Home » Darwinism, Religion, Science » WIRED MAGAZINE: “The Church of the Non-Believers” by Gary Wolf

WIRED MAGAZINE: “The Church of the Non-Believers” by Gary Wolf

Interesting article in WIRED on the unholy trinity Dawkins-Dennett-Harris. Their atheist extremism may be selling books but is it winning converts?

. . . The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it’s evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there’s no excuse for shirking.

Three writers have sounded this call to arms. They are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. A few months ago, I set out to talk with them. I wanted to find out what it would mean to enlist in the war against faith. . .

MORE: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/atheism.html

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23 Responses to WIRED MAGAZINE: “The Church of the Non-Believers” by Gary Wolf

  1. Their cover is blown and now they have to fight in the open, and they have little to fight with once they can no longer hide behind science.

  2. What a pack of clowns. I’m surprised atheists don’t find them more embarassing.

  3. Gary Wolf:

    I tell Dawkins what he already knows: He is making life harder for his friends.

    and from not too long ago Remarkable exchange between Michael Ruse and Daniel Dennett:

    Michael Ruse:

    I think that you [Dennett] and Richard [Dawkins] are absolute disasters in the fight against intelligent design

    I hope Dawkins keeps up the good work.

  4. [[OFF TOPIC]]

    An interesting piece from Scott Adams.
    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com.....t_des.html

  5. “When I ask at a party “Who here is an atheist?” Usually, the first response is silence, accompanied by glances all around in the hope that somebody else will speak first. Then, after a moment, somebody does, almost always a man, almost always with a defiant smile and a tone of enthusiasm. He says happily, “I am!”

    But it is the next comment that is telling. Somebody turns to him and says: “You would be.”

    “Why?”

    “Because you enjoy pissing people off.”

    “Well, that’s true.”"

    Won’t the world will be a great place if we all come to enjoy being like this!

  6. Ravi Zacharias has some nice answers to the problem of evil on his MP3 podcast here:

    http://www.rzim.org/includes/rss/jtPodcastRSS.php

    Paste the link in to iTunes under the Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast menu.

  7. This is an interesting, balanced article in ‘Wired’ by Gary Wolf. Thanks for posting it.
    So belief and politics do mix, are related? Apparently so, after all atheism is a positive belief based on positive evidence that God is on holiday permanently, otherwise we are talking agnosticism.
    It also appears that the consequences of Atheism according to Dawkins et al is a loss of freedom (that’s a little bit political I think):

    “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?” Dawkins asks. “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?”
    I wonder what would happen, in ‘Dawkinsonia’, if atheistic parents imposed their creed on there progeny? Would that be ok, after all its not a ‘manifest falsehood’-or is it? Those dam meme’s if only I could get them to shut up!

    He understands perfectly well that there are practical constraints on controlling the spread of bad memes. If the solution to the spread of wrong ideas and contagious superstitions is a totalitarian commissariat that would silence believers, then the cure is worse than the disease.
    Didn’t Stalin try this sometime ago? Aren’t China, North Korea, and Cuba still trying it now? Dawkins needs to get in line behind these fellas.

  8. “We discuss what it might look like, this world without God. ‘There would be a religion of reason,’ Harris says. ‘We would have realized the rational means to maximize human happiness. We may all agree that we want to have a Sabbath that we take really seriously – a lot more seriously than most religious people take it. But it would be a rational decision, and it would not be just because it’s in the Bible. We would be able to invoke the power of poetry and ritual and silent contemplation and all the variables of happiness so that we could exploit them. Call it prayer, but we would have prayer without bullsh–.’”

    This reminds me of the “New Soviet Man” that Marxist-Leninists imagined they could produce through communism. Sam Harris puts a great deal of faith in the power of reason to produce virtue and eliminate vice. What evidence is there that “reason” is sufficient?

  9. Regarding virgin birth et al:

    One should realize that an argument for the natural impossibility of an event cannot be taken into account if the event is supposed to be an “attesting sign” or miraculous indication of divine activity. By definition.

    This is the convenient confusion of the atheist, etc. A category mistake that lumps explanatory myths and attesting signs (most biblical miracles) together.

    When someone insists that “Someone being raised form the dead, I mean, its impossible.” I delight in responding, “Well, that’s quite the point, isn’t it?”

  10. From the article: “Religion is not only wrong; it’s evil. ” But good and evil don’t exist, do they? Of course, Atheists have a point, faith in God must be destructive and harmful, is it not? And since most of them are from the part of the world that has been historically Christian, they are clearly including Christianity in this broad sweep. And Atheism is casting off all the restraining chains and gulping down the fresh air, finally freed and empowered to do great feats of noble heroism, right?

    So, since they are proselytizing, I figured, what the heck, let’s check out their thesis. So I took to traveling. Oh yes, not their happy haunts in London and Paris and Oxford, etc where the wine and entertainment flow freely, along with every grand sounding idea and theory ever conceived, such as Atheism.

    No indeed, I went to where human suffering is commonplace. Africa, South America, parts of Asia. And yes, I found hospitals and orphanages and schools built by those who traveled over the seas from afar to build these focal points of assistance. And I looked at the names and who built them, anticipating with hopeful glee to find that the freed and empowered Atheists had done the heavy lifting. Oh, but I was dismayed. Mostly they were built by people of faith. Oh no, I was sorely disappointed.

    But I was not ready to give up. Yes, I said to myself, let’s check out the important social movements of the past, and their leaders. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the lady that wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, those that got child labor laws changed. Yep, figured they must be a bunch of Atheists, finally freed from the bondage of faith. But, oh no, dumbfounded again, I found these people lived on faith. What is going wrong here? Dawkins, where are you in my moment of need for clarity and a renewed vision. Where are you and your ideas when I need hope?

    How do I get my transcendant cause? Oh, I forgot, Atheism offers nothing transcendant other than that which is artificially contrived.

  11. “We discuss what it might look like, this world without God. ‘There would be a religion of reason,’ Harris says.

    It is not as though it hasn’t been tried. To do the same thing and expect different results is, um, the definition of what again?

    This reminds me of the “New Soviet Man”

    Exactly!!!

  12. Ekstasis,
    You make the essential point. Religion, in it’s best incarnations, produces results which humanity needs. Things like moral character, good citizenry, good works… The evangelical atheists hope that their worldview can compete with religion in these areas. I think their hope is in vain. To say it again, even if religion is an evolutionary adaptation, it exists for good reason as demonstrated by it’s ruggedness in the face of opposition. It just won’t die. I can understand some contributor’s antagonism and perhaps fear of the militant atheist. They don’t say kind things. But, there is nothing to fear. Even from an evolutionary perspective, the “tribe” is never going to allow such beliefs to gain the upper hand. It just doesn’t work that way. The religionist must constantly be on guard against getting into a tit for tat war against the adversary. From a Christian point of view, militant atheists are, at least, the enemy. And you know what Jesus said about the enemy…..Love

  13. “What evidence is there that “reason” is sufficient?”

    What evidence is there that Dawkins, Dennett, and Harris are even using logic and reason in the first place? Given the available evidence, it is logical to conclude an “uncaused cause” But theirs is a blind faith. Darwinian evolution is a leap of faith, a finite universe (a logical and reasonable universe) without a God is a leap of faith, and truthfully this leads me to believe that these 3 atheists are simply venting frustration that God never answered their prayers when they were young. I can understand being an agnostic, but being an evangelical atheist is an untenable position, and cannot be the outcome of logic and reason given the available evidence.

  14. bj,

    Excellent point, we don’t need to respond in kind. Overcome evil with good.

    Speaking of this, I note in the article how the Atheists abhor the violent and destructive actions of the Islamo-Fascists, as they should. And since they are sincerely interested in rooting out the evils of religion, I suspect I know just what they are going to do in their evangelical campaign.

    Yes indeed, they are going to waste no time in their quest, their first target list will include Riyadh, Mecca, Medina, Tehran, Baghdad, and finally, in the grand finale, it is to the West Bank they go. Oh, the Billy Graham crowd will be green with envy.

    And yes, can’t you see it now, Dawkins and Dennet and Harris will walk straight up the steps of a mosque in each location to present their message of salvation and freedom. Nothing less will do than a gloriously grand performance. And the devout will no doubt be astounded by such deep and inspiring message from the three that they will fall to their knees and pledge complete fidelity.

  15. Shaner74,

    It’s reasonable to think about the limits of reason.

    Also, I hope that IDist’s can think about the difference between evolution and, then, Darwinian evolution. The former is, hopefully, a revelation about the development of life on this planet. The latter is a metaphysical speculation about the meaning of those facts.

  16. bj

    But, there is nothing to fear. Even from an evolutionary perspective, the “tribe” is never going to allow such beliefs to gain the upper hand. It just doesn’t work that way.

    I am not sure what you mean by that. The athiests managed to gain the upper hand a few times in the last century, including in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Cambodia. It was not a pretty site.

  17. Jehu,
    Perhaps I should have said, “in the long run, the “tribe” is not going to allow a purposeless philosophy to prevail.” It’s not that there aren’t losses-the blood of martyrs. But, from my perspective, humanity is simply not going to carry on without beliefs systems that give purpose. We are “incurably” religious.

  18. “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?” Dawkins asks. “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?”

    And this is the lynchpin of their strategy. Since this topic is expressly about the war on religion, I want to put in my 2 cents. If I need to teach my children minor falsehoods to explain the larger truth- that the holy spirit will give them strength when they feel weak and resolve when they need to make hard choices- then I would hope that, as my child grows (and I have 3 children, all grown) they will learn fact as it relates to them and understand that truth is subjective compared to the power of god. I suppose god can be anything you want him to be but our Bible holds the wisdom of the ages and should not be mocked by those who wish to see our children spiritually starved.

    I for one do not want to live in a world where we are nothing more than random chemical processes that poof out like a flame at the end of our chemical half-life. (Pun intended)

  19. “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?” Dawkins asks. “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?”

    My line stands about the “one world view indotrination.” Just fill in the blank.

    _Dawkins_ Center for One World View Indoctrination.

    Why do parents have a choice, when it is obvious their “property” should be regulated by the STATE. Property of the STATE should wear the same grey unisex jumpsuits, have the same haircuts. Property should all eat the same food, every day, every night, all year in the same designed homes made of the same square grey cement blocks, listening to the same music, watching the same TV program about evolutions gradual random(but not really random) outcome eventually leading to:

    Dawkins is god. Dawkins is god, Dawkins is god.

    Woman. Have baby. Give baby “property” to Dawkins Center for One World View. Have more baby “property”. Give all “property” to Dawkins Center for Indotrination.

    You Have No Choice… Obeeeeyeyyeeyyy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;search=

    Dawkins shoul add the above video to his new site for the Foundation of Indoctrination of Dawkins One World View.

    He only needs to put his face in the middle.

  20. Doug said:
    “I for one do not want to live in a world where we are nothing more than random chemical processes that poof out like a flame at the end of our chemical half-life. (Pun intended)”

    Me neither, but according to Dawkins and the rest of his ilk there’s nothing random about evolution at all. At least that’s what he’s always preaching. True, the mutations may be random, but they are filtered through the decidedly non-random process called “natural” selection – non-random, and at the same time non-purposeful. So then, life is created non-randomly solely by the forces of nature. But where did the universe come from? The answer I see by many atheists is m-theory. Our universe is one of trillions of others and this one just happened, by chance, to have the right conditions for life. So my question is, if nature itself is the product of randomness (read blind, dumb luck), how can life *not* be the outcome of randomness? Is this a valid question?

  21. What these would-be athiest child snatchers don’t realize is that religion doesn’t just grow by indoctrinating children, it also grows by conversion of nonbelievers. With Christianity, this always has been and still is the case.

    See this event in Lagos, Nigeria, known as “the day Lagos stood still” with 3.5 million in attendance. Makes the athiest movement look rather impotent.

    http://www.christembassy.org/GFMNreport/index.htm

  22. “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?” Dawkins asks. “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?

    Absolutely not. Dawkins (and his ilk) should be forced to send his kids to conservative muslim schools.

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