Hello, I have been wanting to get this off of my chest for a while.
Richard Dawkins together with other "Great" atheists (Hitchens, are commonly seen as the "Leaders" of atheism. Everywhere i turn people rally behind them without hesitation. I have no problem with agreeing with someone and supporting them, but since joining this site and communicating with atheists across the web i am sad to say that I have been pressured into supporting anything they (or other popular atheists) say or do. As you can tell from the title, I don't like them, I find most of the current big time atheist to be rude, harsh, condescending, arrogant, men who happen to be smart. They spout the word "evidence" but as far as i can tell, only use evidence that supports their own views. They are incredibly anti-theist outright insulting those with faith, while i do not like religion I would never dream of telling someone that one way of thinking is correct or insulting them for their beliefs. For the most part they are BRILLIANT scientists, and yet they completely discredit anything if it has the slightest lack of extraordinary evidence or if a religious person says it. I may be wrong, but isn't science about looking for the truth, accepting new ideas and testing them, admitting when you are wrong? Isn't science meant to be unbiased? "A sentient all-powerful being/force, that existed before the rest of the universe, willingly and with intent created the universe and continues to exist beyond normal perception interacting with the universe regularly and still with intent." okay, there might be many many MANY variations on that principle, but that is the premise of a lot of religions, Laughable? Yes. Incredibly unlikely? Yes. Goes against massive amounts of par-to-quality evidence? Yes. But it's still a scientific hypothesis, that as of writing this cannot be tested. As such It should be accepted as a possible if-unlikely truth until it can be (dis)proven. We have diss-proven many things that religion spouts or claims in their holy books, but that is disproving an element of the religion, not the existence of a god. Dawkins has admitted this, yet he continuously dismisses any arguments against his views unless they come from one of his fellow atheist scientist buddies.
Ted Haggard, remember him? Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM4bq9ypAdY
Yeah, he was probably putting on an act for the cameras, we only saw 3 minutes of him, described by himself. But you should be able to understand what he's saying.
And there is truth to it.
That is a brief summary of the problems i have with Dawkins and a lot of the other atheist "leaders". But the reason i'm posting this is the rest of the atheist community seems fine with agreeing with everything he/they say(s). I've been delving into physics lately, and i try to apply one thing i do agree with dawkins on, I can't believe what i read in a book, or the website tells me, or etc. I try to avoid making claims about topics i don't know all about, I try to remain skeptical towards new ideas until i can get evidence that has quality and quantity, I ask questions and don't take things at face value. These are things i truely support, but It seems to me I'm the only atheist that feels that way. i have been observing and found that athesim is becoming almost as dogmatic and cruel as religion.
Anti-theism is on the rise, hatred is cast onto anyone who so much as prays at a dinnertable, if someone is a religious person expect them to be hated and ridiculed by this community regardless of anything other than the fact that they have a religion. Entire forums are set up for the purpose of laughing at religious people and ations (not just the extremist/fundy ones that are okay to laugh at sometimes)
People are mindlessly throwing out arguments that are often little more than: "X is wrong because there's ZERO evidence for it, but Y!, Y has evidence so it must be correct!" never going into any detail about the topic.
People are doing what i described earlier, dimissing things unfairly, while parading around a sliver of something they support.
The "Leaders" are followed blindly, mimicking a cult. if dawkins says something he is agreed with unconditionally by almost everyone, and if you are one of the few who don't agree with it, you are insulted and targeted for all sorts of things (Personal experience)
And everywhere people are trying to convert others into atheism.
A dogma is beginning to form, the atheist that i have observed are lining up to become just like the hardcore religious peoples they claim to be different from.
I joined this site and others with the expectation that I was going to meet people guided by logic, reason, quality evidence (Not just normal evidence.) instead of other's words. and mild = tolerance toward opposing viewpoints as we have nothing to lose if they disagree.
Instead i have found a group of self righteous, key phrase spewing, intolerant, hateful, followers who actively try to change a person's beliefs instead of presenting the alternative and letting that person act accordingly to what they are presented (the backbone of scientific thought and progress)
I could go into more detail, but honestly I'm tired as all get-out. In this post I stress that i am not talking about YOU or anyone else in particular, just what i have found. I posted this to voice my opinion about the current state of atheism, in a great tide of identical arguments and opinions I am standing out with one of my own that i am not basing off of any one Else's; it is an opinion that i came to by myself free of other's forcing it on me. Isn't that what free thought is all about?
Feel free to respond however you like, You can even go ahead and insult me and dismiss everything i said, just as i expect most will. I just wanted to get that off my chest.
Somewhat related note: I think I'm the only atheist with an opinion like this; the supernatural and paranormal science that studies it. Legitamit fields of study, even if the methods are frequently terrible. I think that some supernatural elements might just be natural elements that we just don't understand yet. (A long time ago, the concept of cold eluded the minds of of the time and was considered supernatural, but of course now we understand the absence of heat and can explain its workings.) I'm not saying all supernatural claims are true, just that they should not be dismissed immidiatly on the basis that they are considered supernatural. Ghost for example, I believe that there is somethting to these claims, or at least some of them. Consistent and observable patterns, large amounts of unexplained, undeniable phenomenon (Among some admittedly fake). Are they the spirits of the dead? I doubt it, but I see reason to look into the matter. The same goes for some other supernatural ideas that everyone here seems to hate.
And finally, I have a very difficult time getting behind Dawkin's precious gene-centered evolution.
"And finally, I have a very difficult time getting behind Dawkin's precious gene-centered evolution."
Fine, now produce the scientific evidence (including peer reviewed papers) that refutes it.
"Yes. But it's still a scientific hypothesis, that as of writing this cannot be tested."
Then by defintion the existence of god is not a scientific hypothesis if it can't be tested. Thus the existence of god is a matter of faith which is belief without evidence, how can you not see that?
Daniel PD exhibits such sensitivity toward the poor theist’s fragile faith:
"I would never dream of telling someone that one way of thinking is correct or insulting them for their beliefs."
After being told that I hate god, that I don’t posses moral standards, that I am damned to hell, a patron of satan, and that my tongue ought to be cut out, I am sympathetic to a certain level of hostility returned to the theists by the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens. I can’t imagine what their hate mail must look like.
And I write this as a person who is not an aggressive atheist, who doesn’t bring up the subject, who has no bumper sticker . . .
BUT I do enjoy seeing some heavy artillery occasionally lobbed back at the faithful, even if it is proportionally like shooting back at a battleship with a BB gun.
I don’t visit A/N to read clichéd Dawkins bashing that I can get pretty much anywhere else.
However, being the sensitive atheist that I am, allow me this observation.
Your essay reveals no hesitation to admit to having no faith in god(s). But you seem reluctant to abandon faith altogether. (a common trait amongst idealistic youth)
to quote you:
"I'm not saying all supernatural claims are true, just that they should not be dismissed immidiatly on the basis that they are considered supernatural."
No. They should be dismissed because they don’t exist in the first place.
You so want to believe that the “unexplainable” is out there, that the term “supernatural” becomes, for you, unassailable. You seem to be saying that you are willing to consider supernatural explanations for unexplainable events.
You might have abandoned faith in god, but you have not moved beyond your need for faith.
Not necessarily a bad thing for youth.
Not exactly, I don't think that there is such a thing as supernatural, things classified as such are not exempt from the scientific method. Maybe we can't do it just yet, but in time we will be able to understand and test these things. Some of them, like the idea of a deity, are probably just delusions, but we can't jump to conclusions so fast. We've had centuries to examine religion and we still haven't disproved all of it, why should another unexplained thing be written off in moments?
In short, I don't believe things because I want to believe them, I actually never said I believed in supernatural things. I just think that a reason or explanation behind them has to exist. Maybe some are hoaxes, maybe some have bits of truth to them - we can't know until we begin looking, and we can't come to a conclusion for things on such a scale in haste.
Wishful thinking I'm afraid, however. if scientific evidence for the supernatural is ever discovered then that, in and of itself, will negate the idea of the supernatural. As it will, quite obviously, render it explainable thus undermining the idea that it is unexplainable and supernatural no ?
You might like to look at the following video it deals explicitly with the concept of "openmiindedness" and the acceptance of supernatural ideas based on no evidence
Also following on from your ramble about Richard Dawkins watch the following video "A Beautiful Mind" it may also "open YOUR mind" about him and his achievements in the field of evolutionary biology
If we find ourselves in a simple semantic drain hole, the solution is simple. Until then, I’ll take you at your word:
“We've had centuries to examine religion and we still haven't disproved all of it, why should another unexplained thing be written off in moments?”
“Unexplained” is different from “supernatural”. Are you changing terminology here?
And just what is there about religion that needs disproving ??
“I actually never said I believed in supernatural things. I just think that a reason or explanation behind them has to exist.”
How is it that you seek an explanation for something you don’t believe in ??
Please give us all an example of something “supernatural”, that requires a “reason or explanation”.
(Of course, I mean something besides gravity)
Again, my point is that there is nothing supernatural. Sooo, to seek an explanation of things “supernatural” is to tacitly admit to believing in their existence . . . i.e. demonstrating “faith”; which, I then pointed out to you, seems to be a sign of an inability to abandon faith altogether, not just faith in the existence of a supreme being.
Knowing this helps me understand why you don’t like Dawkins.
Though, I didn't have time to read thru your entire post, I read thru most of it.
I think, I know what you are trying to say. You describe yourself more as agnostic than atheist. Atheist do not believe in a God. Agnostics, as myself, feel we do not know. As an agnostic, I don't know if there is a God but...if there is one, I know he doesn't operate in the capacity we have been taught. There is no diety operating anything in this world. That's evident. However, there could be some truth to energy of the body. I think some things cannot be explained and there are paranormal activities. But as agnostic, I have to admit some things we just don't have answers to.
Sorry, but there are no real paranormal activities. You watch too much TV.
"And everywhere people are trying to convert others into atheism.
A dogma is beginning to form, the atheist that i have observed are lining up to become just like the hardcore religious peoples they claim to be different from."
allow me to address this issue.
first of all, i don't think that it is possible to convert any true believer. an analogy - i'm a headhunter. i get accused of "stealing" people all the time. i explain that it is impossible to steal anyone, that i only offer alternatives to those who already want to leave. it's the same with Religious people, they can't be stolen from their faith, no matter how good the argument against what they believe.
however, Atheism as a popular movement is in it's infancy. so many casual Christians don't really believe, and the movement's leaders are pivotal in providing a platform for those who are looking to escape. some use a calm approach, others more hostile. ultimately, you will find lots of different ways to approach this as the movement matures.
as for your comment about dogma, well, there are some pretty useful quotes and/or facts that Atheists use to debunk religion. not everyone can be creative enough to invent their own. i have some things that i use that are personal thoughts, but i also borrow from others who have popularized some of the best arguments. you can call it dogma if you like, but no one has to accept them or treat them as equally valid to be an Atheist. therein lays the difference, imo. and quite frankly, many of my personal thoughts that i had when i was young and first became an Atheist i've seen reiterated by many of the famous New Atheists.
I agree with much of what you said, particularly (as I infer from it) that it is in service of truth to avoid confirmation bias that is the currency of so many self-congratulatory communities, this one included. I don't agree with all that Dawkins has said. In particular, I think that he too easily dismisses group selection. But I recognize that his understanding of these matters is far superior to mine. I'm a little confused when I hear some speak of him as stridently preaching anti-theism. From what I've heard and read, he seems like a kindly old uncle (though I think he's a bit younger than me) patiently laying out his world view in a clear and mostly non-judgmental way. That view naturally leads to atheism, and in certain social contexts anti theism.
Hitchens was a different sort of critter -- never pulling a punch, and I admired him for very different reasons. I've noticed that since the passing of the Hitch, Dawkins has made some comments that seem more reflective of what his dear departed friend might have drunkenly spouted, and I say "BRAVO"!
I've been an athiest almost as long as I've known how to walk, and most of the long time since have lived among deeply religious people. I get it that adopting a position cemented against those opposing risks isolation from what may well be good ideas. It's an ongoing struggle. When I was younger I adhered to a philosophy of live and let live relativism -- that other belief systems were as valid as mine, and I still mostly live that way. But when a few devout believers extended their philosophy to flying airplanes into buildings I had to re-think things.
I no longer think that it's moral to hold one view in equal weight to another without good reason. I've come to think that it is important and necessary to call out irrational beliefs, and in fact immoral to fail to do so. And so I've become more confrontational and more insistent on validation of any belief that seems to me to be unsupported. In short, I've become a bigot on the side of reason, which is what Hitchens so much more capably was.