Richard Dawkins 2002 "Call to Arms"

In February 2002, four years before his book The God Delusion was released in 2006, Richard Dawkins called atheists to arms on TED. Seen here. His talk was first posted by TED in April of 2007. He makes it clear he wants a campaign much like the gays used to gain acceptability in American society. His final sentence was, "let's all stop being so damned respectful." It seems to be working.

9 comments:

Rotten Arsenal said...

I just bought my "Scarlet Letter A" shirt, lapel pin, and bumper sticker last week.

Robert_B said...

How did the universe begin?
By Miranda Marquit, Space & Earth science / Astronomy
One of the most interesting questions considered by astrophysicists deals with the start of our universe. Indeed, there is a great deal of speculation on the subject, with different theories about how the universe began, and what may have existed before the universe came into being.
Several prominent astrophysicists around the world are interested in answering these questions. In one paper, “No-Boundary Measure of the Universe,” published in Physical Review Letters, James Hartle, Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog calculate the probabilities that the no-boundary wave function predicts in terms of classical space-time possibilities.


The No-Boundary Measure of the Universe
Authors: James B. Hartle, S.W. Hawking, Thomas Hertog
(Submitted on 29 Nov 2007 (v1), last revised 8 Jun 2008 (this version, v4))

Abstract: We consider the no-boundary proposal for homogeneous isotropic closed universes with a cosmological constant and a scalar field with a quadratic potential. In the semi-classical limit, it predicts classical behavior at late times if the initial scalar field is more than a certain minimum. If the classical late time histories are extended back, they may be singular or bounce at a finite radius. The no-boundary proposal provides a probability measure on the classical solutions which selects inflationary histories but is heavily biased towards small amounts of inflation. This would not be compatible with observations. However we argue that the probability for a homogeneous universe should be multiplied by exp(3N) where N is the number of e-foldings of slow roll inflation to obtain the probability for what we observe in our past light cone. This volume weighting is similar to that in eternal inflation. In a landscape potential, it would predict that the universe would have a large amount of inflation and that it would start in an approximately de Sitter state near a saddle-point of the potential. The universe would then have always been in the semi-classical regime.

Touchstone said...

Given some of the exegetical skills (*cough*) of some likely to be reading your quote, it's probably good to point out that Dawkins provides practical illustration of what he means, and recommends, in terms of being "respectful".

Dawkins is clearly critical of the amount of *deference* commonly displayed to religion, or Christianity anyways, here in the west. But anyone familiar with Dawkins understands that he's not an Act Up! kind of dude, or one to throw pig's blood on fur-wearing Hollywood starlets -- disrespect-as-pop-theater.

Rather, the dialog should be (and I think will remain) respectful in terms of civil discourse, but the traditional obsequiousness show toward established religious culture will diminish. Theology is not to be set on a part with hard science as part of the enterprise of real knowledge, for example, without proving itself as the hard sciences do. That kind of "respect" is counterproductive, diluting and obscuring the value of real knowledge, and glossing folly and self-indulgence with the veneer of intellectual respectability.

This ends up leaving plenty of room for "militance" and conscious-raising, but preserves the integrity of the discourse.

-TS

goprairie said...

why, for instance, are churches not subject to property taxes but golf and fitness and equestrian clubs and medical clinics are? if you think if a church as an organization that provides a service and treat it like any other, that would be fair. but our society places some weird 'good' label on it and mistakenly thinks of it as a charity when it is really a service organization that primarily benefits only its members. having christian holidays be state holidays is another example. shouldn't that be done away with and all businesses and individuals choose their own days off? there is religious creep everywhere and because it is christianity, it is tolerated and expected, but if you put in another less mainstream religion like wicca or a service like health club or golf club and you find the accomondation to be inappropriate, then we should become less tolerant of it.

Richard said...

Many skeptics (Michael Shermer for one) and atheists are totally against the tactics of Richard Dawkins.

IrishFarmer said...

"Let's all stop being so damned respectful."

Spoken like a true scholar.

BahramtheRed said...

What does respect get you?

Lets say an opponet say beleive of the flying monkeys will get you?

Is that a credible threat? Does that show anything that furhters the debate? How is hell any different?

Some issues do not require respect. They require tact, which is simply nicely showing people how their wrong.

Gandolf said...

It would be lovely if we could always have plenty of time to stick with all manner of niceitys to be ever patient in sorting things out .

But where such tragic nastys such as the likes of this http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/defiant-russian-cult-holed-up-in-cave-for-end-of-the-world-400863.html

Of which "Its inhabitants include four children, one only 16 months old."

Why should we be pussy footing around .

No i think these kids who`s lives are being messed with through religious rubbish ,desearve atleast the company of our anger and outrage .

IrishFarmer said...

"What does respect get you?

Lets say an opponet say beleive of the flying monkeys will get you?

Is that a credible threat? Does that show anything that furhters the debate? How is hell any different?

Some issues do not require respect. They require tact, which is simply nicely showing people how their wrong."

You do realize that typically speaking, you would treat your ideological opponents with dignity out of respect - right?

"It would be lovely if we could always have plenty of time to stick with all manner of niceitys to be ever patient in sorting things out .

But where such tragic nastys such as the likes of this http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/defiant-russian-cult-holed-up-in-cave-for-end-of-the-world-400863.html

Of which "Its inhabitants include four children, one only 16 months old."

Why should we be pussy footing around .

No i think these kids who`s lives are being messed with through religious rubbish ,desearve atleast the company of our anger and outrage ."

Well, that's a no brainer. However, I think that religious beliefs, in general, have earned respect. Yes, there are fringe kooks out there, but that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Atheist fundamentalists, the likes of which you might find commenting on a blog like this, seem to fail to understand that religion has earned its respect in the academic realm.

I don't see how you could claim otherwise unless you were out-of-touch.