Really Sciency

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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Godwin’s law used to explain why atheists pick on the easy targets.


I have been accused on forms and even on here of being dishonest. Essentially creating straw men by misrepresenting most Christians.

Of taking the most extreme elements of religion and holding these up for criticism and the implication that they are representative of a religious belief system. I admit I do pick on fundamentalism, the cranks and extremists, the easy targets like the Jerry Falwells, or Westboro Baptist Churches.

But is this wrong? Have I just done the same thing as accusing all shoppers of theft because there are some shop lifters?



No it isn’t wrong. The most extreme elements show how extreme it could get, the very worst case scenario.
Only looking at the good stuff with religion is like saying how good Nazis were. How they had great youth groups that the kids really enjoyed. How splendid the uniforms were. How they really helped their communities and the country – which is all true but overlooks all the bad that exists and the bad that could potentially occur.

It also highlights that the Nazis rarely criticised themselves just as most true believers rarely openly criticise extremists of faith. They often take the attitude that an attack on those of faith, regardless of how intolerant that faith may be, is an attack them.

So it can be seen that even the shop lifting analogy does not apply to me. Few shoppers take security measures to catch and restrict theft as a personal slight on them.

So the next time someone slags of religious faith, consider what they are being critical of before defending the whole system of religious belief. Consider being critical as well if the criticisms do not represent your views rather than claiming foul by assuming that was the intent.

14 comments:

  1. "So the next time someone slags of religious faith, consider what they are being critical of before defending the whole system of religious belief."


    I would take some of your own advice Lazarus and make it clear when you are criticising a specific aspect of religious belief instead of appearing to make untrue accusations against religious belief as a whole through the use of generalisations such as "Good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."

    http://lazarus-on.blogspot.com/2010/11/short-step-from-madness.html

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  2. If I were you I would stop making things up. I did not make such an accusation. Anyone reading the thread you linked to will see that I was paraphrasing someone else - I have now found it that it was Steven Weinberg.

    Is there any chance of you criticising other believers for their actions?

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  3. Just because you are paraphrasing something that someone else has said does not mean that you are not expressing it as your own, personal opinion (as you clearly were in that instance).

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  4. And your evidence for this, flimsy as it is, is what exactly?

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  5. Because it was offered in support of what you were saying at the time.

    If you didn't agree with what was said then why do that?

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  6. It was offered as an example that applied at the time. I have already gone to great lengths to explain this on the other thread, even apologising for the fact that you did not understand it from the post alone.

    But going by your continual misrepresentation, evidence now suggests it was not my post but your comprehension and inability to accept clarification that is at fault

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  7. "It was offered as an example that applied at the time."

    But it didn't apply at that time.

    The statement "Good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion" never applies since it is simply not true (as you have acknowledged elsewhere).

    The only thing that applied in the in the incident that you referred to was that IN THAT INSTANCE religion had been used to justify an "evil" act against another human being.

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  8. "But it didn't apply at that time."

    Oh yes it did. The comment, not the literal truth of the statement did apply.

    "The only thing that applied in the in the incident that you referred to was that IN THAT INSTANCE religion had been used to justify an "evil" act against another human being"

    Evil in quotes? Don't you agree burning old ladies is evil?

    Religion wasn't used to justify, religious belief WAS the justification. This act was carried out by otherwise seemingly normal people.

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  9. Sorry but how can any part of the statement "Good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion" apply to any situation if it is not true and other motivators can cause "good" people to perform "evil" acts?

    All you can say is that IN THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE religion was the motivator to perform an act of evil against another human being.

    However since other motivators can cause people to perform acts of evil the statement "Good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion" is simply not true in any situation.

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  10. Oh dear, missing comments again.

    I suppose you will blame this on a "filter" like last time.

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  11. Yep, it ended up in the SPAM, now that does say something about the quality of you opinions! :-D

    I now know how to repost them but your impatience seems to berate me give me little time to do that.

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  12. That's an "easy out" for you then.

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  13. Not an 'easy out' - you didn't really say anything I had an issue with;

    "IN THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE religion was the motivator to perform an act of evil against another human being".

    I have never denied the existence of other motivators.

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  14. "I have never denied the existence of other motivators."

    Apart from when you said "Good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion", a clear statement that only religion can make "good" people do "evil" things.

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