"Atheism has a Richard Dawkins problem"

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Musika, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    I recently was privy to a discussion about philosophical development within early Buddhism. In one sense, the problems are similar to trying to dig out the "historical Jesus" (namely, "Good luck, because you will need it") due to the contributing factor of seminal writings being penned by persons way, way outside the living history of events and persons in question. This Christian/Buddhist parallel also comes down to the detail of a sort of embellishment of doctrine of an enlightened soul at the expense of spinning retrograde assessments of their immediate dependents ... so, as an example, you have Trinitarians downplaying the spiritual acumen of Jesus's disciples in order to provide a bit of breathing space for their sleight of hand on what the holy ghost really wanted to say, but had to wait a few hundred years in order to spill the beans in the presence of the right company.

    Of course the narrative of Christianity was staged on the backdrop of the collapse of an Empire, so the victorious philosophy is mixed with equal parts academic rigour and equal parts being the right friend with the right leader of the right standing army.
    So in this manner, the similarities with Buddhism begin to drastically differ.

    But all this is, by way of introduction, to bring up the case of a big player in early Buddhism called Nagarjuna. He appeared on the scene several hundred years after Buddha, and similarly, by many popular historical accounts, gave rise to many doctrines that the Buddha did not directly give by engineering an intellectual inaptitude between who the Buddha really was and what his disciples could really understand.

    During this time in India, it was not so much a melting pot of tribal conflict, but a melting pot of philosophy. It is very much reminiscent of ancient Greece, except on a broader scale. Philosophy, logic, debate, etc were vocations and taken seriously (and awarded similar serious accolades of praise and prestige).
    Anyway, there was a suggestion that Nagarjuna was not so much an advocate of Buddhism, but simply an overzealous argumentative vocational logician who went out of his way to trash metaphysics with metaphysics, and through the onset of time and posterity, came to be held as a prominent "father of logic" in Buddhism. He was not out to "establish" Buddhism, but to kick up a stink amongst the contemporary intelligentsia of the era (who, it would seem, got the last laugh since they shrouded his stink within the overlay of Buddhist Intelligenstia ...." beating us is never an option, only joining us", it appears)

    The point of bringing all this to your attention is not to attempt to establish the veracity about the life and times of Nagarjuna (which is a feat that requires equivelent measures of the before mentioned "Good Luck"), but to introduce the notion that there is scope for rigourous opposition to meld into the narrative it is opposing, so much so that drastic elements of its opposing nature is lost. Time heals all wounds? It is like a refutation that is so specific of a narrative it seeks to critique, that it has no scope for independent existence outside of that narrative, and over the course of time, becomes part of the narrative. It is kind of like Frank Zappa being relegated as an iconic 70s band despite many of their songs attempting to take the piss out of 70s bands. You cannot understand his music unless you understand why he hated the 70s music scene, which means he gets defined by what he despised, and talked about in the manner that he influenced 70s music. He noted this irony by saying people will buy whatever crap he produces.

    Of course there are socially accepted means that an institution requires to sustain a continuum for a narrative. You could say if Zappa was really pissed, he could have just traded his guitar for a pan flute and bowed an ingratious departure from the rock industry. Or that Nagarjuna's issue was that society was very formal in the means for validating protest through argument ... so the finer points of the internet age, such as distinguishing scream therapy from philosophical dialogue, was not a manifest science (or maybe "fine art"?) over 2000 years ago.

    So in the case of Dawkins, one could split hairs to determine to what degree his reactionary element is philosophical or more akin to a farm animal undergoing castration, but one could conclude, either way, that it is far too reactionary for an obvious path towards catholic sainthood 2000 years in the future by the powers that be.

    But is that true for the all and everything of atheism?

    For instance, there is a notion that secularism has the capacity to empower a deeper appreciation and commitment to religious and spiritual life. (In brief ..) Previously, there was no demarcation between work, politics, justice, philosophy, art, science vs religion. There was literally no choice to "think" otherwise. Now that we live in a world that requires "conscious choice" in order to be religious, there is a greater opportunity to focus on the deeper aspects of religion than previously afforded by history etc etc.... renaissance just around the corner ... etc etc
    Once again, not an attempt to establish the veracity of a claim (future trends, are, by their nature, determined by the future), but an offering on how a cornerstone of a reactionary rhetoric ("Secularism! Haa! Another nail in the coffin of the corrupted bourgeois, Comrades!") can take an apparent course to lose its diametric reactionary edge and join the ranks of the world's Frank Zappa's and Nagarjuna's.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Really, very few people are "influenced" by him. If you haven't read any of his book and don't watch YouTube you probably haven't heard of him. For those that have "heard" of him, so what?

    I've heard of a lot of people but there influence over me is minimal. Have you heard of Chuck Yaeger? Has he influenced you? Or more on point, have you heard of Ray Davies? What has been his influence on you?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  5. Slartibartfast Registered Member

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    I've never read anything Dawkins has written or any proponent of atheism, because what other people believe is totally irrelevant.
    Gods are created by humans, without humans gods can't exist, without humans imagination doesn't exist.
     
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  7. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Says the guy with a George Carlin avatar ...
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    They don't.
    They have your crowd's well-publicized description of Dawkins and his views, which is (as clearly seen in the OP) an illiterate and poorly thought out pile of agenda-driven garbage not much grounded in Dawkins's writings.
    And they may (if they have read Dawkins himself, which some have) retain some idea of Dawkins's views on the theistic religions he has encountered and looked into - primarily the Abrahamic ones that dominate Western civilization.
    But his views on "atheism" in general? Not so much. They don't come up very often, or in detail.
    You claimed that anyone who hasn't read anything by Dawkins must not have read the OP.
    So either you haven't read the OP yourself, have no idea what's actually in it, and just went with assumption;
    or you are once again deliberately posting falsehood as a basis for personal insult - typical Abrahamic theist behavior on science forums, as noted before with several other examples from your posting here.
    You are posting falsehoods about other people, and nonsense about "atheism", and nothing about sociological phenomena.
    That would be "upwind".
    With which single correction that sentence would make sense in isolation, its bootlessness resting on its failure to speak to the post involved, its affect of illiterate awkwardness from the missed idiom (one passes gas, or wind, not air).
    The second sentence is unfixable bullshit, the Abrahamic theist's standard wordfog intended to suggest insult without accountability.

    Again: the only interesting aspect of this kind of behavior by Abrahamic theists on science forums is how and why. What is all this twisted dishonesty and wordfoggery and bad faith supposed to accomplish?
    Lots of atheistic folks have read Dawkins without being much influenced by his specifically atheistic views. A Westerner already atheistic and with a developed awareness of it would hardly find much new or deep there - his viewpoint on theistic religions would be more likely to have an effect, simply by their independence from what in most atheistic Americans (say) would be inculcated habits of deference.
     
  9. Slartibartfast Registered Member

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    75
    Yeah I haven't read anything George wrote either.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    This may be an expression of a fundamental delusion of Abrahamic theistic religion: that theism and atheism are antithetical, things at the same logical level, logically commensurable entities. That atheism - the entirety of it - is an antithesis.

    Talk about swallowing your own pitch - - - -.
     
  11. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Well I guess that puts you in the lead, so far.
     
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    35,971
    I've only heard of the Great Erasure; I hadn't actually witnessed it until now.

    Are you joking? Chuck Yeager? Yeah, the guy fueled astronaut and airplane adventure dreams of multiple generations. Think of it this way: I'm a forty-five year-old American male; y'think Chuck Yeager influenced me? Try it this way: The way he didn't is if we're setting a high enough bar for influence.

    And Ray Davies? Yes. Try it this way: I'm forty-five, queer, and a child of rock and roll. Ray Davies? He influences my understanding and expectation of music; relationship between art and artist, art and audience, and artist and audience. He also influences the way I get along with other people in the world, in particular because of an interview he gave NPR over a decade ago, while promoting Other Peole's Lives, and the story he told about nearly dying in New Orleans.

    One thing I find interesting is the prospect that you are simply setting an extraordinary bar for what counts as influencing someone.

    But I should also cover the point that if my age makes Yeager and Davies obscure to some, it doesn't mean they're not influenced. I think of musicians and writers, and their standards of influence. How are you defining influence?
     
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    If my ideas come from society, you can't blame Dawkins for them. You'd have to blame society.
     
  14. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Feel free to consult a lawyer.
     
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    5,767
    If there's a lawyer in this thread, I'll be glad to talk to him. In the meantime, have you given up the silly notion that Dawkins is somehow responsible for what all atheists think?
     
  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    5,767
    Yes.
    No.
    Yes.
    More than Chuck Yaeger or Richard Dawkins.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Did you notice how it works?
    Because you likely had a small part in it.

    Dawkins's actual writings and speakings, the nature of his influence in the real world, is consistently misrepresented by people who don't like him, in company with those who feel attacked by him. To the extent they are successful, they establish a representation of his influence that those influenced by Dawkins quite honestly and sincerely do not recognize. To the extent they are even more successful they mediate the influence, create a fictional Dawkins who has the influence they describe. If the actual influence was indirect, secondhand, Dawkins himself vanishes.

    Example: Higgs (quoted in the OP) objects to Dawkins on the grounds that Dawkins focuses on fundies:
    That completely misses the larger and telling point of Dawkins's polemics, as well as the logic of his arguments (which are not rocket science, to be missed by intelligent men).
    It fails to address Dawkins's issues at all - essentially, it accuses Dawkins of bad manners (ok) but then denigrates the substance of his case against the Abrahamic theistic religions accordingly (say what?). It's not "Dawkins is embarrassing, but - - - ". Instead, it's "Dawkins is embarrassing, so - - - ".

    Add to that the large and influential body of objection that boils down to 'It's not whether Dawkins is right or wrong, it's whether his stuff has good or bad political repercussions' - one of the legs of the classic authoritarian stool - and so forth.

    Whatever this is, it's not a Richard Dawkins problem - for "atheism" or anything else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And that, folks, was posted by a fundie Abrahamic theist as a description of how "atheism" works.
    You can't make this shit up.
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    35,971
    That's how Rob blamed everybody else while insisting he wasn't copping David, Freddie, and the boys.

    No, not really. He wasn't actually capable of saying it, but that's what he was going for.

    Then he got together with Jimmy and the boys, and accidentally made good on his career; who'd'a thunk?


    No, not really. There isn't any justifying that career.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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  21. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    im no RD Fan-boy but i can tell an emotional plea attempted linker dichotomy when i read one.
    it stands out like a neon sign.
    manipulation to imply Ego judgement ?
    it is now a term to mean an intellectual arguement against extremist ideology as a form of social-cultural normative dilution of theological counter point to athiesm ?

    it is plainly obvious someone is attempting to twist Higgs words and comments to make it look like an attack on Dawkins.
    a bit pathetic really.
    maybe sells well to the idle gossip magazine readers but once you read what has been written it all comes undone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  22. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I follow.
    You don't think fundamental atheism is a "thing" or you dont think Dawkins bears any connection to it?
     
  23. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    2,701
    Me: Ever heard of hierarchies that don't utilize organizational structure?

    You: No. I'd be interested to hear of them though

    The notion of hierarchies that don't utilize organizational structure are appealing for the same reason it is appealing to buy the Brooklyn Bridge .... if you pursue it earnestly it says more about what you are setting yourself up for and, ultimately, it will end in the same manner, every time.
     

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