildings is JUST AS BAD AS teaching psuedo-science? If so, then the support for your claim must be found elsewhere, since it isn’t in the link.

    Second, I’ll concede that, at the end, he compares terrorists and Christian murderers. The comparision is this: they are both motivated by “what they perceive to be righteousness, faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them.”

    The sense in which the terrorist and Christian murderer are the same, he thinks, is that their underlying motivation is strictly religious. But what’s the problem? Is bombing a subway and bombing an abortion clinic forms of terrorism and murder? If so, I don’t see why it’s controversial to think they’re equally bad.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    ———-
    At no point does it make any distinctions between Christianity and Islam.
    ———-

    This is irrelevant to our little dispute. The question is: does Dawkins equate terrorism with teaching pseudo-science? The link you provided certainly doesn’t support the affirmative contention.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 5:48 pm
      Author

    Of course I have the moral high ground. You’re being ridiculous. I wrote a post and provided a number of references, certainly unaware that there was a Spencer lurker to ambush me and accuse me of erecting a strawman.

    You didn’t even read the links I gave. Otherwise you would have known who Dicoll was.

    You really should learn to talk to people with a little more respect, or at least don’t be surprised when they don’t play ball when you come out in the manner you did.

    “I don’t know why you can’t see the distinction. Islam and Christianity may be equally irrational, dogmatic, and untrue, but that doesn’t mean the actions committed by Muslims are just as bad as the actions committed by Christians. You’re refusal to recognize that such an interpretation may be avaliable to Dawkins shows just how completely biased you are AGAINST him.”

    Uh, no. I can see the distinction just fine. the question is whether or not Dawkins makes it in the God Delusion.

    “he question is: does Dawkins equate terrorism with teaching pseudo-science? The link you provided certainly doesn’t support the affirmative contention.”

    Sure it does. You combine it with your own Weinberg quote and my reading and the statement interpreting some of Dawkins’s other material in the same way and you’ve got 4 strands all leading the same way.

    As for your comments about Dawkins clarifying himself, I would be interested to hear if he ever did, as unlikely as that is, but it still wouldn’t change how TGD should be interpreted.

    For example, when you lead off your first response with an accusation of a strawman, that’s wrong. You shouldn’t have done that. You can’t come back and say that your accusation might be wrong and that this is you being charitable. You should take responsibility for what you said, especially since you knew you couldn’t back it up. Similarly, Dawkins may very well have to recant what he said in TGD but it won’t change what the book says (assuming he doesn’t revise it).

    Well, I’m not going to tap away for a half an hour just because you say so, so I guess until you read the book yourself or find me an extended excerpts (or I come across them myself), it looks like this topic is all tapped out.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    ————–
    Of course I have the moral high ground. You’re being ridiculous.
    ————–

    I accuse you of strawman, and asked you to back up your claim with evidence. You refuse to back up your claim with evidence, and demanded that I back up my accusation of strawman with evidence. Then you accuse me of being a hypocrite because I asked you to back up your claim while I didn’t back up mine. If I’m a hypocrite, then why are you also not a hypocrite?

    ————-
    I wrote a post and provided a number of references, certainly unaware that there was a Spencer lurker to ambush me and accuse me of erecting a strawman.
    ————–

    And those references don’t prove your claim that Dawkins equates terrorists with ID advocates.

    ————
    You really should learn to talk to people with a little more respect, or at least don’t be surprised when they don’t play ball when you come out in the manner you did.
    ————-

    Respect cuts both ways. Although my tone towards you is generally harsh, I didn’t accuse you of being a hypocrite, or imply that you’re lying.

    ———
    You didn’t even read the links I gave. Otherwise you would have known who Dicoll was.
    ———-

    This is irrelevant. All I simply want to know is the textual evidence you have that supports your charge of equivocation.

    ———–
    Uh, no. I can see the distinction just fine. the question is whether or not Dawkins makes it in the God Delusion.
    ———–

    No, the question is whether Dawkins is committed by his own words to the view that actions of terrorists and actions of ID advocates as morally equivalent. Why interpret him as making the equivocation?

    I said: “he question is: does Dawkins equate terrorism with teaching pseudo-science? The link you provided certainly doesn’t support the affirmative contention.”

    ———-
    Sure it does. You combine it with your own Weinberg quote and my reading and the statement interpreting some of Dawkins’s other material in the same way and you’ve got 4 strands all leading the same way.
    ————-

    It most certainly doesn’t. According to the link, he talks about ID in chapter 7 and terrorism in chapter 8. Where does he equate the two?

    ————
    For example, when you lead off your first response with an accusation of a strawman, that’s wrong. You shouldn’t have done that.
    ————-

    And I maintain my accusation–I suspect it’s true. (Are you going to say it’s wrong for me to SUSPECT that you’re interpretation is wrong?) Given what I’ve read about Dawkins, what reliable people have told me, and now the excerpt you linked me to, I can’t see how he’s committed to equating terrorists with ID advocates.

    ————
    You can’t come back and say that your accusation might be wrong and that this is you being charitable.
    ————–

    Sure I can. Maybe there’s a quote of Dawkins in the book where he asserts quite explicitly that acts of terrorism and teaching ID are equally bad. Given what I know, I’m strongly inclined to doubt that there is such a quote in his book, but I could be proven wrong.

    —————-
    You should take responsibility for what you said, especially since you knew you couldn’t back it up.
    —————-

    Just like you took responsibility for your unargued assertion that Dawkins equates acts of terriorism and teaching ID?

    —————
    Similarly, Dawkins may very well have to recant what he said in TGD but it won’t change what the book says (assuming he doesn’t revise it).
    —————

    Again, you’re still assuming that what he says in TGD commits him to equating terrorism with teaching ID, but you haven’t provided a shred of evidence for why this is true.

    You seem to think that, just because he doesn’t EXPLICTLY say: “Look, no, I’m not equating the two” than he must be making the equation.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 7:33 pm
      Author

    “I accuse you of strawman, and asked you to back up your claim with evidence. You refuse to back up your claim with evidence, and demanded that I back up my accusation of strawman with evidence. Then you accuse me of being a hypocrite because I asked you to back up your claim while I didn’t back up mine. If I’m a hypocrite, then why are you also not a hypocrite?”

    Because it is unreasonable for you to expect me to be ready to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post, that’s why. The posts would get to be 10 million words long and I’d have to run it by a lawyer named Spencer before posting it.

    If you wouldn’t have led off with the accusation and the patronizing tone you may have had the evidence you sought. Instead you wish to justify yourself. More power to you. How happy I am that you don’t equate Islam with Christianity. There is hope for you yet.

    Whether or not Dawkins does in TGD is something you are perfectly ignorant about. Come back after you read it and we can talk.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    ————
    Because it is unreasonable for you to expect me to be ready to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post, that’s why. The posts would get to be 10 million words long and I’d have to run it by a lawyer named Spencer before posting it.

    ————–

    Yes, it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to anticipate “every single conceivable objection,” but I made no such demands. All I’m asking for is that you support one of your significant claims. You wrote: “One of the clearest examples of this argument was in fact found in Dawkins’s Delusion.”

    This is a very major claim, is it not? Hence, it isn’t at all unreasonable that I ask you to support it with evidence. Furthermore, you asserted that the equation you found in Dawkins’ book is one of the “clearest examples of this argument.” If the example is so clear, then why not unpack the argument for us? Why would it require quoting the whole chapter to prove your point?

    ————
    If you wouldn’t have led off with the accusation and the patronizing tone you may have had the evidence you sought.
    ———–

    You mean, if I was a tad nicer, you’d quote the whole chapter for me?? Really?? Be honest now.

    ———-
    Instead you wish to justify yourself.
    ———-

    I don’t understand this statement.

    ————
    Whether or not Dawkins does in TGD is something you are perfectly ignorant about.
    ————

    Not really. I’ve had reliable people who’ve read the book tell me that your claim is blatantly false.

    ———–
    Come back after you read it and we can talk.
    ———–

    I’m leaving myself wide-open here: If you prove me wrong, I will retract my accusation with an apology. But, as I suspect, you won’t budge an inch no matter what I say.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 8:49 pm
      Author

    “All I’m asking for is that you support one of your significant claims. You wrote: “One of the clearest examples of this argument was in fact found in Dawkins’s Delusion.””

    But first you accused me of forming a strawman. You accused me of not supporting my contention in the post. See my previous comments that you have ridiculous expectations.

    “This is a very major claim, is it not? Hence, it isn’t at all unreasonable that I ask you to support it with evidence.”

    No and I didn’t say it was. Nor is it unreasonable that if you make the claim that I am misrepresenting Dawkings that you support THAT with evidence.

    See what you’re doing? You’re trying to get away with throwing an accusation in without taking any responsibility for it.

    “Why would it require quoting the whole chapter to prove your point?”

    Asked and answered.

    “You mean, if I was a tad nicer, you’d quote the whole chapter for me?? Really?? Be honest now.”

    It certainly would have paved the way towards some middle ground.

    “Not really. I’ve had reliable people who’ve read the book tell me that your claim is blatantly false.”

    Oh well, one can’t imagine the choir saying other wise. Like I already said, it is pointless to give you anything at all because you would question it anyway. Instead of trying to play unnamed authorities off of me why don’t you just admit you overstepped and settle down to reading the book for yourself to make up your own mind?

    “I’m leaving myself wide-open here: If you prove me wrong, I will retract my accusation with an apology.”

    That’s not leaving yourself open at all. You should retract your accusation with an apology because you are in no position to substantiate it. Talking out of ignorance is not a virtue.

    You’re right about me not budging. I don’t budge for bullying. It’s a character flaw. 😉

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 8:51 pm
      Author

    Spencer,

    I just want to say that your whole line of argumentation has been a strawman.

    Hope you don’t mind me saying. No, I’m not going to support my accusation either.

    But I might be wrong. I’m leaving myself open to you showing how my accusation is not true.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    ———
    But first you accused me of forming a strawman. You accused me of not supporting my contention in the post. See my previous comments that you have ridiculous expectations.
    ———-

    1. I maintain my accusation. I’m not 100% certain, but I suspect that I may be right. What’s wrong with suspecting that you’re misrepresenting Dawkins?

    2. I don’t have ridiculous expectations. You accuse me (falsely) of expecting you to “to be ready to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post” I never made such an accusation, and would appreciate that you retract it (no apology required).

    ———–
    No and I didn’t say it was.
    ———–

    Then why are you claiming that my expectations are unreasonable?

    ————
    Nor is it unreasonable that if you make the claim that I am misrepresenting Dawkings that you support THAT with evidence.
    ————

    And I gave you evidence, you just didn’t like it. My evidence is that there’s a more charitable reading of Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity.

    ———–
    See what you’re doing? You’re trying to get away with throwing an accusation in without taking any responsibility for it.
    ———–

    If I turn out to be wrong, and end up retracting my accusation with an apology, how is that not taking responsibility for it?

    You: “Why would it require quoting the whole chapter to prove your point?”

    ———
    Asked and answered.
    ———

    I see we’re at the “dismissive” stage in our conversation. Instead of providing straight answers to question, you dismiss them on the grounds that they’ve already been answered, even though in reality they haven’t.

    You maintained that, to prove your point, you would need to quote the whole chapter of your book. I said earlier: “If he really did equate suicide bombers and intelligent advocates in his book, you wouldn’t need to quote a whole chapter to prove your case–it should be rather obvious.”

    You said: “BTW, you’re wrong about it being rather obvious.”

    Well, if it’s NOT OBVIOUS that Dawkins made such an equation, then how could it be one of the “CLEAREST examples” of the broad-brush argument you’re ranting about? CLEARLY, although I have asked the question, you have yet to answer it.

    ———-
    It certainly would have paved the way towards some middle ground.
    ———-

    You’ve already provided me with those excerpts, which failed to establish your case. What more could you provide?

    ————
    Oh well, one can’t imagine the choir saying other wise. Like I already said, it is pointless to give you anything at all because you would question it anyway. Instead of trying to play unnamed authorities off of me why don’t you just admit you overstepped?
    ————

    How did I overstep? I have my suspicions about your interpretation, but is that a moral crime?

    ———-
    That’s not leaving yourself open at all. You should retract your accusation with an apology because you are in no position to substantiate it. Talking out of ignorance is not a virtue.
    ———–

    That is simply not true. I’ve provided an alternative reading that doesn’t appear to be at odds with what Dawkins has said, but you’ve refused to interact with it. And again, I have my suspicions–I strongly suspect that you’ve misread Dawkins. Did I commit a moral error here?

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    ———
    I just want to say that your whole line of argumentation has been a strawman.
    ———-

    Wanna be a little more specific? What claim of yours have I misrepresented, and what do you maintain to be your actual claim?

    I, at least, provided details as to what the disagreement was about.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 10:09 pm
      Author

    “What’s wrong with suspecting that you’re misrepresenting Dawkins?”

    Nothing. What’s wrong with waiting until you hear what I have to say before launching with the accusations?

    “I never made such an accusation, and would appreciate that you retract it (no apology required).”

    The accusation is implied if you expected me to document Dawkins’s statements within the post- as if I knew you were going to come along and demand it, good grief.

    Here is what you said:

    “If you successfully back up your claim (which you should have done in the first place), then I will retract my accusation with an apology.”

    Well, I could have done a lot of things in the first place.

    “And I gave you evidence, you just didn’t like it. My evidence is that there’s a more charitable reading of Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity.”

    lol

    That’s not evidence. That’s an assertion.

    “”Asked and answered.””
    “I see we’re at the “dismissive” stage in our conversation. Instead of providing straight answers to question, you dismiss them on the grounds that they’ve already been answered, even though in reality they haven’t.”

    Yes, I did. Here it is again:

    “As for a quotation, that’s how I knew you hadn’t read the book. There isn’t a quotation, there is a running argument over the course of a whole chapter. I’m not going to quote a whole chapter for you.”

    Didn’t you read that when I first said it?

    “You maintained that, to prove your point, you would need to quote the whole chapter of your book.”

    Oh, so I did answer it and you did see it.

    “Well, if it’s NOT OBVIOUS that Dawkins made such an equation, then how could it be one of the “CLEAREST examples” of the broad-brush argument you’re ranting about?”

    So much for charity.

    I know you really enjoy writing long responses where all you do is repeat your previous assertions, but that’s really not my bag.

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 10:10 pm
      Author

    “Wanna be a little more specific? What claim of yours have I misrepresented, and what do you maintain to be your actual claim?”

    Who cares? But I’ll apologize if you show you didn’t. :rollseyes:

    This is me taking the moral high ground.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    ———
    Nothing.
    ———

    Okay, that should settle it then.

    ———-
    What’s wrong with waiting until you hear what I have to say before launching with the accusations?
    ———-

    I read your blog article, then commented. In all this time, I’ve been “waiting” for you to back up your assertion. But, like you just conceded, “nothing” is wrong with me having my suspicions (remember, I’m giving Dawkins the benefit of the doubt, given what I’ve read and what I’ve been informed by others). So, what are you waiting for?

    ———–
    The accusation is implied if you expected me to document Dawkins’s statements within the post- as if I knew you were going to come along and demand it, good grief.
    ————

    Invalid inference. All I’m asking you to do is quote the relevant passages that shows Dawkins equating terrorists with ID advocates.

    Remember, you said: “Because it is unreasonable for you to expect me to be ready to anticipate EVERY SINGLE CONCEIVABLE OBJECTION that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post,”

    Not only is your accusation false, but it’s outrageously so. I haven’t expected you to answer “EVERY SINGLE CONCEIVABLE OBJECTION,” but to consider my claim (ONE claim) that you’re misreading Dawkins.

    But, no matter what I say, you won’t retract your false accusation. Apparently, I can admit my errors (and I have), but you can’t admit yours.

    ——-
    Well, I could have done a lot of things in the first place.
    ——–

    Again, I don’t know what you’re waiting for– why not just do it? Why not just back up your claim with evidence?

    “And I gave you evidence, you just didn’t like it. My evidence is that there’s a more charitable reading of Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity.”

    ———-
    lol

    That’s not evidence. That’s an assertion.
    ———–

    Given what you wrote on your blog, as well as the exerpts you linked me to, the alternative reading I’ve provided is clearly possible. This isn’t just an assertion. On a prima facie reading, Dawkins just isn’t committed to equating terrorists with ID advocates. If you don’t think such a reading is possible, then you must demonstrate its impossibility with proper evidence. What are you waiting for?

    ———-
    “As for a quotation, that’s how I knew you hadn’t read the book. There isn’t a quotation, there is a running argument over the course of a whole chapter. I’m not going to quote a whole chapter for you.”
    ———–

    An argument is made up of at least one premise and one conclusion. Are you telling me that Dawkins’ argument is so complex–that is, it contains so many premises–that you can’t adequately represent it without quoting the whole chapter?? Is Dawkins THAT sophisticated?

    ———-
    Oh, so I did answer it and you did see it.
    ———-

    Actually, you didn’t. Let me quote you my question in context: “If the example is so clear, then why not unpack the argument for us? Why would it require quoting the whole chapter to prove your point?”

    Stated another way: given that your example is so clear, why would it require quoting the whole chapter to prove your point? You never answered THIS question, which is what I’ve been asking.

    It seems you face a dilemma: Either Dawkins’ equivocation argument is clear or not. If it is clear, it should be fairly easy for a smart guy like you to unpack the argument without having to quote the whole chapter. If it’s not clear, then I can understand why you might have to quote long passages, but then you can’t claim that Dawkins’ book provides “one of the “clearest examples” of the equation-argument, or that it’s “not obvious” that he’s made such an equivocation.

    I said: “Well, if it’s NOT OBVIOUS that Dawkins made such an equation, then how could it be one of the “CLEAREST examples” of the broad-brush argument you’re ranting about?”

    ——–
    So much for charity.
    ——-

    Another instance where I’ve asked but you have NOT answered.

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    ———
    Who cares?
    ———

    You do, apparently. All this time we spent going back and forth, you’ve been so worked up over the fact that I’ve accused (OH, the Horror!) you of commiting strawman (sntjohnny: “I MUST NOT THIS SLIDE!! – how dare he?!).

    When are we going to get to the real issue? When are you going to provide evidence for your claim? What are you waiting for?

    • Anthony on December 3, 2007 at 11:22 pm
      Author

    “When are we going to get to the real issue? When are you going to provide evidence for your claim? What are you waiting for?”

    You already have your answer to that.

    Consider it a token of good faith. It isn’t that you led off with the accusation, it is that you led off with the accusation and you hadn’t even read the book. I think reasonable people will see that that is beyond absurd. I’ve been fighting with you in the hopes that you’d come clean. What is the value of discussing things with someone who thinks that they are competent to comment when they haven’t actually looked at the material themselves?

    You almost had me with the Weinberg thing. That quote really torpedoed your whole argument and should have given you pause. It should have even prompted a willingness to think there was something more to my claim. Alas, it didn’t.

    I’m done wasting my time here, but like I said, if I find a nice long excerpt of the relevant material, who knows.

    Tell the Choir hello for me. 😉

    • Spencer on December 3, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    ———–
    Consider it a token of good faith. It isn’t that you led off with the accusation, it is that you led off with the accusation and you hadn’t even read the book. I think reasonable people will see that that is beyond absurd.
    ————

    I’ve followed Dawkins in the media, watched some of his debates, read some of his articles, read articles that discusses TGD, and have talked with intelligent people who’ve read TGD; given all this, reasonable people wouldn’t think my accusation is “beyond absurd” at all.

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that one can’t possibly know what’s NOT in a book they haven’t read.

    Before I read Dennett’s Freedom Evolves, I KNEW he wasn’t arguing for a libertarian conception of free will. I’m sure you can guess how I could have been reasonably sure about this. If someone were to assert that Dennett advocated a libertarian conception of free will, is it “beyond absurd” that I accuse him of error? Tell me, is it?

    ————–
    I’ve been fighting with you in the hopes that you’d come clean. What is the value of discussing things with someone who thinks that they are competent to comment when they haven’t actually looked at the material themselves?
    —————

    If you quote the relevant passage of Dawkins’ argument properly, why do I need to buy the book in order comment about it? Are you telling me you NEVER discuss or comment on books you haven’t read before?

    ———-
    You almost had me with the Weinberg thing. That quote really torpedoed your whole argument and should have given you pause. It should have even prompted a willingness to think there was something more to my claim. Alas, it didn’t.
    ————

    Point already addressed: see previous posts.

    ——–
    I’m done wasting my time here, but like I said, if I find a nice long excerpt of the relevant material, who knows.
    ——–

    My suspicions are confirmed: no matter what I say, you won’t budge an inch. Not even when you’ve made a false accusation, illegitmately took the moral high-ground, implied that I’m untrustworthy, etc.

    I’ll repeat what I said before: Apparently, I can admit my errors (and I have), but you can’t admit yours.

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 2:26 pm
      Author

    “I’ll repeat what I said before: Apparently, I can admit my errors (and I have), but you can’t admit yours.”

    See, that’s the funny part. You have no idea if I made any errors since, well, you haven’t read the book for yourself!

    “My suspicions are confirmed: no matter what I say, you won’t budge an inch. Not even when you’ve made a false accusation, illegitmately took the moral high-ground, implied that I’m untrustworthy, etc.”

    Actually those are my suspicions too and my accusations as well. I’m not budging because you started your comments with a slap to the face, so to speak.

    Literally the only thing that you can take issue with is the fact that I didn’t substantiate my accusation of Dawkins in the blog itself. I don’t think it is reasonable for you to insist that I do so, although it is reasonable for you to ask for it later and in the meantime remain skeptical if you like.

    There is a big difference between remaining skeptical and being willing to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt pending evidence and knowing I made a mistake. You can’t know that. You think I’m going to ‘admit a mistake’ just because the Choir assures you I did?

    I don’t see them giving you quotes from TGD to refute me with.

    You’re just blowing smoke and running circles.

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    ————
    See, that’s the funny part. You have no idea if I made any errors since, well, you haven’t read the book for yourself!
    ————

    First, I was referring to your unfounded accusation that I expected you “to be ready to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post.”

    Not only is it unfounded, it is clearly false, and I have yet to see you retract your statement. (But, something tells me I won’t see one anytime soon).

    Second, I pointed out that: “I’ve followed Dawkins in the media, watched some of his debates, read some of his articles, read articles that discusses TGD, and have talked with intelligent people who’ve read TGD.” You keep ignoring this, and continue to insinuate that I have NO understanding of Dawkins’ book whatsoever; hence, it is “beyond absurd” for me to make accusations of misreprentations. I pointed out how ridiculous this reasoning is.

    ———-
    Actually those are my suspicions too and my accusations as well. I’m not budging because you started your comments with a slap to the face, so to speak.
    ———-

    If you can’t take criticism well, then why be an apologist? Many atheists who are much more militant and antagonistic than I am don’t often play by the rules (I, at least, do). Are you going to wait till everyone is well-behaved to your liking before composing subsantive responses?

    Also, accusing you of committing strawman isn’t “a slap to the face”–for someone who seems to have such a thick skin, you’re being overly sensitive. I have not accused you of lying, nor have I have accused you of deliberate misrepresentation. What I have accused you of is making an uncharitable interpretation of Dawkins’ comparision of Islam and Christianity. What’s the big freakin’ deal? Someone with the “moral high ground” could get over it quickly, then move on.

    ————-
    Literally the only thing that you can take issue with is the fact that I didn’t substantiate my accusation of Dawkins in the blog itself. I don’t think it is reasonable for you to insist that I do so, although it is reasonable for you to ask for it later and in the meantime remain skeptical if you like.
    ————-

    What’s unreasonable with me insisting that you substantiate your accusation of Dawkins in the blog itself? Asking for evidence for a HIGHLY contentious claim is very reasonable, actually.

    ———–
    There is a big difference between remaining skeptical and being willing to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt pending evidence and knowing I made a mistake.
    ————-

    True, and given what I know, I am very confident in my accusation that you’re wrong. Of course, since I don’t have TGD book in front of me, I don’t expect you to just take my word for it.

    So, I ask again: What are you waiting for? When are you going to support your accusation against Dawkins with evidence?

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm
      Author

    “Not only is it unfounded, it is clearly false, and I have yet to see you retract your statement. (But, something tells me I won’t see one anytime soon).”

    Because it isn’t false. Look, you did it again:

    “What’s unreasonable with me insisting that you substantiate your accusation of Dawkins in the blog itself? Asking for evidence for a HIGHLY contentious claim is very reasonable, actually.”

    That’s not the first time you’ve said that. You can ask for it, but you should wait for it before making an accusation about strawmen. I can’t support everything I say in every blog post every time. No one can. Nothing would ever get written. Not even claims YOU think are highly contentious can be supported all the time.

    “I pointed out how ridiculous this reasoning is.”

    It isn’t ridiculous. My post specifically referenced TGD. I’m not attacking your right to be skeptical, only your belligerence in leaping to conclusions.

    “If you can’t take criticism well, then why be an apologist?”

    Who says I’m not taking the criticism well? I have a smile on my face. I’m just not giving you what you want. I’ll go around for a little while but I have a personal rule about giving belligerent people what they want until they lighten up.

    “Are you going to wait till everyone is well-behaved to your liking before composing subsantive responses?”

    Maybe. Given our prior history- you… yea. 😉 What’s the point? We leave your ‘slap’ on the record right now and three comments later you’ll roll out the condescension again. I’ve got like 40 pages of your correspondence following that pattern. On the other hand, I have plenty of correspondences with atheists that actually get somewhere. Hmmmm… I wonder what the difference is…..

    “Someone with the “moral high ground” could get over it quickly, then move on.”

    Says you on the moral high ground. 😉

    “So, I ask again: What are you waiting for? When are you going to support your accusation against Dawkins with evidence?”

    I’m waiting for 2 things. One of which is for you to simply say that yea, ok, I see in other cases you support your views (the post about Dawkins and Augustine that I gave) so I probably overstepped in stating it was a strawman.

    See, I even used the word ‘probably’ to take into account the infinite set of alternate possibilities that always exist when making truth claims.

    You do that, I’ll give you the second reason I’m waiting. You’re gonna love it.

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 4:00 pm
      Author

    Oh heck, here it is.

    2. Even if you did want to have a discussion on it, what is the point? Is it just about saving poor Dawkins from an insult? If you agree with me that bashing all of religion based on Islam then we are fairly much agreed. If you agree with me that Christianity is less ‘dangerous’ by any measure than Islam, than we are substantially in agreement.

    Would you deny that there are people who have that view that I have attributed to Dawkins? Clearly not, you just consider them simple minded. It’s not like if I showed that Dawkins really believes that that you would say, “Oh well, that’s what dawkins believes I guess I’ll believe that, too!” Right?

    If we’re agreed on the substance and we can agree that there are atheists out there like that- whether or not you agree Dawkins represents them- then there really isn’t much to talk about here in my opinion.

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    ———–
    Because it isn’t false. Look, you did it again:
    ————

    Yes, it is. Do you really not understand the difference between “every single conceivable objection” and “one objection?” I’ve only been concerned about ONE point. It does NOT follow from that that I expected you to anticipate “every single conceivable objection.”

    Why won’t you admit your error?

    ————
    I can’t support everything I say in every blog post every time.
    ————-

    And I never expected you to. Why won’t you admit your error?

    ———
    It isn’t ridiculous. My post specifically referenced TGD. I’m not attacking your right to be skeptical, only your belligerence in leaping to conclusions.
    ———–

    It is ridiculous. You keep ignoring my following remark, insisting that I’m completely uneducated on the matter: “I’ve followed Dawkins in the media, watched some of his debates, read some of his articles, read articles that discusses TGD, and have talked with intelligent people who’ve read TGD.”

    ————-
    I’ll go around for a little while but I have a personal rule about giving belligerent people what they want until they lighten up.
    ————–

    I can always, in a more “nicer” way, accuse you of committing strawman. Would that be sufficient?

    ———-
    I’m waiting for 2 things. One of which is for you to simply say that yea, ok, I see in other cases you support your views (the post about Dawkins and Augustine that I gave) so I probably overstepped in stating it was a strawman.
    ———–

    Again, given what I know through my own research, I really think you’ve committed a strawman. Are you asking me to completely ignore my background information just because you say I’m wrong? That would unreasonable.

    Try and see things from my PoV, will you? Suppose I read a book by a Christian apologist you’re familiar with and asserted that he believes some claim X. Although you haven’t read the book, you’ve watched him in debates, read articles written by and about him, and have talked with a number of fellow Christians you find very intelligent who have read the book. Based on this background knowledge, when you hear that I’ve attributed claim X to this Christian apologist, you immediately come to the conclusion that my intepretation is wrong. You know I’m wrong, but you don’t have the book in front of you to prove it. Is this an unreasonable reaction on your part? No, I don’t think so. The reasonable thing for you to then do is to state why you disagree ask me to back up my claim.

    Similarly, given my background knowledge, it is no less reasonable for me to react in such a way to a claim that I find highly dubious. Can you extend me some charity here? Can you see my point? [No, of course not]

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    ———
    2. Even if you did want to have a discussion on it, what is the point? Is it just about saving poor Dawkins from an insult?
    ———

    No, it is much more than that. Someone reading your article might come away with the impression that the leading “new atheists” really advocate the equation of terrorism and teaching ID, and that your claim is wide-spread among serious academics who support the “new atheism movement” and atheists in general.

    It’s not hard to see why someone might get that impression. The four “new atheists” back each other up on a lot of points, so it’s tempting think that if Dawkins says something against religion, the rest will probably agree.

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    ————
    Would you deny that there are people who have that view that I have attributed to Dawkins? Clearly not, you just consider them simple minded. It’s not like if I showed that Dawkins really believes that that you would say, “Oh well, that’s what dawkins believes I guess I’ll believe that, too!” Right?
    —————

    Your article makes it sounds as if the view that terrorism and teaching ID are the same is wide-spread among atheists. Can you support this accusation? I have a hard time believing that a significant portion of the “new atheists” believe in the equation you attribute to Dawkins.

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm
      Author

    Wait. Let me see if I understand correctly what my ‘error’ is.

    You think that I absolutely, definitely, should have backed up my assertions about Dawkins right in the post, right?

    Is that your position?

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    ———
    Wait. Let me see if I understand correctly what my ‘error’ is.

    You think that I absolutely, definitely, should have backed up my assertions about Dawkins right in the post, right?

    Is that your position?
    ———–

    No. Your error was in falsely accusing me of expecting you to “to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post.”

    And yes, I do think you should have backed up your assertions about Dawkins in the post, but the ‘error’ I was referring to was not this.

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 4:56 pm
      Author

    “And yes, I do think you should have backed up your assertions about Dawkins in the post, but the ‘error’ I was referring to was not this.”

    Right. That is the answer to my question. I was not saying that was the ‘error.’ I just wanted to straighten that out.

    Next question you have already answered.

    “No. Your error was in falsely accusing me of expecting you to “to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post.””

    So, you have a problem with me not including the substantiation in the post, is that right? I should have anticipated that you were going to make this objection and include my rationale right in my post, correct?

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    ———–
    So, you have a problem with me not including the substantiation in the post, is that right? I should have anticipated that you were going to make this objection and include my rationale right in my post, correct?
    ————-

    No, you still don’t get it. I have a problem with you making a false assertion that’s been PROVEN here to be false. Again, I have NOT expected you to anticipate every single conceivable objection that a potential commenter might make and include the rationale in the post.” This is a statement that just isn’t true. Will you not concede that you made a false accusation?

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 5:39 pm
      Author

    You insist that you haven’t expected me to anticipate every single conceivable objection but you did expect me to anticipate this one. How is that practically different than expecting me to anticipate every single one?

    While I would have thought a bright fellow like yourself would have been able to detect hyperbole when you saw it, I have actually decided that I would like to re-submit my analysis not as hyperbole but rather actually literally true.

    But I would like to modify it.

    I admit my ‘error.’ You’re right, you didn’t really mean that I should anticipate every single objection by any random commenter. What you really mean is that I should just anticipate the objections that you, Spencer, are going to make. :0

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    ———-
    You insist that you haven’t expected me to anticipate every single conceivable objection but you did expect me to anticipate this one. How is that practically different than expecting me to anticipate every single one?
    ———–

    uh…because expecting you to anticipate “every single conceivable objection” isn’t the same as expecting you to anticipate “one particular objection?”

    ———–
    While I would have thought a bright fellow like yourself would have been able to detect hyperbole when you saw it,
    ————

    What was the point of your “hyperbole” if you didn’t mean it literally?

    Now, enough of this. When are you going to support your claim that Dawkins equates terrorists with ID advocates?

    • Anthony on December 4, 2007 at 6:06 pm
      Author

    “uh…because expecting you to anticipate “every single conceivable objection” isn’t the same as expecting you to anticipate “one particular objection?””

    lol, my bad.

    “What was the point of your “hyperbole” if you didn’t mean it literally?”

    lol, is that like saying “If I’m a hypocrite so are you”?

    You’re just playing with me, right? Just having a little fun at lil Johnny’s expense, right? I gotta weak heart, ya know. Shouldn’t reduce me to belly-shaking laughter, you might kill me.

    “Now, enough of this. When are you going to support your claim that Dawkins equates terrorists with ID advocates?”

    Maybe when my copy of TGD is returned. 🙂 But even then, not likely. You agree with me on the substance. When you *ahem* read TGD yourself perhaps you will be sensitized to the allegation and see if it is there. If you do, than I have performed a service.

    As you apparently agree that religion can’t be brushed off on account of the offenses of Islam and that Christianity is not in the same league, let me just say how happy it makes me to learn you’re not one of THOSE atheists. 🙂

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    ——–
    lol, is that like saying “If I’m a hypocrite so are you”?
    ———–

    No, it was a serious question. What was the purpose of your accusation that I have such high, unreasonable demands?

    ——–
    As you apparently agree that religion can’t be brushed off on account of the offenses of Islam and that Christianity is not in the same league, let me just say how happy it makes me to learn you’re not one of THOSE atheists
    ———

    I am not at all implying that either religion is rationally defensible. I’m simply asserting that harmful actions committed by various religious practicioners aren’t all equally bad–some actions are worse than others.

    • Spencer on December 4, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    ——–
    You agree with me on the substance.
    ——–

    But I also pointed out that your rant is highly misleading, since it conveys the impression that the “new atheists” in general can’t distinguish degrees of harmful actions.

    • Bob the atheist on December 5, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, Christianity isn’t as crazy as Islam. But why is that? Is it because Christianity is reasonable and rational? No–it’s because Christianity has been (more or less) dragged into modernity by secular democracy. I’m definitely pleased that Christians aren’t as savage as they could be if they used the Bible as a guide.

    It’s fine to make the distinction between Christianity and Islam. Just be sure to identify *why* there are differences and don’t give Christianity credit it doesn’t deserve.

    • Anthony on December 5, 2007 at 7:51 pm
      Author

    “But I also pointed out that your rant is highly misleading, since it conveys the impression that the “new atheists” in general can’t distinguish degrees of harmful actions.”

    No, it wouldn’t. I only mentioned Dawkins. You will recall that I pointed out that Sam Harris, for example, has a different view:

    “Whip out your copy and show where he distinguishes between the quality of the threats posed by ‘fundamentalist islam’ and ‘fundamentalist Christianity’ the way Sam Harris has.”

    • Spencer on December 5, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    ———–
    No, it wouldn’t. I only mentioned Dawkins. You will recall that I pointed out that Sam Harris, for example, has a different view:
    ————

    Yes, it would. You ignored my response here:

    “Someone reading your article might come away with the impression that the leading “new atheists” really advocate the equation of terrorism and teaching ID, and that your claim is wide-spread among serious academics who support the “new atheism movement” and atheists in general.

    It’s not hard to see why someone might get that impression. The four “new atheists” back each other up on a lot of points, so it’s tempting think that if Dawkins says something against religion, the rest will probably agree.”

    ———-
    “Whip out your copy and show where he distinguishes between the quality of the threats posed by ‘fundamentalist islam’ and ‘fundamentalist Christianity’ the way Sam Harris has.”
    ———–

    Failure to make an explicit distinction between religions doesn’t mean one is committed to thinking they’re equally bad.

    • Anthony on December 7, 2007 at 10:25 am
      Author

    “It’s not hard to see why someone might get that impression. The four “new atheists” back each other up on a lot of points, so it’s tempting think that if Dawkins says something against religion, the rest will probably agree.”

    ‘impression’? ‘tempting to think’? For who? Not you. Even before you posted your comment in our email correspondence I said:

    “Sam Harris, to be fair, has made the distinction.”

    You knew this before you posted. Unlike with your insistence that another, more charitable reading of Dawkins’ Delusion is possible, here YOU KNEW that I was not making broad strokes about the ‘four new atheists.’

    YOU KNEW IT.

    “Failure to make an explicit distinction between religions doesn’t mean one is committed to thinking they’re equally bad.”

    The irony, of course, is that nothing I said aimed at the ‘four new atheists’ but of course I never made any kind of explicit or implicit connection. You did.

    Your hubris about reading charitably is just that, hubris.

    So, let’s recap.

    1. Before you even posted you knew that I had pointed out that Sam Harris had made the distinction- explicitly. Yet you decided to interpret my comments to apply to the ‘four new atheists.’
    2. You haven’t even read Dawkins’s Delusion, anyway. This, I explicitly referenced and you still thought yourself competent to make declarations.

    Then you searched for justification for your argument and in doing so revealed that ‘reading charitably’ extends just as far as your bias will let you.

    3. You quoted from Weinberg initially thinking that he supported you. All it took was to read the quote without an agenda to see that Weinberg was complaining about Dawkins’s lumping Islam and Christianity together. Miraculously, the Weinberg quote, though it supported my contention, didn’t add to my credibility in your eyes.

    4. You have focused on my example of the Dover ID trial, but that is not the only example that I gave. But because of YOUR decision to focus on that, you failed to be persuaded by the excerpt that I found. Here it was again: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5372458.stm

    In the seamless transition between his comments about Islam and the ‘fundamentalism’ of Christianity, he says:

    Our Western politicians avoid mentioning the R word (religion), and instead characterize their battle as a war against ‘terror’, as though terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of its own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure ‘evil’. But they are not motivated by evil. However misguided we may think them, they are motivated, like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors, by what they perceive to be righteousness, faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them. They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational.

    Notice the clean transition from terrorism to the murders of abortion doctors. I mentioned Rudolph in the original entry. It wasn’t the Dover decision reference that you have fixated on, but it certainly substantiates one of my examples.

    As of this writing virtually every single one of my claims has been substantiated. The only ones on the table are the Crusades and Dover, and if you don’t think Dawkins referenced the Crusades as an example of Christian abuse…

    You yourself provided a quote that supported my position, I supported my contention that Dawkins seamlessly linked terrorism with extremely rare actions by Christians (the Eric Rudolph), you KNEW before you even posted that I didn’t include Sam Harris in the analysis, and you HAVEN”T EVEN READ THE BOOK I CITED and yet thought you could form a conclusion.

    While it may not be clear to you, I think it will be clear to many- especially after they hear that I already distinguished Sam Harris- that ‘giving you what you wanted’ is almost certainly a waste of time. If you cannot even competently interpret quotes that YOU YOURSELF provide, what hope do I have in thinking you’ll interpret me correctly… or that you interpreted the original post correctly…

    None.

    If you want to discuss this further, you know where my forum is: http://www.sntjohnny.com/smf

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