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Richard's Kid Gloves

#35: Jan. - Mar. 2007 (Non-Fiction)
FiskeMiles

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Dear Irish:As always, thanks for shining rays of sunshine and sensitivity on the conversation. I liked the "fat" kid analogy, actually, and thought it apropos. But I'm not a big fan of obscene language, and I do agree this discussion has gotten absurd. In fact, we zoomed by the boundary of absurdity quite some while back and nobody even gave it a nod...Regarding the book's tone, I do find it objectionable regardless of the poor scholarship so frequently on exhibit. (Don't miss the Einstein's Religion thread for more of the same.) I don't believe RD's mocking and derisive tone is appropriate to the subject. Niall said it best, I think, when he commented that it isn't what one anticipates from a respected academic. I think it is true, though, that the misuse of references and weak arguments make me less willing to overlook the tone.I've almost finished the book and am not as impressed with the last chapters as you seem to be, but that conversation more properly belongs on other threads. The problems stem from the same issues that crop up any time RD isn't discussing evolution and genetics -- what does he know of psychology? sociology? anthropology? terrorism? Middle East culture? etc., etc. All sorts of conclusions and assertions are made on the basis of little solid research or actual knowledge.I was particularly amused by his use of a 150 year old anecdote to characterize mainstream "moderate" religious attitudes. I assume he chose this example because it was readily at hand, and he couldn't be bothered to research more current examples. Of course, NO footnotes are provided in the entire 10 page section where he discusses the issue. But, more on that in the appropriate location...Fiske
irishrosem

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Quote:Mr. P / Irish:Where do you two live? I mean part of the country and local community type?Sorry, I forgot to reply before. I live in Philly, PA. Definitely urban. (I actually live right next door, I mean right next door, to a Jehovah's Witness hall.) We have our fair share of fundies here. Predominantly I interact with a lot of Jews, Christians, Catholics. Many people claim ties to one of these three but are, in my mind, really agnostic. To be honest, we're too busy dodging bullets here in Philly to worry about hurting peoples' feelings with regard to their religions. But the Eagles just won their first playoff game...so alls good here for now. Edited by: irishrosem at: 1/9/07 10:42 am
Niall001
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Quote:Well, I didn't suggest that; you restated what I actually said to reiterate a point you've been harping on. You didn't even reply to the point that the subject precludes one from subscribing to the rules of "polite" conversation. This book is out of that realm; and to demand that Dawkins be polite, even more so, that he strive to be polite so as not to offend, is incredibly absurd. Really, I wish if he were to put any more effort into the book it would be to the scholarship rather than the candy-ass pandering to theists' feelings.I didn't mean to suggest that you think that one should be as insensitive as possible, I only meant to suggest that the idea that Dawkins is not responsible for offending people, because it is a sensitive subject is wrong. He made no effort to avoid offending people when causing offense was not necessary. What I was trying to suggest that it is only mannerly to minimise the amount of offense you will cause when talking about a sensitive subject. Is that too much to ask?Quote: It's not his responsibility to take "care to avoid" hurting people's feelings. Especially people he argues rely on their religion to infect society with their delusional beliefs. I see that many people won't agree with his opinion/argument, but can't you see that it's not his responsibility to coddle them? I'd argue that we all have a personal responsibility to avoid hurting one and other when it can be avoided. There's a difference between being frank and being plain rude.Quote:Not that this is an invitation to list them, I really couldn't care less if you are offended by this book. Fiske's offense, on the other hand, draws a bit more concern from me. Well I guess then you'll be indifferent to learn that I'm not offended. On the other hand, I think that Fiske and I agree on why Dawkins approach is pretty rude. As he said:Quote:But being frank and open and not walking on eggshells does not necessarily entail mockery and derision.Quote:Because these examples are relevant to the discussion of a non-fiction book...You don't think that there are hundreds of non-fiction books out there where religion and God are treated rather frankly?Edit:Yup, I'm going to agree go with what Fisk just said below rather tactfully and avoid posting anymore in this thread. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.comEdited by: Niall001 at: 1/10/07 10:37 am
FiskeMiles

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For the record, I do agree with Niall (or he agrees with me?? ) that Dawkins's tone in The God Delusion is unnecessarily rude and intentionally provocative. He could have made the same points without the inflammatory rhetoric. In fact, I think his arguments would have been better without it.This is not a point I am going to continue debating. We've been over this repeatedly, saying the same thing again and again.FiskePS: If anyone who has not already made their opinion known on the subject wants to weigh in, I encourage them to do so. I believe Niall, Irish, Gas, Mr. P., and myself have made our thoughts abundantly clear. Garricker, too, has established his position, though with more (admirably more!) economy than a few of the rest of us, including myself.
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