Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Does the End (of Faith) Justify the Means? It could for some people

People do turn atheism in to a cause for which they could potentially be willing to kill or die for. People can have the same kind of devotion to atheism that they have to any religion. They can believe that "the end of faith" is a goal worth pursuing. They can conclude that this end (of faith) justifies the means. People sometimes assume that heaven and hell make fanaticism possible, and since they are missing on atheism, it isn't possible to be a fanatical atheist. In Communism there was an equivalent to heaven, it was the socialist paradise promised by Marx, and people did kill and die for that. Hell for some atheists seems to be the obstruction of scientific progress, or religious taboos against certain types of sex behavior.

It is also possible for atheists to disregard solid evidence because of their anti-religious convictions. I see little difference between Todd Akin's refusal to accept the existence of pregnancies produced by rape and Richard Dawkins' claim that a religious upbringing does more harm that child sexual abuse. In both cases, the evidence against these claims is overwhelming, but ideology trumps inconvenient facts in both cases.

I do think that the Columbine case underscores another point, that the abandonment of traditional religious belief will not necessarily produce cheerful humanists. I remember when I was growing up there was a 18-year-old boy who killed 5 women with a knife at a beauty parlor, and what people could remember of him from high school was that he was an atheist. Now, there's nothing inevitable about this, but there is a route from atheism to nihilism to murder, and there is also the possibility of crimes of fanaticism to serve the end of faith and the advancement and glorification of science. Of course, there is also the religious justification for the 9/11 attacks, and for the crusades and wars of religion, but these are also not inevitable.

109 comments:

Thesauros said...

It's possible for atheists to disregard solid evidence"

THAT is an understatement! It's just mind bending to watch these people who say they don't believe anything unless it's upheld by solid evidence to glom onto just about anything that supports atheism. And even though a negative like "no God" cannot be proven, they certainly believe this negative that can't be proven.

Good post. God Bless.

Mike Darus said...

I was struck by the world created to make "The Hunger Games" believable. In that future world there is no memory of religion. Even values like freedom, care for the less fortunate are forgotten. Self sacrifice for the sake of a family member is even a surprize. Do we really want a world devoid of religious influence?

Brian Westley said...

Richard Dawkins' claim that a religious upbringing does more harm that child sexual abuse.

You really should investigate before shooting your mouth off:
http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse
...
And an obsessive concentration on sexual abuse by priests is in danger of blinding us to all their other forms of child abuse.

The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse. Most physical abuse is milder, and so is most of the mental abuse inherent in a typical religious education. The priest who urged a 14-year-old altar boy to give him oral sex, "blessing it as a way to receive Holy Communion " wasn't only abusing the trust normally enjoyed by any teacher, youth leader or scoutmaster. He was cashing in on the years of religious brainwashing that the child had endured as a cradle Catholic. Holy Communion: nice one! But again, only an extreme example of what churches -- and also mosques and synagogues -- do to child minds in their care, in the normal course of events.


If you had bothered to look up what Dawkins actually said, you would see he is NOT saying "a religious upbringing does more harm that child sexual abuse."

Crude said...

Brian Westley,

Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place.

Ring any bells?

rank sophist said...

Send in the Gnus.

Victor Reppert said...

I have looked at the Dawkins piece several times and concluded that the various ways of whitewashing it don't wash--just as there can be mild forms of sexual abuse, he is saying that threatening eternal hell is the extreme form of mental abuse, but that there are milder forms. What forms? Teaching that God exists, teaching that Jesus was resurrected from the dead through a supernatural act of God.

It still baffles me what Dawkins et al expect Christians to teach their children. What they believe, or what they don't believe?

Crude said...

Victor,

Check the link I just provided Brian.

Crude said...

And for the record...

I see little difference between Todd Akin's refusal to accept the existence of pregnancies produced by rape and Richard Dawkins' claim that a religious upbringing does more harm that child sexual abuse.

I see a difference. Akin said something dumb and apologized for it, and it seemed to be honestly borne out of being misinformed about biology. Dawkins simply shot his mouth off multiple times, has never apologized, and probably knew he was bullshitting from the get-go.

Tony Hoffman said...

What's so funny to me is that, as an atheist, I pretty much never, ever think of Richard Dawkins. But it seems every time I come back around to visiting a site like this one, I'm reminded that he exists.

Shakespeare had a line for this. Something about protesting, and too much.

Crude said...

Methinks thou doth protest too much, Tony. ;)

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Tony -- I'm in the same boat as you, with one caveat.

I don't have a problem with Christian philosophers and apologists spending time critiquing Dawkins. Dawkins's book was on the New York Times bestseller list and Dawkins himself has a big following among many atheists.

Of course, refuting Dawkins is one thing; refuting atheism is quite another. To use Dawkins's word, any theist who thinks that by refuting Dawkins they have refuted atheism is "delusional."

I wish that, in addition to discussing Dawkins, Christian philosophers and apologists would spend more time on the best philosophical arguments for atheism. Christians who focus exclusively on Dawkins on atheism are akin to atheists who focus exclusively on Josh McDowell on the resurrection.

rank sophist said...

I agree with Jeffrey, actually. I'd love a few rousing debates on the better arguments for atheism, such as some of the ones on that list.

Just as an example, I see that there's a counterattack (http://naturalisticatheism.blogspot.com/2012/08/is-evil-evidence-for-god.html) to the claim that the existence of evil presupposes good. The argument works from the biological worth of pain and pleasure to a probable "hypothesis of indifference". However, this seems to presuppose that thriving is better than not-thriving, which raises the is-ought problem. What is the standard X with which we compare thriving Y and suffering Z? If X does not exist, then it seems impossible to say non-arbitrarily that Y is preferable to Z or vice versa.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Wow, I've managed to write something that rank sophist agrees with! Woo-hoo! :)

Crude said...

I think the 'better arguments for atheism' are pretty often dealt with by philosophers and apologists alike. Certainly on this site, Dawkins' name doesn't come up to the exclusion or near-exclusion of other arguments or even people.

But if Dawkins is a pretty lousy representative of atheism and a poor thinker, atheists should be a bit spooked by his prominence, quite a lot of which has been afforded to him by the 'major' atheist groups. Theism has crappy representatives, but the nearest equivalent to the American Atheists and Dawkins would be Westboro Baptist and Jim Bakker - pariahs.

rank sophist said...

That's true, too. It should be remembered that Dawkins made it to 19th place in the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll in 2008 (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_100_Public_Intellectuals_Poll), ahead of people like Slavoj Zizek, Paul Krugman and Steven Pinker. He may be the intellectual equivalent of Jimmy Swaggart, but he's far more powerful.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Crude -- I disagree pretty strongly with this.

I think the 'better arguments for atheism' are pretty often dealt with by philosophers and apologists alike. Certainly on this site, Dawkins' name doesn't come up to the exclusion or near-exclusion of other arguments or even people.

Your first sentence is an empirical hypothesis which is easily tested. What is your evidence for that hypothesis?

But if Dawkins is a pretty lousy representative of atheism and a poor thinker, atheists should be a bit spooked by his prominence, quite a lot of which has been afforded to him by the 'major' atheist groups. Theism has crappy representatives, but the nearest equivalent to the American Atheists and Dawkins would be Westboro Baptist and Jim Bakker - pariahs.

This is a horrible analogy. Dawkins hasn't done anything even approaching the order of magnitude of offensiveness of WBC picketing funerals of dead soldiers. Nor has Dawkins committed any sort of fraud, as Bakker did.

A much better analogy, IMO, would be to compare Dawkins to Ravi Zacharias.

Kathen said...

Victor Reppert,

Dawkins' view of the damage done by a religious upbringing is a perfectly reasonable one. He may not be right but it cannot be compared to Akin's nonsense. I know you will not be convinced but may I suggest that you look at the interview with Dawkins in Playboy.

"PLAYBOY: You gave a speech in Dublin in which you argued that sexual abuse is less damaging to a child than the psychological damage of bringing him up Catholic. What was the response?

DAWKINS: I got an ovation. I want to make clear I was not talking about the sort of violent sexual abuse we’ve now learned had been repeatedly going on. I was talking about mild caressing[such as Dawkins himself experienced when young], which is bad enough, but bringing up a child to believe in hellfire is worse."

As for religious doctrines that count as mild mental abuse, Dawkins mentions in 'The God Delusion' the doctrine "that a woman is the property of her husband." It would be easy to think of others that he might want to add to the list.

I agree that Christians have no choice but to tell their children these things. If you believe that Hell is real you must warn children about it. But that has nothing to do with the question of whether a belief in Hell causes serious mental suffering.

BeingItself said...

"It still baffles me what Dawkins et al expect Christians to teach their children. What they believe, or what they don't believe?"

Victor, I suspect Dawkins would endorse something like Clifford's Ethics of Belief. Since holding Christian beliefs is a grave moral failing (according to Clifford), then teaching children that those beliefs are true is likewise a moral failing (according to Dawkins). Or something like that.

On a side note, do you think most secular parents teach their children that gods are imaginary? In my experience, secular parents tend to focus on critical thinking skills and and moral reasoning. Quite a contrast to the popular Christian methods taught by Michael Pearl.

Tony Hoffman said...

Anyone who thinks that Dawkins is primarily an advocate for atheism or an intellectual lightweight only displays that they are ignorant of the course of important intellectual thought in the last 40 or so years.

http://www.permanentrevolution.net/entry/1547

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199291160/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product/103-5904693-9711013?ie=UTF8

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.html

But like I said, I don't really care if Dawkins per se is marginalized or ignored. That's because the intellectual conversations he has helped propel are original, fascinating, and very much alive, much more so any of those I can think of started by the theists of his time.

I'll wager that not a theist writing here (including VR) has read The Selfish Gene in its entirety. And that is the pity, really -- because those who eschew such writings seal themselves off from the most interesting and meaningful intellectual discussions going on today.

Anyway, cheers.

Crude said...

Jeff,

Your first sentence is an empirical hypothesis which is easily tested. What is your evidence for that hypothesis?

What's my evidence that the 'better arguments for atheism' are often dealt with by theistic philosophers and apologists? How about the books and articles they write, grappling with everything from the problem of evil to divine hiddenness to claims of materialism for minds for more?

Do you truly want a list? And if you're going to say 'that's an empirical claim I want you to do science for me!', keep in mind my claim is merely my disagreeing with YOUR claim. What's your empirical evidence? And it better not be something as lame as "this very thread".

This is a horrible analogy. Dawkins hasn't done anything even approaching the order of magnitude of offensiveness of WBC picketing funerals of dead soldiers.

I think claiming that a religious upbringing is more harmful than child sex abuse is every bit as offensive as any particular act the WBC has engaged in - the fact that atheists aren't offended doesn't mean much there.

Nor has Dawkins committed any sort of fraud, as Bakker did.

He's taken his followers for quite a lot of money, built up a cult of personality, and largely fed them excitable nonsense and unscientific hogwash. I think there are more similarities there than you care to admit.

Tony,

Anyone who thinks that Dawkins is primarily an advocate for atheism or an intellectual lightweight only displays that they are ignorant of the course of important intellectual thought in the last 40 or so years.

He is primarily an advocate for atheism. Sorry to be the one to tell you man, but Dawkins gave up science decades ago (just ask EO Wilson), and what made him rise to prominence was his success as a popular writer and little else. Even you are reduced to admiring him for what he 'helped propel', and what he largely helped propel was an atheist movement so embarrassing that it's hard to distinguish it from self-parody at this point.

Freethought Blogs banning dissenters? Gnu+ (as if Gnu wasn't funny enough)? Myers attacking Harris? The hilarity of Richard Carrier attempting to be an A+ Leader and getting soundly rejected?

THAT is the bulk of Dawkins' legacy. He hasn't contributed so much as a bug fart to actual intellectual discourse on religion or theism.

Crude said...

Dawkins' view of the damage done by a religious upbringing is a perfectly reasonable one. He may not be right but it cannot be compared to Akin's nonsense.

Let's see: two jagoffs make a totally unsubstantiated claim about health (well, unsubstantiated unless you count hearsay) that is offensive and largely crafted to advance their particular views.

Yeah, there's a difference between Dawkins and Akin. Akin actually apologized for his stupidity. Dawkins never has - he's just tried to awkwardly spin it after the fact, and his fans have by and large lapped up his words, much as they always do.

In fact we see it here and this thread: "Some trusted family member/adult sexually molesting a little kid? Well, so long as they're gentle, it's not so bad. Not as bad as a religious upbringing!" That's basically what Dawkins is saying and holy shit, we have idiots defending it. You know, as if the offensiveness, the sheer wrongness of it, goes away because he used the word mild.

Here, let's try this one on for size: "Molesting a woman isn't nearly as harmful to them as materialism is. I mean, when it's mild. Say, slipping her a date rape drug, feeling her up a little bit when she's out. That hardly compares to the harm of telling her she has no intrinsic worth as a person."

That's on the level of what you're defending with Dawkins. Good job!

Tony Hoffman said...

"He hasn't contributed so much as a bug fart to actual intellectual discourse on religion or theism."

My point exactly. I think someone like Dawkins would be proud to have that on his tombstone. (I wouldn't mind it myself.)

I imagine that those who read and post on sites like these prize intellectual discussion. But to confine yourself to only the kind of discussions you describe above is to preclude yourself from participating in the real conversations that I think you would most highly prize.

Crude said...

But to confine yourself to only the kind of discussions you describe above is to preclude yourself from participating in the real conversations that I think you would most highly prize.

And here's the funniest part of all, Tony.

We haven't confined ourselves only to those discussions. Dawkins has. He stopped doing science decades ago. The Selfish Gene was published in 1976. You're knocking people for talking about atheism and religion as opposed to genetics, but that's exactly what Dawkins himself has done.

Let's drive the point home: "I hesitate to do this because he's such a popular guy, but Dawkins is not a scientist. He's a writer on science and he hasn't participated in research directly or published in peer-reviewed journals for a long time. In other words, there is no Wilson-versus-Dawkins controversy: it's Wilson versus … well, I could give you a goodly list of other scientists doing peer-reviewed research."

That'd be EO Wilson.

Victor Reppert said...

I am seeing the effects of Dawkins et al on dialogue, and it is not good.

I have posts on a number of subjects here that have gotten little response. But the ones on The New Atheism always get a lot of comments.

I think the mentality generated by the New Atheism is harmful for atheism itself, and there needs to be more atheists openly distancing themselves from it.

rank sophist said...

Dawkins' main claims to fame are the worthless "meme" theory and his advocacy of neo-Darwinism. Both are blatantly false.

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "I am seeing the effects of Dawkins et al on dialogue, and it is not good."

What I don't think is good is your fixation with Dawkins and your apparent insistence that he exists only as an antagonist to atheism, your seeming inability to understand that atheists do not belong to a leadership-based organization with someone like Dawkins dictating protocol, and your unwillingness to modify your repeated assertion that Dawkins believes that religion is worse than pedophilia. That's quite a package you seem to unfold pretty much every time I check in around here.

VR: "I have posts on a number of subjects here that have gotten little response. But the ones on The New Atheism always get a lot of comments."

Provocative and easily correctable positions are the ones that will draw the most attention. Go figure.

VR: "I think the mentality generated by the New Atheism is harmful for atheism itself, and there needs to be more atheists openly distancing themselves from it."

What a vague and sanctimonious statement. What exactly is the mentality of New Atheism (whatever that means) that is harmful to atheism, and how exactly does it harm atheism? I think that the reverse is more obviously true: that the vocal nature of New Atheism has highlighted the weakness of the theist position, and this light is harmful to theism.

Tony Hoffman said...

"Dawkins' main claims to fame are the worthless "meme" theory and his advocacy of neo-Darwinism. Both are blatantly false."

Wow. RS can disprove neo-Darwinism. Remember us little people when you're awarded that Nobel prize.

Seriously, these aren't engaged or thoughtful responses to the challenges of atheism. And that's my point -- so much of this appears unengaged, tangential, strident, and even false that it's hard to call it criticism.

rank sophist said...

Tony,

What do memes and neo-Darwinism have to do with atheism? Only Gnus see a connection there--Gnus like Dawkins. I personally don't think that there is one, and I think we can all agree that the truth or falsehood of atheism does not rest on the shoulders of neo-Darwinism. If it did, then you guys are on shaky ground, since that theory is crumbling in the academic sector.

But, if you want to present a half-way decent argument for atheism, then be my guest.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS,

I have pointed out that this post and so many others like it seems to struggle to make this "argument":

1) Dawkins is outrageous / stupid / incompetent, etc.
2) Modern day atheists wait for their marching orders from Dawkins.
3) Therefore, modern day atheism is outrageous / stupid / incompetent, etc.

1 is false.
2 is false and does not follow from 1.
3 is the result of two unrelated and false premises.

Please notice that those are my claims here. Please notice that I am willing to make them and demonstrate them (defend them), and please notice that you have not, say, backed up your claim that neo-Darwinism is false.

rank sophist said...

I have pointed out that this post and so many others like it seems to struggle to make this "argument":

1) Dawkins is outrageous / stupid / incompetent, etc.
2) Modern day atheists wait for their marching orders from Dawkins.
3) Therefore, modern day atheism is outrageous / stupid / incompetent, etc.


1 is self-evidently true. We're dealing with a cowardly anti-intellectual who refuses to debate, who can't debate, who strawmans his opponents' arguments, who claims that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse, who declares that people like Obama and Kennedy are/were probably atheists because of their intelligence, who calls religion a "delusion", who uses bully tactics against the religious and so on. His meme theory has been scrapped by most philosophers of mind. His neo-Darwinism is inconsistent with the fossil record and with epigenetics, and it's essentially been replaced by punctuated equilibrium.

Your points 2 and 3 are irrelevant, and I nowhere insinuated them.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "[Dawkins is outrageous / stupid / incompetent, etc.] is self-evidently true."

And this position places you outside the realm of reasonable discourse on this topic. Dawkins has written many books, spoken publicly hundreds if not thousands of times, been interviewed how many times, produced and narrated documentaries, written a great many articles, etc., all well appearing almost entirely and overwhelmingly measured and cautious in his pronouncements. He was on the faculty at Oxford for decades. His work is broadly discussed and referenced throughout scholarly journals, academia, etc, and he is required reading in biology classes at universities throughout the world (my younger brother was required to read "The Greatest Show on Earth" in his one of his pre-med courses). And yet you pronounce him to be outrageous, stupid, and incompetent. Your presumption is laughable, and this statement alone makes it evident that you are not capable of reasonable discussion on this topic. Still, just for kicks, I'll go through the rest.

RS: "We're dealing with a cowardly anti-intellectual who refuses to debate, who can't debate, who strawmans his opponents' arguments, who claims that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse, who declares that people like Obama and Kennedy are/were probably atheists because of their intelligence, who calls religion a "delusion", who uses bully tactics against the religious and so on."

I get it. You don't like him. This is irrelevant.

RS: "His meme theory has been scrapped by most philosophers of mind."

I would ask for evidence for this claim, but don't bother because even if it were true it really doesn't matter as the field of Philosophy of Mind appears to be rather cluttered and confused about a large number of things. Also, I don't think that Dawkins has devoted much effort, nor staked his career, on the validity of something like the idea (memes) he is largely credited with raising.

RS: "His neo-Darwinism is inconsistent with the fossil record and with epigenetics,"

In order to demonstrate this you would have to show how Dawkins understanding of Evolutionary Theory (let's use the proper terminology here) is obviously inconsistent with the fossil record. Please do so, and please try to go beyond Wikipedia's citing some scholar who says Dawkins is merely wrong about something. Because it sounds likely to me that you are confusing disagreement among scientists about the mechanisms that result in selective adaptations versus a disagreement over competing Evolutionary Theories.

"...and it's essentially been replaced by punctuated equilibrium."

Even if this were true it is irrelevant. Punctuated equilibrium may overtake gradualism in our understanding of why the fossil record looks as it does, but this is scientific progress, something that Dawkins himself champions and accepts as the inevitable result of holding to Theories. In other words, it is entirely predictable and welcome that some of Dawkins views will be replaced by those that more accurately describe and predict. Anyone who does not hold such views could not, in my estimation, ever called a scientist.

Anyway, as I pointed out this is all largely irrelevant and diversionary. Like this:

"Your points 2 and 3 are irrelevant, and I nowhere insinuated them."

My points 2 and 3 are relevant to my stated reasons for commenting here. And I was relating them specifically to this post, which is why I introduced them as specifically belong to "this post," and not to RS.

ozero91 said...

I think Dawkins is a great writer, and he's a great biologist too. But its his poor understanding of philosophy and natural theology that bothers theists.

Crude said...

your seeming inability to understand that atheists do not belong to a leadership-based organization with someone like Dawkins dictating protocol

Meanwhile, over at Freethought Blogs, Richard Carrier says, among other things...

"This does not mean you, personally, have to go knocking on doors in ethnic neighborhoods or start attending local NOW meetings. But it does mean you should be on board with atheist groups and organizations taking an increased diversity seriously, talking about it, and even doing something about it, with at least your vocal or monetary support–even if you still want to debate or be selective as to what methods are used to do that, which is entirely fine. The bottom line is: Do you think this is a good idea in general, or are you against it? If you are against it, then you are an asshole. And you are definitely thumbing-down Atheism+. We are done with you. You are not one of us. You can go start your own clubs and have your own conferences."

The Cult of Gnu absolutely does consist of leadership mentality, complete with people dictating protocol. Hence Atheism+ and Carrier and company's laying down the law. Hence PZ Myers outlining what binds his Cultists of Gnu together.

and your unwillingness to modify your repeated assertion that Dawkins believes that religion is worse than pedophilia.

Then it's a goddamn shame we have Dawkins' repeated quotes on this matter. He said something stupid, Tony my boy. Owe up to it, and stop thinking that if you behave like a big enough crybaby about it that his record will be cleared.

What exactly is the mentality of New Atheism (whatever that means) that is harmful to atheism, and how exactly does it harm atheism?

The fact that it's largely pack mentality jagoffs repeating talking points rooted in claims and arguments they barely understand? The fact that acting like an asshole and showing disrespect for any theist (well, Christian) is fundamental to the movement? The fact that, in their gyrations over Atheism+, Greta, Carrier and company basically out and out admitted that the Cult of Gnu is heavily populated with "douchebags and assholes", in Carrier's own words?

Believe it or not, Tony, the idea that the Cult of Gnu is some kind of powerful movement filled with brilliant, charismatic people is a view which doesn't extend far beyond the Cult itself. From the outside, even from the perspective of agnostics and the irreligious, you guys are a collective advertisement illustrating the following: you don't have to be religious to be ignorant, loud, bigoted, and socially autistic. In fact, the lack of religion actually seems to help out with that.

But by all means, Tony, keep telling yourself otherwise. Just be sure to do it while adhering to the rules and standards of atheism+, lest your free-thinking "allies" swiftly kick your ass to the curb a la thunderf00t.

Crude said...

ozero91,

I think Dawkins is a great writer, and he's a great biologist too. But its his poor understanding of philosophy and natural theology that bothers theists.

A good writer? Sure. Great biologist? Where? Since when? Don't you think the fact that (as EO Wilson himself pointed out recently) he hasn't done research or science in a very long time speak against the 'great biologist' bit?

Yes, he mangles philosophy and natural theology. But that's really not all. It's also the insulting, the unscientific popping off of BS like "child sexual abuse isn't as bad as a religious upbringing - you know, in case the sexual abuse is the mild sort", the mangling of science in the service of atheism, and the insulting rhetoric on top of it.

Really, it's not just the fact that the guy makes mistakes with philosophy. There's a lot more to his particular damage.

ozero91 said...

"The field of Philosophy of Mind appears to be rather cluttered and confused about a large number of things."

You is an assertion, you'll have to back it up.

Crude, well, okay, he has the potential (imo) to be a good biologist. I guess right now he's pursuing less serious things. If I were him I'd just drop the horseman title and live my life doing what I was initially doing, meaningful labwork.

ozero91 said...

^^Meant to say this* is an assertion.

Tony Hoffman said...

Funny how the only one here throwing around insults (asshole, bigoted, ignorant, loud, socially autistic, pack mentality jagoffs repeating talking points rooted in claims and arguments they barely understand, stupid, my boy, crybaby, stupid, incompetent, etc.) is the one accusing his opponents of doing this.

And Victor says that it's the new atheists who are poisoning the dialogue...

rank sophist said...

And yet you pronounce him to be outrageous, stupid, and incompetent. Your presumption is laughable, and this statement alone makes it evident that you are not capable of reasonable discussion on this topic.

George Bush ran the entire US. Clearly, this means that he was a qualified leader and a good man who deserves our respect. He was not at all involved in reckless military overreach, shocking amorality and widespread abuse of power.

I don't care about Dawkins' record, Tony. All of what I said about him is true, and you know it's true. His fame doesn't change that in the slightest. He's scientifically incompetent, politically outrageous and philosophically stupid.

rank sophist said...

In order to demonstrate this you would have to show how Dawkins understanding of Evolutionary Theory (let's use the proper terminology here) is obviously inconsistent with the fossil record. Please do so, and please try to go beyond Wikipedia's citing some scholar who says Dawkins is merely wrong about something. Because it sounds likely to me that you are confusing disagreement among scientists about the mechanisms that result in selective adaptations versus a disagreement over competing Evolutionary Theories.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1997/jun/12/darwinian-fundamentalism/

http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2012/02/neo-atheism-atheists-dawkins

Just a taste. Neo-Darwinism is a dogmatic, irrational, unsupported belief.

Even if this were true it is irrelevant. Punctuated equilibrium may overtake gradualism in our understanding of why the fossil record looks as it does, but this is scientific progress, something that Dawkins himself champions and accepts as the inevitable result of holding to Theories. In other words, it is entirely predictable and welcome that some of Dawkins views will be replaced by those that more accurately describe and predict. Anyone who does not hold such views could not, in my estimation, ever called a scientist.

Glad we agree that Dawkins isn't a scientist.

Wikipedia: "Richard Dawkins believes that the apparent gaps represented in the fossil record document migratory events rather than evolutionary events. According to Dawkins, evolution certainly occurred but 'probably gradually' elsewhere." (cite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium#Criticism)

When in doubt, activate neo-Darwinism of the gaps.

Crude said...

ozero91,

Crude, well, okay, he has the potential (imo) to be a good biologist. I guess right now he's pursuing less serious things. If I were him I'd just drop the horseman title and live my life doing what I was initially doing, meaningful labwork.

Well, fair enough. Sorry for jumping on that - I just hear this over and over. If Dawkins was a good scientist, it's in the past tense. "Several decades ago, he was a scientist." The man is an ex-scientist by any reasonable measure.

I will immediately cop to him being a good writer.

Crude said...

Funny how the only one here throwing around insults

Oh please. I differntiate between the Cultists of Gnu and atheists generally - no, the Cult does not deserve respect, especially considering their own policy of mocking and disrespecting others. My estimation of them is utterly accurate.

And frankly, I can even call Carrier's observations to support me on this, since the entire premise of "atheism+" is 'we need to differentiate ourselves from the 'assholes and douchebags' in the movement' - again, Carrier and company's words, not mine. Unfortunately for them, if they remove that element from the Cult of Gnu, they'll be left with an empty room.

B. Prokop said...

"RS: "We're dealing with a cowardly anti-intellectual who refuses to debate, who can't debate, who strawmans his opponents' arguments, who claims that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse, who declares that people like Obama and Kennedy are/were probably atheists because of their intelligence, who calls religion a "delusion", who uses bully tactics against the religious and so on."

I get it. You don't like him. This is irrelevant
"

Tony,

You can't answer Rank Sophist just by saying "I get it" and then proceed as if he didn't say anything. If you don't agree, then you should be able to refute his claims - specifically that Dawkins is:

1. cowardly
2. anti-intellectual
3. refuses to debate
4. can't debate
5. strawmans his opponents' arguments
6. claims that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse
7. declares that people like Obama and Kennedy are/were probably atheists because of their intelligence
8. calls religion a "delusion"
9. uses bully tactics against the religious

So, do these points describe Dawkins or not? Numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are demonstrably true, and you can't deny them without suppressing and/or ignoring the evidence. Points 1, 2, and 4 are perhaps matters of opinion.

ozero91 said...

Im not so sure about 3. Didnt he debate Lennox recently? It just that he doesnt want to debate WLC for moral reasons. (Yet he seems to get along fine with Singer)

rank sophist said...

4 was based mainly on his bad performance against Lennox, actually. Craig has cited this as a plausible reason for his refusal to debate any other intellectuals.

im-skeptical said...

"claims that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse"

I read his book, and that's not what came across to me. He talked about specific extreme cases. I didn't get the impression that he meant to say that all religious upbringing is abuse. I am also aware that he has made several attempts to clarify what he said for those who didn't understand. I don't think his statements have been fairly represented in this forum.

Crude said...

I don't think his statements have been fairly represented in this forum.

Not fairly represented? We've provided direct quotes from Dawkins.

The defense is 'Well, Dawkins thinks that MILD child abuse isn't so bad. You know. Like a trusted adult fingering or jacking off or molesting a little kid with care and delicacy. Not being real brutal about it. Compared to being taught religious beliefs as a kid!'

He didn't try to 'clarify for people who didn't understand'. He tried to spin his comments and make the unreasonable sound reasonable. Hence, 'You know, the more mild forms of child sexual abuse aren't so bad'.

im-skeptical said...

"You didn't build that."

A direct quote. And his statement was absolutely not fairly represented.

BenYachov said...

>I didn't get the impression that he meant to say that all religious upbringing is abuse.

He said it was worst to teach children Catholicism then to sexually abuse them.

Catholics like RS, Crude and myself object to that bullshit.

BTW before some knuckle dragging Gnus brings up the psychological "damage" of teaching Hell to children I wish to preemptively counter by pointing out the possible psychological "damage" of teaching Atheist kids about the extinction of being at death.

You people keep using the same talking points to defend Dawkins wacky crap.

grodrigues said...

@Crude:

[about Dawkins]

"A good writer? Sure."

I confess I am utterly baffled whenever I hear that Dawkins is a good writer. Have the standards sunk this low? Sheesh.

Crude said...

A direct quote. And his statement was absolutely not fairly represented.

The context and direct quotes have been provided for Dawkins. You couldn't have asked for more in this case. And I dispute the idea that 'you didn't build that' was unfairly quoted. What happened was, after the fact, when it became a major liability, there was backtracking. There's a big difference.

g.rod,

I confess I am utterly baffled whenever I hear that Dawkins is a good writer. Have the standards sunk this low? Sheesh.

I think he has a way of being witty and turning a phrase that appeals to people. I don't think he's somehow a master of the art, but he has literary skill in my opinion. Even if I think he sucks, I'll readily grant him that.

Now, the 'great biologist/scientist' stuff? That's a load. He's an ex-scientist who never really got noticed for his lab-work, but did get noticed for his popular writing. But since credentials matter, he's thrown around his degree, and since people are intimidated by degrees they always praised that reflexively. Given that EO Wilson recently flat out called him out about that, we may be seeing the end of that schtick.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

Well, I didn't really want to get into the position of defending Dawkins. But I still think it would be fair to him to argue against his actual positions. I keep getting the impression that people here haven't read and understood what he wrote, but may simply be listening to soundbites. I am guilty of saying things from ignorance. I have been told that I don't understand or haven't read various things, and that's true. So I make an effort to check them out for myself.

BenYachov said...

@im-skeptical

>Well, I didn't really want to get into the position of defending Dawkins.
But I still think it would be fair to him to argue against his actual positions.

It seems those are his actual positions. We have discussed this all before and it is old hat to us. We have heard all the excuses and read all the defenses by his fanz. I simply don't buy it & if I stop believing in any concept of God tomorow my low opinion of Dawkins as a compotent polemicist against religion would not change.

It is a mystery that Dawkins is such a popular Atheist when Atheist philosophers like JJC Smart are far more compotent and credible and unlike Dawkins somewhat knows the difference between Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism.


>I keep getting the impression that people here haven't read and understood what he wrote, but may simply be listening to soundbites.
I am guilty of saying things from ignorance. I have been told that I don't understand or haven't read various things, and that's true. So I make an effort to check them out for myself.

I would never condon misrepresenting Dawkins but it seems to me when someone like Dawkisn says the extremist crap he says he should either own it or apologize for it.

Dawkins it seems would rather do neither but backpeddle.

I will say this in praise of him. He is excellent at defending Evolution against the low brow anti-evolutionary arguments of YEC types. That's it.

But I accept Theistic Evolution so most of his polemics are non-starters for me.

Syllabus said...

"It is a mystery that Dawkins is such a popular Atheist when Atheist philosophers like JJC Smart are far more compotent and credible and unlike Dawkins somewhat knows the difference between Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism."

Why should it be? People, on the whole, want to be entertained, not intellectually engaged.

Tony Hoffman said...

Me: "...atheists do not belong to a leadership-based organization with someone like Dawkins dictating protocol."
RS: "The Cult of Gnu absolutely does consist of leadership mentality, complete with people dictating protocol. Hence Atheism+ and Carrier and company's laying down the law. Hence PZ Myers outlining what binds his Cultists of Gnu together."

Yeah, I think you miss my point. And that seems to be based on a confusion that atheists must belong to a sub group in order to be classified as atheists. This would be the same mistake as my saying that you and all other theists must march in lockstep with the declarations of John Shelby Sponge because... well, I'm not sure what the rationale is, really. And as I've been trying to say throughout this thread, I believe that theists have (greatly) over-exaggerated the extent to which Dawkins influences or shapes the atheism of other atheists (whatever that would even mean).

RS: "Then it's a goddamn shame we have Dawkins' repeated quotes on this matter."

Yeah, I'm taking more time here to write this out not so much for your benefit (you appear impervious to input) but for any other audience. The problem with your and other theists assertion regarding Dawkins' postion on religion and pedophilia is a common one in many theist arguments, and that is one of mistaking SOME evidence for THE evidence. (I think this is tied into a confirmation bias, something we all share to some degree.) And I don't really care to go through this exercise yet again, but the few times I've investigated these charges I have seen that those like yourself make these mistakes:

1) Quote mine (Lift a single sentence or group of sentences and place it outside the its context in a way that significantly modifies the meaning it had when read in its original context);
2) Misquote -- basically this means falsely attributing words to a writer or speaker that they never said.
3) Hearsay -- Link to people who say that someone said this thing, but there is no other record of the speaker having said this thing (this is a kind of misquoting).
4) Ignore all of the other evidence in which the speaker states a different position than the one that is being attributed to him.

All of these are a kind of lying, and that's why I have so little respect for those who take part in them and repeat them even after they are exposed.

Anyway, the rest of your comment is a ramble that seems to have nothing to do with me or my position here, so I'm going to safely ignore all that. I see that you wrote some other comments to me below -- I'll look at them shortly and if there's anything of substance I'll reply.

rank sophist said...

Tony,

I didn't write the posts you're quoting, there. Those appear to be from Crude.

ozero91 said...

Tony, instead of defining those terms, demonstrate them. The easiest way to change minds in this scenario, is to present the quote along with its context OR present clear evidence that it wasnt actually said, describe what Dawkins meant by that, and then follow up with any further evidence where he clarifies his position, etc.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS, sorry for the mis-attribution; you are correct, I was quoting from Crude, not you. My apologies.

BenYachov said...

>Yeah, I think you miss my point. And that seems to be based on a confusion that atheists must belong to a sub group in order to be classified as atheists.

Tony we bash Gnus(as in "Cult of Gnu") we like rational Atheists and we have nothing against rational Atheists other then disagreements on the nature of ultimate metaphysics.

Oh & by the way in deference too your reading comprehension skills or lack there of I am BenYachov not RS or Crude.

Just so we are clear.

Syllabus said...

"This would be the same mistake as my saying that you and all other theists must march in lockstep with the declarations of John Shelby Sponge because... well, I'm not sure what the rationale is, really. "

I'm pretty sure that Bishop Spong hasn't set himself up as the self-proclaimed spokesperson of Christendom. Dawkins, regardless of whatever disagreements might exist bewteen you and he (the more the better, say I), has done pretty much just that, and has been validated by quite a few people in that role. That's not to say that accepting anything that proceeds from his cloac...er, mouth uncritically as the viewpoint of every atheist in existence is entirely correct, only that it shouldn't be too surprising. I do think, though, that we theists oughtn't jump to conclusions quite as much as we do, so you're right there, at least.

BenYachov said...

Brian Westley wrote:
>If you had bothered to look up what Dawkins actually said, you would see he is NOT saying "a religious upbringing does more harm that child sexual abuse.

Yet the very quote Brian gives(which we assume is in context since how can an Atheist misquote one of his own eh?) says the opposite.

Let's break it down.

>The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse.

So the mere teaching of the doctrine of Hell is the mental equivalent of violent sodomy? BTW one wonders if Dawkins thinks non-violent sodomy is not as bad? He and Congressmen Akin are soul mates IMHO.

>Most physical abuse is milder, and so is most of the mental abuse inherent in a typical religious education.

Mild physical abuse is equivocated with religious education which is identified as mild mental abuse?

>The priest who urged a 14-year-old altar boy to give him oral sex, "blessing it as a way to receive Holy Communion " wasn't only abusing the trust normally enjoyed by any teacher, youth leader or scoutmaster. He was cashing in on the years of religious brainwashing that the child had endured as a cradle Catholic.

So teaching Catholics kids it is their duty to take communion makes it easy to rape them orally because religious education is mild mental abuse that softens them up to be victims?

Kay! (Face palm)

>Holy Communion: nice one! But again, only an extreme example of what churches -- and also mosques and synagogues -- do to child minds in their care, in the normal course of events.

So religious teaching according to Dawkins is mild mental abuse that softens young minds to prepare them for physical abuse and is compared to sex abuse?

One question for the deathless Dawkin defenders?

Is there an even greater context to Brian's quote to explain away this quote?

Because taken at face value Dawkins is a pretty sick fuck for writing this nonsense!

rank sophist said...

Tony,

No worries.

ozero,

Dawkins unequivocally states that the abuse of priests generally isn't as extreme--and, in the worst cases, is just as extreme--as the abuse of teaching hell. See his article "Religion's Real Child Abuse", still on his site. Now, he's damage controlled since then--but he still said it, and he never took down the article. The quotes are not out of context. In fact, he says more than what usually gets quoted. Just go read it for yourself and you'll see that the constant handwaving by people on this blog does nothing to hide the bare facts.

Crude said...

Yeah, I think you miss my point. And that seems to be based on a confusion that atheists must belong to a sub group in order to be classified as atheists.

Considering that I always differentiate between atheists generally, and the Cult of Gnu, it seems like you're the one who misses the point.

I have not said that atheists as a whole take their marching orders from Dawkins. Does there exist a sizable subset of atheists - the Cult of Gnu - who do expressly follow the lead of Dawkins and company? Absolutely.

This would be the same mistake as my saying that you and all other theists must march in lockstep with the declarations of John Shelby Sponge because... well, I'm not sure what the rationale is, really.

Me neither, since Spong's apparently not even a theist.

And again, I repeatedly differentiate between atheists generally, and the Cult of Gnu. If your point is that atheists == New Atheists, wonderful - you're not disagreeing with me. If you want to insist that the Cult of Gnu is a very small part of atheism, particularly internet atheism, you have your work cut out for you.

And as I've been trying to say throughout this thread, I believe that theists have (greatly) over-exaggerated the extent to which Dawkins influences or shapes the atheism of other atheists (whatever that would even mean).

Again, you have your work cut out for you if you want to make the argument that Dawkins and the general Internet Atheists do not largely gather around leaders, repeat talking points, etc.

Yeah, I'm taking more time here to write this out not so much for your benefit (you appear impervious to input) but for any other audience.

Tony, buddy - your gyrations won't work. I didn't just quote single sentences from Dawkins: we have multiple quotes, from multiple sources, and those sources have been named and given here in their entirety. The best defense of Dawkins thus far is that he has since backtracked on his words, such that a religious upbringing is only worse than child molestation when, you know, the child molestation is "mild". You know, like an uncle pulling down the pants of an 8 year old nephew and masturbating him. Maybe making out with him a bit. You know - no big deal. Now, a child learning about hell? That's serious stuff.

And I don't really care to go through this exercise yet again,

You're not going to defend it here, because it's indefensible. The best move has been tried - again, "mild instances of sexually abusing a child aren't as bad as a religious upbringing" - and it's pathetic. Dawkins was wrong on this one. He should be ashamed of himself and come clean. Instead he's tried to weasel his way into an excuse.

As ozero91 said - you say I'm engaging in quote mining, hearsay, and lying? Put up or shut up, Tony. I'm here in the thread. I've quoted Dawkins, I've supplied the sources of my quotes, I've drawn my conclusions based on the quotes.

If you can't manage that, I'm going to call you out for lying by implying I engaged in any of the acts on your little list.

Crude said...

The priest who urged a 14-year-old altar boy to give him oral sex, "blessing it as a way to receive Holy Communion " wasn't only abusing the trust normally enjoyed by any teacher, youth leader or scoutmaster. He was cashing in on the years of religious brainwashing that the child had endured as a cradle Catholic.

Oh, what complete bullshit. So a trusted authority figure absolutely manipulates his position and mangles a teaching, and suddenly it's the teaching's fault? Ergo, when a physician molests a patient and tells him "This is normal, trust me, I'm a doctor", this is owing to, what? Brainwashing the patient about the effectiveness of western medicine, a la Bill Maher?

What he was 'cashing in on' was his authority figure status and the confidence placed in him.

Crude said...

If your point is that atheists == New Atheists, wonderful -

Rather, atheists != New Atheists. Got my notation mixed up. ;)

Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "Tony, buddy - your gyrations won't work. I didn't just quote single sentences from Dawkins: we have multiple quotes, from multiple sources, and those sources have been named and given here in their entirety."

I missed it. Seriously. Please reference where above Dawkins quotes about child molestation and religion have been fairly represented by you above. Just type in the few words that I can find quickly with the find on my browser so I can see what you're referring to.

Crude said...

Please reference where above Dawkins quotes about child molestation and religion have been fairly represented by you above. Just type in the few words that I can find quickly with the find on my browser so I can see what you're referring to.

Try my very first comment, where I supplied not only the quote, but a link to the full source then and there.

Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "Try my very first comment, where I supplied not only the quote, but a link to the full source then and there."

I looked at that site when you first commented here. I couldn't determine if it was commentary, paraphrasing, a transcription, or what.

When and where did Dawkins write/say that, and why isn't there a clear reference?

rank sophist said...

Tony,

http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

Crude said...

Tony,

The site I linked to gives the full article the quote appears in, as well as the source. It even has links to Hallq's blog and the Jewish Atheist giving their reactions to it.

I mean, I'm not sure what you're asking for. When and where?

"In what can only be considered an incredibly unfortunate statement during a recent conversation (actually October 2002 RC) with Emily Hourican of The Dubliner, Richard Dawkins advances the claim that religion is worse than sexual abuse (bolding mine):"

Therein you have the article reproduced, with a comment by Rory Connor. So I'm not sure what else you could possibly want.

Again, for anyone who wants to see this article: here you go.

Tony Hoffman said...

The site you linked to is a mess. It is an e-mail from "Rory Connor." Is this an e-mail describing a what?... a conversation, commentary, I'm not sure. The link for the source for the article ( I think, it's truly impossible to know what's going on there), www.neuralgourmet.com, does not work. And regarding Jewish Atheist and Incredible Hallq, I don't care what the reaction to comments are -- that's irrelevant, and exactly what I'm saying is part of the problem.

Wow. If you think that suffices as an accurate depiction of Dawkin's position you are even less interested in the facts than I imagined.

ozero91 said...

Tony, I believe that it is a copy of an article called "The God Shaped Hole," from a 2002 edition of a magazine called the Dubliner.

ozero91 said...

Let me clarify, in that link, the first part is indeed an email, but what follows after is the actual article in question. It is then followed by another comment. What we are concerned with is the actual article in the middle.

Tony Hoffman said...

Still confused here. Is this an article that Dawkins wrote? Exactly where does Dawkins' authorship begin and end? Why is it unclear what Dawkins wrote?

Does it trouble no one here who disagrees with me that these are not issues that typically do not need to be addressed when trying to establish someone's position on a topic?

Tony Hoffman said...

Last sentence I just wrote has a mistaken double negative. Should have asked, "Does it trouble no one here who disagrees with me that these are NOT issues that typically need to be addressed when trying to establish someone's position on a topic?"

Crude said...

Tony,

Still confused here. Is this an article that Dawkins wrote? Exactly where does Dawkins' authorship begin and end? Why is it unclear what Dawkins wrote?

It's... not that hard to figure out, Tony. Seriously. It's not "unclear what Dawkins wrote". Yes, this is an article Dawkins wrote - I already gave you the year and the source, which is provided there. Where Dawkins' authorship begins and ends is clear. Please don't pretend that because you're saying you're confused, that everyone is confused.

But, alright. I get you. You need to know exactly what Dawkins' article is, even though that page makes it pretty obvious if you just read. And I am a gracious guy, happy to help you out.

Crude said...

The God Shaped Hole - The Dubliner October 2002

Richard Dawkins assesses the legacy of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and enters a plea for a religion-free society.

I am delighted that one of the leading Roman Catholic seminaries for the training of young priests in Ireland is closing down because it can't get any recruits. When I read that in the newspaper, it left me smiling for the rest of the day. However, if the Catholic Church does die in Ireland - and I devoutly hope it will - I hope that it will not be replaced by some other idiotic superstition like New Age-ism or some other kind of religion.

The Roman Catholic Church is one of the forces for evil in the world, mainly because of the powerful influence it has over the minds of children. The Catholic Church has developed, over the centuries, brilliant techniques in brain washing children; even intelligent people who have had a proper, full cradle-Catholic upbringing find it hard to shake it off when they reach adulthood. Obviously many of them do - and congratulations to them for it - but even some really quite intelligent people fail to shake it off, powerful evidence of the skill in brainwashing that the Catholic Church exercises. It's far more skilled than, for instance, the Anglican Church, mere amateurs in the game.

The Catholic Church also has an extraordinarily retrogressive stance on everything to do with reproduction. Any sort of new technology which makes life easier for women without causing any suffering is likely to be opposed by the Catholic Church. Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place.

I had a letter from a woman in America in her forties, who said that when she was a child of about seven, brought up a Catholic, two things happened to her: one was that she was sexually abused by her parish priest. The second thing was that a great friend of hers at school died, and she had nightmares because she thought her friend was going to hell because she wasn't Catholic. For her there was no question that the greatest child abuse of those two was the abuse of being taught about hell. Being fondled by the priest was negligible in comparison. And I think that's a fairly common experience.

(MORE)

Crude said...

I can't speak about the really grave sexual abuse that obviously happens sometimes, which actually causes violent physical pain to the altar boy or whoever it is, but I suspect that most of the sexual abuse priests are accused of is comparatively mild - a little bit of fondling perhaps, and a young child might scarcely notice that. The damage, if there is damage, is going to be mental damage anyway, not physical damage. Being taught about hell - being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that - is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse.

The word atheism sounds negative; let me call it rationalism. It is a rational view of the world where you stand up proudly, in your humanity, you look life straight in the face, you look the universe straight in the face, you do your level best to understand it, to understand why you exist, what the universe is about, you recognise that when you die that's it, and therefore life is very, very precious and you devote your life to making the world a better place, to leading a good life so when you die you can say to yourself I have led a good life. Now, that seems to me to be a worthwhile goal to put in place of the medieval superstition which is religion. Belief in God doesn't have to be a bad thing, but I think it's a very demeaning thing to the human mind to believe in a falsehood, especially as the truth about the universe is so immensely exciting.

At the beginning of the 21st century, we humans have a real opportunity to learn about and understand the universe, the world, humanity, life, in a way that none of our predecessors have ever come close to. That is a huge privilege, and belief in God simply gets in the way of that. Religion is an irrelevance, it's a distraction, it's a rather boring, parochial falsehood that stands in the way of the glories of true understanding.

(END)

BenYachov said...

Fr. Groeschel, who is ten times the man Dawkins is, said something beyond f-ing stupid. He has unequivocally apologized for it (thought the NY POST left that part out).

But make no mistake it was a terrible, foul & stupid thing to say.

see here:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/08/prayers-for-fr-benedict-groeschel.html

What to do?

Explain it away(i.e. Well sometimes kids without father figures do try to seduce older men blah blah....or some such bullshit dumb excuse)?

Make excuses(i.e. well he was hit head on by a Car & was in a Coma for a month and he is old and getting seniel)?

Make some bullshit appeal to a phantom "context" & that this as of yet undiscovered "context" will somehow vindicate the terrible and stupid thing that he said?

Or should I just own it?

The only rational thing to do is own it. He said something really f-ing stupid and it was wrong to say it. I can take solice in that he apologized for it but it was still wrong too do and he should not have ever said it.

Now with this in mind I have a question for Dawkins deathless defenders and you know who your are?

What the Fuck is your malfunction?

Crude said...

Ben,

I think the problem here is that what Dawkins said is incredibly stupid and offensive, but some people - people who view him as very important - are reluctant to admit that. So they read his followups and go 'Oh, wait, he walked it back a bit. We can just argue he was taken out of context!'

The problem is that Dawkins' "walking it back" amounts to 'Mild child molestation isn't all that harmful or bad. I mean, it's not like you taught the child about hell, or gave them a religious upbringing!'

Which is still horrible and idiotic. (All that shit about relying on science to determine harm or right/wrong goes out the window in this case.) I mean, notice that so far no defense is really being made of Dawkins after this is pointed out. Instead, websites become incredibly difficult to read. I half expect to be told next that the font of blogger comments is way too small, and people are having trouble reading what Dawkins said despite my providing it right here.

Crude said...

By the way, let's be clear. That site even shows two atheists who read the article and decided, yeah, that's pretty stupid and wretched of Dawkins to say, and adjusted their views accordingly. So it's not every atheist who's willing to go that far in defense of him.

BenYachov said...

>So it's not every atheist who's willing to go that far in defense of him.

They own it. Good on them! God gives grace to all men even to Atheists.

Praise the Lord!

If Dawkins just admitted what he said was asinine he would raise his own stock a few notices.

Sadly that is not going to happen with him nor are his deathless followers going to care.

Fr. Grotechel apologized unequivocally for saying something very very very stupid.

Fr. Marcel OTOH did ten thousand times worst and did not apologize at all(in fact I heard a chilling account that at the end Marcel refused Last Rites). His deathless followers and there are still a handful look even more pathetic.

I pray they get the Grace God gave the Atheists you cited there Crude.


ozero91 said...

According to Wikipedia, The Dubliner went out of print this year actually, which explains why their website no longer exists. Thats what makes it difficult to confirm the original source. Still, I think people who are convinced that Dawkins did not say that are grasping at straws. Sheesh, its not like the Bible is being debated here, this is 10,000x easier.

Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "It's... not that hard to figure out, Tony. Seriously. It's not "unclear what Dawkins wrote". Yes, this is an article Dawkins wrote - I already gave you the year and the source, which is provided there.

It's still not at all clear to me.

How do you know that the words you quoted were part of an article by Dawkins?

I ask for several reasons:

- The link (neuralgormet? Seriously?) on the site you cited (presumably to the article) does not work.
- A google search for "The God Shaped Hole - The Dubliner October 2002" reveals no links to any articles that I could find. This is very unusual in my experience.
- The voice of the "article" does not read like Dawkins at all. (This is something you wouldn't understand, I suppose, because nobody here seems to be able to surprise me and indicate that they've actually read any of Dawkins books on Biology, etc.)
- When I googled the first sentence of what you say is an article, I do not find the article.
- When I googled the first word of another article written by Dawkins ("Don't feel embarrassed if you've never heard of William Lane Craig."), the article in the Guardian popped up, top of the list. (The second one on the list includes a link to the same article, etc.)

So, I still have to ask, How do you know that the section you have said is an article written by Richard Dawkins, because it appears like a very questionable conclusion to make.

Crude: "Where Dawkins' authorship begins and ends is clear. Please don't pretend that because you're saying you're confused, that everyone is confused."

This is just one small part of your whole approach, btw, but until you resolve this first problem I see no reason to move on -- you appear to be supporting the reasons I gave above for why I do not take seriously these hysterical fixations on someone like Dawkins.

rank sophist said...

Hey, look. Tony ignored my article.

Quit playing dumb.

rank sophist said...

http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

Crude said...

Here's yet another reproduction of the article.

Oops, wait, found another. Complete with a link to the (now defunct) source.

As ozero91 has already stated, The Dubliner closed down in 2012, which is why the original article is offline.

You can find The Jewish Atheist not only talking about this very article on his site and giving a link to the (now defunct) source, but he also reproduces the relevant quote from it.

You can find Hallquist corroborating the article at the time as well.

You can find various discussions of the article archived, complete with links to the now-defunct site.

But you know what, Tony? Stick with your story. I provided a quote, I provided the full article, I provided the context - contra every accusation you implied about me.

You, however, are reduced to implying that this article was somehow pulled from thin air and that Dawkins never wrote this article. This hot on the heels of claiming to not even being able to tell which part of my original link was an article by Dawkins.

See, you just gave me a gift here. Proving that Dawkins thinks that 'mild child molestation' (you know, because it's right to call such things mild) isn't as harmful as teaching a child Christian teachings - there's multiple articles in this thread, including the Playboy one provided by a Dawkins defender. Rank provided yet another source. And I certainly sourced everything I said. My claims are in the clear.

You, however, are opening yourself up to some grand intellectual dishonesty charges. Granted, when I eventually point to your behavior in this thread when I make the claim "Tony Hoffman isn't intellectual honest - he's a serial bullshitter, especially when faced with evidence he finds inconvenient", you can start saying "Prove that those comments were written by me! That doesn't sound like me at all!"

It's going to work as well then as it's working now. ;)

Tony Hoffman said...

RS, I honestly missed your comment the first time. Just didn't see it.

Of course, it links to another article, one that does not match the one that Crude et al. (and you?) are declaring that Dawkins wrote.

To be clear, the article that you guys are now linking to IS NOT THE SAME ARTICLE THAT CRUDE HAS ASSERTED THAT DAWKINS WROTE. They are different pieces of work. I can say this because I can type in words and phrases and sentences in Crude's article, and not find them in the one that guys say is the same.

So, it looks like you are trying to say that Dawkins wrote article 1 (it does not seem to me he did, although I've never said it's impossible) by showing us now that a different article (that looks to me like a Dawkins article) was written by Dawkins. This is breathtakingly shoddy work. I'd be more alarmed if it didn't follow the patterns I outlined above.

My point remains that you guys appear so desperate to impugn Dawkins that you can't even be bothered to get basic facts right. And the closer you get to the basic facts, the less outrageous Dawkins position seems to be.

Crude said...

Tony,

RS is not saying that Dawkins' article is the same article as the one I'm referencing. It is, however, yet another article where Dawkins says exactly what we claim him to say: he says that "mild sexual abuse" (you know, fingering, masturbating a kid, maybe a little oral from a trusted relative) is worse than a religious upbringing (you know, teaching about hell and communion).

My point remains that you guys appear so desperate to impugn Dawkins that you can't even be bothered to get basic facts right.

Oh really? So we've quoted him out of context? We've lied? Funny - you seem to be the only one here who has... let's be gentle and call it severe reading trouble. You couldn't even tell that Dawkins had an article, quoted in full, in the link I gave. I quoted it for you, and then you squirmed and said it doesn't seem like Dawkins' writing. I've provided you link after link of other full quotes of Dawkins' article, complete with an explanation of why the original site is unavailable (The magazine is gone), and all kinds of references.

Meanwhile, you're accusing us of "Quote mining, lying, hearsay, and shoddy work" - all on the grounds that you're apparently so technologically inept you can't even google up a picture of a porn star if you tried. Oh, and also the great excuse, "Well, okay. Crude's given multiple links to the full reproduction of the article, complete with links to the Dubliner's now defunct site, as well as atheists quoting the article itself, naming the source (Dawkins, The Dubliner) - but it 'doesn't seem like Dawkins' to you, so you dismiss it."

It's obvious to anyone reading this that you are flailing, badly. And again, the number this does on your intellectual honesty is... well, you know what? You actually have an out here. Here it is:

"I, Tony Hoffman, am actually pretty inept. I can't make sense of simple links or conversations, and I don't know how to work google at all. Despite all this, I'm also quite full of myself, and have little trouble accusing others of quote mines and lying, even when all the evidence is against me."

There it is. That's what saves you. ;)

rank sophist said...

And the closer you get to the basic facts, the less outrageous Dawkins position seems to be.

Glad to hear that you endorse pedophiles, Tony. Makes things a lot clearer. From that article:

"Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place."

"First, just because some pedophile assaults are violent and painful, it doesn't mean that all are. A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like 'predatory monster' are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups. Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse."

"Nobody thinks the physical injuries of sexual abuse could possibly last decades, so the damages now being claimed have to be the mental consequences of the original physical abuse. A typical claimant, now 54, said that his "life was marred by inexplicable confusions, anger, depression and lost faith." (Parenthetically, one can't help marvelling at the idea of a life being marred by lost faith. Perhaps it would get the sympathy of a jury.) But the point is this. If you can sue for the long-term mental damage caused by physical child abuse, why should you not sue for the long-term mental damage caused by mental child abuse?"

"The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse. Most physical abuse is milder, and so is most of the mental abuse inherent in a typical religious education."

He is saying that the psychological damage of teaching hell is just as bad as that of being raped by a priest. Now shut up.

Crude said...

Let's examine this one in more detail:

A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like 'predatory monster' are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups.

So, according to Dawkins, so long as a man is relatively gentle when he fingers or manipulates some oral sex off the 8 year old boy (or really, the series of 8 year old boys), he's not a predatory monster. No, people who think that have adult hang-ups. This is mild stuff. Not too serious at all. Now violent rape, that's something else, but c'mon - some sex abuse is mild. Not a big deal.

Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse.

Easily. Dawkins knows this because of the scientific study that... oh wait. He's pulling it all out of his ass. Teaching a child about hell < getting 'mildly' sexually molested by an uncle or authority figure when you're 8, according to Dawkins.

Oh, of course, he doesn't think it should be illegal. There's his funny mental calculus: teaching a child about hell is more abusive and harmful than sexually molesting them. But hey, doing damage to a child equivalent to or greater than mild sexual abuse should be legal.

Have fun cashing that out.

rank sophist said...

Crude,

Dawkins is saying even more than that.

"Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse."

"Nobody thinks the physical injuries of sexual abuse could possibly last decades, so the damages now being claimed have to be the mental consequences of the original physical abuse."

"The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse."

Quite simply, he is saying that the most horrible abuse--not just the "gentle" stuff--is comparable to teaching hell.

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, you can try to parse these statements by Dawkins all you want, but it comes out not only shockingly crazy, but contrary to clear evidence that shows that religious involvement by young people usually improves their likelihood of their becoming healthy, successful adults.

The two questions I would ask Dawkins is a) are you making a testable claim? and b) how would you test it?

Victor Reppert said...

The way I read him, a "fire-and-brimstone" upbringing is equivalent to violently raping a child, while teaching a child, I guess, that God exists, is equivalent to gentle fondling.

NAMBLA should be thrilled.

rank sophist said...

I agree with that interpretation. It seems to be exactly what he's saying--and it's terrifying.

Cale B.T. said...

RD - "a little bit of fondling perhaps, and a young child might scarcely notice that. The damage, if there is damage, is going to be mental damage anyway, not physical damage. Being taught about hell - being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that - is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse. "

Current research indicates links between what Dawkins calls "comparatively mild sexual abuse" and (this is by no means an exhaustive list) arthritis, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and compromised immune function in general. Is there comparable data for being taught to believe in hell as a child, or does Dawkins get his medical knowledge from the same cereal packet he gets his theology from?

For a brief survey, read:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746033/?tool=pubmed

Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "[Dawkins] says that "mild sexual abuse" (you know, fingering, masturbating a kid, maybe a little oral from a trusted relative) is worse than a religious upbringing (you know, teaching about hell and communion)."

I think that your flight into what constitutes mild sexual abuse says more about your own state of mind than anything else. I think it's incredibly unpersuasive that every time someone like you tries to tell me how it is that Dawkins is a proponent of what you say above, you can only marshall something like three of Dawkin's actual words and have to come up with the rest yourself. You are arguing against my observation that Dawkin's detractors hurt their case by acting shrilly by, ironically, acting shrilly.

Crude: "You couldn't even tell that Dawkins had an article, quoted in full, in the link I gave. I quoted it for you, and then you squirmed and said it doesn't seem like Dawkins' writing. I've provided you link after link of other full quotes of Dawkins' article, complete with an explanation of why the original site is unavailable (The magazine is gone), and all kinds of references."

Actually, it doesn't seem like Dawkins' writing because it is not. I'll leave it to you to go try and read more carefully as to why it is not.

Crude: "I quoted it in full for you..."

No, you didn't quote the article in full for me. Not only does it not read like a full article (what, no introduction of Dawkins, no background for the reader, etc.), but the very conventional punctuation of the site you linked to makes it clear that this is not the full article. Of course, as you admit, we don't have access anymore to the original article, which makes your choice of this as your leading evidence a tad suspect.

Anyway, I've been away, and I'm incredibly busy, but from what I've glanced at here (and I truly haven't had the time to read everything that's written here since my last post) I don't really know how much more time and energy I care to put into responding to more of the same.

Cheers.

Crude said...

Tony,

I think that your flight into what constitutes mild sexual abuse says more about your own state of mind than anything else.

Considering Dawkins expressly cited 'fondling' as an example of 'mild sexual abuse', it's pretty easy to see what his general standards are.

Actually, it doesn't seem like Dawkins' writing because it is not.

Sure, Tony. I rounded up the full article on site after site - I could do more if desired. These sites had links to the now defunct site, and there was an explanation that The Dubliner went out of business.

No one buys your BS here, and you know it. Like I said, you just handed me a gift: a clear and obvious example of you either being a complete moron, or intellectually dishonest to the extreme.

Thanks, Tony my boy. ;)

No, you didn't quote the article in full for me.

Complete lie: See my August 31, 2012 10:02 AM post, and its followup.

Of course, as you admit, we don't have access anymore to the original article

Stupidity on your part. We have full access to the original article. The original site it was on? No more.

Anyway, I've been away, and I'm incredibly busy,

BWAAAAWK BOCK BOCK BOCK BOCK BWAAAAAK.

Learn a lesson from this, Tony. You're a lousy liar, and a bad apologist for atheism. Leave it to your betters, of which there are many. ;)

Crude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "Considering Dawkins expressly cited 'fondling' as an example of 'mild sexual abuse', it's pretty easy to see what his general standards are."

And yet you're the one who equates fondling with "maybe a little oral from a trusted relative," not Dawkins. Like I said, your words, not his.

Me: "Actually, it doesn't seem like Dawkins' writing because it is not."
Crude: "Sure, Tony. I rounded up the full article on site after site - I could do more if desired."

No. It says it's Emily Hourican's writing -- it's an interview, as it says, "In conversation with Emily Hourican, Editor, the Dubliner." You should go back and read it again.

That would, btw, explain why it doesn't read like Dawkins -- it's an interview, written by Hourican. So you're claim that it is Dawkin's WRITING is demonstrably FALSE. It is (apparently, it's truly hard to tell what's going on with this thing) part of an INTERVIEW with Hourican, and as you should know we view writer's interpretations of interviewees differently that we do recorded testimony, and recorded testimony differently that written expressions. If this is an article based on a real interview of Dawkins, it's certainly worth considering, but by framing it as you have you've demonstrated, per my argument yet again, that you are incapable of presenting evidence in a way that isn't a kind of obvious tampering. And this is always a red flag to me, as it is to so many others. (It's why cases get kicked out of court, for example -- justice can't be served when a prosecutor has shown that they can't act honestly, or competently.)

Crude: "No one buys your BS here, and you know it. Like I said, you just handed me a gift: a clear and obvious example of you either being a complete moron, or intellectually dishonest to the extreme. Thanks, Tony my boy. ;)"

I find this ironic.

Me: "Of course, as you admit, we don't have access anymore to the original article."
Crude: "Stupidity on your part. We have full access to the original article. The original site it was on? No more."

The original site is gone, and your first two references are to apologetic sites, and the third is an anonymous posting on a youtube comment board. And that's how you proclaim this to be, with full confidence, the original article?

Crude: "Learn a lesson from this, Tony. You're a lousy liar, and a bad apologist for atheism. Leave it to your betters, of which there are many. ;)"

Yes, well, this thread reveals your character, so if I have time I'll move upthread and see if I need to respond to RS or Victor. But I think you've proven my original point nicely, thank you very much.

Cheers.

ozero91 said...

"Richard Dawkins assesses the legacy of the Catholic
Church in Ireland, and enters a plea for a religion-free society."

"Richard Dawkins..."

That's the opener for the article.

Yes, the article was based off an interview. But notice that Dawkins does not dispute or deny the claim in his further writings, he merely "clarifies" it. If it really was a gross misinterpretation of his view then I think it is reasonable to believe that he would indeed have disputed it and called out Emily Hourican.

Cale B.T. said...

Tony Hoffman wrote:

"The original site is gone, and your first two references are to apologetic sites, and the third is an anonymous posting on a youtube comment board."

The original site isn't quite gone:

http://web.archive.org/web/20021009101342/http://www.thedubliner.ie/cover_story_october_2002.php

rank sophist said...

The original site isn't quite gone:

http://web.archive.org/web/20021009101342/http://www.thedubliner.ie/cover_story_october_2002.php


And that's all she wrote.

Crude said...

I'll have more of a response tomorrow. Oh, and it'll be fun to write. ;)

First, thank you very much, Cale, for that ref. I was wondering if there was a way to pull the cache - much appreciated.

Second, I'll just mention that Tony considers this to be an "apologetics" site. But you can trust him, because his reading comprehension is real good, and darnit, he knows that Dawkins didn't say that. Also, apparently Tony thinks "interview" means "one person talks, and the journalist totally makes stuff up and ad-libs".

This is grand. :D

Tony Hoffman said...

Dawkins (via RS): ""The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse. Most physical abuse is milder, and so is most of the mental abuse inherent in a typical religious education."
RS: "He is saying that the psychological damage of teaching hell is just as bad as that of being raped by a priest. Now shut up."

I agree that most of your Hell teaching is of a pretty mild kind, and I think I agree it's a little outrageous to suggest that all Hell teaching is of a level in the same way that all violent sodomy is of a level of extreme physical abuse. I would suggest that Dawkins over-reached here to try and make a point, but I agree that his language demands explanation. So on that point, I happily concede that Dawkins was wrong. (I believe he has since clarified this language, so if that is true I imagine that you don't believe his clarification is sincere?)

Dawkins (via RS): "Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse."

Sure, that's possible. I don't see why this would be obejctionable. It's a matter of degree of both -- and I think that Dawkins referenced a kind of sexual abuse that might not be noticed as such by the child. In that case, and if the mental abuse was great, I think this is a point worthy of consideration.

Dawkins (via RS): "Nobody thinks the physical injuries of sexual abuse could possibly last decades, so the damages now being claimed have to be the mental consequences of the original physical abuse."

I could read Dawkins at least two ways here: one says that the psychological damage that results from physical abuse can last decades (this seems fairly unobjectionable), and another way is to read that he is trying to build a case that psychological damage, because it lasts longer, is of greater significance than a physical abuse that heals quickly. If this were meant to trivialize physical abuse, then I agree that it would be objectionable (but I don't think that this is what Dawkins means -- and if he does, then I disagree with him).

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "Yes, you can try to parse these statements by Dawkins all you want, but it comes out not only shockingly crazy..."

Well, he might be wrong, but I don't think it's crazy to wonder about the psychological damage that might be done to children. I agree with you that he's almost certainly wrong that religious teaching about Hell almost ever rises to abuse in the way that sexual abuse usually does, but I'd hardly call it crazy to wonder aloud if some religious teaching do create psychological damage in some children. And that's how I read his comments on this topic.

"...but contrary to clear evidence that shows that religious involvement by young people usually improves their likelihood of their becoming healthy, successful adults."

I don't know about this evidence. I am curious if you have a reference.

I think it's odd that so many theists try to demonize Dawkins statements (and I think that he's obviously intellectually honest, although as I will probably have to keep on saying, I think he's wrong on this topic) rather than take a tack like yours above. I'd also wonder aloud what kind of psychological harm is ever done to children who are not raised with the consolations of a religious upbringing that promises eternal life, reunion with loved ones, etc.

Personally, I doubt that children are very much damaged psychologically from the typcial cases of either upbringing (theistic ad atheistic). But I don't consider Dawkins broaching the topic absurd or crazy, in the same way that I don't consider most questions absurd or crazy.

Tony Hoffman said...

Cale B. T.: "The original site isn't quite gone: [with hyperlink to web archived site]"

Thanks for that.

Crude said...

And that's how I read his comments on this topic.

So, you read his comments by... completely watering them down, and changing them.

I'd say you're pretty freaking bad at reading his comments - but do I even have to at this point? You fought tooth and nail, insisting that that article didn't read like Dawkins, that despite it being quoted all over the place and still being in memory that Dawkins couldn't have written that, only to turn out wrong. As everyone else freaking knew. Thankfully it turns out that yes, once something is on the internet, it's pretty damn hard to lose.

and I think that he's obviously intellectually honest, although as I will probably have to keep on saying, I think he's wrong on this topic

You're going to have to keep on saying it because you rolled in here talking about how when Dawkins is criticized about this, you always find lies, quote-mining and deception - you spent days trying to argue that Dawkins didn't write the article, inventing all kinds of explanations for why he didn't, complete with describing an atheist site as an 'apologetics site', feigning an inability to even notice what part was the article... and now, backed to the wall, you're whimpering out a kinda-sorta "okay Dawkins was... I guess wrong. Maybe. I read him a different way."

Not to mention, Dawkins 'intellectual honesty' is a blast. The guy who can't even back out of a debate honestly.

Like I said, Tony - this was a nice little experiment in your intellectual honesty. I think I'll bookmark this thread as a handy reference whenever you act as if your opinion, especially when it comes to 'interpreting what someone wrote', comes up.

Tony Hoffman said...

Crude: "Like I said, Tony - this was a nice little experiment in your intellectual honesty. I think I'll bookmark this thread as a handy reference whenever you act as if your opinion, especially when it comes to 'interpreting what someone wrote', comes up."

Thanks. Your promoting this thread as an adequate reply to my stated position here is a real favor. I appreciate it.

Cheers.

Crude said...

Your promoting this thread as an adequate reply to my stated position here is a real favor.

There's that glorious reading comprehension of yours on display again. ;)