Posts Tagged ‘Dawkins’


Schadenfreude begins to describe it

October 25, 2010

I began writing here due to the demise of the old RDF forum, and although I figured bygones would be bygones when Dawkins apologized, I admit to a severe case of the schadenfreude tonight. Because of this.

I’m seeing the news popping up everywhere now that the Richard Dawkins Foundation is suing Josh Timonen for fraud and embezzlement. The central fact of the story is that Timonen has been accused of diverting 92% of the revenues from the RDF store to his own personal use.

PZ is conflicted because he knows everyone involved, he’s defended Josh Timonen back in the days of Dawkins’ supposed ‘outrage’ and the old forum hijinks and the rickrolling etc. But a lot of ex-Dawk fans are snickering to themselves over this sad state of affairs, after Dawkins’ gushing praise for his website guru and the dedication to Timonen in one of his books.

Truth be told, I’m snickering too. Not over the embezzlement; no one deserves that. And Dawkins’ foundation will likely come out of this much better off, as PZ points out with the best spin he can apply. Sue would most likely look at this and tease me with some remark about karma…since she picks up most on the ‘bad karma,’ the comeuppance.

Maybe Dr. Dawkins will find good parking spaces for awhile…seems to have earned it. In a metaphysical manner of speaking, which is to say, nonsense.  🙂


On child abuse, again

May 11, 2010

A different sort today. The past two weeks, my folks have been getting some digs in on me. I feel free enough to post this here because, honestly, neither of them is likely to read it, and if anyone does my dad is the least likely to. They are picking a fight with me, and they should know better. They are liable to lose, and to get the silent treatment for awhile.

Silence is something I am fairly good at, after living alone for this long. It’s enough that I wonder if I could stand people being around all the time.

Anyway. The news is that my nephew is going through his first communion. I hear even my pagan brother sent him a gift. I’d like to think the folks were being dishonest. The mind reels. I’m sorry, but I just cannot celebrate indoctrination. Especially of unsuspecting children.

These kids have no defense from you, none! They haven’t learned enough to be able to apply critical thinking to this religious ceremony — instead, they’re born and raised in it. To the point that it’s immunized from any critical thinking skills they may gain in the future. You can see it in the scientists that hang on to religious beliefs despite their knowledge and skills. Indoctrination teaches them to set that aside, in just this one area. This one’s special. To compartmentalize the nonsense; or perhaps the critical thinking, I can’t be sure which.

Many religions foment real, physically harmful abuse of their adherents, children and otherwise. I have some of the details from here, it’s worth a read-through for the interested skeptic. Found it by way of Richard Dawkins. It is a fine denouncement of organized religion’s child abuse. Beyond just the salacious scandals tearing into the catholic church, there’s children being sucked into armed conflicts under the guise of religion and sectarian or ethnic strife. There’s female genital mutilation.

And to even set all of that horror aside, the RCC builds up your kids with gender discrimination, reinforced by every catholic priest and his flowing robes and thrilling headgear. Reinforced by your holy book, should you on a lark choose to read it and not have it read to you. Do you remember how Eve, woman, is blamed for the fall of humankind? How in the new testament, women aren’t supposed to speak in church or lead them? Do you ever even ask why they’re all men in charge? Or does this disease get overlooked while you fight the symptoms out in society?

Now there’s a line that could piss off my mom. She probably doesn’t deserve that, but the men-folk sure do. It’s the price of accommodationism, eh? Go along to get along, and you end up giving it your tacit support.

I was sucked into that nonsense pretty bad before I broke out; I put some good effort into making contact with the xian god-concept. Wasted effort. And I remembered that, and I resented it. Enough to study until I could survive a scriptural drive-by or the arguments and apologetics of the casual believer, at least. And there were some, from my folks, even the priest of the church I had given up on. Well, again I should qualify it. Mostly my dad.

So here we go again, maybe. Old age and treachery. Well, I won’t take it out on the kids. From this distance, I can’t, really. That may be for the best.

But I have some paperwork at home, a Declaration of Defection that I have considered and repeatedly set aside, a formal break from the church rather than just being ‘lapsed’ as I am now. It may be time to rally some gumption and send it to Pittsburgh, and have done with it. Something I will think about this week, I suppose.


The angry atheist

March 19, 2010

common sense, who'd have thunk itI am not one to spare the snark in regards to skepticism, particularly when my former faith is concerned, though I do spare overt nastiness and profanity. But there is a curious stereotype about the ‘angry atheist.’ I often find believers build their arguments specifically to piss off skeptics, and then complain about the anger and fury!

While reading this article from Pharyngula, though, amongst the many comments I spied this, and remembered why such anger may be righteous. Thanks to Feynmaniac, #115, for the reminder.

During Dawkins’ speech at Lynchburg somebody in the audience asked him if anger was common after one deconverts. Dawkins said he really didn’t know and asked the audience. That was a resounding “YES!”. While I don’t consider myself ‘angry’ anymore, I do emphasize with those who are. The process is already difficult enough without religious people making things much worse. That’s one of the problems I have with many religious people complaining that atheists are angry. Yeah, YOU intentionally brainwashed us from a young age (when we would have believed anything you told us) and rather than being congratulated for questioning dogmas we were stigmatized. There’s plenty to be angry about. Furthermore, you are continuing to do this to young kids today.

I don’t know if I would go as far as intentional brainwashing with my parents; but I would, in the case of a priest who doesn’t even believe what he’s preaching anymore, but does it for the money, part of what the Pharyngula article is about. But brainwashing, indoctrination, in any case. Most xians mean well I’m sure, but we all know about best intentions don’t we? They pave the road to hell, as the old proverb goes.

It was hard for me to drop it, to build a new philosophy, a new way of life. I can imagine it would be harder for a student in the seminary, or a preacher for that matter. But then, a preacher ought to know from responsibility; getting back to that brainwashing comment. I can understand being misled; but what kind of rationalization leads to teaching kids something you know is a lie?


Wishful thinking – my last word on the Dawkins subject

March 2, 2010

Time will tell, but hopefully Dr. Dawkins’ apology to the RDF forum membership will do the trick. I can tell there are some unsatisfied people, although I suspect they will eventually realize that their pound of Josh Timonen’s flesh is not forthcoming. As far as I’m concerned, his apology is my best-case scenario, and I expect nothing more to come of it.

That might come off as ungrateful, heh. Is grateful the right word? Maybe not. I’m pleasantly surprised that Dawkins exceeded my expectations and did what I hoped he was capable of doing. This is one of the virtues of pessimism. I was almost incapable of being unpleasantly surprised. Even the demise of the old forum, the bad behavior, was easily understood, the perils of being human, of making poor snap judgments.

I see PZ Myers also chimed in on the subject, everyone being especially eager to see this whole flap get wrapped up and all. I saw some interesting comments there about Dr. Dawkins & Timonen perhaps getting some apologies in turn. They probably won’t get them, from the ones they burned the most. But I can own up to my own mis-steps.

So, Dr. Dawkins, should the vagaries of the internet find you here: I apologize for the people blowing up at you and Josh and going personal, insulting. Sure, I didn’t, I’m not personally responsible. But I didn’t mind laughing it off, writing it off as venting. In the spirit of the old forum, it was about attacking arguments, not people; and no matter what they did — what Josh did, or you did — nobody deserves that.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes with the new RDF forum. I am skeptical, of course, of the site admins, of Dawkins, of censorship; I doubt I’ll spend as much time on it as I used to; but I’m not writing it off completely, yet. That seems a bit premature.