Sunday, April 09, 2017

Political Correctness and Balance

Is political correctness slanted, though, toward certain groups? I hear things being said about religious believers which, if you said them about gay people, you would be branded a homophobe and a bigot. For example, Richard Dawkins calls religious people faith-heads, and gets away with it. Isn't that just a version of the n-word? 
Is there a reason his slur is acceptable, but a racial one is not? 


David Duffy said...

Political correctness is slanted toward people who lash out with the most emotion. I have been warned by the corporation I work for not to bring up politics and religion. At my age, I've decided the two topics are too interesting to avoid.

In my experience, asking people honest questions about their religion has gone well. Asking questions about politics is a crap shoot, some people are reasonable and some people lose it. Talking to people about race/ethnicity almost always ends badly.

Lashing out with emotion and condemnation--"You're a racist, bigot, sexist, speciesist, w,x,y,z,-phobe," will usually cause people to stop giving talking about their opinion.

John B. Moore said...

Two big differences between racism and anti-religiosity:

a) People can't change their race, but they can change their religion. It's absurd to tell someone they shouldn't be black, but it makes sense to say they shouldn't be Christian.

b) People don't harm others due to being a particular race, but people do harm others due to their religion. Thus, anti-religious statements are like saying "stop the violence," whereas racist statements are just absurd and meaningless.

Jim S. said...

a) So you could change your religious beliefs? You could choose to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is God incarnate? What are the limits here? Can you choose to believe you had eggs for breakfast when you remember having cereal?

b) This sounds like you're saying that racism has never played a role in harming others. I'm sure you mean something else.

I just realized I won't be online to continue the discussion. My apologies for throwing a bomb in the room and then walking away.

John B. Moore said...

a) Yes, people can certainly change their religious beliefs. Me too. It's not that people just flippantly choose to believe something, though. It's that people can learn things that change their assessment of what's probable.

b) Racism harms people, but race itself does not.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

The conservative evangelicals have ceased to be a force for cultural transformation and have transformed the gospel into a reflection of cultural value from the American south.The seeds of this formation were sown way back in the 70s.

From Gospel to Culture war

Kevin said...


a) There are certain cultural issues in which I think the progressive position is literally insane, yet I'm called a bigot for disagreeing, and in some cases could potentially lose my job for disagreeing. Is that fair, despite the fact that no amount of justification on their part has been able to change my mind that what they advocate flies in the face of reality? There is no amount of indoctrination that would sway me to those positions, based upon overwhelming evidence to the contrary, so one could say that there are certain political or religious beliefs that are not something I choose or can help but accept as true. Thus, is it fair to attack me for believing what looks to be obvious and seems to have no counter-argument?

b) Religion does not harm anyone. Desire to impose one's beliefs on others does harm others, which is why ideologically-based violence transcends theism and atheism. If there was one value that should be pushed onto students from kindergarten through college in the West, it should be "Simply because someone disagrees with you does not make them a menace.
The desire to force their beliefs or values onto others is what makes one a menace." We now have leftists in college DEMANDING segregation so they can have their "safe spaces" from whites, straight people, men, conservatives, whatever the case may be, and that is abhorrent and pathetic. Inability to accept differing beliefs, opinions, or even demographic features is the danger, not religion.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

why do you think there's one specific position that is "the progressive position?"

Jimmy S. M. said...

Do you really take "faith-head" to be as insulting as "nigger"? It sounds more like calling someone a "silly-billy" to me..

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I have never heard that one,I always thought Xian was insulting. I think there's a huge difference in the black experience and the experience of christian apologists on the net. I agree there is a new atheistic hate group. I was the first to call it that in my blog Atheist watch. that still does not make the two experiences analogous. I did not grow up being discriminated against for my faith but was always part of the majority except when I was an atheist.

Starhopper said...

Here's an intriguing quote from a 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here:

"[James] called himself an agnostic instead of an atheist only because he detested the street-bawling tract-peddling evangelicism of the professional atheists."

Looks like there's not so much "new" about the New Atheists. They were obnoxious bores 80 years ago, and they remain so today.

Victor Reppert said...

Silly-billy? No, I don't think so. Dawkins, for one, is very clear about what he is trying to do:

I have from time to time expressed sympathy for the accommodationist tendency so ably criticized here by Jerry Coyne. I have occasionally worried that – just maybe – Eugenie Scott [of the NCSE] and the appeasers might have a point, a purely political point but one, nevertheless, that we should carefully consider. I have lately found myself moving away from that sympathy.

I suspect that most of our regular readers here would agree that ridicule, of a humorous nature, is likely to be more effective than the sort of snuggling-up and head-patting that Jerry is attacking. I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt.

Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Eugenie Scott and others are probably right that contemptuous ridicule is not an expedient way to change the minds of those who are deeply religious. But I think we should probably abandon the irremediably religious precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.

You might say that two can play at that game. Suppose the religious start treating us with naked contempt, how would we like it? I think the answer is that there is a real asymmetry here. We have so much more to be contemptuous about! And we are so much better at it. We have scathingly witty spokesmen of the calibre of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Who have the faith-heads got, by comparison? Ann Coulter is about as good as it gets. We can’t lose!

Richard Carrier put it this way, which John Loftus endorsed.

By and large the minds of the ridiculous can't be changed. It's their flock we're talking to. But even the ridiculous change under ridicule some respond by getting more ridiculous (and those are the ones who could never be swayed even by the politest methods), but others accumulate shame until they see the error of their ways (I've met many ex-evangelicals who have told me exactly that). Thus, ridicule converts the convertible and marginalizes the untouchable. There is no more effective strategy in a culture war.

Message: Even though you we are ostensibly in a conversation with you, we are actually talking through you to some low information "fence-sitters" who, in fear of the social penalty they might pay if the went to your side of the fence, will head meekly over to ours. You think you are my discussion partner, and equal in the conversation, but you're not. You don't count, it's the stupid people who might consider following you.

It's interesting that Tom Clark, of, maintains that this whole attitude presupposes that religious people have made bad choices, which in turn presupposes a kind of contra-causal freedom neither he nor Dawkins think we possess. (Remember Basil's car?) Why be so mad at Christians for not following what you take to be the evidence? Does the evidence, as you see it, suggest that they can help doing so?

That is why, for quite awhile now, I have broken the bad habit of posting in Debunking Christianity. In the final analysis, someone who takes this line isn't really talking to you, so what is the point of talking to them.

What if someone behaved this way toward gay people?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Carrier and Loftus are "special" cases.

Chris said...

" People can't change their race..."

Not according to leftist ideology- the individual "constructs" identity.

Starhopper said...

Chris is only half correct. According to proponents of "gender ideology" a person is whatever sex he or she (or it) considers himself to be. A man can simply declare that he is a woman, and Heaven help anyone who dares to disagree.

But curiously, there appears to be (so far) some reticence on their part to accept people who claim to be a different race than they are in reality. I seem to recall a huge dust-up a year or so ago about a young woman who announced one day she was now African-American, and was roundly condemned by the left for doing so.

So (at least for now) the gender ideologists appear to recognize an objective, external reality when it comes to race.

Chris said...


You are quite right. It's amusing though, the inconsistency is "racist".