Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't Be A Dick

I have mentioned the Don't Be A Dick talk from Phil Plait before. I thought I would post the video of his talk in case some have not seen it. I highly recommend it, it is a great talk.

Phil Plait - Don't Be A Dick from JREF on Vimeo.

Also, it seems the idea that confrontation is best as opposed to accommodation is not getting as much support as I thought.  Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist said this about PZ Meyer's recent post Confrontation all the way,
I used to think it was ok to be religious as long as you were in support of things like social justice, good science, and church/state separation.
Anyone who’s read this site for a while knows I don’t really feel that way anymore.
I don’t “attack” people who are religious, but I don’t see a need to let that slide anymore even when they agree with me everywhere else.
It is disappointing that Hemant Mehta's position on this matter has changed for the worse, and it seems quite a few of his commentators think the same. I would have thought a lot more of them would have agreed with Hemant and PZ than actually did. Here are a few of their responses to his (Hemant Mehta's) post.
 R9 Says:
“And even if the religious moderates don’t vote against gay rights and are vocal about getting rid of bad science, they’re still wrong about the god thing. That means we must keep speaking out on that issue.”
“Must” to improve the world? Or their lives? Or for our sense of self-satisfaction?

CP Says:
How nice to know that atheists function under the same rules as fundamentalist Christians. Evangelical atheists are some of the most annoying people if only because they deny that they are evangelical.

Guy G Says:
A general maxim which works for me is “If it’s not doing any harm, then really it’s none of your business”
I’ve been visiting here for a fair while, and my view on it is that your change in stance has been a negative thing. Your posts are increasingly more mocking and derisory to the religious, which is a shame, IMO.

 This one is rather long but well worth reading.
muggle Says:
There’s no need to be hostile. If their stupid imaginary friend is doing no harm and they’re not bringing it up, why do we need to? If they bring it up politely, we should just as politely disagree. If they’re hostile, fight fire with fire and tell them they’re being a dickweed and an idiot.
But — as you used to notice — there’s simply no argument when they’re not using their religion to harm. Why do you assume the ones who are open and accepting to gays are sneaking quietly off to vote against gay marriage in the voting booth? Sure the ones who say they hate the sin love the sinner are but I’ve known many Christians who are openly accepting of gays without that qualifier and I’m sure they’re not doing so. To assume they are is, frankly, prejudicial. There are denominations who want to marry gays and are prevented to by law. They are most likely voting for gay marriage. While I think evolution pretty much debunks the creation myth of the buybull, I’ve known many Christians who politely disagree with that and are outspoken against creationism in the schools. Do you really think Atheists are in the majority in Dover, PA? Naw, I don’t either. Far as I know, we’re not in the majority anywhere.
Let me stress, not antagonizing unnecessarily does not mean to actually support religion by giving to their charities, etc. You know my view on that. It does, however, extend to protecting their civil rights. Hell with them, protecting their civil rights is important because it protects ours.
I’ve got to say, Hemant, I’m really disappointed in this new bitter tone. I’m patient because I realize that you’re in a public position and, hence, more of a target for the nasty type of believer. It’s got to be harder to keep your perspective in that situation. But I’d really hate to see you come what you hate and that’s always what it seems to me when Atheists like Dawkins start with bigoted crap like they’re all delusional and Atheists are smarter, etc. They are every bit as bad as theists who say you’re amoral without gawd. Every fucking bit. There’s a reason why I read your blog every day and not PK’s.
Let’s not fall into the trap that we condemn so many theists of falling into: that’s it’s okay to follow the leaders into hateful, viral over-genralizations of people who are not like us.


  1. Jake, I think you have a point. I'm still on the fence as to whether I like this position. I'm feeling like there's a lot of value in having both confrontational and accommodating individuals, in this movement. I'm still mulling it over. I'm leaning towards confrontational, but I'm not 100% sold on it.

  2. I also think there should be a place for confrontation and accommodation. But I do not see the reasoning for having individuals who are dedicated to one or the other. Each person should be able to switch between the two and know when they are appropriate. However,I am completely against the position advocated by people like PZ Meyers which seems to be more like the "if your not with us, you are against us" line of thinking. They seem to be wholly intolerant of any religious belief.