Calling dishonesty

I’ve never been a big fan of calling someone dishonest with much ease. There are exceptions (a lot of politicians by virtue of being politicians, people who understand the science behind something but intentionally contradict it at the behest of a big corporation, i.e., researchers who long denied the effects smoking has), but I’m not usually ready to throw out a label of “dishonest” without good reason. I’ll say it for virtually all public-figure young Earth creationists because they present arguments they know are wrong (i.e., Kirk Cameron and his crocoduck; even when it was explained to him that evolution predicts no such thing, he continued to claim otherwise. I don’t think he’s smart, but he can’t be that stupid), but I won’t say it for the random young Earth creationist because they usually don’t know why their arguments are silly. For the former, I have good reason. For the latter, I do not.

And then there are theists in general. I believe most of them think their positions are valid and logical. They don’t inherently make arguments they know or believe to be false simply so they can push an agenda. This is true for all religious members as well as atheists, agnostics, and whatever else we care to name. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big name theists willing to distort facts, make up history, and outright lie.

Enter the Pope.

‘As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society.’

Specifically, he means Nazis. This is a fallacious argument that attempts to link what just about everyone recognizes as a terrible regime to atheism. Hitler wasn’t an atheist and the Nazis did not promote atheism. The Pope is being overtly and brazenly dishonest.

In light of this, PZ has a series of Hitler quotes that help to demonstrate what the German leader thought. They’re worth a look in their entirety, but I’ll provide just a few here.

“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” (1936 speech)

~~~

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.” (1922 speech – this one goes on for longer than what I’ve represented here)

~~~

“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.” (Mein Kampf)

~~~

“ATHEIST HALL CONVERTED

Berlin Churches Establish Bureau to Win Back Worshippers

Wireless to the New York Times.

BERLIN, May 13. – In Freethinkers Hall, which before the Nazi resurgence was the national headquarters of the German Freethinkers League, the Berlin Protestant church authorities have opened a bureau for advice to the public in church matters. Its chief object is to win back former churchgoers and assist those who have not previously belonged to any religious congregation in obtaining church membership.

The German Freethinkers League, which was swept away by the national revolution, was the largest of such organizations in Germany. It had about 500,000 members …” (New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 2, on Hitler’s outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933, after the Enabling Act authorizing Hitler to rule by decree)

Far from being an atheist, Hitler believed in God. Furthermore, he actively suppressed atheist groups. The Pope, having lived in Nazi Germany and having been forced to join them, knows this. His people know it. Everyone frickin’ knows it.

But my favorite quote of all (which isn’t on that list):

Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth. Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind. (Mein Kampf)

Mmyes. In addition to not being an atheist, Hitler didn’t even accept the fact of evolution. Only a fundamentally dishonest theist would bother to argue otherwise.

14 Responses

  1. If evolution is a fact why is it called “The theory of evolution”?
    Science is more often wrong than what it is right

  2. Of course science is more often wrong than right, that is in so far as its wrongs are corrected based on new research or experiments or even just new evaluations of old work.

    It’s a theory for many more reasons than I know I am sure, but for example:

    Evolution (at least as far as we can tell from the fossil record) does not occur gradually over time. Its occurs in the blink of a geologic eye sometimes with new species appearing in just 10 or 20 thousand years or even less. As long as the reason/cause is unknown science can only guess and speculate why it happens so fast and than remains static for long periods of time.

    One can suppose a lot of things, and one may be correct, but supposing isn’t proving. That’s a big reason why I think it foolish for a person to use a lack of “scientific” evidence for disproving God. A lack of evidence proves exactly nothing.

    With evolution we have observed that it happens, we know kind of how it happens but its cause in most cases and the rapidity in some cases is perplexing. “Punctuated equilibrium” has yet to be fully explained as is “phyletic gradualism.” Neither one explains everything so we are left with a theory.

  3. In response to your first paragraph, researchers don’t only lie and deny for “big corporations” but also for grants and tenure and prestige. Scientists are as corruptible as any other class of people. The most competitive of them even more so.

  4. Rick – go educate yourself. You do not understand the word evolution, so look it up in a dictionary.

    Evolution is also a fact. There have been many predictions due to evolution and they have been shown true.

    Evolution is supported by hundreds of thousands of fossils, embryology, geology, anatomy, and of course DNA. It is the theory that has more supporting facts than any other.

    How much evidence is there of creationism or ID? Absolutely nothing, of course.

    The absence of evidence IS a proof of the absence of god when there should be evidence of proof.

  5. What about the USSR and other communist nations? The estimated body count of these regimes is at 149 million.

    http://www.digitalsurvivors.com/archives/communistbodycount.php

    Even if National Socialists and Communists were pure atheists, they weren’t pushing the freedom of thought the “new atheists” were. Nazism was a religion of the state – the belief that an all-powerful government would solve everyones problems. Communism never pushed free inquiry – it depends on uniformity in thought.

    Did you see the news article’s screen shot from the Horror movie about popes breaking through peoples windows and eating them? http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/09/17/article-1312531-0B38D100000005DC-863_306x423.jpg

  6. The USSR would at least offer an example that contains atheistic leaders, but it still isn’t a valid argument since atheism is not a philosophy nor does it make any normative statement of any kind.

  7. I’ve heard that before and no amount of word smithing changes the fact that atheism is abused in the same manner as religion, and is therefore a tool capable of being used.

    You may try and chase everything away from atheism: “isn’t a valid argument since atheism is not a philosophy nor does it make any normative statement of any kind.” but that’s just atheist apologetics.

  8. Religion makes moral claims and pushes doctrines, dogmas, and rules. It is full of normative claims. But what derives from atheism? What philosophy does it offer? Does atheism tell us if we should or should not steal? Does it say what ought to happen if someone breaks a law? Does it even suggest whether or not we should have laws?

    This isn’t semantics. There is a significant difference between descriptive and normative claims. You’re likely confusing new atheism or humanism or popular connotations with atheism. What you’re saying right now is as valid as saying agnosticism or deism constitute philosophies.

    To put it another way, as I have in the past:

    Here is a descriptive claim:

    Many people think bugs are gross.

    It is not a value statement. Now here is a normative claim:

    Bugs are gross.

    It passes judgement on bugs and is therefore a value statement.

    I wish more people could separate these two types of claims.

  9. I understand the difference. I didn’t claim otherwise.

  10. The only way atheism could be “abused in the same manner as religion” if if they were the same sort of thing. They fundamentally are not.

  11. I don’t agree.

  12. At least with the issue of abuse. I agree they are different. ****

  13. You’re confusing abuse that happens to philosophical systems that are based upon atheism with atheism itself.

  14. I see, the parts do not make up the whole.

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