Press Commentary on Threats at Colorado

| 64 Comments

Well, at least someone is taking the recent threats against the Colorado biologists (http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]logists.html ) seriously. (See also “Creato-terrorism update,” http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]orism_1.html .) Today’s Boulder Daily Camera carries a signed editorial, “Fundamentalist threat not an isolated event” (http://www.dailycamera.com/news/200[…]olated-event ), by Jennifer Platte. Ms. Platte notes

The packages containing veiled threats that were slipped under the doors of labs at the department of evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado appear to be part of a larger campaign being waged by one man against the department.

Content on the blog www.pandasthumb.org suggests that e-mails that preceded the packages threatened to “take up a pen to kill the enemies of Truth,” and stated that the writer would file charges of child molestation against the professors for teaching evolution. The writer believes that these professors are “the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death…” He appears to have been inspired by the words of Pastor Jerry Gibson, who allegedly spoke at Doug White’s New Day Covenant Church in Boulder, saying that “every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.”

Update 30 July 2007. A letter in today’s Boulder Daily Camera claims that Mr. Gibson “never said this or anything like it” and directs us to the New Day Covenant Church’s Web site.

The Camera‘s editorial writer goes on to compare the threats with the recent interruption of prayers given by a Hindu chaplain on the floor of the Senate and notes

The American Family Association Web site pleaded for activism through e-mail and telephone to halt the prayer. It seems as if the three disrupters took that suggestion to heart, resulting in an occurrence that is an embarrassment to our country in general, and to Christians in particular.

These recent actions are the product of a force in America, often dubbed Dominionism, which is nurtured by highly placed and well compensated ministers, such as the late Jerry Falwell … and our own neighbor, James Dobson.…

Ms. Platte concludes,

They [the religious extremists] draw distinctions between “us” and “them” that have no place in civil life.

On July 15 (sorry, I missed it), Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post and feature writer for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a blog column, “Religious Extremism Knows No National Boundaries” (http://spencerspeaks.com/2007/07/15[…]l-boundaries ), in which he says,

At the University of Colorado in Boulder, religious extremism came in the form of threatening emails and packages left for professors who teach evolution. In the U.S. Senate, it came as cat calls from the gallery trying to drown out a Hindu prayer.

Americans worry so much about religious extremism in other countries. Perhaps we should keep an eye on our own house.

I know; I know. America’s religious nut jobs usually use words, not stick and stones, much less explosives-laden suicide vests. But events in the past week remind us how religious zealotry can lead to ugly outbursts and possibly violence

and later,

The professor [Michael Grant of the EEB department] read to me from one of his recent messages. Here’s what it said:

“Every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.”

Just substitute the word Muslim for Christian and you got yourself a call to jihad.

64 Comments

Just substitute the word Muslim for Christian and you got yourself a call to jihad.

There is no difference whatsoever in religious fuckwittery of any denomination.

All religious followers are deluded, slightly or entirely. There are no exceptions.

Ahem. Pls avoid foul language and limit yourselves to substantive comments. I have no time for unenlightening pontifications, and I am sure others feel the same way.

The ID nonsense is just an offshoot of the Dominionist (Christian Reconstructionist) movement.

Enjoy.

Suspect Missing in Evolution Death-Threat Case Kristen Philipkoski 07.20.07 | 2:00 AM An anti-evolutionary Christian extremist suspected of sending threatening letters to biology professors at the University of Colorado has gone on the lam, according to a staff member familiar with a police investigation into the matter.

Police at the University of Colorado say they know the identity of the individual who sent threatening letters to several biology professors who taught evolution. However, the police won’t name the individual until they make an arrest, said detective lieutenant commander John Kish. Continues at:

http://www.wired.com/science/discov[…]rado_threats

According to wired today, the CU, Boulder Jihadi is on the run with an arrest warrant out on him. Dumb move, fleeing to avoid arrest or prosecution is another crime.

It isn’t known if he is part of a larger group or not. My impression so far is that he is a lone perpetrator with a network of sympathizers. Might be a few or might be a lot. This is how fundie terrorists work. The MD murderers like Kopp and Rudolph managed to run for years. It isn’t clear how they eluded capture for so long but it doesn’t take too much imagination to see that they probably had a lot of help along the way.

Can anyone say “Ted Kaczynski”? That’s the first thing I thought of when this story appeared on PT a few weeks back. This needs to be taken seriously.

The first rule you learn as a child is the parent rule of a successful society, say, one like America.

Whatever is unpleasant or hurtful to you is exactly what you should not inflict on others.

Something like a “Golden Rule,” eh?

The second rule you learn as a child is that what you perceive as unpleasant or hurtful is not really that bad.

As you grow you learn to manage, mitigate, the discomfort you may feel on occasion. As you gain more experience at being a functional human being, you learn that the things that frighten or disgust you also affect others in a similar way. But not everyone.

Most people think the flesh of cattle is delicious and worth splurging on. Some don’t, instead granting to cows privileges that they don’t grant to humans . Just one example. You can think of more.

Maturity in humans, and in human societies are, I think, directly related. To hear the paranoiac rhetoric of this fool reminds me that the coarsening and floundering inefficacy of our federal government is guaranteed by the failure of the last couple of generations of parents to instill civics, the art of civil behavior (see above noted first lessons), and their importance to civilization, into their children.

Such mundanities as good manners, patience and the ability to converse intelligently and purposefully just seem to have slipped away.

The very reason that America exists is that enough people agreed at a point in time to not attempt to sanction the private proclivities of their neighbors!

OK, from the top: Life: you are alive. Liberty: you are happiest in that state. The “purfuit” of happiness: follows, doesn’t it.

If you expect these things to be the foundation of your life and do indeed desire to live in such a state within a larger population, it is evident the the fulfillment of your desire is dependent upon the goodwill and approval of the rest of “the people.” Given that you are one of the people, it is (should be?) apparent that your own goodwill and approval is a commodity eagerly sought by the rest of the people.

In other words, a strong and free society, able to care for itself and all of its parts while avoiding intramural squabbles in favor of reasonable, substantive debate, is fully dependent on individual citizens behaving civily in their personal and public lives. As a matter of routine.

This knucklehead, the quasi-human, was never taught. Or, if he was, he is apparently unable to comprehend. In the latter case, more is the pity. He is not only an asshole, but he is perfectly happy being so. His mother must weep.

Thanks to raven.

We now know that the punk ran away like the playground bully when the teacher shows up.

“Every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.”

Just substitute the word Muslim for Christian and you got yourself a call to jihad.

Um, it’s a call to jihad (religious war) without the substitution.

Uh, Clarissa, you’re making a completely unimportant and, frankly, stupid distinction. The point is that both Kaczynski and Korn are ideological extremists who pose(d) a threat to others and to the fabric of society. The specifics of what they believe in aren’t important, except to those who sympathize with the goals of one or the other.

Kaczynski made up his own religion; Korn buys into someone else’s. So what?

Warren Wrote:

There is no difference whatsoever in religious fuckwittery of any denomination. All religious followers are deluded, slightly or entirely.

There is only two things wrong with these statements. First, the first statement is likely not true. Second, the second statement doesn’t support the first one.

On the first statement, there are always the mentally ill, which we are likely discussing here. In the real ill, religion does seem to be a preferential choice to explain away the voices et cetera, but it is likely that any religion fit. For the more functional nutcases, like Kaczynski and Korn, there could perhaps be a slight difference depending on how aggression is handled by the party/religion.

For religion in general, I would like to see numbers. Major religions may or may not be equally hijacked by socio-political activists or similar trouble rousers, but I doubt that really minor religions lend themselves equally to such contexts.

On the second statement, we are discussing bounded rationality here. A belief can be perfectly internally rational, so that would hardly promote “fuckwittery” even if the particular belief happen to be a delusion. But there is a risk of this if there will be major tensions with other bounded rationalities and/or reality. Fundamentalism is always a problem in all walks of life. (If you are trying to say that religious fundamentalism is a more common problem than fundamentalism in other areas, I guess that is correct though.)

Tim Fuller Wrote:

The ID nonsense is just an offshoot of the Dominionist (Christian Reconstructionist) movement.

Unfortunately it sells to many outside that fringe movement, such as the many non-fundamentalists who belong to religions that have long embraced evolution. Unfortunatly those people, often hardly even religious, have a very confused view of science and are unaware of how slickly it’s misrepresented - with unwitting assistance by a sensatonalist media. That combination, plus a public distrust of science, creates a market, and the scammers exploit it to the fullest.

Wikipedia:

Efforts by family to help Seung-Hui Cho Cho’s mother, becoming increasingly concerned about Cho’s inattention to classwork, his time spent out of the classroom and his asocial behavior, sought help for Cho during summer 2006 from various churches throughout the Northern Virginia community.[24] According to Dong Cheol Lee, minister of One Mind Church — a Presbyterian church in Woodbridge, a community in Prince William County, Virginia, Cho’s mother sought help from the church for Cho’s problems. Lee added that “[Cho’s] problem needed to be solved by spiritual power … “[t]hat’s why she came to our church — because we were helping several people like him.” Members of Lee’s church even told Cho’s mother that “[Cho] was afflicted by demonic power and needed deliverance.” Before the church could start its work, Cho returned to school to start his senior year at Virginia Tech.[24]

Speaking of fundie cult killers. Can’t forget Seung Cho who killed 33 people in a few minutes. The demonic possession theory of mental illness is left over from the middle ages. Zyprexa and intensive therapy would probably have worked better.

Unless, of course, you argue that atheism is a religion in its own right.

I see ‘Emanuel’ Goldstein/Legion is back.

No, ‘Emanuel’, it’s only you idiots who claim that.

He of course had extremist political views, but that simply demonstrates that any system can be used to excuse violence.

Atheism, of course, isn’t a “system” anymore than not believing in the Great White Handkerchief is a “system”. Beyond this, the statement is surely correct. The human ability to rationalize our desires has no logical limit that I’ve ever seen.

Again, in this particular case, I don’t see it as a religious issue, but rather as a mental health issue, with religion arbitrarily used as the delivery vehicle. I think it’s a mistake to regard Kaczynski and Korn as ideological extremists as distinct from disturbed people. At the very least, brain malfunction issues are the cause, and ideological extremism of any kind is the effect, not the other way around.

Laarson wrote: On the first statement, there are always the mentally ill, which we are likely discussing here. In the real ill, religion does seem to be a preferential choice to explain away the voices et cetera, but it is likely that any religion fit. For the more functional nutcases, like Kaczynski and Korn, there could perhaps be a slight difference depending on how aggression is handled by the party/religion.

I have often wondered if the mentally ill that are driven to violence in the name of religion would be violent if there was no religious justification. If lunatics didn’t know anything about demonic possession, would they kill their wives, husbands, children (Andrea Yates), anyway? Or would they find some other reason to justify their predilection for murder? Is there something about religious fervor that makes people violent? What is the cause and what is the effect here? Has this been investigated? Has research been done on this?

What Flint said. My original comment about Kaczynski was about the danger that people like Korn pose to society. Doesn’t matter whether Kaczynski was an atheist or a buddhist. Doesn’t matter whether Korn is a religious rightwingnut or supplicant to the FSM. It’s not what his rationalization is. It’s the fact that he feels justified in sending his messages and openly threatening people.

Robin asked “If lunatics didn’t know anything about demonic possession, would they kill their wives, husbands, children (Andrea Yates), anyway?”

Maybe the Andrea Yates situation could be equated to reliance on bogus cancer treatments that cause people to forego more effective treatments. Yates needed help for severe post partum depression, but her family relied on their religion instead of seeking medical intervention.

I have often wondered if the mentally ill that are driven to violence in the name of religion would be violent if there was no religious justification.

You don’t have to be mentally ill to be a mass murderer. Religion can do that all by its little old lonesome self. Just look at Iraq. Every study I’ve seen has said the countless terrorists and suicide bombers are not crazy. They’ve simply embraced an ideology that makes what is unthinkable to western eyes normal.

Christianity did the same thing. Catholic Protestant wars, crusades, witch burnings etc. Don’t forget that the C-P wars finally wound down in Northern Ireland a whole 7 years ago. What is different is that amazingly enough, christianity has grown up. Sort of.

The culture of ignorance, violence, and murder of the fundie cults is a fertile soil for individuals predisposed to those activities. They grow their own too.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Korn insane. He is clearly unbalanced mentally but probably isn’t going to fit any legal or medical definition of insane. There is a lot of clever, long term planning in what he has done. And he is smart enough to figure out that the cops are after him and elude capture. What is worse, I’m sure he has a lot of sympathy in the creo circles and will be regarded as a martyr and hero. He may well have a small or large network of followers who will help him evade the police. This isn’t fitting the model of lone kook very well at all.

The demonic possession theory of mental illness is left over from the middle ages. Zyprexa and intensive therapy would probably have worked better.

Or a guitar with an amp that goes up to 11. Very therapeutic.

I think it was after Spinal Tap came out that the new Marshalls’ volume knobs were calibrated from 1 to 20. “That’s 9 louder.”

They’ve simply embraced an ideology that makes what is unthinkable to western eyes normal.

Indeed, resistance to a U.S. invasion is unthinkable to many Americans.

I want to be very, very clear in this post, because I don’t want what I say to be perceived as laying blame on Cho’s family, who have endured enough tragedy.

Cho’s mental illness probably has a very strong biological component, and likely would have expressed itself in any circumstances.

Nevertheless, certain aspects of the US environment may have contributed to the tragedy.

Not only did Cho’s mother respond to his mental illness with fundamentalism rather than modern scientific medicine, but Cho’s sister works and has worked in various Bush administration State Department jobs since 2004, and was active in campus “Christian” activities in college and beyond.

These facts suggest (strongly suggest, actually) that Cho may have been exposed to the current US right wing media, such as Fox News and its fellow travelers. It’s highly plausible that the family may self-identify with the “religious right”.

Also supporting this conjecture is the lack of attack on the family by the US media. Had Cho had a sister who attended peace protests, for example, the US media would surely have strongly implied that this caused the massacre.

Is this relevant? Of course it is. For the past ten years, and especially for the past five years, US “conservative” commentators have tended to claim allegiance to the fundamentalism, and also to peddle a message of implied (or outright) threats of violence toward “liberals” and others they dislike. I would, of course, include claims that God will use the weather to kill homosexuals in this category. This is a general trend, with some exceptions, of course, but it is the trend. The rigidly ideological/authoritarian/anti-intellectual/violence-promoting tendency of a “movement” is a historically familiar one, of course.

It is not unreasonable to conjecture that this aspect of US society may have pushed an unbalanced, undertreated mentally ill individual in the direction of severe violence. It would be ureasonable to suggest the opposite, actually. If, in fact, a mentally ill young man was raised in an environment in which mainstream care was resisted, and propaganda urging violence as the way to deal with opponents, directly or through clear implication, was frequently in the background, the probability of a tragedy may have been enhanced.

This is not the “fault” of any one individual or family, although public speakers who call for unjustified violence, and “journalists” who seek to give such calls “respectability”, can hardly be described as “responsible”.

I know I’m going to flamed for this, and possibly called a troll, but whatever.

Reading what has been posted on previous pandasthumb articles, its obvious that from an intellectual standpoint, the guy isn’t hi up on the food chain. But, we do have the first amendment.

Also, last time I checked, he is allowed to consult an attourney on firing whatever charges he wishes. Now, would any competent attourney allow him to do so? No. But he can consult with them.

Finally, unless he’s a ninja master, I doubt a pen in his hands is a highly deadly implement. Moreover, he apparently quotes Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church, and then immediately afterwards says he is NOT going to do that.

As far as actual death threats, I’m not seeing it from this guy.

Alright, let’s have the flaming commence.

The guy is obsessed, unhinged and persistent. He is escalating. He thinks nothing of trespass and defamation.

If you really care about his freedom, quick pass an amendment protecting the rights of stalkers.

Hamlet -

I don’t think the issue is just this guy personally.

I think this particular guy is clearly very mentally ill, which doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous. He needs treatment, although tragically, he may have a type of disorder that makes that almost impossible. So far he seems to have committed relatively minor crimes, and the time to stop him is NOW, before a real tragedy unfolds.

The broader issue is the irresponsible use of, and tolerance for, constant threats of violence, by creationists and their political allies.

A common trick is to imply and let dittoheads interpret. On the internet, this can be accomplished by having a “post” by the “blogger” that merely rails against the unpardonable treason of “materialists” or “liberals” or “feminazis” or whatever, without quite mentioning violence. Then it can be followed by thread of near-anonymous comments that rave about specific violent acts, and the “blogger” can laughably deny responsibility.

Other media use other, but similar, techniques.

Of course, the most imbalanced and vulnerable among the audience are the most likely to destroy their own lives by acting this stuff out. Everybody knows that. Pastor Jerry Gibson knows that, Ann Coulter knows that, they all know that. The apparent point of a lot of commentary, unless this group of commentators is far more naive than I imagine (and it is a large group), is to indirectly provoke some vulnerable, mentally ill, lower status individuals to act out such fantasies, while being able to deny any role.

I don’t think religion has much to do with the behaviors of crazies like Korn though it does help focus their craziness. Though something being missed here is that when you have religious zealots/crazies who commit these kinds of acts, or threaten to commit these acts (like Korn), they can often find succour in the ranks of their religious compatriots. You generally won’t find that among the atheists.

This is a test

what has been posted on previous pandasthumb articles, its obvious that from an intellectual standpoint, the guy isn’t hi up on the food chain. But, we do have the first amendment.

Also, last time I checked, he is allowed to consult an attourney on firing whatever charges he wishes. Now, would any competent attourney allow him to do so? No. But he can consult with them.

The first amendment covers a lot. It doesn’t cover death threats, stalking, outing a covert CIA agent, slander, libel, posting nuclear warhead designs on the internet, etc..Sometimes one right conflicts with another and lines are drawn.

Korn went beyond the 1st amendment into harassing, stalking, menacing, probable cause of danger to himself and/or others, libel and slander, and cyberstalking among other illegalities. That is why he has an arrest warrant out on him.

Anyone can sue. But bogus lawsuits can fall under the laws against malicious prosecution, abuse of process, abuse of the legal system, and especially in these cases SLAPP suits. And boomerang pretty quickly so that the frivolous suer owes lots of money for the victim’s lawyer and court costs plus damages, maybe.

Plus judges really hate wingnuts clogging up the court system with nonsense cases. Summary judgement time.

There are also the questions of legal standing and jurisdiction.

Malicious prosecution From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Malicious prosecution is a common law intentional tort. While similar to the tort of abuse of process, its elements include (1) intentionally (and maliciously) instituting or pursuing (or causing to be instituted or pursued) a legal action (civil or criminal) that is (2) brought without probable cause and (3) dismissed in favor of the victim of the malicious prosecution. In some jurisdictions, “malicious prosecution” is reserved for the wrongful initiation of criminal proceedings, while “malicious use of process” refers to the wrongful initiation of civil proceedings.

Of course, Korn hasn’t been convicted on anything, but it looks like the judgments are in.

And with a flick of the wrist, you can argue that therefore all Christians are insane, (delusional per Dawkins), child abusers (per Dennet AND Dawkins) and that therefore they belong in jail (Zoos, per Dennet.)

It an elegant approach, and demonstrates the beauty of the atheist mind.

Your whiny martyrdom isn’t especially compelling, Emanuel.

Let me try this again.

Looking through the letters that have been posted on this site, I do not see the death threat. If there is a death threat, or even the threat of violence, perhaps someone can point that out to me.

He has not even filed any lawsuit yet. I could be wrong, but threatening to file a lawsuit isn’t illegal. Perhaps actually filing the law suit might be illegal (malicious prosecution), but you can’t charge someone with something they might do, but haven’t done yet.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t think this guy is the most intelligent guy out there… (he’s not even close), but again, prosecuting him because of that doesn’t work.

For those who think he should be arrested, charged, convicted… whatever, I would appreciate you quoting exactly what he’s said that makes you think so.

What has he done? He’s sent e-mails, and slipped letters under doors. Has he even “stalked” anyone?

Hamlet -

I took you seriously and gave you a serious answer. Now I see that you’re willing to be deliberately obtuse, which is a form of dishonesty I find very annoying.

I already agreed that legally, the actions represent trivial offenses; they are also obviously threatening, and partly provoked by violent right wing preaching; I’m not making that last bit up, that’s what Korn himself said.

Naturally, one of the people harmed most by this type of preaching, and disingenuous enabling, is Korn himself.

Whatever -

You are a borderline illustration of exactly what I’m talking about.

Of course, Korn hasn’t been convicted on anything, but it looks like the judgments are in.

Correct, at least in my case. Based on the available information, it is my current judgment that Korn is mentally ill, that he is being manipulated, and that his actions should be taken seriously. No-one is suggesting that he be convicted of crimes that he hasn’t committed, nor that his mental illness not be considered. However, it would be very stupid to do nothing and permit him to escalate.

And with a flick of the wrist, you can argue that therefore all Christians are insane,

This is a complete non-sequitor.

This is also an example of a vaguely coded hateful comment. No-one said any such thing. But imply that they did, and perhaps some vulnerable mind will be worked into a rage. You also, of course, imply coded support for Korn’s action with this comment.

(delusional per Dawkins), child abusers (per Dennet AND Dawkins) and that therefore they belong in jail (Zoos, per Dennet.)

Who cares what they say? Dawkins and Dennet are utterly irrelevant to this thread. However, two things are worth noting.

1) Neither Dawkins, Dennet, nor any associated “follower” of theirs has been associated with significant harrassment of or violence against any religious individual or institution that I know of. Generalized insults, which they certainly release, are not the same thing as targeted threats - I don’t call the police every time I hear someone insult some large general group that I happen to belong to.

2) Laughably, the biggest Dawkins fans of all are the likes of you - self-pitying, narcissistic pseudo-martyrs, eagerly looking for something to be offended by (an attitude not endorsed by the Biblical Jesus, I might add).

It an elegant approach, and demonstrates the beauty of the atheist mind.

Again, the typical nonsensical and overgeneralized, yet seething, non-sequitor.

You take a story about a pitiful disturbed man worked up by rabble-rousers into making a dangerous public nuisance of himself, and you twist into an excuse for - a new rabble-rousing, hateful rant. Ah yes, those dastardly “atheists”, calling all “Christians” “insane” with a “flick of their wrist”. What punishment could be severe enough for them?

In other words, I think that atheists are most probably right, but they are deluded if they think they have conclusively proved their case.

Dawkins, Chapter 4 of The God Delusion: “Why there almost certainly is no God”.

Also, good response, Guye.

I would add that Russell’s “teapot around Mars” analogy was composed in order to respond to the demand that evidence be produced to show that God does not exist, when for most issues the burden of “proof” is assumed to rest with those who make a positive claim.

True, Russell tended to call himself “agnostic” when he was being more philosophical, because God cannot be demonstrated not to exist. But even he tended to think that there was no practical difference between agnosticism and atheism, hence the “teapot around Mars” analogy. Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, and the other “new atheists” just aren’t concerned about the perhaps meaningless distinction (meaningless in epistemological terms) between agnosticism and theism, adopting the only useful epistemological position—that used by science and the judiciary—and putting the burden of supplying sufficient evidence on those who claim that God exists.

Sensibly, Dawkins is not arguing ontology. He’s arguing about what can be meaningfully (observationally) asserted. And he is atheist, or anti-theist, instead of being post-theistic only because theism remains an ongoing presumption of society despite the fact that the affirmative case for God remains an abject failure. He denies God in the same way that science denies meaningless hypotheses, as that we “have no use for that hypothesis.”

I am, perhaps, idealizing Dawkins there (I haven’t read his book either). But no matter, that’s the proper case for atheism, or anyway for what is sometimes called “weak atheism” (which has taken over for the term “agnosticism” for many). And at the least, Dawkins is not very far from the position I laid out. As noted above, chapter 4 of his The God Delusion is, after all, titled “Why there almost certainly is no God,” not “Why there certainly is no God.”

In a sense, it is worth noting that we can’t conclusively show that there is no God. But no one has really demonstrated that ontology has any meaning beyond epistemology (hence ontology appears superfluous), and epistemologically we don’t have any real cause even to begin to address the issue of “God”. Only culturally and historically do we have reason to do so, and in those areas we almost certainly have much more reason to see theism as an understandable mistake by past humans than as a meaningful claim. That is what we do with animism, and we don’t generally take the trouble to distinguish the fact that we can’t rule out animating spirits operating in the weather and in “sacred groves”, from the fact that such a hypothesis is superfluous and meaningless by what we currently know.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Oops, I really ought to correct a mistake I made here:

Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, and the other “new atheists” just aren’t concerned about the perhaps meaningless distinction (meaningless in epistemological terms) between agnosticism and theism

The last word there was supposed to be “atheism”, not “theism”.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

One hopes it’s clear from this, then, that you’re not really in a very good position to assert that Dawkins has asserted “that science can or has conclusively disproved supernaturalism…”.

No, I didn’t say that, tho I can see why you might have drawn that inference. The question was whether Dawkins is delusional. Not having read the book, I cannot comment, but I thought that the thrust of the question was whether anyone who thinks “that science can or has conclusively disproved supernaturalism…” is deluded, so that is the question I addressed. If that was not the intention of the question, I cannot see why the questioner suggested that Dawkins is delusional.

Chld abuse can include mental abuse. It does not have to be physical. And if teaching creationism and the like is child abuse, as Dawkins and Dennet claim no matter how you spin it, how can that be allowed to go on?

Teaching creationism isn’t the primary form of child abuse that religion is guilty of.

Teaching children that there’s a hell and that they’re going to burn in it for all eternity if they don’t submit to God’s (read: the denomination of the parent’s) authority is most certainly child abuse.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on July 20, 2007 4:57 PM.

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