Richard Dawkins: the case for militant atheism .. I'm not convinced

I’ve never read his books on this subject and nothing here inclines me to change that. He is so quick to gather all the low lying fruit in favor of his strident screed and so reluctant to acknowledge any possible points in favor of religious faith. I couldn’t disagree any more strongly with his call for a holy war against religion. To understand what motivates his position I think we’d be better served to talk with his therapist if he has one, or if not to steer him toward a good one. Still it does make me think that Christianity would do better to speak of religious creation in less concrete terms.* Religion isn’t really for establishing empirical facts so why cast it in those terms? I do wish the religious sense of creation could more boldly claim its status as mythos rather than insisting it compete with the scientific sense of creation. Why do we assume they are the same?

*Of course one might well ask, why can’t scientists make that accommodation rather than expect the religious to do so. I am sympathetic to that point of view. I find scientists such as Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss disappointing in their inability to think about anything in life in a way that doesn’t demand the same standard of evidence as science. I actually think they are being moronic about this. But given their difficulty and the Christian ideal of turning the other cheek, I think there might be more hope if those who see what has gone wrong would find a way to offer their type some help.


Damme he makes me proud to be British. He’s scientifically wrong on two counts. Religion works as its probable etymology says; it binds. It obviously has survival value or is collateral for good and ill that goes with our phenomenal evolutionary success. Dickie seems to have missed out on the greatest British contributor to philosophy, David Hume, with his ‘reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions’, which is genetic. Evolved. Religion, our sense of the sacred, is a passion issue. His second scientific error is to correlate 9 11 with religion. It is to do, above all, with injustice. With sin. Unrighteousness. Lack of universal social justice, equality of outcome. How he can be blinded to that, I don’t know. Well I do. He’s too rational. He places rationality above righteousness. Which leads to his third error - not scientific, but moral, eusocial… biological… ohh it IS scientific! - love your enemies.

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It is odd that anyone would be militant about preaching the meaninglessness of life. As if stardust with the blink off an eye existence really matters…


I don’t think it’s that. Many people who take issue with Christianity is not so much about creation creationist claims, as far as atheists go. Sure, the stupidity of creationism is irritating but in my experience what makes people mad is when Christianity calls out some things as being a sin. They hate the full biblical Jesus.

But because he’s a scientists, snd because he’s able to point out the flaws in creationism, it’s what he focused on undermining the most.

Most atheists don’t really care that much if you think God made everything in six days. They just rightfully think it’s dumb. What they care about and hate is things being labeled a sin that they love. So they undermine righteousness by attacking what they believe is biblical Christianity ( creationism even though it’s not ) in hopes of if that collapses then so will the rest. Just like creationist, I think a literal reading of places like genesis 1-11 is correct.

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I might go for a militant anti-creationism. My anger with this sector of Christianity has been growing steadily with recent events. I am becoming increasingly convinced that the systematic deception involved in creationism has become a profound moral poison making these so called Christians capable of great evil.

But perhaps there is an even greater poison beneath creationism itself in the phenomenon of reactionary ideology and that is something which has and can once again transform both Christianity and atheism in to major forces of evil and destruction in the world.


I appreciate Dawkins when he is speaking on topics within his realm of study. When he branches into philosophy or theology then I tend to appreciate a great deal more what another of your countrymen have to say about Dawkins’ bad habit of using his credentials in biology to sell shoddy conclusions in the humanities. Specifically what he has to say between 9:55 and 10:50 in this video.

I struggle with that as well. I don’t hate creationist, but I hate creationism. I believe that creationism is what caused the growth of atheism. I think creationism , the false forked road it creates for younger people forces them to think the only options are God or Science is very angering. It’s also always creationist that end up in some trailer burning some teens Harry Potter books and spewing out nonsense about demonic possession instead of getting their kids psychological help and counseling. People often don’t understand just how disgustingly evil creationism is and how it rears it head up in so many bizarre ways. Even with things like environmentalism. Ive literally heard people, and everytime 100% of the time it’s creationist, talk about how it does not matter how much oil we burn, it does not matter how trash is in the ocean, because God is going to fix it all. We can trash this planet and God will fix it. It stems back to anti scientific paradigms bred by creationism.

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Of course I don’t think Dawkins believes his WV is meaningless. He just feels satisfied to believe what he thinks is the unblemished truth. I agree with him that a life not spent coordinating ones actions and beliefs with the dogma of some institution’s edicts can be plenty meaningful. However I don’t agree with him that ones view of what a human life is for is subject to the same rules of evidence that apply to science. I think he makes category goofs right and left just as Lawrence Krauss is prone to do.

I very much agree with you here. I think it would be helpful if it were made clear that theological creation, correctly understood, can carry the truth of mythos - the truth that matters most for living a human life. But science traces the sequence of proximal causes involved in empirical questions regarding origins. I think both sides could work harder to articulate the difference between them.


Meaningful for what? For who? The child murdered during genocide?

Nothing matters. The universe will expand indefinitely leading to nothing but eternal darkness. That’s exactly the problem. Follow the science until you don’t want to anymore. Magically come up with purpose and meaning for life (none of which is scientific) all the while denying the WV that can actually lead to these things. I don’t think you can even get free will out of a materialistic and deterministic universe.


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Well, fundamentalists can be really annoying :joy:

In my extremely personal opinion, Richard Dawkins as always appeared to me to be just another religious fanatic calling down curses on the heathens who won’t convert to the true religion. Nothing particularly new there… we’ve got plenty of those in Christianity already (for our sins)!

EDIT: When the preacher deploys imprecatory rhetoric, it is usually for the benefit the folk. Pot shots at those stupid heathens may help galvanise the faithful and attract the already sympathetic, but it doesn’t do much to advance one’s position with those who are not already ‘true believers’. I suspect that is as true for militant atheism as it is for militant Christianity.


Editing as I go and back:

It’s perfectly rational, which is the problem. Neither he nor any of us is. We’re Hum(e)an. He was unhinged by 9 11. His mind was stretched beyond its elastic limits and cannot come back. For me him facing the fact that we are third and final generation stardust in a seething foam of such bubbles from eternity is a worthy and futile, Quixotic endeavour. The intellectually impoverished - including he - we will always have with us.

Richard is no more a sinner than you. He hates the real Jesus no more than you. He knows Him no less than you.

You can’t get it out of one of infinite from eternity in God either.

Richard’s failures are scientific and moral and completely understandable.

He says what you say. But rationalism completely pre-empts theology. Prevents its conception. Does he go on in the 73 minutes to say how rationalism is wrong philosophically? Or what philosophy there is meaningfully beyond rationalism? I know there IS, but it becomes somewhat hoist with its own petard doesn’t it? Rationalism is a construct like anything else. And? Nothing in phenomenology, in Lacanian analysis, or art, or music, or poetry, or love gainsays the hermetic sufficiency of materialism. I bet you he doesn’t identify Richard’s scientific and moral errors as I do.

Well I have no idea what his personal life is like.But my comment was not about whose the biggest and whose the least sinner.
I don’t think he knows Jesus at all.

What I said is that the world hates the real Jesus. No one has problem with a half view of Jesus focused only on how good of a person he was. That he helped the needy and ect… what they hate is the full picture of Jesus. The man who calls so many of the things the world loves a sin.


Those who hate have no real picture of Jesus.

Guess it depends on what’s being hated. But if you mean hating a person I agree.

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My father had to read one of Dawkins’ books once. He said that it was frequently difficult not to throw it across the room.

I think we own at least one of his books, on the shelves with other unreliable ones (Behe, Price, Johnson, Ham, Asimov, The Book of Mormon, etc.).

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“An audience as sophisticated as this one…” Dawkins tells his eager listeners, just before endorsing militant atheism. Mark D., I do appreciate your thoughts. The only Dawkins work I have attempted (aside from watching video snippets like the above) was a lengthy tome which insisted (in the introduction) that I would be an atheist by the end of it. I determined to read it, but only got half way through. My observation was that he seemed to only quote those whose views corresponded with his own—that is, quoting someone whose negative interpretation supported HIS negative interpretation, without considering or even quoting a potential challenge. This is human nature, of course, but not really great intellectual discourse. A snippet of an interview with him ended up in a movie–and in that interview he theorized that humanity was seeded onto this planet by the dying remains of another universe which was seeded by a still-earlier dying universe, which was still-earlier populated by the dying members of another earlier dying universe—all in an effort to describe how humanity came to be here—since it must be hard for him to explain with the current universe. I don’t know. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I suppose/.

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You mean the books of Moses, etc, Daniel, etc, etc? And what’s unreliable about The Foundation series?

What about the books of Moses, Klax? Daniel? pretty interesting book. Oops!! opening up a completely different blog topic here…

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