About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Down with this evil organisation

Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes you read a news story that really reminds you about the enormity of what people of reason and kindness are up against when they confront so-called "people of faith" ... not the nice, tea-drinking Anglican kind of people, who can often make perfectly good friends and allies, but dyed-in-the-wool, hardline faith-heads who are committed to truly inhuman, miserable dogmas. The kind of people who would force a raped child to have a baby. The kind who who would condemn anyone involved in procuring an abortion for the child. I don't have strong enough words to express my feelings of utter contempt.

So, no, I'm not talking about the touchy-feely Templeton Foundation. I have bigger fish to fry. Speaking of which, I'm not talking about the Loyal Order of Eaglefish.

Down with this particular evil organisation, and with those who rule it; more strength to the arm of anyone with the courage to challenge it. I think that's especially worth saying right now.

He (or she) who hath an ear, let him (or her) hear.

Oh, and while I'm here posting ... pop over to The Guardian for your daily dose of less harmful, but still thoroughly wrong-headed, nonsense.


Peter Beattie said...

As to the "thoroughly wrong-headed nonsense", what would you suggest is the reason that people say that kind of thing?

I have argued elsewhere that it's an underlying philosophical illiteracy that we should look at as perhaps the main stumbling block on the way to a more reasonbale (successful?) society. What do you think?

Ophelia Benson said...

It certainly isn't philosophical illiteracy in this case - HE Baber is a philosopher.

But she is also a believer, and (I'm sorry to say - we're on friendly terms, though she has told me frankly that she hates all my noisy atheist commentary) I think she lets that bias her commentary on the subject.

She once said very bluntly on her blog that she believes because she wants to preserve some faint hope of immortality - which was honest. She's good at announcing motivations of that kind, and often funny about it. But - nevertheless I think she is letting her belief warp her perception of 'New' atheists as well as the consensus on god.

Athena Andreadis said...

Baber is right about one fact: atheism and its philosophical underpinnings made their entrance way, way before Dennett. Most of the Ionian and several of the Hellenistic philosophers were atheists, pretty much in the contemporary connotation of the term.

And I'm sorry to report (after reading a couple of his books and attending a lecture in which he spoke about genes) that Dennett is actually biology-illiterate. This makes him a less than optimal advocate when science facts get distorted to support creationist and other claims.

Ophelia Benson said...

Heh - uh oh! So ignore anything he says in Darwin's Dangerous Idea then?

And not just the Ionians - there's Thucydides, and Euripides has some pretty bluntly atheist characters (which at least shows that such people were thinkable).

Athena Andreadis said...

Let's just say that if a high-powered believing biologist took hold of Dennett's books and dissected them systematically, the "brights" might find themselves in deep doodoo. Among other things, he commits the sin that Dawkins castigated Gould for -- he uses incorrect or outdated metaphors as facts.

In the end, science will win this battle, though philosophy and politics will help. So we need to have our facts lined up even straighter than our ducks.