Saturday, December 29, 2012

Higgs on Dawkins's fundamentalism


  1. "[From Dawkins:] No, please, do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may 'believe', in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."

    "In a recent interview with al-Jazeera, [Dawkins] implied that being raised a Catholic was worse for a child than physical abuse by a priest."

    1. As expected, Dawkins is so utterly narrow-minded - and I would think narrow-mindedness is a defining quality in fundamentalism. He doesn't consider all the children raised in say Jewish or Christian homes who turned out just fine. Why doesn't Dawkins consider these normal children as part of the "evidence"?

    2. Rather he just focuses on the minority of cases where children are mentally harmed by religion. Yet in such cases I doubt it's the Jewish or Christian upbringing alone that's the fundamental contributing factor to the mental abuse. There's usually much more going on than meets the eye. Lots of other sociocultural factors apart from religion alone to consider.

    3. Or perhaps Dawkins has set the bar fairly low for what constitutes child abuse. Perhaps Dawkins thinks because an atheist friend of his had a nightmare about hell as a child or adolescent that his friend is now scarred for life?

    4. Again, I would think most Jewish and Christian children become perfectly normal adults. Law abiding citizens. I would think that's far more common. In fact, if anything, I would think most children raised in Jewish and Christian homes end up believing God rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior in such a way that good works saves them. If you do good, you'll go to heaven. If you do bad, you'll go to hell.

    In addition, most people seem to believe they're going to heaven because they're generally good people. After all, isn't that what most people say when asked by a pollster or in a survey or the like? Sure, it's simplistic, and it's certainly not the gospel, but I suspect most people including most children raised in a Jewish or Christian home believe they're overall good people.

    Besides, isn't the fact that most people including most people raised in Jewish or Catholic families seem to think they're good people some sort of evidence that they're not suffering from low self-esteem let alone more serious mental trauma or the like?

    In short I highly doubt most end up tortured with nightmares about their upbringing. I highly doubt most end up with irreparable psychological and emotional damage. I think most just end up believing doing good will get them to heaven and that they're most likely going to heaven because they have done more good than bad and are good people.

  2. 5. Of course, Jewish and Christian children are taught to love God, to love one's neighbor as oneself, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, etc. They're taught stuff like it's wrong to steal or commit adultery. That they should tell the truth and not lie. That they should respect and honor their parents. They're taught they should help the helpless. Give to the poor. Protect the weak. That they're answerable to a higher authority i.e. God after death for what they did in life. They'll be judged, but they'll be judged fairly.

    What's more, God is good and loving and merciful too. In fact our society tends to overemphasize God's mercy and love for people more than it does to imbue any sense of his righteous anger over our wrongdoings or the guilt we should feel over sin.

    Anyway, how is this sort of thing harmful to kids? Well, maybe it's harmful to their pride. Like if they have to apologize to someone if they wronged this person.

    But in the grand scheme of things isn't this the sort of teaching that makes for decent people?

    6. If nothing else, this sort of morality is far better for society than teaching children they can indulge in whatever they want so long as they can get away with it because there's no God and nothing ultimately matters. Just get what you can out of this life right now since there's nothing else for you after death. What sorts of things are likely to happen to society if most all of society just lived believing everything Dawkins believes?

    7. All this is a double standard too - which could be another hallmark of fundamentalism. Dawkins thinks it's wrong for society to allow a family to raise children with Christian morals and ethics. But he doesn't think it's wrong for society to allow a family to raise children with secular morals and ethics. He would think it's wrong for society to teach children sex before marriage is illicit, but he wouldn't think it's wrong for society to teach children sex before marriage is licit.

  3. Richard Dawkins: The Fred Phelps of atheists.