“Reason” Rally

On March 24 secularists held a “Reason Rally” in Washington DC.  The idea, according to the website, was to “unify, energize, and embolden secular people” to “come out of the closet” and advance secularism.  Organizers insisted that it would be a “positive experience” and a “celebration of secular values” (presumably free thinking and such things) and that is was not going to be an “opportunity to trash religion.”  Rather the idea was to “dispel stereotypes” and work for greater acceptance.

I must say I find this need for acceptance quite odd.  Are secularists having a hard time being accepted in what is an increasingly secular culture nationwide and what is already a secular culture in our urban areas?  Setting that aside, the Reason Rally predictably devolved into New Atheist ad hominems and smug mockery.  Here is what Dawkins had to say,

“Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all ‘too polite’ to talk about religion.  Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.”  Speaking of Catholics, he encouraged the crowd to “Mock them.  Ridicule them in public!”

And so, as one commentator put it, instead of praising reason they predictably persecuted faith. Of course the adoring crowd gobbled this up.  Attendees are likely unaware that serious and thoughtful arguments against their positions have been made.  One cannot bother to deal with those arguments, though, when they have the important business of smug posturing to attend to.  It is becoming almost tiresome pointing out the irony of the dogmatism of these “free thinkers” and the utter unreasonableness of these supposed “Brights.”

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
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2 Responses to “Reason” Rally

  1. brights”, is this what ‘these people’ are going to call themselves now? I wonder what Nz might have thought to see atheism start to morph into the adolescence of emotional rebellion while depending on science and “compassion” (where such compassion stems from is never really answered, I would counter its just emotional weakness trying to usurp the stronger and proper rulers of society). I’m sure you heard of the story of a few ethicists in Australia basically remaking the Mary Ann Warren case about abortion and infanticide having no moral difference. Its funny to watch the left and pro choicers including atheists be shocked and appalled at such a claim when it follows their logic to a T.

    Anyway, on that note, this regards something I mentioned in email about pro life secularists who are shunned at an atheist convention.

    The “women who hate women” remark reported just shows how deeply held dogma can be regardless of religious orientation. To some pro life simply must mean anti woman, no exceptions.

    • Kleiner says:

      This line stuck out to me. Someone who visited the atheist pro life table remarked, “This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone defend [the pro-life] view with reason and rational arguments.” Sadly, that is all too common. While I grant that some pro-lifers make purely religious arguments, I actually think most pro-lifers make pretty good arguments more often than not, largely because they are the ones who are having to make the case. Most pro-choicers, I am afraid, are guilty of having simply not thought about it at all. To be unaware that there are cogent arguments from natural reason against abortion means you have to have hardly investigated the issue at all.

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