Thursday, October 21, 2010

More fun with Atheists

In looking over the NYT article on the gathering of Atheists yet again, I saw a couple other things worth kicking around. First was this quote:
The largely white and male crowd — imagine a Star Trek convention, but older — came to hear panels that included several best-selling atheist pamphleteers
Out of curiosity, does this indicate racism or some form of racist tendency among the atheist crowd? After all, with little more than a few extreme examples, the Tea Party continues to be hammered for being racist. Though the NAACP's attempt to call them so met with criticism from CNN and Anderson Cooper. If you're the NAACP, a left leaning organization, and CNN gets on you, you've done something wrong.

But many MSM stories on the Tea Party racism have focused on the overwhelming 'whiteness' of the movement. MSNBC has had legions of commentaries pointing out that it's mostly white folk who attend the meetings - therefore obviously on the weight of that observation alone there's some racist tendencies. about this? Any reason why the MSM shouldn't ask the question of modern atheism and its racial makeup? Or at least if modern atheism is so limited that it may only appeal to a very narrow demographic (not to mention the age of the participants).

Another quick observation came from a quote I posted below:
[Sam Harris] traveled with bodyguards because he receives death threats from both Christians and Muslims.
As I said, anyone in the public eye gets death threats. Especially today where you are exposed to the entire planet. Out of six billion people, you're going to get a few loonies. In addition, if your basic message is founded on 'time to eradicate those pesky beliefs I don't like', the vitriol might occasionally stimulate the bad in a few more than the usual loons. No matter what, when the media emphasizes death threats, it often shows a particular sympathy on the part of the media.

But I wondered about the statement that the threats were from both Christians and Muslims. From where? Here at home? Abroad? Did the threat makers sign their names as Muslim or Christian? Did someone say 'in the name of Jesus I threaten you'? 'In the name of Allah you're toast'? Did the NYT, who put that snippet in parentheses, ask for some evidence? Not saying it didn't happen, or that the threats aren't what the article says. But it was a strange and obvious 'look how evil they are, I told you they're evil' aside I would have liked the NYT to back up a little more.

After all, Harris, like most militant atheists, calls for nothing less than the elimination of religions he doesn't like. Someday, they have got to go. So if a member of the KKK says black people threaten him with violence, I have to be honest and admit there might be some bias on the part of the KKK member who makes the accusation. And since Harris is basically taking a similar approach - if not less violent then no less provocative - toward religions he doesn't like, founding his argument on the proposition that religion is the mack daddy cause of human violence, I would have to entertain the thought that he might not be reading the tea leaves without a tad bit of bias himself.

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