The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Friday, April 20, 2007

In Which I Take D'Souza To Task

I know and I'm sorry. I hate to not post much during a week and then do two back to back on a complete dummy who has nothing to offer except verbal excrement. Of course I'm referring to Dinesh D'Souza who once again has written a piece that just begs to be torn apart. And yes, I acknowledge that all he's really doing is looking for attention, the bad kid in class saying swear words out loud so someone, anyone will pay attention to him. Well I'm here to pay attention, but not so much in the way he may be thinking.

In his article he attempts to address his commenters. He draws his readers' focus to his previous two short articles and the negative attitudes from the "atheists" who spit some venom back at him for his misrepresentation and maliciousness. He opens with:
If you want to discover what kind of people atheists are, scroll down to my recent posts and read the responses. I am a troll. I am a cretin. I am a moron. I am a nut-job.
So far, so good. But then he repeats an assertion he made in his previous writing:
my point was a simple one, and it seems to be unrefuted. Atheism seems to have nothing to say to people when there is serious bereavement or tragedy.
He then mentions Richard Dawkins by name as a person who's world view is "arid and unconsoling" by way of condolence to a "crying mother". I would like to now quote the last bit of Dawkins' eulogy for Douglas Adams who died in 2001 - it has been linked to by others, but I think here it would be appropriate to imagine that, instead of talking to mourners, Dawkins was speaking to Douglas' mom:
It has been our privilege to know a man whose capacity to make the best of a full lifespan was as great as was his charm and his humour and his sheer intelligence. If ever a man understood what a magnificent place the world is, it was Douglas. And if ever a man left it a better place for his existence, it was Douglas. It would have been nice if he'd given us the full 70 or 80 years. But by God we got our moneysworth from the forty nine!
If you would, please contrast this with D'Souza's words with respect to some of the commenters on his blog: looks like these fellows hate God, and this hate spills over to anyone who brings up God's name.
Here he just makes no sense, because as atheists we don't think that there is any such creature/being as "god". It's like saying we hate Rumpelstiltskin. Atheists (and I'm speaking generally here) don't have a lot of "hate", persay. I realize that that may sound a tad bit hypocritical coming from me, who rants seemingly insanely from time to time, but my complaining and swearing are more for effect, really. When it gets down to brass tacks, as they say, my philosophy is quite a bit more accepting than what you might think.

What I don't like is people like D'Souza misrepresenting all atheists with his broad brush of ignorance. I remember him demonstrating his lack of comprehension (or lack of reading skills in general) of Dawkins previously when he commented on The God Delusion, making points that were fully addressed in the book he claimed to be reviewing. Once again here, he says that -
the Richard Dawkins philosophy--that we live in a meaningless world where there is no good and no evil--whatever its intellectual merit, seems arid and unconsoling when human beings are really hurting.
Try re-reading that bit above from the eulogy. If you knew Adams, would you find that comforting? And where is it said or written that atheists don't recognize good or evil? He seems to be going to some sort of moral relativism argument where if there's no god there's no reason to be good, so everything goes, like the tired old Dosteyovsky line that has been, again, refuted by just about everyone, myself included (skip to the last paragraph).

I believe D'Souza's point is refuted. Soundly. One wonders how this man can be a writer when his research skills are so obviously lacking or subverted. In any event, I'm sure I will be commenting on him again because a person like him cannot stand to stay quiet, particularily when he has nothing of value to say.

5 Barbaric Yawps:

At 21/4/07 1:13 pm, Anonymous Ty said...

Here are some other snippets from that article that give me a slightly different interpretation that I have heard everyone else give (on the other blogs).

Atheism seems to have nothing to say to people when there is serious bereavement or tragedy. Of course atheists have feelings and there were undoubtedly atheists among the mourners at Virginia Tech. ... Fair enough, but is this what you tell a crying mother?

To me, he acknowledges we have thoughts and feelings. But that we are a flawed group since we dont have a magical phrase. We have nothing (in their eyes) that is as simple and powerful as "He is with God now. This was God's plan. He is in a better place now."

They have that magical phrase while "all" we have is truth, reason and rationale. To many, its more comforting that it was their Imaginary Friend's doing. That he may be in a better place.

That to crying mothers we cant give one or two lines of crap to make it all seem better. We can explain the reasons why it happened, but we can't say "your child is in a better place."

Sorry for rambling so long in your comments.

At 21/4/07 5:24 pm, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

Not at all, man. Say your piece. I'm just thankful that people actually show up and read my crap. ;)

At 21/4/07 9:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. My loyal old dog was diagnosed with cancer last week, and next week we begin procedures to see how much more time we can give her. It's heartbreaking, and she seems way too young for this. It would be so much easier if I could think that there was some greater power that would watch out for her, keep her from feeling pain, keep me from feeling pain, and then the ultimate reward - send her to heaven where I can meet her at the end of my days.

But I know in my heart this isn't true, and it's just a hollow promise to pretend it is. How comforting is it to fool yourself? I know for a fact that even if you say God is watching over you, that is no reason to expect you will be safe, or free from pain. It's just life, we all get pain. That's why before I went atheist I stopped off in Buddhist-ville. Existence is suffering, and all that. Then I realized that I didn't need any religeon to tell me what I already knew. Life is harsh, and bad things happen. But life is good too, and wonderful things happen. It's just that there is nobody to protect you from them, blame for them, or thank for them. They just happen.

So instead of counting on seeing her again in heaven, I'll spend all the time I can with her now, and take special walks, and let her spend as much time sniffing bushes as she wants, because you only get to go around one time, and you might as well enjoy it as much as you can for as long as you can. You should always be kind, and generous, and loving and give of yourself freely to those around you who deserve it, because you only have one life in which to do so.

And another thing..There is nothing comforting they can say to those greiving mothers. Do they really think those hollow words can do anything to ease the pain of a son or daughter that isn't coming home again? Really? Now that's some arrogance.

- Steph

At 21/4/07 10:10 pm, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

I couldn't agree more, Steph. That sucks about your dog; I hope that the time she has left is as happy for her as it can be and that you guys have some fun sniffing and running around time. ;)

At 22/4/07 5:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, man. A little compassion goes a long way for me in these trying times.



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