Should it be Confrontation all the way?

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ingwe (October 09, 2010, 22:47:22 PM):
PZ Myers is his blog "Pharyngula" reproduces a statement he made in a panel discussion at the Secular Humanism conference. My reading of this statement is his conviction that the promotion of religion, ID, creationism and all other woo needs to be confronted. The main reason for this conviction is that all of these concepts or beliefs are based on lies or facts that are not the truth.

Do you agree with him? If so how do you confront those promoting the woo?
thrift (October 09, 2010, 23:09:23 PM):
Yes I agree that we should be confronting the issue, not just because it's true but because religion does more harm in the world than good. Us who've cottoned on should be spreading the message, engaging in debate where possible. Sow doubt among the faithful!
Mefiante (October 09, 2010, 23:14:11 PM):
Do you agree with him?
Yes, we do. Every time you let pass a piece of slipshod thinking, you in effect condone it via consent by silence. Humanity needs to sharpen up its critical faculties if we are not merely to survive but to ensure a better life for all, most especially our children.

If so how do you confront those promoting the woo?
Not directly. The promoters’ll say literally anything to defend their BS and they are usually well-practised at it. The best you can hope for is to engender a little doubt in the minds of those who buy into the nonsense. Maybe that seed of doubt will take root and flower into a sturdier tree. Sadly, people are not very good at challenging their own beliefs, so that’s the place to attack: inculcate a sense that it’s okay to be wrong and to change your views. If enough people doubt the baloney merchants’ promises, the merchants themselves will soon run out of market. That is, when the buyers are few, the promoters will waste their breath – and realise it, only to try a new batch of woo.

It would be good if one of the major pharmaceutical companies was to develop an anti-stupid pill, but that’s hoping for too much.

Jacques (October 10, 2010, 00:57:25 AM):
I'm lucky enough to be at this conference at the moment, and spent some time talking to him last night, after the session with Chris Mooney, Stenger and Scott. He's quite emphatic on the point that in terms of long-term strategy, the principled defense of truth & reason is what we should be pursuing, even if that means criticising believers who are actually (on the whole) perhaps doing good work for *our* cause. The example that came up in discussion was Francis Collins, who despite his woo, is doing good work promoting evolution and stem-cell research. PZ doesn't even want to give guys like that an easy ride. I certainly agree with him - we've got no sacred ideas or people (or cows). Of course, politically, there is a legitimate debate to be had around tone, but Dawkins made a good point in the evening session that people mistake honesty for rudeness far too often, and that we should feel free to call ideas idiotic, and people ignorant, but that this is different to the gratuitous offensiveness of calling people idiots.
Mefiante (October 11, 2010, 10:19:34 AM):
Another atheist dares to put his “radical intolerance” and “intolerant radicalism” on public display by voicing reasoned dissent. This time it’s Jerry Coyne on how science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. Can you hear the apologist hordes gathering to fabricate “defences” of their nonsense?



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