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6/14/08

Hitler’s Rabbi

Please note that this essay will now be housed in True Freethinker’s section on Adolf Hitler / Nazism / Communism

18 comments:

  1. Great stuff as always Mariano!

    Dawkins has really turned himself into a joke.

    For reasons that I can't understand, his fans gorge themselves on his now trademark cowardly condescension. One view of the forums and comments on his website, which I made the mistake of doing this morning, bare this out.

    I stumbled upon a few comments about Richard Dawkins' philosophical prowess over Alvin Plantinga that blew my mind.

    Who can forget Dawkins' dodge of William Lane Craig. He did it in his classic cowardly and insulting way but it was smart. Craig probably would have ended his career when it comes to discussing matters of religion.

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  2. I really do hope that Atheists do not try to defend Dawkins (yet another) slip up here.

    I'm really tired of this double standard of allowing Atheists to say one thing, but when a Theists says it is an outright lie and an insult.

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  3. I think atheists should run from Dawkins like he has the plague.

    He himself, but even more so his obsessed fans, have ruined the internet.

    Everywhere I turn, if somebody even mentions God, they come out of the woodwork spewing his and Sam Harris' tripe.

    I don't know if I can handle hearing the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the refrigerator sized diamond analogy one more time.

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  4. Dear Sirs,

    What fine little hypocrites you are.

    You do realize that you theists are in the habit of comparing atheists to Hitler (and Stalin, Mao etc) on a daily basis? The argumentum ad Hitlerum is one of your favorite shticks.

    Second. Boteach is an ignorant lying slime ball, and he does shriek like a madman.

    Third. You didn't link to this response by Dawkins that exposes Boteach for the self-aggrandizing fraud that he is.

    Good day.

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  5. Thanks for the link, Adonais. I am convinced that Rabbi Boteach is not at all like Hitler. His "screech" is more like Howard Dean's than a mass murderer's, and whatever Dawkin's meant with that comment it should be quite obvious that it is in bad taste to compare someone (nevermind a rabbi) with Hitler.

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  6. I agree Dawkins made a mistake to say what he did. It gave sites like this the chance to say just the sort of thing you have said.

    But that said, what is your point? Perhaps you think it illustrates a flaw in Dawkins' character or a lack of judgment? If so, so what?

    Presumably your point is not that the rightness or wrongness of either evolution or atheism is affected/demonstrated etc by what he said? If it is, you are going to have trouble with the things some religious figures say aren't you.

    Seems to me, Dawkins is a bit of a hate figure for you.

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  7. Make no mistake about it, atheists are influenced by theists, which is why the Hitler comparison was made.

    Dawkins has a huge ego, similar to that of conservative a talk show host (namely Michael Savage which comes to mind) but with a much smaller audience.

    Even without the Hitler comparison Dawkins views theists as mentally ill, and dangerous to the public, but just like his buddy PZ Meyers, he will ally himself when needed with theists who believe in evolution.

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  8. In his debate with Christopher Hitchens, Rabbi Boteach said that he had debated Richard Dawkins on four occasions. In a response to a commenter on his site, Prof. Dawkins said that he did not remember ever having debated him. As it turns out, they were both mistaken. It appears that they participated in one debate a few years back. Both Dawkins and Boteach are invited to many engagements and it's understandable that they wouldn't have perfect recall about all of them. So Mariano's statement

    Prof. Dawkins appears to have a serious memory loss problem at least with regards to debates which he lost.

    is a cheap shot. If Prof. Dawkins has "serious memory issues", then what should we call Boteach's condition? Drooling senility?

    Prof. Dawkins was perfectly willing to admit his mistake and didn't see the big deal in Boteach's. Boteach, on the other hand, never addressed his own mistake and took Dawkins' statement as a "bold untruth" and an attempt to "assail". Melodramatic to say the least. I mean really...who cares? Is saying that you don't remember something, something that others could easily verify, a really aggressive way to "assail" someone. I don't understand Boteach's umbrage here.

    Clearly, censorship and cutting off dissent are Prof. Dawkins’ modis operandi.

    This is far from "clear." Prof. Dawkins does not obstruct people from voicing their opinions and he has every right to decide the venue for his own opinions. Dawkins would never restrict a creationist documentary from being made, but he also has no desire to legitimize them with his participation. No one has a "right" to have access to Richard Dawkins or anyone else. If someone wants to interview you, Mariano, for a documentary called "Mariano eats babies" then I won't accuse you of censorship for not participating.

    As for the Hitler comparison, it was a really stupid thing to say. Although I trust the sincerity of Dawkins' explanation, I am amazed that he can't just recognize that it is impossible to make a subtle or nuanced comparison to a genocidal tyrant. And it's not the first time he's done it. In his program, "The Root of All Evil?", he compared Pastor Ted Haggard's sermon to the Nuremberg Rally. Luckily, Haggard was ignorant of history, so it didn't derail the conversation. The same cannot be said of the exchange with Boteach. Boteach went on a tirade far out of proportion to Dawkins' statement, and was distracted from responding to anything else Dawkins said.

    I encourage those of you who haven't read the complete exchange of letters between the two of them to do so. I also recommend watching the debate between Boteach and Hitchens that started the whole thing. You will see that Boteach is not a very good representative of the theistic perspective. Even Dinesh D'Souza is a far better debater. And while Hitchens is a miserable human being who seems to be incapable of recognizing alternative views to his own, he is also incredibly sharp, witty, knowledgeable and articulate. He can hold his own against anyone, but he absolutely slaughters Boteach. The outcome of these kinds of debates are decided by the skill of the debater rather than the strength of the argument. So I don't think this at all speaks to the truth of atheism. It does however show that Boteach isn't worth our time.

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  9. Before I defend the guy can someone tell me WHY Dawkins compared the Rabbi to Hitler? Because you know there are instances where it is accurate to compare someone to Hitler (You're a vegetarian... just like the Furher) and instances where it is reasonable (you believe an entire group of people desrve to be wiped out- just like Hitler).

    So, I'll defend him if I find out why.

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  10. whatever Dawkin's meant with that comment it should be quite obvious that it is in bad taste to compare someone (nevermind a rabbi) with Hitler.

    Perhaps, it might be that sort of cultural stigma, although theists don't seem to think so in their ubiquitous condemnation of atheists' morals as something akin with Hitler's. I'll store this opinion of yours until the next time Mariano or M pulls the Hitler-was-an-atheist-and-therefore argument.

    On the topic of bad taste, I wonder where on the scale you would place things like blaming the death of 6 million Jews on Darwin in a big screen propaganda film, or illuminating statements on TV like "Science leads to killing people." (you know who)

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  11. Adonias said: Perhaps, it might be that sort of cultural stigma, although theists don't seem to think so in their ubiquitous condemnation of atheists' morals as something akin with Hitler's.

    Christians see an atheist and they draw comparisons with Hitler? Your full of crap... The use of Hitler's action in debate has been to soundly counter any and all atheist claims of a pacifistic disposition in comparison to a supposed religious disposition to violent acts against humanity. The point is that you don't have to be religious to commit such crimes, which is clearly proven by the 20th century.

    The argument is not that atheist are like Hitler just because their atheist. But far be it for myself or anyone to actually expect that you and other atheist to stop grieving the death of such a compelling mantra (i.e. the suppose inherent violent nature of religion as opposed to atheism) long enough to reasonably examine what was actually said.

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  12. Dawkins clearly meant to insult the man personally with the comparison to Hitler. However I don't know if this may be just because I'm not all that fond of Rabbi Shmuley myself ( I feel he does tend to yap about in a manner I find a bit distasteful and not always logically/historically sound, IMHO), but I see this lamenting about the fact that Dawkins would be so brazen and pompous, to dare insult a actual Jew (and directly I might add) with such a comparison, as a bit naive, overblown, and some what weak. Just my opinion, though.

    Not that I don't see the reason for outrage and disgust, but I'm not a great fan of the whole 'victim mentality' thing in any form. If Rabbi Shmuley was the 'thinking' man that he is purported to be by some, then other than assuming the fetal position he should have turned the tables and used it as an opportunity to take Dawkins head off (strictly intellectually speaking of course). Given that Dawkins was the one who initiated the would be noting of similarities to Hitler, it was as great an opportunity as any to do so.

    In a debate with someone who has actually read Mien Kampf and is familiar with Hilter's policies and various propaganda leading up to his atrocities that included (but certainly weren't limited to) 6 million unarmed Jews being executed just for being, AND has also read Dawkins (and a few of his associates) own rationally unsound polemics against the supposed plague of religion among us, I seriously doubt all this belly aching would have ensued. Dawkins would have been so buried underneath a mountain of his own crap, that he would most certainly be driven to think twice before getting into another conversation that would even remotely lead to Hitler coming up for discussion in such a manner ever again.

    All truly thinking people know that it wasn't Hitler's 'shrieking' and 'dog loving' that were the driving force behind his atrocities(heck, my own mother and three of my sisters all tend to shriek when talking loudly). So in the spirit how I believe a better prepared Rabbi Shmuley should have responded to Dawkins I leave you with this:

    BETTER TO SHRIEK LIKE HITLER THAN TO THINK LIKE HITLER!!!

    If the shoe fits wear it, shreiking and all. Good Day!!!

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  13. Adonais,


    I don't happen to recall ever pulling the "Hitler was an Atheist" card even once. I've always argued that Hitler was a neo-pagan. While I understand that Theists have from time to time used Hitler against Atheists by saying that Atheism leads to Hitler-like actions, I don't believe I or anyone else here have used that argument.

    What we do often say is that Atheists cannot condemn Hitlers actions because they have no objective grounds for doing so.

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  14. Oh yea Adonias and what M said. I forgot about that one. Even so though...

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  15. "I don't happen to recall ever pulling the "Hitler was an Atheist" card even once."

    Really? My mistake then, I might have lumped you in with others who do, also back at AS. A lot of material was lost when Will pushed the self-destruct button.

    "What we do often say is that Atheists cannot condemn Hitlers actions because they have no objective grounds for doing so."

    Ah yes, this is your usual argument. I believe I have replied to it several times, no point in starting up that debate again in this thread.

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  16. Thanks you all so very much for all of your thoughtful comments, questions, responses, quips, etc.

    adonais,
    I agree, it is shameful when theist compare atheists to Hitler and visa versa. I agree with “M” as I do not have reason to think that he was an atheist, neither was he a Christian. I also agree with you that Boteach does shriek like a madman. My point was “Surely, there are been many well know people who shriek, yell and rant. So why choose Hitler?” I certainly do not know but as long as his fans keep coming to his rescue and engaging in apologia for him Prof. Dawkins probably will never learn (and I am not pointing this at you).

    MarSm,
    I do not doubt that in private or even, generally speaking, in public Prof. Dawkins is a cheery ol’ chap. However, the reason that he “Seems…a bit of a hate figure” is because of the sorts of statements that he has made for decades in besmirchful belittlement of those with whom he disagrees. Thus, no, this post proves nothing about atheism, theism, science, evolution, creation, intelligent design, or whether the show “Lost” will ever tie up its 1,001 loose ends. I tackle Prof. Dawkins with respectful consideration and detailed argumentation is a blog that I have devoted to him: Richard Dawkins – Zeitgeist Weltanschauung - “devoted to him” ugh, I feel all icky inside :o)

    kuhlmann,
    The reference to “censorship and cutting off dissent” specifically referred to his refusal to debate what he widely and fallaciously refers to as “Creationists.” By the way, I do not know Pastor Ted Haggard at all but just because he turned the other cheek does not mean that he is ignorant of history. His response to Prof. Dawkins unfathomably malicious statement was to recommend mutual respect. By the way, I do eat babies – baby squids that is (calamari with a little lemon, yum!).

    Samuel Skinner,
    Prof. Dawkins himself explains why he compared the Rabbi to Hitler, as noted in the post: “I did not say you think like Hitler, or hold the same opinions as Hitler, or do terrible things to people like Hitler. Obviously and most emphatically you don't. I said you shriek like Hitler. That is the only point of resemblance, and it is true. You shriek and yell and rant like Hitler. Not all the time, of course. You also tell very good jokes, and tell them brilliantly. You deservedly get lots of laughs, as a good comedian should. But throughout your speeches you periodically rise to climaxes of shrieking rant, and that is just like Hitler.”

    Thank you all again and see you at the same Bat-time and the same Bat-station.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  17. Christians see an atheist and they draw comparisons with Hitler? Your full of crap... The use of Hitler's action in debate has been to soundly counter any and all atheist claims of a pacifistic disposition in comparison to a supposed religious disposition to violent acts against humanity. The point is that you don't have to be religious to commit such crimes, which is clearly proven by the 20th century.

    The argument is not that atheist are like Hitler just because their atheist. But far be it for myself or anyone to actually expect that you and other atheist to stop grieving the death of such a compelling mantra (i.e. the suppose inherent violent nature of religion as opposed to atheism) long enough to reasonably examine what was actually said.

    Perhaps you should look at who Hitler constantly appealed to in his book Mein Kampf and who he gave the credit for first opening his eyes about the Jews, it was a xian street preacher named Karl Leuger.

    Look up "blood libel" and "christ hating jew" on google, and look up Martin Luther's book On the Jews and their Lies.

    The reason we athiests don't like the Hitler allusions you people use is because it was centuries of christian religious hatred of Jews in europe that led to Hitler.

    This has, from what I've seen anyway, anything to do with any supposed "pacifism" of athiesm. Even if Hitler was not himself religious and was only lying, many of his followers were religious.
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/06/christian-nazis.html

    Bottom line: it's the religious disposition to violent acts against humanity that helped pave the way for Hitler in the first place.

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  18. Actually, when it comes to homosexuality, Boteach and Hitler are indeed likeminded.

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