4,328 comments posted · 156 followers · following 19

3 hours ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 1 reply · +1 points

At the risk of beating a dead horse here, I'm not sure one can demonize an ideology. How would we distinguish between demonizing an ideology and criticizing an ideology?

We can certainly demonize and scapegoat people, but I'm not convinced we can do the same to a set of ideas.

18 hours ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 1 reply · +2 points

I have certainly seen some people, including some atheists, expressing anti-Muslim bigotry (and the same goes for anti-Christian bigotry). Most of the time, I attribute this to laziness rather than malice. It is much easier to tweet something like, "Muslims are stupid" than it is to explain why one does not find claims about supernatural entities to be persuasive. But of course, it does happen out of malice too.

I think that Islam can (and should) be criticized in the same way that Christianity can (and should) be criticized. It is the bigotry we can do without.

I'd have to disagree with the suggestion that discussing efforts to censor criticism of Islam or any other religion without first researching anti-religious bigotry necessarily entails facilitating defamation or bigotry. I think that most of us are well aware that anti-religious bigotry exists and that it is separable from attempts to suppress criticism of religion.
My recent post Criticizing Islam vs. Anti-Muslim Bigotry

19 hours ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Oh, it is still quiet...or at least it soon will be.

19 hours ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Islam is diverse, both historically and at present. There are Muslims living in many Western democracies who do not seem particularly interested in imposing Islam on others through state power. I don't think this makes them any less Muslim, but it certainly means they are not Islamists.

One finds something similar among Christians. There are Christians here among us who support the separation of church and state. There are also Christian dominionists who would prefer a Christian theocracy.

1 day ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 3 replies · +3 points

I think this is a good example where it might be useful to distinguish between Islam (the religion itself) and Islamism (the political system that seems to impose Islam on others).

1 day ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 1 reply · +3 points

I'm not sure that it makes sense to refer to prejudice against an ideology either unless all we mean by prejudice is the a priori condemnation of something without making any attempt to understand it. Prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and the like seem to apply to people. I'm not sure they are applicable to ideas, beliefs, traditions, cultural practices, and so on.

It seems like the central feature of bigotry involves holding negative attitudes toward all members of a group (overgeneralization) on the basis of their membership in that group (e.g., "Christians are deluded morons" or "Atheists are immoral and untrustworthy"). While it is difficult to deny that some Christians are deluded morons or that some atheists are immortal and untrustworthy, it is the unwarranted generalization to the entire group that gets us to bigotry. I don't see how this applies to ideas and beliefs.

We can certainly be biased against ideas and beliefs in the sense that we judge them without having a sufficient basis for doing so, but I'm not sure I'd characterize this as bigotry or prejudice. Those terms really do seem best reserved for cases where the targets are people.

1 day ago @ Atheist Revolution - Criticizing Islam vs. ... · 5 replies · +5 points

I do not believe that it makes sense to accuse someone of being bigoted against an idea. Bigotry is about people.

4 days ago @ Atheist Revolution - Why Are We Surprised t... · 0 replies · +1 points

There's nothing quite like having a common enemy to bring people together.

My recent post The Real Losers of the 2016 Presidential Debates

1 week ago @ Atheist Revolution - Far More to Political ... · 0 replies · +3 points

I don't doubt that reality is far more complicated than anything that can be captured by these two dimensions. I suppose one must balance complexity with brevity and ease of interpretation. I was particularly interested in seeing where I'd fall along these dimensions, and so I found it useful for that purpose. But clearly, it is still only reflecting a fairly small part of the picture.

1 week ago @ Atheist Revolution - Jesus and Charles Manson · 0 replies · +3 points

I think that's a good point. Those who look outward and are willing to settle for easy answers do seem more likely to fall prey to manipulation.