10 Jul

17th Carnival of The Godless

Welcome to the 17th Carnival of the Godless. There were some server difficulties with the main COTG server, so it’s been moved to carnivalofthegodless.blogspot.com and so I imagine we lost a few posts as a result. So here we go:

Hank Fox talks about being an atheist.

Does Religion Diminish Our Humanity? Alun Salt asks if someone can claim to be ethical if the only thing that encourages them to do good is fear of frying in Hell.

At UTI Annex Brent Rasmussen, the man who put together the Carnival of the Godless shows the Archbishop of Portland, Oregon to be sliding on the slippery slope towards genocide.

Pixnap’s “Morality, Divinity, and Humanity” examines the moral implications of evolution vs. the literalist biblical account of creation as related in Genesis and Chris Hallquist at Uncredible HallQ offers up a rant.

PZ Myers has, in his own words: “a complaint about the awful NYT op-ed by a Catholic cardinal on evolution. (the obscure title is mocking Cristoph Cardinal Schönborn, whose name means “beautiful fount”…häßlicher Abfluß translates as “ugly drain”)”

Saint Nate offers us a post titled Inherently Wind and says about it “As the 80th Anniversary of the Scopes-Monkey trial draws near, I show how things really aren’t too different today and probably won’t be in another 80 years.”

On July 24th the next Carnival of the Godless will be hosted by Saint Nate, and you can email submissions to him or Brent Rasmussen at the COTG site. Thanks to all for their submitted links and thoughtful posts, and thanks to Brent Rasmussen for letting me host this latest COTG.

Enjoy your week, all.

23 thoughts on “17th Carnival of The Godless

  1. Just wanted to mention that the TTLB Ecosystem has an übercarnival listing many, many blog carnivals — sort of a central clearinghouse. I actually submitted the COTG to them, but they haven’t updated yet. Perhaps if others request a listing (see the bottom of this page) it will go faster.

  2. Serious question: Is there anything more to being an atheist than hating religion? Because that’s all I see in this list of links. The first one, “on being an atheist” is rather foolish. The guy denies having any sort of religious imagination at all, then proceeds to define atheism as a “rebirth” from which there is “no going back,” and to define atheists who convert to religion as never having truly been atheists. How convenient! He sounds exactly like Jerry Falwell. 🙂

  3. Just a followup–many of these links have to do with evolution and intelligent design. A Catholic by choice, and educated as a scientist, I’m as frustrated as anybody with the ignorance of and denial of evolution. However, I think the threat posed by these denials can be overblown. The discoveries of Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, and other great scientists have led us to many great discoveries since the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial. In the 1950’s Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. In 2001, the entire human genome was sequenced. The fact is that evolution can’t be stamped out, because denying that it exists doesn’t make it not true. Intelligent Design cannot and will not lead to new scientific advances like the sequencing of the human genome, because it is bad science. It’s a dead end. It reveals nothing new about the mechanisms of life or the nature of complexity. Therefore, in spite of the deniers, the theory of evolution has a strong *evolutionary* advantage in the sciences. It can’t be Undiscovered, it can’t be wished away. It’s here to stay and if some stupid old church ladies want to put a sticker on the front of a textbook warning that evolution is “only” a theory, who cares? It’s laughable. These people will keep showing up at hospitals and clinics, and keep benefitting from science and medicine based on evolutionary theory. That doesn’t mean I’m going to lie down while they remake my child’s school curriculum into some kind of fundamentalist catechism. But it does mean I’m more inclined to ignore arguments for intelligent design than rant against them. (By the way Pope John Paul decreed that belief in evolution presented no conflict whatsoever with the teachings of the Catholic Church, so any Archbishop, Cardinal, Father, Brother or whoever that wants to lobby for Intelligent Design is out there on his own.)

  4. Catherine asked: Is there anything more to being an atheist than hating religion?

    Speaking for myself I don’t hate religion. I see religion as I see many other phenomena mankind has developed. A double edged sword. It engender good acts, it can be neutral, it can be misused.
    It can do good by providing comfort regardless if the underlying deities exist. When a mother finds solcae after her child dies a lingering, wasting, death in her faith, or when a Hospice here in my neck of the woods which is manned by evangelical Christians who give comfort to the terminally ill who are poor and alone, empty their bedpans, pray wth them, run food and meds to them, and take care of the final affiars, those are all good imo and there is much more like it.
    Likewise religion can be used by policitians and various dictators as a distaraction, a shield of accountability, and justifications for the most vile acts we can imagine. Hitler for exmaple used religion to justify his policies quite often and 9-11 is a more recent, tragic, example.

    What makes a perosn good or bad then is not their religion but what they do. Good people are identified by the good acts they do and vice-versa.

  5. Is there anything more to being an atheist than hating religion?

    It’s actually considerably less than that. The term “atheist” literally refers to anyone who is not a theist of one type or another, and their attitude towards religion is irrelevant. Many Buddhists are atheists, and no one could accuse them of “hating” their religion.

    Almost by definition, all the really outspoken critics of religion will be atheists. Most atheists are not openly critical, however, and are content to let you have your belief system as long as you let them have theirs, especially in the public arena like in schools. I think that some religious people find it threatening simply that people can live happy, satisfying, moral lives without faith in a god of some type, which makes them feel that even the quiet atheists “hate” religion.

  6. That’s what I was wondering. Maybe the body of atheist writing solely consists of anti-religious writings, perhaps because there’s not much else that’s different about being an atheist? I certainly know lots of people who don’t believe in God in my life, but I haven’t found quite the strong feelings in them that I see in the links above. Thanks for answering. I was just curious…

  7. I am not in the slightest bit worried that Intelligent Design advocates are going to kill evolutionary biology. I am deeply worried that they are going to effectively remove the United States from the study and teaching of evolutionary biology, with consequent damage to the United States. This may convince Americans to change their ways in the long run, but by then the damage will have been done. The threat is political, not scientific, and, at least for an American, ignoring it is not a good idea.

    I didn’t really like that “on being an atheist” article either, since the author seems to stress the conversion experience so strongly and comes very, very close to drawing some kind of distinction between True Atheists who will never go back and Fake Atheists who eventually do. Life is more contingent than that.

  8. Atheism is a loaded word – I am a “scientific materialist” – which entails atheism, but only because it is materialistic; ie, denies any spiritual component in the universe and looks to science as the arbiter of what there is. It has nothing to do with hating religion per se. Religion is another artifact created by the human animal along with baseball. Unlike baseball, though, religion claims to have all kinds of answers that are better answered by scientific inquiry.

  9. Hmmm. I find atheists writing about religion generally to be less objectionable, more sane, and much less hate-filled than, say, Baptists writing about Mormons and Catholics.

    One would hope there is more to Christianity than simply whining that others views are wrong-for-reasons-that-can’t-be-explained-because-the-rules-were-dictated-from-God-and-you’re-going-to-burn-in-hell. Sometimes one is led to the brink of despair with such hopes.

  10. Hank is a funny guy IMO. Sometimes he comes off a bit bitter but, hey, people are different eh… I just move to his next post cuz I find good stuff there as well.

    The problem I have with this COTG is that I wanted to use Alun’s post in my own hosting of the event on Aug 7! LOL!

    Truly an excellent take on a time-worn topic Alun!

  11. Doh! Sorry Hank!

    I really meant to include an excellent example of that good stuff. I am at work and slandered you accidentally thru sheer laziness. My sincere apologies ol’ man.

  12. Catherine, I’ve always been very interested in religion, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least on this planet, religion has had a mostly negative impact on people. And so, I classify myself as being an agnostic.

    Religion started off sanely – an attempt for primative people to explain their surroundings. But even when people started using rationality to explain their surroundings, they often let religion talk them out of it.

    If you study history at all, history is full of many examples of religions trampling down knowledge. People didn’t call European history for many hundreds of years “the Dark Ages” becauase science and learning were flourishing – they were called “the Dark Ages” because the Roman Catholic Church was systematically destroying “heathen documents.” Don’t think it couldn’t happen again – it could.

    Because it is happening in modern times. Granted, mostly in the Moslem-dominated places like Afghanistan, but the knowledge-haters are definitely out there. And some of them live in this country, where scientific research on global warming and reproductive technology routinely gets rewritten in favor of something the government views as more ideologically correct.

    Karl Marx was so wrong on many things, and so right with this one slogan:

    Religion is the opiate of the masses.

    And we have an appalling number of addicts in society today.

  13. See, if you try to get people to explain the philosophy and worldview of atheism to you, you won’t get any consistent answer, because atheism isn’t a whole philosophy, it’s just a particular feature of some philosophies. Atheists tend to be very, very different from one another. Some atheists are religious (some Buddhists and Unitarian Universalists are atheists), but most are not religious. So they’re certainly not going to have any unified creed.

  14. “If you study history at all, history is full of many examples of religions trampling down knowledge. People didn’t call European history for many hundreds of years “the Dark Ages” becauase science and learning were flourishing – they were called “the Dark Ages” because the Roman Catholic Church was systematically destroying “heathen documents.” Don’t think it couldn’t happen again – it could.”

    Interesting you chose this example. A couple of years ago I did some very interesting reading and research that points to climactic/ecological catastrophe as the trigger for the dark ages. Did you know that around 540 A.D. there was an epidemic of bubonic much, much worse than the more famous Black Plague of the 14th C? The theory goes that for much of the 6th and 7th century people were too dead to do very much writing, art, and philosophy. Do you have any proof or references to scholarly writings to back up your claims that the Catholic Church was destroying and suppressing knowledge during the Dark Ages? Because I, for one, find it ridiculous. Rather, it seems pretty obvious that the Church was preserving, upholding and promoting civilization in a very dangerous and barbaric time. This is not to say that the Catholic Church has always been right. But I think the evil is in human nature, not religion. After all, we have seen what evil can be done by regimes based on atheism–Stalin, Nazism, Fascism, etc.

    As for: “One would hope there is more to Christianity than simply whining that others views are wrong-for-reasons-that-can’t-be-explained-because-the-rules-were-dictated-from-God-and-you’re-going-to-burn-in-hell.”

    There is, so don’t despair. 🙂 Judging Christianity by what you read and hear in pop culture is sort of like judging all of music by Gwen Stefani. Since this is an atheist sandbox, it would seem a bit silly to jump into full fledged apologetics, but I would recommend that anyone who sincerely believes the above and is worried about it should investigate the subject for him/herself. There’s so much written about Christianity, and so many great writers and thinkers (St. Augustine, Pope JPII, Martin Luther) that there’s no good excuse to walk around believing something silly and inaccurate.

  15. “Is there anything more to being an atheist than hating religion?”

    There is a lot to atheism as other posts have explained. It’s not a homogenous group, and there are connotations like materialism that are misplaced onto it.

    The idea itself can be seen as hating religion. And some atheists come over strong as they deny theism any credibility.

    “Do you have any proof or references to scholarly writings to back up your claims that the Catholic Church was destroying and suppressing knowledge during the Dark Ages?” I thought the common practise of making palimpsests of ‘pagan’ Greek originals were proof enough. Duh!

  16. Catherine,

    Are you referring to the same Martin Luther who wrote a pamphlet entitled “On the Jews and Their Lies” which argued that Jews’ homes and synagogues should be burned down, their holy books should be forcibly taken from them, their rabbis should be forbidden to teach on pain of death, and they should all be put to work doing hard manual labor? Or the same St. Augustine who advocated the idea that it was morally acceptable to compel people by force to become Christians?

  17. Pingback: Marching Orders

  18. Pingback: The Two Percent Company's Rants

  19. Pingback: Blog Carnival

  20. Pingback: Watcher of Weasels

  21. Pingback: history channel

Comments are closed.