6/25/09

Atheism as Militant Activism in Schools

And: Richard Dawkins’ Pestiferous Memes

While atheists complain that via an Intelligent Design conspiracy Creationists are attempting to smuggle religion in though the back doors of public classroom atheism is kicking in the front door. Atheism is Dead has chronicled this in posts such as, Protecting the Science Classroom and The Wedgie Document.

Now, coming to a UK school near you, or across the pond from the location of Atheism is Dead’s colossal headquarters, the militant activist atheists are targeting their favorite captive and easy to propagandize audience; the naturally rebellious youth. Yes, the atheist “child abusers” (employing Richard Dawkins’ term) are at it again manipulating little children like so many marionettes as the puppet masters make them dance to the tune of atheism as anti-Christianity.


The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) plans to launch a recruitment drive this summer.

Backed by professors Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling, the initiative aims to establish a network of atheist societies in schools to counter the role of Christianity.

It will coincide with the first atheist summer camp for children that will teach that religious belief and doctrines can prevent ethical and moral behaviour.

The federation aims to encourage students to lobby their schools and local authorities over what is taught in RE [religious education] lessons and to call for daily acts of collective worship to be scrapped. It wants the societies to hold talks and educational events to persuade students not to believe in God.

Chloƫ Clifford-Frith, AHS co-founder, said that the societies would act as a direct challenge to the Christian message being taught in schools.

She expressed concern that Christian Unions could influence vulnerable teenagers looking for a club to belong to with fundamentalist doctrine…

"We want to point out how silly some of these beliefs are and hope that these groups will help to do that," she said.
The federation's bid to improve co-ordination among atheists in schools follows a successful campaign at universities…

Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: "Atheists are becoming increasingly militant in their desperate attempts to stamp out faith. It is deeply worrying that they now want to use children to attack the Christian ethos of their schools.

"Many parents will also be anxious at the thought of militant atheists targeting their children."[1]

This new push to push atheism right into the schools (already done in textbooks) is not new as Richard Dawkins has long sought to get children to do his bidding.

As one of the most successful New Atheist televangelist and proselytizing missionaries Richard Dawkins you to reach deep into your pockets and help him shove atheism right down children’s throats (again, or still, or more so) while they are away from you in their classrooms.For years now, Richard Dawkins has been campaigning in his self-appointed role as Professor of the Public Understanding of Atheism. His crusade seeks public-charitable funding to push his own particular, and peculiar, Dawkinsian weltanschauung (which Atheism is Dead will dissect in the, relatively, near future) into the classroom.

He seeks to divert money from religious charities who provide life’s little luxuries such as oh, you know: homeless shelters, soup kitchens, disaster relief organizations, hospitals, adoption agencies, foster homes, addiction clinics, etc., etc., etc. and into the coffers of his propaganda machine. Richard Dawkins’ propagandist press will “maintain a database of charities free of ‘church contamination.’”

As Vox Day puts it, with regards to Richard Dawkins’ conversion crusades,

It’s like the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu, only sillier.[2]



The Sunday Times – Britain report by Steven Swinford:
RICHARD DAWKINS, the Oxford University professor and campaigning atheist, is planning to take his fight against God into the classroom by flooding schools with anti-religious literature. He is setting up a charity that will subsidise books, pamphlets and DVDs attacking the ‘educational scandal’ of theories such as creationism while promoting rational and scientific thought. The foundation will also attempt to divert donations from the hands of ‘missionaries’ and church-based charities.


Richard Dawkins “describes the theory [of intelligent design] as a ‘bronze-age myth’ and plans to send his own material to schools to counter the ‘subversion of science.’” What he wants to see in the classroom instead of Bronze-Age myths is quaint Steam-Era myths, “‘The enlightenment is under threat,’ Dawkins said…We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity.”As Chris Lehmann put it in his article, Among the Non-Believers - The tedium of dogmatic atheism:
…village atheists are as numerous, and as shrill, as they’ve ever been, for the simple reason that the successive revolutions in thought that have furthered their cause—the Enlightenment and Darwinism—have been popular busts. As the secular mind loses mass allegiance, it becomes skittish and reclusive, succumbing to the seductive fancy that its special brand of wisdom is too nuanced, too unblinkingly harsh for the weak-minded Christer, ultraorthodox scold, or wooly pagan.

And yet,
Dawkins’s approach has also offended fellow scientists. Steven Rose, emeritus professor of biology at the Open University, said: “I worry that Richard’s view about belief is too simplistic, and so hostile that as a committed secularist myself I am uneasy about it. We need to recognise that our own science also depends on certain assumptions about the way the world is — assumptions that he and I of course share.”

It is any wonder that Richard Lewontin, Harvard University Professor of zoology and biology, made the following points, “As to assertions without adequate evidence, the literature of science is filled with them, especially the literature of popular science writing.” He then states that Richard Dawkins is among the contemporary science-popularizers who “put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market” he particularly mentions “Dawkins’s vulgarizations of Darwinism.”

It would be one thing for Richard Dawkins to look through a microscope or telescope and merely report what he sees. Yet, it is quite another thing for his admitted atheistic proselytizing worldview-theories to enter the classroom in the guise of science. As Richard Dawkins himself admits he did not become acquainted with the Darwinian theory of evolution because he read The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life but “it was because I was taught”[3].


I, for one, will certainly not accept Richard Dawkins’ worldview not only because as H. Allen Orr, the Shirley Cox Kearns Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, wrote “most scientists do not accept Dawkins’s theory of memes”[4] but because if I did so I would be merely contracting his pestiferous memes. Yet, our children must be made immune to the militant activist atheist memes perhaps via inoculation—merely present atheist ideas to them and they will readily discern their folly.

[1] Jonathan Wynne-Jones, “Atheists target UK schools - Atheists are targeting schools in a campaign designed to challenge Christian societies, collective worship and religious education,” UK Telegraph, April 25, 2009
[2] Vox Day, The Irrational Atheist, p. 10 - freely downloadable
[3] The Atheism Tapes, Part 4: Richard Dawkins and Jonathan Miller
[4] H. Allen Orr; Shirley Cox Kearns Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, “A Mission to Convert,” New York Times, Vol. 54, No. 1, Jan. 11, 2007. A review of Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion

9 comments:

  1. Mariano,

    I think you may have misunderstood the point about the "RE" classes: the Brits have official religious teaching in government-operated schools. I hope you agree that this is a bad thing. It can get pretty nasty indeed: see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1031784/Schoolboys-punished-detention-refusing-kneel-pray-Allah.html .

    Although… being an atheist myself, I am tempted to think that the best way to spread atheism imight be to *require* religion in the schools. Surely, one way to make kids hate somtehing is to put it in the schools!

    Speaking for myself, I’ll be happy to stop demanding evolution in the schools as soon as they stop demanding my taxes to pay for the schools. I’m homeschooling my own kids so that they get a nice, solid atheist upbringing, and I also support the Exodus movement, which urges Christian families to take their kids out of the government schools.

    Let a hundred flowers bloom! Just don’t make me pay tax dollars to support beliefs I think are wrong.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

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  2. Mazel tov on homeschooling.
    We are doing the same.

    Also, do not worry: homeschooled kids are generally brighter than the average bear so your kids will not fall for atheism.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  3. Well, Mariano, I get the feeling from some of your posts that you think atheism is a package deal—atheism-socialism-materialism-amoralism-etc., and, yes, there are indeed a few atheists who are willing to swallw that sort of package deal (a dwindling number to be sure – socialism lingers on largely among aging ideologues, and an increasing number of atheists are willing to view the materialism/consciousness debate as something to simply be handed over to future research in neuroscience).

    So, no, my kids will not fall for that atheism-socialism-materialism-amoralism-etc package that many people equate with “atheism.”

    On the other hand, my kids are learning an awful lot of science (my Ph.D. is in physics, my wife’s in biology), and it’s awfully unlikely after learning all that science that they will end up as believers in a traditional religion – at least, I personally have known very, very few well-educated scientists who believe in any traditional religion.

    The kids are also learning classical Greek, so they will be able to read the New Testament in the original, follow debates on the origin of the New Testament, etc. Everyone I’ve known personally who could do that ended up not believing in traditional Christianity.

    So, will my kids end up being atheists? Perhaps “non-believers” is a better term, given all the debate over the word “atheist.” But, yeah, it seems pretty likely that they will end up, or, rather, continue to be, non-believers when it comes to Christianity or any other tradtional religion.

    If you want to say, “Atheism is dead because it is being replaced with non-belief,” I suppose I might agree.

    Dave

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  4. Why would you exactly expect kids to grow up religious when you teach them greek to read the bible but obviously interject your opinion routinely that belief is nonsense, the bible is a fairy tale, or that education equals non-belief?

    I doubt the consequent lack of belief has anything to do with how educated they are but how you obviously raised them to be atheistic.

    Making non sequitors about how smart people don't believe in "spaghetti monsters" will influence your kids to follow your example because your their parent. It wont teach them to pursue the truth in an even handed or logical manner. Education or intelligence has almost nothing to do with it. That is nothing short of indoctrination which is exactly what Mariano is and has been pointing out and exactly what Dawkins and his sycophants love to "expose" in a hilariously hypocritical manner.

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  5. making the kids learn classical Greek so they can follow debates on the new testament ? Are you for real ? Was that their choice ? Im assuming you asked them first to a reaction of "Oh joy ancient Greek forget the Wii"

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  6. “Anonymous” wrote to me:
    >making the kids learn classical Greek so they can follow debates on the new testament ? Are you for real ? Was that their choice ? Im assuming you asked them first to a reaction of "Oh joy ancient Greek forget the Wii"

    Ah, jumping to conclusions, aren’t we?

    Of course, like most homeschoolers I know, we have no Wii and no plans to get one. Talk about a time-waster!

    No, the kids wanted to learn Greek so they could read ancient myths and stories, and I think it is a good thing also to be able to read Aristotle, Aristophanes, etc. But it will also be true that they will be able to read the New Testament in the original.

    However, I do think it is important to inoculate them against Christianity, just as I think it is important to warn them against drugs, promiscuous sex and STDs, etc.

    Indeed, I would rather my kids use pot than become Christians (though I’d much prefer they do neither!).

    So, I do think it is worth a fair amount of effort to protect them against the evil of Christianity – from my perspective, I consider Christianity a morally debilitating evil that I do want to protect my kids against.

    You also seem to think that learning Greek is some kind of punishment – we homeschoolers tend not to think of learning as a punishment. We have found that learning some things that government-school folks think of as either difficult or impossible is not really all that hard. My kids are testing (according to local public schools who administered the tests) at twice their grade level. Homeschooled kids can be a lot smarter than most people think possible.

    And they still have plenty of time to play.

    Nope, kids can be smarter than you think. Give it a try.

    And, if you ever have kids, *don’t* send them to the government schools!

    Dave

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  7. StephenM wrote to me:
    >Why would you exactly expect kids to grow up religious when you teach them greek to read the bible but obviously interject your opinion routinely that belief is nonsense, the bible is a fairy tale, or that education equals non-belief?

    Why would I “exactly expect kids to grow up religious”?

    Huh?

    I expect that they will *not* grow up religious – that is what Mariano and I were debating.

    SM also wrote:
    > Education or intelligence has almost nothing to do with it.

    Well, most scientists I know were raised religious, but ended up being non-religious. I assume you know of the famous study (Larson-Witham) a decade ago that showed that only 7 % of the members of the National Academy of Sciences believe in God.

    I personally have not known a single top-notch scientist (i.e., near Nobel level) who believed in God, and I’ve known several Nobelists and many other top-notch scientists.

    So, yeah, education and intelligence *do* seem to have something to do with it.

    I know it bothers Christians that people who are well-educated in the sciences tend overwhelmingly not to be traditional Christian believers, but that is just a fact. And the reason for the fact is not hard to find (hint: Genesis: 1-2).

    Even the occasional “Christian” scientist such as Ken Miller, who calls himself a Christian, often turns out to be only “cultural” Christians: Ken, for example, has declined to state whether or not he believes in an actual physical Virgin Birth.

    Facts are hard.

    Dave

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  8. Why spread anything? Isn't that the complaint that christians are trying to spread their beliefs. Why not let people come to a choice. I don't get the purposeful attempt to try to disapprove any belief. It just sounds angry and vindictive

    Being an atheist doesn't make you well-educated, it simple makes you only an atheist. Why hype up a simple word that needs no hyping?

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  9. "While atheists complain that via an Intelligent Design conspiracy Creationists are attempting to smuggle religion in though the back doors of public classroom atheism is kicking in the front door."

    The sheer, amazing wrongness of this post is visible right form the first line. The silly idea that not discussing religion is an advocacy of atheism is simply, utterly wrong.

    You seem to think that theism, your particular ideas about some god or other (which is probably unlike everyone elses), is ona par with history, science, math, etc. It isn't. The best version of fact that we can get to and that students can absorb is what should be taught. Your mythology is not factual, so it's really quite simple.

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