I Hate to Defend Pat Robertson, However. Raw Story News Site Double Standard on Atheism and Christian Pat Robertson / Also: Brief Word about Atheist Richard Dawkins
It’s kind of an odd day on my blog when I come to the defense of Christian television host Pat Robertson. Thank you, liberal site Raw Story for putting me in this awkward position.
I have numerous old posts criticizing Robertson on several issues going back a a year or more, if you care to do a search for the name “Pat Robertson” on my blog to see those critical posts.
If you are new to my blog:
I am right wing, and I adhere to traditional values most of the time, but I sometimes disagree with how my fellow right wingers handle some situations.
I disagree with conservatives on their over-emphasis on marriage and the nuclear family. Ditto on conservative Christians on that, on topics like those.
However, that I disagree with these groups (right wingers and conservative Christians) at times does not mean I hate right wingers or Christians, nor do I reject most of their values or views.
Your left wingers and Non-Christians occasionally, in my opinion, have a valid criticism of right wingers every once so often.
So I sometimes follow left-wing news sites on Twitter. I sometimes visit progressive Christian or atheist sites, even though I don’t usually agree with progressives (liberals) or atheists.
I disagree with liberals and atheists more often than I disagree with right wingers.
You’ll see me on Twitter or here on my blog criticizing both sides all the time, or defending one or the other on particular issues, depending on what issue it is, or how it’s being discussed or defended by whatever side.
I was raised a Christian and marginally hold to the Christian faith to this day but have been veering into Agnosticism the past two or three years.
I saw left wing site Raw Story tweet about a link to a story today about Pat Robertson.
Robertson is the host of a Christian television program that accepts viewer questions, where people write in asking for advice about their marriage, career, finances, or what have you.
I can’t recall the details exactly, but some lady wrote in saying her grandson is being told by another family member (the father if I remember correctly, who I think is an atheist) that Jesus and God are not real.
This lady was asking for advice on what to do about this, because she is a Christian and does not want her grandchild rejecting God.
Robertson told her to “take the child away from this person,” or something to that effect.
Raw Story published this Tweet about it: (Link): Raw Story Tweet
Their Tweet reads:
Pat Robertson to grandparents: Take grandkids ‘away’ from atheist parents http://ow.ly/QIuhD
— end Tweet—
From their page:
(Link – off site link, to Raw Story site): Pat Robertson to grandparents: Take grandkids ‘away’ from atheist parents and send them to a Christian school
Excerpts (they describe what Robertson said, with the Robertson video embedded on the page):
by David Edwards
Aug 10 2015
“You should be,” Robertson agreed. “If there’s any way you can get that child away from that… His father telling him that. I don’t know, but if there’s any way you can get him enrolled in a Christian school or get him into some, you know, they have daily vacation Bible school and things.”
“There’s all kinds of things you could do to kind of get him into some positive influences,” he noted.
— end excerpt—
First of all, I don’t think Robertson meant this in quite the way Raw Story is putting it in the headline. I think Robertson was arguing that the kid should have limited contact with the atheist family member in question.
I don’t think Robertson was arguing that the CPS (Child Protective Services) or some other authority should come in and remove children from their atheist parents, or anything that drastic.
Robertson is talking about influences on the kid’s life, or how to influence the kid and have a positive impact on him, which is different than the notion of sending in CPS to remove the kid from the home, which is what the Raw Story site seems to be hinting at in its choice of headline, which I feel is a tad misleading.
On another note, I find it hypocritical for this left wing site to pick on Robertson for the perceived offense of advocating a child be separated from his atheist father (which is not what he was trying to say in the first place) in light of the fact that atheist Richard Dawkins advocated for something similar a few years ago, but in the reverse:
by Rob Cooper, April 2013
He [Richard Dawkins] said children should be taught ‘religion exists’ but not taught it as fact
Prof Dawkins repeating claims that sex abuse does ‘arguably less long-term psychological damage’ than being brought up a Catholic
Professor Richard Dawkins has claimed that forcing a religion on children without questioning its merits is as bad as ‘child abuse’.
In typically incendiary style, the leading atheist said he was against the ‘indoctrination of religion’ and teaching it as fact.
The evolutionary scientist, speaking at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival yesterday, was repeating claims he made last year which were roundly condemned by charities and politicians.
— end excerpt—
Op Ed refuting Dawkins on this point:
I am willing to bet that whenever Dawkins made these assertions, back in April 2013, that the Raw Story site did not report on it, or not in a negative fashion as they did with today’s Pat Robertson comments.
If the left wing or the atheists are going to pick on Robertson over his advice to the concerned Christian grandmother that the kid may be swayed into abandoning the Christian faith, and so she should maybe enroll the kid in some kind of Christian classes or youth groups, it would be only fair they also have conniption fits that Dawkins apparently thinks that Christians raising their kids to believe in Christianity is child abuse.
I have not read any books by Dawkins, but I have read summaries of his thoughts and opinions on other sites, and the occasional blurb taken from one of his books.
Dawkins does not seem to be much of a thinker.
And yet, for some reason, he’s a poster child for atheist fan boys out there. Many of the ones I’ve seen online practically worship the guy.
Dawkins has said or written other inflammatory things over the last few years. Such as. (I have additional observations below both of these long excerpts.)
August 2014 / Author told woman on Twitter it would be immoral not to abort pregnancy if she knew baby had Down’s syndrome
Richard Dawkins has apologised for the “feeding frenzy” triggered by his tweet claiming it would be immoral to carry on with a pregnancy if the mother knew the foetus had Down’s syndrome.
The geneticist’s latest Twitter row broke out after he responded to another user who said she would be faced with “a real ethical dilemma” if she became pregnant with a baby with Down’s syndrome.
Dawkins tweeted: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
In a fuller explanation on his website – entitled Abortion & Down Syndrome: Apology for Letting Slip the Dogs of Twitterwar – the author tried to set the record straight.
(Link): Richard Dawkins Pedophilia Remarks Provoke Outrage – Sept 2013, by T. Grundy
CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best-known and outspoken atheists, has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.
In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.
…He said the most notorious cases of pedophilia involve rape and even murder and should not be bracketed with what he called “just mild touching up.”
Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, called Dawkins’ remarks “a terrible slight” on those who have been abused and suffered the effects for decades.
— end excerpts —
As we can see from some of these examples, Dawkins consistently says offensive, rude things. The man is an insensitive doofus.
One point where Dawkins really lost me is a few years ago, I saw him quoted on some site as saying he finds belief in little green alien men from Mars more plausible than a belief in a deity.
Some sources on that (I have additional observations below these long excerpts and sets of links.):
(Link): (Video on You Tube): Richard Dawkins believes extraterrestrials created man! (the video cuts out about half way through interview with Steins)
Another video on You Tube of Steins interviewing Dawkins, which has Dawkins mentioning alien life creating life on earth:
Around the 8.40 mark in this video, Dawkins mentions aliens (“civilizations” from “an earlier time,” a “higher intelligence”) may have created life on earth.
Other quotes in the video:
Steins to Dawkins:
“There are eight billion people in the world, Dr. Dawkins, how many letters have you had?” LOL. (Watch the video to get that)
— end quotes—
(Link): Is the “Science” of Richard Dawkins Science Fiction? by J. Wells
Dawkins wrote: “Entities capable of designing anything, whether they be human engineers or interstellar aliens, must be complex — and therefore, statistically improbable. And statistically improbable things don’t just happen spontaneously by chance without an explanation trail.”
“Natural selection,” he continued, “is the only ultimate explanation we know for complex, improbable things. Even if our species was created by space alien designers, those designers themselves would have to have arisen from simpler antecedents — so they can’t be an ultimate explanation for anything.”
OK. Probably everyone would concede that attributing design to space aliens doesn’t ultimately solve the problem; it just moves the solution further away.
But how does Dawkins “know” that natural selection is “the only ultimate explanation?” Why not God? Intelligent Design doesn’t tell us that the designer is God, but how does Dawkins know it isn’t?
Because, Dawkins reiterates, God is statistically improbable: “Visitations from distant star systems are improbable enough to attract ridicule, not least from advocates of intelligent design themselves. A creator god who had always existed would be far more improbable still.”
That sounds very scientific, as befits Oxford’s Professor of the Public Understanding of Science. And it sounds scientific because improbability can be quantified. Comparing probabilities means comparing numbers.
Ben Stein knows this. So in “Expelled” he asks Dawkins what number he would assign to the improbability of God, and how he knows what the number is.
In what I consider the funniest scene in the movie after Michael Ruse’s “I already told you” interview about the origin of life, Dawkins suggests that God’s existence is 99% improbable. Stein asks him, Why not 97%? Dawkins hems and haws and says he’s not comfortable assigning a number.
With his trademark deadpan look, Stein presses him: So maybe it’s only 49%? Dawkins replies that he doesn’t know, but it’s certainly much higher than that.
Clearly, Dawkins’ devotion to Darwinism and dismissal of God have nothing whatever to do with probability — or for that matter, with science. His improbability argument is an empty bluff.
Your average science fiction writer could have come up with a better story.
— end excerpt—
SOME OF MY THOUGHTS ON THIS
I’m sorry, but no. No no no no.
I cannot take this guy seriously. Dawkins thinks aliens creating life is more plausible than a supreme being existing or creating humanity. That sounds ridiculous to me. Absurd.
If this is the caliber of what passes for atheist intellectualism, I pass.
I’m fairly content muddling my way through my current position on this continuum between Christianity and Agnosticism, thanks.
I think agnosticism (or even deism) is more intellectually tenable (and humble position) than atheism any day of the week, anyway.
But I enjoy this double standard, that left wing sites freak out if Robertson (a Christian) worries about atheist influence on a kid but not if Dawkins (atheist) worries about religious influence on a kid.
Related Links, off site:
(Link): The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins – His atheism is its own kind of narrow religion (written by an atheist)
Related Post, this blog:
For real, if you’re a movie actor or rock singer or whatever sort of celebrity, please keep your obnoxious political or religious opinions private – America doesn’t want to, or need to, know them, Thanks.