I wanted to post this here in case it doesn't get posted on the FCOS forum. I am still waiting for my username to be approved, so this whole process may take a while. Anyway, here is what I intend to submit on the "Expelled" thread once I have been (if I am) approved:
If I may join in on this discussion:
1) I do not regard all atheists as being followers of Dawkins. Nor everyone who posts on his website. However I do think that there are some who act as though they are his followers. Indeed one of the strange things about RD net is just how sychophantic it is.
I would like to reply to you in detail about this. First of all, I would like to say that I think the lens you are viewing the situation from is a bit clouded by your personal conflicts with Richard Dawkins. Please hear me out. It would be easy for you to project this sense of sycophantism onto the posters at RD.net simply because you have a general distaste for Richard himself and by association, you have a distaste for those who agree with him (although, those who agree with him on some points, disagree on other points). That being said, I think that you are mistaking simple appreciation for being sycophantic. Most people in the world are affiliated with a religion of some sort. Among those that don’t identify with any religion, many still believe in a god or supernatural being of some sort. Atheists are a minority. Fortunately, we are a growing minority, but that is beside the point. The point is that many people who are atheists feel somewhat isolated by their atheism depending on the situation and the religiosity of the people who surround them. There are tons and tons of books about Christianity and other religions, but only a small number of books (comparatively speaking) about atheism or to do with atheism. So when someone like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Michael Shermer, etc comes out with a book about atheism, what I and I assume many other atheists feel is appreciation that someone has spoken out about our positions (even if all atheists don’t agree on everything, which they don’t) and that we have a small, yet powerful representation in the sea of representation for the religious. Perhaps we are simply happy not to be isolated any longer.
To make an additional point, this is the definition of sycophant from the American Heritage Dictionary: n. A servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people. So what makes you think that anyone on RD.net or who happens to agree with Richard is a sycophant? It is a fairly strong word to use when it implies that we are agreeing with Richard in a self-serving manner. Who’s to say that we can’t agree with Richard? Why does agreeing with Richard mean that we are doing it blindly? I know that when I agree with Richard, it is after deep contemplation on the matter, not just because I’m a “follower”. Also, I post on RD.net because I enjoy reading the articles and the discourse, not because I’m hoping Richard will recognize me in some manner.
2) …Dawkins in his letter wants to make out that atheism had NOTHING to do with Hitler and the holocaust…
I am usually pretty good at figuring out emotional responses and I think that your entire number two is an emotional response. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the reason you are upset and had an emotional response to Richard’s statements about Hitler and the Holocaust is because you feel that he is attempting to shift the blame from the atheists to the Christians. This is where I diverge from Richard a bit (as I do and have on many other issues, as well). There is no denying that Hitler manipulated the Church for his agenda, but this is the biggest game of “hot potato” I’ve ever seen a bunch of adults play (I’m assuming the children in the
Sorry for the lengthy first post. Feel free to chop it into two posts if you would like.
The other posts appear here: http://www.fcosonline.org/index.php?topic=26.msg296#new