Speaking in Contradictions

A coworker is a huge fan of Richard Dawkins, a vocal atheist. He’s pointed me towards a few books and even a video.

Yesterday, I was recommended to watch (and did) a talk that Dawkins gave at TED. Previously I’d only watched a few snippets of Dawkins that can be found on YouTube. I felt compelled to make a few comments.

First, I saw nothing more than the snickering and behind-the-back finger pointing (as someone makes a wisecrack about what “they” — the obviously mentally-anemic opposition, or they’d be with “us” — believe) that occurs in too many Christian circles. And so, even after a full 30 uninterrupted minutes in which to convince me that he might actually bring up an intelligent point, my impression remains unchanged: Richard Dawkins is nothing more than an atheism evangelist slash bigot. Why can’t the focus be logical arguments rather than insults?

Second, it seems that not only are Dawkins arguments often logically unsound, they are also often contradictory. As a specific example, in what I’ve watched Dawkins has repeatedly criticized Christians for only believing in Christianity/Creationism because that’s what they’ve been taught. However, while talking at TED, he triumphantly referenced studies in support of two points:

  1. Evolution/atheism is heavily subscribed to among the “intelligentsia” and,
  2. An inverse relationship exists between the amount of education one has and their belief in religion.

In other words, studies show that the more time one spends among the intelligentsia, the more likely it becomes that they’ll adopt the intelligentsia’s beliefs. Precisely what he criticized so vehemently.

I plan to watch The Blind Watchmaker in hopes of something worthwhile, but so far, I’ve been completely underwhelmed.

1 Comment so far

  1. n1zyy on September 26th, 2007

    There are a few big things that annoy me about religion:

    (1) People who use their religion to attack/condemn others — e.g., radical Muslims declaring Jihad, or conservative Christians attacking homosexuals.

    (2) People who try aggressively to push their religion on others. It’s fine, in my opinion, to be open about your religion, but it’ll really irk me if you come up to me while I’m shopping and try talking me into signing up at your church.

    (2)(a) – People who spend forever trying to prove/disprove religion.

    I think these are things that are generally ‘hated’ about religious people, too. (I have issues with the way that’s worded, but I can’t think of a better way to rephrase it.)

    The thing is that many atheists fit all of those criteria? (Just as I wouldn’t ever say, “That’s the problem with all Jews” or, “That’s why I hate all Muslims,” I should clarify that I’m good friends with quite a few atheists who don’t fit any of the above.)

    I think the problem is that some (far from most) conservatives did a lot of #1 and maybe some #2 (especially given the current government?). That really angered, among others, surely, the atheists, who are now retaliating against it in kind.

    The problem with religion is that it’s not logical or rational. I can show, with graphs and charts and figures and lots of case studies, all sorts of things, like how funding homeless shelters and soup kitchens can save taxpayers money in the long run, or how pulling out of Iraq might be good. But I can’t prove or disprove God. And sometimes people from both sides try, and inevitably look foolish. This video, for example, attempts to prove creationism with a banana. (I still have a hard time believing that this isn’t a parody, but I’ve been told it’s not.) (This video is a hilarious rebuttal, although be warned that there are some vague innuendos and foul language.) Those trying to disprove God look just as ridiculous.

    Imagine if the atheists went about not believing in God, Christians went about believing in God, Muslims went about believing in Allah, and so on.

    As an aside, I’m not sure why you’re listening to your coworker’s recommendations to read lots of atheist materials?

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