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The tolerant atheist

 
 
Tuna
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 08:51 pm
I recently came across the atheistic views of PZ Myers, a biologist whose views regarding religion don't appear to be particularly tolerant. He categorizes believers as stupid and though he doesn't fully invest himself in it, he still alludes to bloodshed associated with religion as a reason to see atheists as superior beings.

I fundamentally disagree with the intolerance that comes through in PZ Myers' speeches. I think we're all just people who have differing opinions. But what disturbed me most about his presentations is the haughty way he suggested that religious people might be afraid of atheists.

If it's true that some religious people are afraid of atheism, I don't believe they have any reason to be. And I believe fear of that kind is potentially dangerous and definitely not something to celebrate. It's fear that has abided silently for generations that erupts in pogroms and purges. If the right strategy then would be to appeal to religious people to see that in all the most fundamental ways, we're all the same (and I think it would be), then why not start now?

By and large, I see atheism as low-hanging fruit. Spinoza was an atheist. Russell and Nietzche were atheists. The more sophisticated issues are things like human agency, the nature of consciousness, neutral monism, and the outcome of dispensing with indirect realism.

All that's important about atheism is the historic trail that lead us to what we are now. This is a pretty good expression of my kind of atheism:




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Type: Discussion • Score: 14 • Views: 18,903 • Replies: 559

 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:14 pm
@Tuna,
Yawn.

(I happen to be sans theism)
layman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:20 pm
@Tuna,
Quote:
This is a pretty good expression of my kind of atheism:


Pretty sure I've seen this vid before, Tuna, but I've forgotten most (or all) of it. Probably won't spend 2 hours watching it again. Care to summarize "your kind of atheism?"

Quote:
I fundamentally disagree with the intolerance that comes through in PZ Myers' speeches.


I agree with you here, and of course it's not just Myers. There are many like him whose supreme arrogance and insolent disdain for non-atheists come through like water from a fire hydrant, once ya done busted the cap off. They do not do their "cause" any service.



Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:33 pm
@layman,
Quote:
Pretty sure I've seen this vid before, Tuna, but I've forgotten most (or all) of it. Probably won't spend 2 hours watching it again. Care to summarize "your kind of atheism?"

It's just a ramble through history mainly fascinating to culture buffs like me. There have been two distinct developments of naturalism in western history. We're in the second one. To me, it's interesting to ask: why was it washed away the first time? Knowing that might convey to contemporary atheists the conditions necessary for their existence.

Quote:
I agree with you here, and of course it's not just Myers. There are many like him whose supreme arrogance and insolent disdain for non-atheists come through like water from a fire hydrant, once ya done busted the cap off. They do not do their "cause" any service.

My assessment is that it's just bigotry that some have convinced themselves is ok.
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:36 pm
@ossobuco,
Your avatar looks almost exactly like a dog my mom just recently lost. I had given her the dog and I was there at the last. Her name was Etowah (the dog, not my mom)
layman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:41 pm
@Tuna,
Quote:
My assessment is that it's just bigotry that some have convinced themselves is ok.



Yeah, bigotry in it's general and literal sense (many seem to think "bigotry" only applies to those whose belief's oppose theirs):

Quote:
stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigotry
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:53 pm
@layman,
I don't know who Myers is and am not interested.
I'm fine with people with religion, unless they sashay to my door.

Just interested in who Tuna is.

layman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:55 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
I don't know who Myers is and am not interested.
I'm fine with people with religion, unless they sashay to my door.


Yeah, Jo, you aint the militant atheist type, by no means.
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:59 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Just interested in who Tuna is.


Tuna is a welcome additional to a2k. Intelligent, thoughtful, and reasonable. I don't expect to see him tryin to throw insults around 24/7, like some here. He has was too much self-confidence (without being arrogant) for that kinda ****.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:00 pm
@Tuna,
I understand. Pacco (italian for package) had been in jail for traipsing down highway 101 in northern california. Long story short, we had a happy life together.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:04 pm
@layman,
'k.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 01:27 am
@Tuna,
'Tolerance' may simply be a matter of the social context chosen by those intellectuals with the luxury of selective immersion. But those with the duty of educating children in multicultural societies are often dismayed at the conditioning of the young by their parents into sectarian thinking (and action).
Concepts of 'mutual respect' are usually beyond the understand of the young, and antithetical to the bulk of many 'believers'. It may be that 'tolerance' could simply be an excuse for 'not getting involved'.
Olivier5
 
  3  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 02:04 am
@fresco,
Quote:
'tolerance' could simply be an excuse for 'not getting involved'.

Do we need to get involved in the belief systems of out neighbours? Live and let live.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 03:59 am
Yes, certainly there are intolerant atheists, and it may well be reasonable to call them anti-theists. Some are more subtle, and one might say, more tolerant in that they only condemn those theists who are themselves intolerant, which can, of course, descend into a "he said/she said," silly brawl. My personal experience in the United States is that the great majority of Americans are at least sufficiently tolerant of others to mind their own business. There is an active, anti-atheist group of christians in the United States and they are increasingly evident online, as well. However, as is the case with the anti-theist atheists, they represent the lunatic fringe, the holy rollers. These are not simple issues, and people tend to want to portray them as simple. I won't go into detail here, but claims that religion is responsible for bloody wars is largely BS--war costs money, and intelligent and successful rulers don't indulge in war unless there is a prospect of at least getting their money back. Equally idiotic are claims that atheists are just as bloody-minded and warlike. In those cases in which these claims are made, it is almost always a result of an over-simplistic description of historical events, or willful distortion.

Being an atheist never comes up in my "real" life--it only comes up online, home of the flannel-mouthed crusaders of theism and of "atheism" (the term "atheism" cracks me up, as though saying "I don't believe that" were a doctrine). The only problem i have with holy rollers is when they attempt to invade other peoples' lives based on their preferred superstition.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 05:28 am
@ossobuco,
Jonathan Miller, the presenter of Tuna's vid is a real renaissance man. He always gives good value for money.

Quote:
Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller, CBE (born 21 July 1934) is a British theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist, and medical doctor. While training in medicine, and specializing in neurology, in the late 1950s, he first came to prominence in the early 1960s with his role in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe with fellow writers and performers Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. He began directing operas in the 1970s and has since become one of the world's leading opera directors with several classic productions to his credit. His best-known production is probably his 1982 "Mafia"-styled Rigoletto set in 1950s Little Italy, Manhattan. In its early days he was an associate director at the National Theatre and later ran the Old Vic Theatre. As a writer/presenter of more than a dozen BBC documentaries, he has become a well-known television personality and familiar public intellectual in both Britain and the United States.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Miller
0 Replies
 
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 05:37 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
'Tolerance' may simply be a matter of the social context chosen by those intellectuals with the luxury of selective immersion. But those with the duty of educating children in multicultural societies are often dismayed at the conditioning of the young by their parents into sectarian thinking (and action).
Concepts of 'mutual respect' are usually beyond the understand of the young, and antithetical to the bulk of many 'believers'. It may be that 'tolerance' could simply be an excuse for 'not getting involved'.

Like all words, "tolerance" may be misused. So?
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 05:48 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
Being an atheist never comes up in my "real" life--it only comes up online, home of the flannel-mouthed crusaders of theism and of "atheism"

Could it be that the whole thing is a media phenomenon?
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 06:11 pm
@Tuna,
I think it may be a media phenomenon in some regions/countries.

Religion/atheism/spiritualism is so rarely covered in the traditional media here that I'd say it's not a media phenomenon. It doesn't exist in the media. I have no idea what religion my mayor/premier/prime minister practice or if they are atheists. It has about as much meaning as their gender/sexuality/relationship status. That is - meaningless.

Atheists don't come knocking on doors here to spread the word. Occasionally various religious types wander by hoping to hand out pamphlets, but they've mostly disappeared as well.

Where I live, the only times I'm even peripherally aware of religion is when there is some religious festival where a community will be sharing with the larger community - this happens primarily in Buddhist and Muslim groups, though Diwali did get a lot of attention this past weekend and the pagan celebration of HalloweƩn of course involves handing out of treats.

I'm happy for folks who believe in something if it makes them happy. Otherwise <shrug> I don't know and don't care.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 01:28 am
@Tuna,
So, irrespective of cosy local ethics, in the contemporary world of global acts of terrorism based on religious principles, there may a case for atheists to 'stand up and be counted' .
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 01:53 am
Ya sure, but dont we see mass intolerance everywhere, particularly with the elite? I mean we are hyper tolerant on genetic stock and hyper tolerant to a point where we flip and then become intolerant on both how people **** and what kind of intimate relationships people want to have, but so far as just about everything else goes we are some intolerant assholes. We have culture wars where we do things that hurt others individually and the nation at whole because we believe that our beliefs need to rule the world. We think that someone in the room saying that they dont agree with us on some subject like global warming or the general outline of the value of the IRS is justification for being a prick to them.

Come on, intolerance almost defines the modern Americans.

We used to be better.
 

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