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February 18, 2012


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To find out, you have to read to Brown’s penultimate paragraph.

*checks* Oh, thank god! You didn’t use “penultimate” to mean “last.”

In fairness, he probably didn't pick the headline -- meaning he didn't necessarily intend for that to be his main point, maybe just an aside.

As for the claim itself: Of course believers have access to reason. But they usually choose not to employ it when it comes to their beliefs. This is an observation, not an assumption.

Jeebus this whole "militant secularist" thing is just getting more and more ridiculous.

Do any of these people know what the word "secularism" means? That it isn't, in fact, a synonym for "atheist"? That historically speaking the people who have pushed the hardest and loudest for secularism have been religious people who want the freedom to worship their own way without government interference?

As far as I can tell in the last week or so the entire United Kingdom has lost its dictionary as well as its history books and has completely forgotten what secularism is and what it is not.

Also the "militant" tag. I've never seen an angry, torch-waving mob descending on a church, mosque or synagogue yelling "Death to Religion!"

Angry, torch-waving mobs outside churches, mosques or synagogues tend to be adherents of other religions, limiting their religious malediction to the particular religion followed in the besieged edifice.

Anyone that uses the phrase 'militant secularist' immediately demostrates they don't understand what secularism is.

"Atheism is a religion" is a common mantra from bleevers.

Well, then, guys, shouldn't you be respecting it, rather than attacking it? You wouldn't want to diss my religious beliefs, would you?

Don't stop blogging! You save people from becoming woos.

I bet you atheist love china. You know forcing themselves in Tibet, killing innocent people, and forcing them to adopt atheism.

Thank evolution for atheism

Darwin was Hitler's God Father no doubt

China, like USSR gives communism a bad rep

I thank being able to read the BuyBull for myself for my atheism, I really didn't know much aboot evolution until later

And didn't call you any names

Who said you call me names? Are you going crazy again?

SO tell me, you atheists love to talk about your morality, why are atheists killing people in Tibet and forcing them to ban Buddhism?

And don't hide from my question. Answer truthfully, why do you atheists go on and on about religion but never say anything when an atheist goes out and kill people.

Is it because you're bias?

they're just following the lead of the Christians who did similar things for millenia, I guess, I don't know

you'll have to ask them, we're not some homogenous group with everyone on speed dial

Why assume we like what China does, that's ridiculous. We don't have a book of rules that everyone is to follow.

The doG of The Abrahamic Trio is a narcissistic, genocidal maniac according to the KJV.

Pope Ratzo cherry picks Deuteronomy to show that "doG is Love" and leaves out having to eat your children if you don't get on your knees boy, LOL

the truth: "I bet you atheist love china. You know forcing themselves in Tibet, killing innocent people, and forcing them to adopt atheism."

I hope you don't have any money on that bet because I'm atheist and I don't love China, what they do in Tibet or killing people so you'd be wrong there. If they were forcing people to not believe - which is impossible but hey - in whatever superstition they chose that would also be wrong, however, I'm unaware of any such acts.

the truth: "SO tell me, you atheists love to talk about your morality, why are atheists killing people in Tibet and forcing them to ban Buddhism?"

Are they? How do you know they're atheists? Even if some atheists were doing such, where have you got the notion that what one atheist does reflects on all atheists globally? Would be as stupid as blaming all Muslims for the acts of the fundamentalist minority. Where also have you got the idea that atheists profess to be the apex of moral perfection? No atheist I'm aware of claims such a thing.

the truth: "Answer truthfully, why do you atheists go on and on about religion but never say anything when an atheist goes out and kill people."

I've never noted much if any commentary on any murder whether perpetrated by believers or non-believers unless their world view was an explicitly expressed motivation for their actions. However, I'm also unaware of any murderer who killed with atheism as an expressed motivating factor in the act. Religiously motivated violence on the other hand is rather common, why right now in Burma / Myanmar Buddhists and Muslims clash with a number killed. The primary reason for people speaking out against religions has generally been over those religions encroachment on territory they have no business in and religions trying to foist their moral standards upon the entire populace whether they believe differently or not at all.

More to the point, what in the blazes does any of your posting have to do with the OP, you just here looking to do battle with the heathen?

Yes, clearly I am fracking bored silly to be even responding to this.

My big problem with China, North Korea, the Soviet Union, and other such regimes is exactly the same big moral problem I have with religions: They're all built on authoritarianism.

Your typical internet skeptic/atheist knows the value of constitutional, representational governments that uphold minority rights, thanks in part to being one of the minorities. From where I stand, secularism was the goal of America's foundation. No one gets to force their beliefs on anyone through government action. The only "force" I'm allowed to use is force of argument.

Science thrives on this idea, because sometimes demonstrable truths are unpopular, and thus they need free speech protection from censorship, whether it's from a denialist authoritarian ruler or mobs who think majority rule overrides a person's right to express and defend his beliefs.

Fun fact: Lysenkoism was effectively government policy in Russia. Evolutionary biologists were gulag'd and even executed for studying genetics and supporting the modern synthesis of evolution. Stalin would have disappeared us if Trofim Lysenko read our blogs and comments.

And somehow, fundamentalist Christians have it in their head that we're pro-Stalin. The current day Creationist trend to legislate their way into schools is Lysenkoism Lite.

Another fun thing: We generally argue against acupuncture. Modern acupuncture started as a codifying of ancient Chinese quackery, propped up by Mao. It doesn't work, and authoritarian government decrees didn't change that. Mao would probably do some nasty stuff to modern medical skeptics for daring to go against the party line.

One part of me wants to think that fundies know this and scream about us being allegedly authoritarian mostly because they need to diminish their own guilt. But, of course, most of them are just raised in an environment of deception and historical revisionism and are discouraged from honest inquiry into The Other's actual beliefs.

Funny how you so called atheists love to go on and on about religion but never EVER say anything about atheists killing people in Tibet. I guess atheists don't care when religious people die.

Of course modern atheists don't believe in free will either so we'll eventually come to the point where you can rape as many people as you want. Why punish if there's no free will.

Also don't you find it strange that whenever atheists reign the rate of living tends to fall? China, the soviet union, vietnam, cuba, etc.

I thought you atheists were supposed to be intellectual. Why do you allow your people to suffer?


oh look atheists grinding dead babies into pills.

I thought atheism touts morality and rationality. What's so rational or moral about grinding up dead babies and selling them as vitamins?

How come you atheists don't stop your own people? Is it because you support them?

Well Mr the truth, my impression from your words thus far is that you're a person given to religion of some denomination or another, most likely that would be some version of Christianity. Let me disabuse you of an erroneous notion you seem to have that may be informed by your faith. Neither atheism nor atheists are akin to what you're familiar with, it's not a religion and thus it has no dogma nor doctrine. It has no holy texts, no priestly class or hierarchy, no tenets by which the rank and file atheists must adhere. All it takes to be an atheist is to lack a belief in any deity, nothing more, nothing less. Now this position can easily lead to a host of other closely related ideas like secularism, humanism and such but all that's needed is the lack of belief. So there are no self appointed leaders to keep the flock in line, order their actions or tell them what to do. There is no doctrine telling all atheists around the world what they should think and do. Those properties are the properties found in religion and as we've seen it doesn't work out that well. So when you address you atheists, exhort atheists as a monolithic organisation capable of independent agency or accuse that same body of grinding up dead babies, you are addressing and castigating something that does not exist, a kind of straw-man of your own invention.

Nor are all self-identified atheists good people, intellectual giants or particularly concerned for the well being of others; neither are religious people though. What can be said is that a large number of rational, reasoning people like scientists and academics do not believe in deities as a result of reasoning the issue through. This tends also to dovetail with a greater sense of secularity and humanism, it's not guaranteed mind. However, all any atheist that responds here can do is speak for themselves and their opinions, others may agree with those basic sentiments but there is nothing more.

Funny how you so called atheists love to go on [...] don't care when religious people die.

Oh right, why supply the source that indicates that specifically identified atheists - not merely those nominally assumed to be atheists because China has no state religion thus all Chinese must be atheist - are killing anyone or doing so specifically because they are atheists. Why do that when you can simply just repeat those assertions as though repetition makes it real. Why skip about the fact that nothing in Tibet or any other murder of the religious has been done expressly in the name of atheism? Or why admit your bet was misplaced, nah, easier to just ignore your errors and carry on regardless eh?

Look, prominent atheists and many others tend to speak out about that which is affecting them where they are or other actions against people because those people don't believe. What China does in Tibet is an act of political repression by a force that claims rule over the lands that comprise Tibet. China did not invade to stamp out religion and nowhere can that be found as their sole or even primary purpose for taking over Tibet. Their actions against Buddhists are a function of so much of the Tibetan population being Buddhist and that Buddhism has become a focal point of resistance to the Chinese regime. It is not a war against religion and Buddhism is a religion that the Chinese state officially recognises even though there is no state religion as per White Paper--Freedom of Religious Belief in China . Now the imprisonment of Alexander Aan was explicitly due to religious people imposing their beliefs upon an unbeliever who dared to be brazenly open about such lack of belief. George Tiller was killed because a religious person morally objected to the work he did and Muslims - the Muslims closest to hand - were killed in retaliation for a rape allegedly perpetrated by Muslims in Burma / Myanmar.

Expecting prominent atheists or those on sites that deal with paranormal bunk and pseudo-science to focus on Chinese actions in Tibet is about as unreasonable as expecting them to expound on the evils of austerity economics or the use of military drones. Some might also speak about that but they're not doing so with their atheism as a relevant part of their argument

Of course modern atheists don't believe in free will either so we'll eventually come to the point where you can rape as many people as you want. Why punish if there's no free will.

Some atheists may think that free will is an illusion whilst others do not but nowhere in that is the notion that you may therefore freely hurt any other person. Most atheists it may surprise you to know do have morals that are based in reason and not the threat of divine punishment. I'd also point out that as atheists form a much smaller segment of the population and do not make up the bulk of prison populations, most criminals tend to have religion to some degree. Some folks even think that they're faith gives them licence to kill. I've yet to encounter any atheist who proclaims similar.

In fact, it seems to be you who thinks that without a divine punisher then everyone can just do as they please, rape and murder with abandon. You're the only one whose base urges need to be kept in check by a punishing deity. In fact, China, that atheist state you like to refer to, well things like rape are illegal there when by your reasoning should we not expect to find it both allowed and rampant? Why is this not so? Why do we have rape in lands that have religion?

Also don't you find it strange that whenever atheists reign the rate of living tends to fall? China, the soviet union, vietnam, cuba, etc.

The issues in the USSR and early Communist China were due to an unfeasible system of political organisation and instituting a cult of the leader. Neither of which are in any way related to atheism. Like I said above, the failures of those political systems had nothing to do with the lack of a state religion.

oh look atheists grinding dead babies into pills.

Would you care to point to the exact line in the article that it specifies atheist? You won't because it's not there, you're just conflating a country lacking a state religion with the entire population of that country some of whom are atheists whilst others believe in some religion, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and so on. Of course there is nothing rational or moral about grinding dead babies up for pills, it is wrong and it is profoundly stupid. It is likely some form of TCM, a result of irrational magical thinking due to a belief in a power that its adherents wish was there but have no evidence for. You know what that's like? Faith, the belief in supernatural powers even though there is no evidence for them. Nothing to do with atheism or reason.

However, again I ask what does any of this China, Tibet thing have to do with the OP?

Babies ground up into pills? Sounds like TCM magical thinking and/or a politically motivated urban legend. I'm not one to trust the Huffington Post to care about truth, from all the support for quackery and sensationalism they've given over the years.

Of course, if it's true, what's atheism got to do with it? Greed and magical thinking would be the real causes, not atheism. I'd argue you're probably a much bigger unwitting supporter of the magical thinking component behind the act, mister "truth", than a monist/methodological naturalist like me. I and all the atheists I know reject vitalism, sympathetic magic, and TCM as superstitious nonsense.

I'd consider it morally horrible to make such pills as well as just plain stupid, just like Darth Cynic. If you have to be told the basic reasons behind its immorality, you're already a monster. I sure can't think of any moral justification for grinding up babies for profit.

If you think there's some magical vitalist property of babies that can be transferred via pill to make people younger or healthier, you're an irrational fringe lunatic woo, not a part of the skeptical/atheist community I hang around. That's why your understanding of atheism rings completely false.

Darth Cynic and Bronze Dog are correct – “grinding dead babies into pills” would be Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), otherwise known on this blog as “woo.” TCM woo is the result of not enough rationality and critical thinking, not too much. This blog is opposed to this sort of woo and has debunked much of it before.

Furthermore, from Mr Truth’s own cited article, we have this:

Deng said Chinese health departments would work with police, customs agencies and commerce authorities to investigate the latest claims, Xinhua said.

So it can be clearly seen, by reading the actual article that Mr Truth cited, that atheists (by his definition – all Chinese are atheists) are actually trying to stop their own people from doing this. So Mr Truth’s accusation, framed as a rhetorical question, has been answered and debunked. From within his own article. If only he had read past the first paragraph, he would have known this and saved embarrassing himself (even more).

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