Radical Atheists

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Radical Atheists

Post by Articulett » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:54 pm

I hear people use the term "radical atheist" or "dogmatic atheist". When I ask for an example of such a person, often they'll mention Richard Dawkins...sometimes they mention Penn Jillette or Sam Harris or just people they've read on-line. But when I ask them to define the term and then cut and paste a quote that reflects that definition, so that I can understand the kind of thing a "radical atheist" woulds say--who knows, I meant be one for all I know. Or it may just be a stereotype that no one actually fits. People will paraphrase something they think Dawkins said, but when I look at the words, I think he sounds way nicer than say a panel of peers challenging an oral presentation of your thesis. I think people are just so used to bending over backwards to respect religion, that they have a knee jerk protection feeling for it. I don't think unsupported beliefs should be respected or promoted or given extra reverence. I think it's wrong to teach to kids as "the truth". Does that make me a "radical atheist". It seems like the standards for being radical are way lower than for other so-called radicals. I think I could find a couple of select quotes from anyone who I found radical in their philosophy or beliefs--Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, Ted Haggard, Osama Bin Laden, Tom Cruise, Sylvia Browne, etc.

So for those of you who believe that there are radical atheists out there, it would be helpful if you give me a definition of what a radical atheist is as well as quotes that you feel support your definition. Because I'm beginning to think it's a made up stereotype with no actual radicals. What does it even mean to be radical about not believing something? Unless maybe you were radical about not believing the measurable evidence before you that the majority found axiomatic?
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Post by Deft One » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:23 pm

I will go with the "unuseful stereotype". It's just another label that can be twisted and spun to make atheists look like they are out of touch. I don't even like the term atheist. The fact is, I don't believe in your god, or anybody else's. Agnostics feel the same. I don't distinguish between the two. And neither are radical.
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Post by macros_man » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:47 pm

Perhaps a "radical atheist" could be defined as one who launches "crusades" against believers, and attempts to force people to denounce their belief in god, through physical force and/or intimidation.

A radical atheist might believe that the government should outlaw all forms of religion, and forcibly prevent people from taking part in any religious acts or ceremonies.

That said... I doubt there are more than a handful of such persons on the entire planet.
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Post by Flash » Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:20 pm

I guess Lenin, Stalin and Mao would qualify as "radical atheists". Although, they were out to destroy organized religion not necessarily because of its theism per se but because such religious organizations represented a real economic and military threat to the communists. Various churches actively supported the military and other opposition to the communist parties. The support of the Whites during the Russion revolution by the Russian Orthodox church is a good example here. Also, it is well known by now that the catholic church in Eastern Europe was heavily cooperating with the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies. The communists were in the business of survival and any serious threat posed by an inside enemy would have to be eliminated. Whether it was a religious entity or not, really did not matter that much.

Now it's a different story. Kindly give us examples of the radical atheists in the sense discussed above. I don't think you will find any macros man.
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Post by macros_man » Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:41 pm

Flash wrote:Now it's a different story. Kindly give us examples of the radical atheists in the sense discussed above. I don't think you will find any macros man.
macros_man wrote:That said... I doubt there are more than a handful of such persons on the entire planet.
I'm not claiming that I do know anybody that fits the 'definition' I gave.

And of course, I don't think for a second that anyone in the popular-media, such as Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al, fit such a description... or anyone else I can think of, for that matter...

However, and as my wording above implies, I wouldn't be so bold as to assume that NO such persons exist... as I'm sure there are some people who really do strongly feel this way. I'm sure there are many more people who also timidly feel this way, but if they gave it some more thought, I'm sure the vast majority would decide it is not a good idea to have government-enforced atheism.

Personally, I am an atheist, and I wouldn't mind at all if everyone else was too... but I think it's totally useless to force people to believe in anything... you might as well just segregate yourself from everybody else, and spend the rest of your life with nothing but imaginary friends...
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Post by fossilguy » Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:53 pm

As opposed to 'radical believers'? I actually heard a evangelical complaining about Dawkins seeking a platform for his views. The evangelical didn't see the irony that he himself and the believers in the Jesus mythology have whole networks devoted to pushing their ignorance.

'Accept Jesus or roast in Hell for all eternity" :roll: Thank goodness (or is it thank 'god', the Easter Bunny, Jesus and Leprachans) for Dawkins and his sanity. Then again, must counter those 'radical atheists'... the evangelicals should be given more air time to enlighten us on the Great Flood, the rotting body of Jesus rising from the dead and all those trumpets announcing the Four Horsemen. :wink:

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Post by Articulett » Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:02 pm

Flash wrote:I guess Lenin, Stalin and Mao would qualify as "radical atheists". Although, they were out to destroy organized religion not necessarily because of its theism per se but because such religious organizations represented a real economic and military threat to the communists. Various churches actively supported the military and other opposition to the communist parties. The support of the Whites during the Russion revolution by the Russian Orthodox church is a good example here. Also, it is well known by now that the catholic church in Eastern Europe was heavily cooperating with the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies. The communists were in the business of survival and any serious threat posed by an inside enemy would have to be eliminated. Whether it was a religious entity or not, really did not matter that much.

Now it's a different story. Kindly give us examples of the radical atheists in the sense discussed above. I don't think you will find any macros man.
To me, that sounds like radical loyalists. They demanded allegiance to their cause above all else. They wanted time, effort, and, allegiances directed towards party loyalty not against people believing. But if people were actually going around forcing people not to believe something (and how would you do that?....I imagine it would be about as fruitful or less so than "forcing" someone to believe something.)

People who are not Scientologists are called "Wogs" by the Scientologists (the way non-Mormons and non-jews are referred to as gentiles). It's a way of forming "us" vs. "them" mentality. So we are all wogs rather we like it or not. So all regimes are "wog" regimes unless comprised of Scientologists. But what would a radical wog be? It would have to be more than what we are. Would it be someone who preached agains Scientology and shouted out it's horrors? And is that radical? I know atheists are often associated with communism (even though the communists of North Korea have a God, and so aren't atheists.) But I think that people have used the term social Darwinism to extrapolate atheism to groups who may or may not be just as they've applied social Darwinism to "evil-lution" and godlessness. And I know people link communism with atheism and that was prominent during the cold war when "under god" was added to the pledge to distinguish the supposed "good guys" from the "bad guys". But I am beginning to think this notion of the radical atheist or dogmatic atheist is a lie...a stereotype...something that theists expect others to believe in just as they expect us to believe theists are more moral. Some theist will refer to science as the dogma of atheists or of atheistic fundamentalism. (??)

But it's the kind of stereotype, that I've heard non believers perpetuate as well. So if you hear anyone imply that there are such people or that "such and such" is such a person (Dawkins gets the label the most from what I see)--see if you can pin someone down on a definition and a quote--an actual quote...not something they think someone said or implied. For example, Dawkins film, Root of All Evil? about religion was not a title chosen by him. He had no say in how the BBC titled it, and they chose that title for commercial reasons. He objected, and the concession they made, was to add the question mark on the end. He doesn't think religion is the root of all evil. He does think it causes harm and shouldn't be given artificial deference.

People are more likely to get mad that I don't accept such claims then to ever provide a definition with a quote. It could be because I'm a radical atheist and to blind to know it. But how can I ever know it without a definition and quotes. Who is the most radical atheist you can think of?

Whenever I read venom directed at Dawkins (or James Randi), it seems that the adjectives that they apply to him might be more readily applied to themselves. I can never link up the adjective to anything actually said or done.
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Post by sesshin » Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:58 am

I personally have been hearing more and more people advocating the banning of religion lately and to me that would classify as radical atheism. Its mostly young college kids so I really can't quote them, although I do believe Elton John made a similar statement publicly. These same people also will oftentimes actively seek out people of faith in order to challenge their beliefs.

Its really relative though I guess. I consider myself a moderate atheist, a live and let live type, so to me the ones out there "launching crusades" (as macros man put it) are radical in comparison.

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Post by fossilguy » Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:48 pm

sesshin wrote:I personally have been hearing more and more people advocating the banning of religion lately and to me that would classify as radical atheism
Please give examples of Dawkins or fellow scientists advocating the banning of religion. Dawkins (and I) deny the existence of god or the Easter Bunny but I've never known a fellow collegue in my scientific field advocate banning religion.

Dawkins isn't a radical atheist. It's that society is so use to everyone rolling over to the religious whackos that any type of rational thought is seen as 'radical'. He dares to call mythologies ' Baloney' that they are but has never suggested that anyone can't eat a slice of baloney if that's their intellectual appetite.

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Post by Flash » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:32 pm

Never mind banning religions, how about eliminating their tax free status so they have a little less money to build their ridiculous giant mosques, crystal cathedrals and the broadcast empires.
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Post by macros_man » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:10 pm

Flash wrote:Never mind banning religions, how about eliminating their tax free status so they have a little less money to build their ridiculous giant mosques, crystal cathedrals and the broadcast empires.
Man... I wonder if tele-evangelists and organizations that are in co-operation with religious television businesses are exempt from taxes?

Or how about money made from selling christian-rock and other christian music CD's and concert tickets. Does anyone know if THOSE are tax-exempt?!
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Post by Mordread » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:48 am

sesshin wrote: These same people also will oftentimes actively seek out people of faith in order to challenge their beliefs.
Christian groups - and you can't necessarily label them all as "radical" - send members out to do this all the time, so why should it be any less socially acceptable for atheists to return the favor?

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Post by sesshin » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:05 am

fossilguy wrote:
sesshin wrote:I personally have been hearing more and more people advocating the banning of religion lately and to me that would classify as radical atheism
Please give examples of Dawkins or fellow scientists advocating the banning of religion. Dawkins (and I) deny the existence of god or the Easter Bunny but I've never known a fellow collegue in my scientific field advocate banning religion.

Dawkins isn't a radical atheist. It's that society is so use to everyone rolling over to the religious whackos that any type of rational thought is seen as 'radical'. He dares to call mythologies ' Baloney' that they are but has never suggested that anyone can't eat a slice of baloney if that's their intellectual appetite.
Why did you not include the second sentence in my statement? Why are you bringing up Dawkins and asking me for examples? I specifically said "its mostly young college kids so I really can't quote them".

I know Dawkins or any other scientist isn't out there in the spotlight blatantly advocating the banning of religion. I'm not insinuating they are. I will say however many of Dawkins followers do advocate the banning of religion and use his writings to justify that belief. Take that for what you will.

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Post by sesshin » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:30 am

Mordread wrote:
sesshin wrote: These same people also will oftentimes actively seek out people of faith in order to challenge their beliefs.
Christian groups - and you can't necessarily label them all as "radical" - send members out to do this all the time, so why should it be any less socially acceptable for atheists to return the favor?
Yes Christian groups do send people out to evangelize and "spread the word" so to speak. They've come to my house several times and tried to give me their literature. Mormons and Scientologists have been by my place as well, and you know if atheists wanted to organize and do the same thing then more power to them. I would support that.

I am referring to something different though. Its more of a combative mentality, the kind filled with righteous indignation where the person literally has contempt and disgust for others who don't share their view. This can be a Christian damning all non-believers to hell or it can be an atheist angrily insulting and berating a person of faith. Its more of a fundamentalist mindset that cuts across all ideologies.

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Post by Articulett » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:57 am

sesshin wrote:I personally have been hearing more and more people advocating the banning of religion lately and to me that would classify as radical atheism. Its mostly young college kids so I really can't quote them, although I do believe Elton John made a similar statement publicly. These same people also will oftentimes actively seek out people of faith in order to challenge their beliefs.

Its really relative though I guess. I consider myself a moderate atheist, a live and let live type, so to me the ones out there "launching crusades" (as macros man put it) are radical in comparison.
I wish you would quote them. At least Elton John. I mean if someone says "religion should be banned" that's hardly a radical statement is it...it's an opinion. If you acted upon it or rallied for it, it might be different--but is anyone doing that. I hear rumors, like the Elton John thing...but when I heard the actual quote, it didn't sound that radical to me...but I can't remember it exactly, but he pointed out correctly, that religions were responsible for the hatred of homosexuals...

It bothers me tha you have an idea about these radicals, but no quotes or links--so it makes me think it's a stereotype not really represented by anyone.
If you can't understand; maybe it's you: http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

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Post by Articulett » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:01 am

Flash wrote:Never mind banning religions, how about eliminating their tax free status so they have a little less money to build their ridiculous giant mosques, crystal cathedrals and the broadcast empires.
I've been following the Sylvia Debunking and apparently her organization is seen as spiritual, so that means she's probably not paying any taxes on the $700 readings she's been charging people. I hope everyone has been following the CNN clips of James Randi, Anderson Cooper, and Robert Lancaster (http://www.stopsylviabrown.com) regarding her telling Sean Hornbeck's family he was dead on Montel 4 years before he was found alive.
If you can't understand; maybe it's you: http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

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Post by Articulett » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:06 am

sesshin wrote: I know Dawkins or any other scientist isn't out there in the spotlight blatantly advocating the banning of religion. I'm not insinuating they are. I will say however many of Dawkins followers do advocate the banning of religion and use his writings to justify that belief. Take that for what you will.
Surely you have some examples. Where have you heard this? Have you read these people on the web? It's just that memories can be influenced by stereotypes, and I want to see if there really are such people, or if you just believe there are such people and so you you exaggerate examples in your own head. Lots of people speak kind of like you--but they never ever provide any evidence. So how can I as a skeptic, know if it's real...or just a conclusion based on an exaggeration and a sense that people should have special deference for religion?
If you can't understand; maybe it's you: http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

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Post by snooziums » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:36 am

Articulett wrote:I've been following the Sylvia Debunking and apparently her organization is seen as spiritual, so that means she's probably not paying any taxes on the $700 readings she's been charging people. I hope everyone has been following the CNN clips of James Randi, Anderson Cooper, and Robert Lancaster (http://www.stopsylviabrown.com) regarding her telling Sean Hornbeck's family he was dead on Montel 4 years before he was found alive.
Interesting topic stray.

I have been helping Robert Lancaster with his site, as many of you already know. My mother (which I am taking care of, she is bed-ridden) seems to like Sylvia Browne for some reason (I personally cannot stand her). But on the Montel William show, Sylvia said that she does at least 20 readings a day, six days a week.

Now, at 700 dollars per reading times 20 day = $14,000 per day.
At six days a week = $84,000 per week.
$420,000 per month (30 day month), and $5,110,000 per year.

Even deducting for some vacation and holidays, that is a heck of a lot of money. I wish I had thought of that, but my conscious would not allow that.
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Post by izittrue » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm

Now, at 700 dollars per reading times 20 day = $14,000 per day.
At six days a week = $84,000 per week.
$420,000 per month (30 day month), and $5,110,000 per year
not bad...but of course she doesnt charge...er um er...
and all that money goes to the spritual foundation...not to sylvia...um er um....

lets hear it for you and for rs lancaster...keep up the great work...
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Post by fossilguy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:02 pm

sesshin wrote:I personally have been hearing more and more people advocating the banning of religion lately and to me that would classify as radical atheism.
I don't believe you. I'm a lot older than you and have never heard a single person, let alone 'more and more', advocating the banning of religion. A lot of folks, atheists and believers, don't like many religions and don't like religious symbols used in public places, public oaths and so on but I've never heard anyone advocating the 'banning of religion'.

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Post by Marcus » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:57 pm

The people I know who would use a term like "radical atheist" are simply searching for a pejorative qualifier that they can apply to all atheists. When pressed on their definition of a regular, "non-radical" atheist, they will invariably respond with a definition that closely fits an agnostic.

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Post by KYSkeptic » Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:30 pm

Just to get back on topic:

Merriam-Webster defines radical as: marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional.

In the USA most people believe in a god. That is the “usual or traditional” belief. By far the greatest number believes in a christian god. So, semantically speaking, “Radical Atheist” seems redundant. Atheism is a considerable departure from the usual or traditional belief system of the majority of folks in the USA.

Another term I’ve seen used on several websites is “Strong Atheism”. I consider myself a strong atheist and define it as challenging those who proselytize and are bent on saving those of us with an alternative view point (what arrogance). There are many atheists who keep their views to themselves so as not to offend anyone. My hope is that someday these closet atheists will see that this course of action will eventually lead to strengthening the theist’s position because the politicians only hear their viewpoint.

As far as taxing the religious institutions:

I believe it is a practice that should only be conducted against those religious entities that meddle in politics. I think it should be an unwritten rule that when speaking in public, ethical people should not foist their religious views on their audience. So, when speaking in public, instead of going for the cheap votes (the herd-minded christian believers), don’t use any reference to any god. Keep your beliefs to yourself; else you risk the charge of pandering to those who lack the ability think for themselves. I am of the opinion that most politicians are of the closet atheist persuasion giving a god only mouth service (if they truly believed in the predominate god worshiped in the USA they would certainly act differently). But even if all the critical thinkers in this country rose up on election-day we still wouldn’t have enough numbers to defeat the christian right.
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Post by fossilguy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:34 pm

KYSkeptic wrote:Just to get back on topic:

Merriam-Webster defines radical as: marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional.

In the USA most people believe in a god. That is the “usual or traditional” belief. By far the greatest number believes in a christian god. So, semantically speaking, “Radical Atheist” seems redundant. Atheism is a considerable departure from the usual or traditional belief system of the majority of folks in the USA.

Another term I’ve seen used on several websites is “Strong Atheism”. I consider myself a strong atheist and define it as challenging those who proselytize and are bent on saving those of us with an alternative view point (what arrogance). There are many atheists who keep their views to themselves so as not to offend anyone. My hope is that someday these closet atheists will see that this course of action will eventually lead to strengthening the theist’s position because the politicians only hear their viewpoint.

As far as taxing the religious institutions:

I believe it is a practice that should only be conducted against those religious entities that meddle in politics. I think it should be an unwritten rule that when speaking in public, ethical people should not foist their religious views on their audience. So, when speaking in public, instead of going for the cheap votes (the herd-minded christian believers), don’t use any reference to any god. Keep your beliefs to yourself; else you risk the charge of pandering to those who lack the ability think for themselves. I am of the opinion that most politicians are of the closet atheist persuasion giving a god only mouth service (if they truly believed in the predominate god worshiped in the USA they would certainly act differently). But even if all the critical thinkers in this country rose up on election-day we still wouldn’t have enough numbers to defeat the christian right.
Good post. It's amusing watching American politicians trying to attend as many religious services as possible when campaigning. Our Canadian system has some flaws but I like the fact that I don't know the religion of our current PM, the last one, the religion of our provincial premier and so on. I'm a political junkie and don't know the name of our last 3 PM's wives.

On a positive note, Americans are very vigilant of separation of church and state and individual rights. I'm a strong atheist but recognize that many religious groups do a lot of positve social and charity work. It would be good if 'political' religious movements lost their tax status but the process of applying any criteria would be a nightmare. Best leave things alone. The rest of the western world snickers an American religious influence yet it's still in the U.S. that cream rises to the top and Americans sweep the Nobel Prizes in science disciplines... Creativity still trumps Creationism.

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Post by Marcus » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:11 pm

A radical atheist would be one that departs from usual and traditional atheism. "Radical", when used alone, refers to a radical person.

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Post by snooziums » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:52 pm

The problem here is the definition of "radical" and what it applies to. Does it apply to within the group, or to an external concept?

Sometimes, radical implies challenging the common ideas and actions of one's own group. Such as radicals within a religion doing something that most within that religion would not do.

And yet, often that group is defined by those who are radical, even to their own group.

I suppose that I could be considered a "radical" atheist by that definition. While I do not believe in any god(s), which qualify me to be an atheist, I do believe in the concept of the "soul." Now, many atheists do not believe in the soul, so I am different to parts of the existing framework of atheism.

Does that mean that I am going to do something violent? No. Does that mean that I am going to advocate the elimination of others? No.

It just means that I am "different" from others in my "group."
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Re: Radical Atheists

Post by HghrSymmetry » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:09 am

Articulett wrote:I hear people use the term "radical atheist" or "dogmatic atheist". When I ask for an example of such a person, often they'll mention Richard Dawkins...sometimes they mention Penn Jillette or Sam Harris or just people they've read on-line. But when I ask them to define the term and then cut and paste a quote that reflects that definition, so that I can understand the kind of thing a "radical atheist" woulds say--who knows, I meant be one for all I know. Or it may just be a stereotype that no one actually fits.
Some of that sentiment might be coming from theists. I sometimes get the impression that any mention of the word atheist is automatically categorized as radical or dogmatic, even if the simple meaning of the 'a' in front of theist means "non" or "not."
Ironically, most theists know exactly what's it's like to be an atheist. Simply ask them to explain their belief in Jupiter or Zeus. Usually you'll get the "I don't beleive in Zeus." They just demonstrated what it's like to be an atheist.
Unfortunately, atheists aren't given the same freedom in return. The theist will say things to the effect of..."your atheism is just another religion or faith".
This is supposed to be some great insult apparently. Isn't that odd though? If that's the case, they are insulting themselves as well.
Of course, the propaganda doesn't stop there. Atheists are also immoral, nasty, depressed, mean, cruel, greedy, etc.
Another ploy is that atheists are anti gawd/christ/jehovah/allah whatever. Yet when a xian (for example) displays a lack of belief in Zeus, they are not anti Zeus at all. They dismiss him outright. Again, atheists aren't afforded the same non belief in return. Their non belief is often lumped in with an antagonism of some sort.

People will paraphrase something they think Dawkins said, but when I look at the words, I think he sounds way nicer than say a panel of peers challenging an oral presentation of your thesis. I think people are just so used to bending over backwards to respect religion, that they have a knee jerk protection feeling for it. I don't think unsupported beliefs should be respected or promoted or given extra reverence.
Exactly. Society seems to protect religious beliefs at any and all costs. Perhaps its time for humans to stop protecting non rational, non evidenced based beliefs systems.
A simple chuckle and then ignoring any religious proselytizing would be a fair approach. Yet in this point in time, the rational, natural default position of non belief is the one that generally has to be suppressed and hidden, less some serious consequences should result.
Will a time ever come when the theist is the one afraid to speak up about their beliefs, and experience embarrassment if they do?

I think it's wrong to teach to kids as "the truth".
It's wrong and abusive to some extent.
Does that make me a "radical atheist".
No, I'd say it makes you a wise person who cares about telling children how the world operates as best as possible at this point in time.
It seems like the standards for being radical are way lower than for other so-called radicals. I think I could find a couple of select quotes from anyone who I found radical in their philosophy or beliefs--Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, Ted Haggard, Osama Bin Laden, Tom Cruise, Sylvia Browne, etc.
Indeed. A double standard exists in that regard.
Who is the most radical atheist you can think of?
Unknown. Much propaganda exists around the life of Madalyn Murry O'Hair. Her son William has done a lot to demonize her.
She does seem to have ruffled a lot of feathers over the years.
From Wiki:
Madalyn Murray became so controversial in her opinions that, in 1964, Life magazine referred to her as "the most hated woman in America."

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Post by Articulett » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:09 am

I had seen Madelyn Murray O'Hair on Phil Donahue as a kid, and I could see people scowling, and I thought she was abrasive (besides--everyone knew commies were atheists so atheists were evil)--but I saw the same clip as an adult, and she just seemed like a matter of fact intelligent woman--she wasn't pushing her beliefs on anyone, and she was a strong proponent of civil rights. But the way she was treated, made me very cautious about being a vocal atheist. I learned a lot about her last year at TAM4. One of her son's was killed with her. Does she have others who are a live? What did the demonizing kid say about her? I heard L. Ron Hubbard had a gay kid who killed himself.
If you can't understand; maybe it's you: http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

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Post by AKSkeptic » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:49 am

If we take the meaning of the term radical to mean extremist, then we may glean a better understanding of what people mean when they use the term. I would say that radicals stray from the beaten path of thought and action. That is fine, if one can find his or her way back to sanity, and bring back what they found.
I know a man who would probably fill most people's idea of a radical atheist. He is one of my best friends. He is honest to a fault, helpful, compassionate, and posesses many of the other qualities most people equate with being a good person.
He knows there is no life after death. He knows that the cosmos and everything in it is nothing more than a series of meaningless accidents. He knows that our short, little, meaningless lives will eventually pass into the void of nothingness as the cosmos either ebbs into eternal darkness or ends in the Big Crunch. He knows that after the the end of the cosmos, nothing and no one will ever even know or care that we ever existed at all.
I asked him how he knew all that. He admitted that he didn't know for sure, but that it gave him pleasure to feel superior to all of us poor f**kers who don't believe as he does.
I then asked him, if all that is true, then why should anyone go through the trouble of trying to be a compassionate person? If all life is meaningless, then everything we do and experience is meaningless. Could we not just as validly be as mean and self-serving as we possibly could, since it all means nothing anyways?
He said that it simply feels good to him to show caring for others, in the moment, since that is all he has.
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Post by HghrSymmetry » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:21 am

Articulett wrote:I had seen Madelyn Murray O'Hair on Phil Donahue as a kid, and I could see people scowling, and I thought she was abrasive (besides--everyone knew commies were atheists so atheists were evil)--but I saw the same clip as an adult, and she just seemed like a matter of fact intelligent woman--she wasn't pushing her beliefs on anyone, and she was a strong proponent of civil rights.
I don't remember seeing her much, but I do remember her being active in the civil rights department.

But the way she was treated, made me very cautious about being a vocal atheist. I learned a lot about her last year at TAM4. One of her son's was killed with her. Does she have others who are a live?

Apparently only William is left. Jon and Robin where slain along with Madelyn.

What did the demonizing kid say about her? I heard L. Ron Hubbard had a gay kid who killed himself.
Here's a link to the Williams tirade: http://www.rfcnet.org/news/default.asp? ... rticle=144

He paints her as pretty much Lucifer incarnate.

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Post by snooziums » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:32 am

I personally never cared much for Madalyn Murray O'Hair. She was "offensive" for offensive's sake. Saying every other word as a swear word and trying to "tick off" others is not a civil way of doing things.

However, there was some rather extreme hate mail directed towards her in her time, and by "Christians" nevertheless. See them here (they are rather "colorful"): http://www.megagenius.com/editorial_no_14.htm

(Note, the language is very graphic, so cation is advised).
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Post by Marcus » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:27 pm

Articulett wrote:I had seen Madelyn Murray O'Hair on Phil Donahue as a kid, and I could see people scowling, and I thought she was abrasive (besides--everyone knew commies were atheists so atheists were evil)--but I saw the same clip as an adult, and she just seemed like a matter of fact intelligent woman--she wasn't pushing her beliefs on anyone, and she was a strong proponent of civil rights. But the way she was treated, made me very cautious about being a vocal atheist. I learned a lot about her last year at TAM4. One of her son's was killed with her. Does she have others who are a live? What did the demonizing kid say about her? I heard L. Ron Hubbard had a gay kid who killed himself.
Ubfortunately Madelyn was not a very good role model for atheists. She was abrasive and combative, often intentionally provoking her opponents. She was also more focused on making profits than educating psople about atheism. When she first came here to Austin, we welcomed her with open arms, but she gradually wore out her welcome. One thing you have to give her, thoough, she stood up at a time when no one else would.

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Post by HghrSymmetry » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:57 pm

snooziums wrote:However, there was some rather extreme hate mail directed towards her in her time, and by "Christians" nevertheless. See them here (they are rather "colorful"): http://www.megagenius.com/editorial_no_14.htm
That's one hell of a brutal link Snooz. If those are accurate accounts, looks like 'good' xians tortured her and the family to the extreme.

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Post by Flea » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:46 pm

The first time I heard about O'Hair, she was being demonized by a television preacher who's on every Sunday Morning. He talked about how she had 'disappeared' after her organization had accumulated a good sum of money. He insinuated that she had stolen the money and fled, never to be seen again. He neglected to mention that she had disappeared because she had been murdered. That might have spoiled his story.
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Post by izittrue » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:56 pm

interesting flea..
how is the sunday morning preacher doing financially? is he still on TV or did he take the money and run....
..oh just wondering outloud....
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Post by Flea » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:33 pm

It wasn't that long ago -- I started watching him to see what he was saying about the Davinci Code movie. He seems to be doing fine. He's the Coral Ridge guy; I think his name is Kennedy.
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Post by Marcus » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:47 pm

Madelyn had accumulated quite a bit of money through her organization, though no doubt she would be a piker compared to a TV preacher. She was planning to move away and dissappear from the spotlight, retire actually, when she dissappeared. It turned out she was murdered by an employee who forced her to withdraw $500,000 in American Atheist funds and then leave a note saying she had absconded. Naturally all the theists were ready to assume the worst, and quite a bit of time passed before the truth came out.

I have mixed feelings about the financial angle. I didn't begrudge her making a living,it's just that as the leading atheist in the country, with a few more diplomatic skills, and a bit of altruism, she could have gone much farther.

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Post by KYSkeptic » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:21 pm

I then asked him, if all that is true, then why should anyone go through the trouble of trying to be a compassionate person? If all life is meaningless, then everything we do and experience is meaningless. Could we not just as validly be as mean and self-serving as we possibly could, since it all means nothing anyways?
IMHO all behavior is the expression of proteins in the form of neurochemicals from our DNA. Having said that, I believe behavior has an evolutionary component.

As evidence of this, I read in ESkeptic that some scientists believe that the entire idea of religiosity is an evolution of an altruism gene that helped to keep the small tribal units viable in our early human history. Since everyone knew everyone else in the unit or extended family, one could do a good deed with the understanding that at some point in the future a similar good deed might be returned. It was sort of like brother helping brother or son caring for father. I would think that we would all agree that this sort of cooperation would aid the group in surviving and thus be selected for continuing the group when another group may not have such a gene and perish, or at least propagate fewer offspring.

Jump ahead a few thousand generations and the gene is still with us, so some of us still were doing good deeds. But as our ancestors trusted that others in their extended family would reciprocate, at this time, we were unsure which of those in the larger social groups would reciprocate. Those that would help out in a time of trouble were one of “us”. Those that wouldn’t were one of “them”. The group leader and later head shaman helped to mold that “us versus them” mentality so that the good deeds done by those in the group benefited the group (the seeds of religion?).

So, AKSkeptic, your friends altruistic behavior may originate from the gene that creates the protein or proteins that form the neurochemicals in his brain. And, I would contend that if he felt that someone outside of his group needed some extraordinary help he would be less likely to assist. As a hypothetical example, like the killer who just ran over his sister asking him to help clean the blood off his car so the cops wouldn’t know it was he that killed the girl.
Ubi dubium ibi libertas
(There is freedom in doubt)

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Post by izittrue » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:03 pm

Flea wrote:It wasn't that long ago -- I started watching him to see what he was saying about the Davinci Code movie. He seems to be doing fine. He's the Coral Ridge guy; I think his name is Kennedy.
oh yes james kennedy...
he does quite well...he is more mellow...
kind of like robert young in father knows best kind of way...(old 50's black and white tv series for those of you too young to recall)
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Post by St. Jimmy » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:22 pm

macros_man wrote:Perhaps a "radical atheist" could be defined as one who launches "crusades" against believers, and attempts to force people to denounce their belief in god, through physical force and/or intimidation.

A radical atheist might believe that the government should outlaw all forms of religion, and forcibly prevent people from taking part in any religious acts or ceremonies.

That said... I doubt there are more than a handful of such persons on the entire planet.
Yeah we learnt our lesson back in the 17090s in France under the Terreur run by Robespierre & co. They even went after the harmless deists.
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Post by izittrue » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:26 pm

st jimmy where u been?
I am going to live forever because I believe in Santa Claus and God-
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