51 comments on “Richard Dawkins 2016 Reason Rally Speech

  • I’m so spoiled, having spent my entire life in the liberal northeast US. Except for a brief time that I lived in Jesusland Maine, there was never any assumption, explicitly stated or implied, that I went to church.

    However, as a teen I had a pen pal in Granite Shoals, TX. Even though I told her over and over that I was Jewish, she kept asking me about church. Maybe she just didn’t know what a synagogue was (and my family hardly ever went anyway), but looking at her old letters, I see she was raised fundamentalist. But back then it wasn’t obvious to me as I was vaguely aware, at best, of fundamentalism. I still have her letters, in which she talks about going to church and getting close to God. Back then I think that I was puzzled about these statements!

  • Did this video play at the convention on that Sunday? Why didn’t it play to the whole Reason Rally on Saturday?

  • bonnie
    Thanks for that link.

    Some of those comments state that the Reason Rally was ruined by SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) / feminists. If that means that some of our best speakers were driven off then this just doesn’t bode well for the next rally. Can we get our shit together by then?

  • I’d be interested to hear how readers of our site react to LaurieB’s observation (Comment #5). Especially people who were either at the Reason Rally or who took a decision to stay away.

  • I really don’t know, Richard. I mean, there are definitely issues with uber political correctness from the Everything’s Bad Club, but I don’t think the guidelines were unreasonable. The only one I took issue with was to ask people what pronouns they use. It should have said, “When in doubt, ask people what their pronouns are” or “If someone corrects you because you used the wrong pronouns, please be respectful and use the pronouns that person is comfortable with.”

  • And Laurie I’m guessing you’re alluding to Thunderf00t’s latest video? I love his science videos, and in some RARE cases I appreciate his social commentary. But in a lot of his social commentary video I think he needs to grow up a little. I did, however, FACEPALM when Kelly Carlin added “if you’re able-bodied” when she said “Please stand up.” And I did laugh when he said that a sign about faith being about belief without seeing was ableist. But otherwise? I don’t know what he was upset about.

  • I went to that Reason Rally not knowing about any of the apparent drama that was going on behind the scenes. I don’t read twitter or any other social media because I hate social drama. I just read a couple of websites, this one and Jerry Coyne’s. So at some point before the rally started, my friend and I noticed that the roster was switching around with some names vanishing off the list. I was aware that there was an event scheduled for Sunday but we couldn’t stay for that. If I had known that it was to be a parallel rally with some of the speakers that I like going to that one and not the main event on Saturday then I would have made arrangements to go to both. But for the whole event to be fractured like this is unacceptable and counter productive.

  • InYourFaceNewYorker #8
    Jun 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    You mean this one?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0x-6OCtWS0

    I just watched half of it and got too depressed to finish it.

    The comments I were referring to were on the link that bonnie posted above.

    Much of this political correctness goes right over my head. The most cringeworthy stupid segment IMHO was at about the 10 minute mark in Thunderfoot’s video when we were all asked to hold hands and she starts off with exclaiming on the wonder of human hands. I agree that they are a wonder of evolution but her whole thing was too sappy and happy clappy for me. We just sat back down and ignored that part.

    I had a good time at the rally last Saturday but now as I’m learning about the drama that must have been going on behind the scenes I’m getting pretty pissed off.

  • IYFNY

    I didn’t see any mention of this on Coyne’s blog but haven’t searched specifically for anything.

    I’m now texting with my friend who was with me that day to see why I think there was name shuffling.

  • Alright so on the app that we referred to for the speaker schedule, there were two lists. The two didn’t match up and this gave me the impression that names were being deleted. Between that and the last minute no shows, I couldn’t be sure who was going to come out on the stage next!

  • Yes, that was the video I was talking about. What is this drama you’ve heard about?

    BTW I thought of something funny… when Carlin tells people to hold hands, she should have said, “If you’re neurologically inclined” or something. Otherwise, she’s erasing people on the autism spectrum!

    And yes, we on the spectrum can have a sense of humor about ourselves. So to any Everything’s Bad Club members who are reading this, I do not need to check my privilege here. 😉

  • Johnny Depp is being accused of domestic abuse. For that reason I’m glad he didn’t come.

    Richard is still recovering from his stroke, or at least has been told not to travel long distances, for now. That’s what he said in an interview anyway. My mother had a brain hemorrhage when she was 47, and after 2 months you’d never know anything had happened. But it took her an entire year before she felt completely like herself again. I suspect Richard’s situation is somewhat similar.

    I can’t speak about the other possible speakers. The blog post doesn’t seem to indicate anything specifically is going on. I just think ThunderF00t is too quick to jump to conclusions and place blame as to why the Rally didn’t meet expectations.

  • Right, that’s what ThunderF00t said in his video, basically, that “SJW”s hijacked it. Now the comments you pointed me to indicate that the other side thinks that “anti-SJWs” hijacked it. But is there evidence that either side is right as to why the Rally wasn’t a massive success?

  • Hi Richard,

    don’t know if you are still following the threat, if you are a couple of things.

    first great speech, I for one could not tell you’d suffered a stroke recently so well don on your recovery, it seems at least from where I’m standing to be going very well.

    Secondly I couldn’t take my eyes of the tree beside you (I assume its a tree trunk) is that tiles it’s been decorated with? Or is it some sort of sculpture? Great idea, I teach art among other things getting some ideas for trees around our school.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/06/05/where-was-the-crowd-for-the-reason-rally/

    It’s all over the net. The religious are crowing that this rally was a bust. Regardless of the cause, SJW’s, anti-SJW’s or just plain indifference ( herding cats, professor Dawkins? ) we all will have to own this whether we were there or even wanted to be there. When you organize and project numbers as power you better have the numbers.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2016/06/06/atheist-rally-a-bust/

    Particularly galling to me as I was raised catholic.

  • Neodarwinian #20
    Jun 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

    It’s all over the net. The religious are crowing that this rally was a bust.

    That was quite likely predictable given the nature of “faith-thinking’s preconceptions” and biases!

    Regardless of the cause, SJW’s, anti-SJW’s or just plain indifference

    It is very common for event organisers to over-estimate or underestimate attendance numbers, or for various interested parties to dispute the actual numbers.

    Ray Comfort planned to use the rally as a publicity platform for his fundamentalism, so perhaps it is no surprise the that other ideological groups had the same idea of hi-jacking it to promote their own causes!
    After all, faith-thinking religions and ideologists, usually define “reason” as “verbiage supporting their own cognitive biases”!

    It also probably comes as a “difficult to understand issue” for dogma-slaves, that atheist free thinkers don’t all share identical views!

  • If we judge the rally by the number of attendees then I can’t say that the fundies are wrong. I arrived there at eight in the morning to get a good seat and I didn’t need to do that. By the time it started and right up until noon we were wondering when the surge of people would arrive. I thought that maybe the young people were just sleeping in and would show up around noon but it didn’t happen. It was plain to see that there were facilities set up to accommodate a massive crowd but no crowd of that size showed up.

    What we are trying to figure out now is why there were less than half of the expected people there and what led to this discrepancy. What Richard wants to know (if I have it right) is what effect the SJW and general infighting had on the attendance for that event. If atheist factions have caused such a serious rift in the movement then we have to own that truth and then see if we can close ranks or not. I don’t know if it’s possible. I don’t follow these feuds in detail. I just can’t stand that level of hostility but if this rally is the blatant evidence of how bad the feuds really are then I would say, from the sidelines, it’s damn depressing.

    So I don’t think we should spend any time fussing about the fundies and their gloating. Let them gloat. It doesn’t affect me or us in the long run. Our secular movement is rising and their dark old ideology is falling. If our reason rally was less than what we wished then it’s our duty to figure out honestly why that happened and move on to bigger and better things.

  • Aside the argument for theistic, deistic, polytheistic, polydeistic, and other spiritual ideas, I anticipate people who affiliate with their church/religion do so for a number of corporeal social reasons: a family tradition; to enjoy membership with a group and its benefits, such as social networking, business, babysitting, grief counseling, clubs, meeting people, music, etc.; to have structure for matters of moral/civil relevance that idealizes bring order to a greater community; to have ritual for marriage, birth, and death; to feel rooted to something from the past that will carry forward into the future; to enjoy festivals and special ritual that captures the imagination; to appreciate art and well crafted environments and stories; to learn how to read; aside the desire for the supernatural. I’m sure my list is far from complete. Appealing to a believer, of some supernatural dogma, with reason and science, to transition to atheism will likely invoke many unsettled feelings, such as will their continued affiliation with their church be accepted or will their peers reject their presence. How does an atheist replace the corporeal needs that are left empty when there is no meeting house or formal group to satiate a desire to be part of something that includes the past and future, in a nice place, with decent conversation and company? I think it would be easier for people questioning their faith if they had a place to go near their community/dwelling that met their needs, much like a church. Perhaps a nice stone cathedral, with stain glass windows and sculpture, can be built somewhere for atheists, a gift of Dawkins (GOD), and people can joke that GOD built it.

    Maybe at the next Reason Rally a speaker can quickly present an overview of several schematics and estimated costs for the construction of various types of meetings houses (wood, stone, common industrial, as well as formalities of registering as a “religion”, in addition to costs considered typical for equipping a facility to congregate a community, offering starter kits of sorts? When a meeting houses can offer to meet the needs of a congregation, like burials, marriages, group dynamics, etc. I wager people will have a much easier time with the process to question their belief in the supernatural. If you see someone standing in a house that is unsafe, and it’s impossible to reason with the person, to egress from it, before you tear it apart to save the person try building another structure that is safer, that meets their needs in every way save the supernatural tenet.

    Nice cadences in your speech. I chuckled a few times, “knob twiddler” and some other comments.

  • Checking out the comments at the Friendly Atheist’s blog and I saw a video of Bernie Sanders speaking at Liberty University!!!!!

    ?????????????????????????????????????

    The unreasonable rally of politics and religion?!?

  • Today I woke up with meeting house and cathedral ideas bouncing around in my imagination. A few different structural ideas seem to converge around various unknown social needs, the most basic being a kitchen and large open room for social events. For plans for a more formal structure, my mind keeps superimposing two blue prints combining my observations of a city hall and church. This particular city hall has a basketball court on the third floor with a stage and side rooms at one end of the facility. The church has a first floor facility with a large open area for meetings/dances that faces a small stage flanked by two medium sized rooms with toys and musical instruments, both lead to a large kitchen behind the stage.

    A hypothetical meeting house for an atheist might have a first floor open area with a small stage separating a larger kitchen, while on the second floor a basketball court could be used by local youth/adults for various activities during the week. I often notice that many municipalities lack a place for kids and adults to enjoy simple activities. A venture kitchen would encourage members of a community, with fewer resources, to have access to a facility to explore cost benefits of cooking in bulk, or to maybe explore the art of learning how to sell food items at a farmers market, aside being a soup kitchen and catering for social events. Formal weekly meetings, for a community gathering, could utilize the smaller first floor open area or larger second floor area by placing chairs as needed for guests. This basic design can be augmented or changed to service local/regional community needs, such as opting for a different second floor plan. The structure would embody a focus on matters of the real world: imagination, consciousness, culture, and community with some structured ritual for personal formalities (marriages, death, counseling, education, etc.).

    A Dawkins cathedral could be an impressive structure combining an atrium, natural history museum, research quarters for the staff, library, media room, and a meeting area with gallery … . Renewable design ideas might be employed too, and maybe a green cemetery maintained as a park.

  • Science and reason, do not need promotional rallies, unless they are under attack or need to be promoted to the ignorant who do not see the need for them.

    It follows that Reason Rallies will be organised in countries and places where this need for some sort of crusade exits.

    It is therefore unsurprising that fringe groups of crusaders, will latch on to such major events, where they will take advantage of the available platform to promote partisan and potentially conflicting views.

  • 32
    evesadam100 says:

    Hi Reckless monkey #19 Yes the tree caught my eye too. Here in NZ we have trees on chatham Island with carvings done by the native”Moriories” an “early” tribe of Maori settlers to NZ , this group became isolated after arrival as the trees on the island were too unsuitable to make canoes good enough to make it back to the “mainland” They developed a very peaceable society but were overrun by Taranaki Maori (& EATEN”) @ 1836 — the early maori were avid cannibals. All very sad BUT the topic was the tree carving a few of these still exist—almost 170 + years old & on pretty poor trees! so they are getting sort of shagged out! They are “protected” sure but @200 yrs? they are called DENDROGLIPHS! I think. some are nice & wierd but meanings have been forgotten …sigh er I mean YUM! Tommy Soloman the last pure “Moriori ” died @ 1930s (yes they kept some as slaves, & some girls …as yado of course , victors always take it out on the ladies, so quite a lot claim mixed ancestry, Here in NZ we manage to get along pretty well , bit worried about this new wave of strange god botherers ,,, belonging to a club as wot kills yer if you resign is a REAL prob. so I stand with Hitch…….ALL THE WAY … CHEERS ….. RICHARD LOOKING GOOD ! TAKE CARE SIR PLEASE

  • 33
    evesadam100 says:

    Hi Reckless monkey #19 Yes the tree caught my eye too. Here in NZ we have trees on chatham Island with carvings done by the native”Moriories” an “early” tribe of Maori settlers to NZ , this group became isolated after arrival as the trees on the island were too unsuitable to make canoes good enough to make it back to the “mainland” They developed a very peaceable society but were overrun by Taranaki Maori (& EATEN”) @ 1836 — the early maori were avid cannibals. All very sad BUT the topic was the tree carving a few of these still exist—almost 170 + years old & on pretty poor trees! so they are getting sort of shagged out! They are “protected” sure but @200 yrs? they are called DENDROGLIPHS! I think. some are nice & wierd but meanings have been forgotten …sigh er I mean YUM! Tommy Soloman the last pure “Moriori ” died @ 1930s (yes they kept some as slaves, & some girls …as yado of course , victors always take it out on the ladies, so quite a lot claim mixed ancestry, Here in NZ we manage to get along pretty well , bit worried about this new wave of strange god botherers ,,, belonging to a club as wot kills yer if you resign is a REAL prob. so I stand with Hitch…….ALL THE WAY … CHEERS ….. RICHARD LOOKING GOOD ! TAKE CARE SIR PLEASEstrong text

  • (It is) the promise of Allah. Never does Allah depart from His promise: but most men understand not.They know but the outer (things) in the life of this world: but of the End of things they are heedless”Coran, Surat Ruum, Verset 6 and 7…wake up!!!! before it will be to late …prepare yourself for the hereafter….If you think that you are savant by writing nonsense …..surely you are under average because you do not know core of things but other does….Coran describe what will say after :”They will further say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!”They will then confess their sins: but far will be (Forgiveness) from the Companions of the Blazing Fire!”. Coran ,Surat Mulk, Verset 10 and 11…..waaaaaaaaaaaaaake uuuuuuuuuuuuup! It is tiil time..

  • omar.

    By my daily concern to be moral, to seek out harms to others during their lives and seek amelioration, I am content I can do no more. If, as a an atheist (I have no choice in the matter, reason at every turn draws a blank), I am wrong and to be judged, I am content I am the best person I could be, ever wanting to be better. I would, indeed, have contempt for any maker who would throw me away and that that maker is no god, but merely an inept craftsman.

  • God servant #34
    Jan 9, 2018 at 5:38 am

    prepare yourself for the hereafter…

    Nope! I won’t be having a “hereafter, so I will prepare for my present life and my family’s hereafter in the real world when I am gone.

    If you think that you are savant by writing nonsense …..surely you are under average because you do not know core of things but other does….

    If you are unable to comprehend what is written on this site, (even given that English is not your first language), that is probably because you have been schooled in memorising chunks or the Koran, rather than being educated in how the real world works.

    Coran describe what will say after :”They will further say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence,

    Memorising passages from ancient texts and blindly uncritically accepting them, is not “using our reasoning and intelligence”!
    It is shutting down our learning and intelligence!

    we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!

    Ah! The stories of imaginary mythical “afterlife blazing hell-fires” – told to frighten children into slavishly obeying their priests, shutting down the development of their mental faculties, and sacrificing their lives to daily mental servitude!

    ..waaaaaaaaaaaaaake uuuuuuuuuuuuup!

    You have the option of waking up to material reality, but would probably have to stop suppressing your intelligence 5 times a day, so as to clear your head, and start to think objectively. That would involve using scientific and historical reference books to educate yourself, and to work at developing the evidence based rationality, which is the topic of this discussion.

  • God Servant

    Why do you want to be a servant? Why be a slave, the actual translation of the word Abd – Allah? Why be a slave to a god who never shows himself? A god who lets your people suffer pain and sickness and humiliation? He either can’t fix things or he doesn’t want to. All the recitations of the Koran that you could ever do will never change your life or the life of anyone you love.

    Instead, stop worrying about what comes after death. Think about living your life the best way you can right now. Think about things you can do right now to make things better for the people around you. A good leader doesn’t just sit there reading the Koran and praying with his ass in the air and nose on the floor, stand up! Look around! Collect ideas and information. Give guidance to your people who need it and compassion to the ones who need that. Move your family forward in this life and then you do your part to move your society forward as well.

    Stand up and have some pride in yourself and your people and stop being a slave. Nothing to be proud of.

  • For others who missed the change, omar changed his (?) name to God servant.

    God servant. A few questions for you.

    Is being moral most important for you, or being obedient to what you guess is your God’s desires?

    Is not the first an unquestionable godly desire? Are not any other perceived instructions contingent upon an interpretation of of circumstance?

    And, is not morality from an inward nature and self-cultivation the essence of building a world of peace, rather than a display of its forms from mere obedience?

  • For others who missed the change, omar changed his (?) name to God servant.

    Actually, they do appear to be two different users. Unfortunately, both have just flooded multiple threads with masses of cut-and-paste, even after our request yesterday to stay and discuss but not to go on just copying and pasting.

    If either of them are reading the responses to their posts, we repeat that you are very welcome to discuss your beliefs and the responses to them, provided you are genuinely up for a two-way discussion; but please stop spamming the threads.

    The mods

  • @#39 – Unfortunately, both have just flooded multiple threads with masses of cut-and-paste, even after our request yesterday to stay and discuss but not to go on just copying and pasting.

    It will be interesting to see if they are capable of rationally discussing the replies they have been given, or if as I surmised (@#36 – probably because you have been schooled in memorising chunks or the Koran, rather than being educated in how the real world works.) – they are limited to cutting and pasting without understanding, creationist stuff they have been directed to, or chosen to, uncritically quote parrot fashion.

    They certainly have enough replies here to provide a basis for making a start at a rational debate!

  • I am omar..I have changed my name to God sevant…I had problems in signning in even I changed my password more than ten times…I hope I was not banned from your site ..They want to keep you hypnotised…be with me or go away……

  • To be honest I am a nature sciences licentiate and also a doctor…..I believe deeply in God….For me who believe in gospel or thorat is almost like you a disbeliever….

  • Only the last revelation Koran is true or not…What would you say about Ibraham, moise, Jesus,Mohamed…..who were neither thinkers nor philosophers….They claim that they were God messengers….Either they have right or not…..They were best men walking on earth…spending their entire lives warning peoples without asking donoation…they do it because theywereobligedto do it…..

  • God exist #42
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:30 am

    To be honest I am a nature sciences licentiate and also a doctor.

    This is a science site where there are plenty of scientific and medical topics to discuss.

    I believe deeply in God.

    So have you come to debate with us on the replies we gave you?

    There have been many discussions on this site with believers in various versions of gods, so many people who post here, are well aware of the views held by followers of various religions and the sects and divisions within those religions.

  • omar, God servant, God exist. Thanks for coming back.

    Only the last revelation Koran is true or not…

    So you turn your back on even later revelations like those of Joseph Smith?

    As a doctor you will know that about 1% of the population suffer notable schizophrenic episodes. Many great artists and thinkers and writers can attribute their creativity to this tendency, inventing stories for our consumption.

    How confident are you that prophets are inspired and not sufferers of this?

  • All sects claim that sciences is beside them….but really sciences alone took not to god….Only messengers do….You have to scrutinize and scrutinize messengers lives to see if they have had right….if not what really were they taking in mind the impact they have had…besides all thinkers till now are nuuuuuuuuuuuuullllllllll…..

  • Two questions, God exist…

    all thinkers till now are null…

    How do you know?

    Is God needed to help explain things that you think need explaining?

  • God exist #46
    Jan 12, 2018 at 6:10 am

    All sects claim that sciences is beside them

    But science is about what works in the real material world, and discards claims which are not supported by experimental evidence when tested.

    Asserted claims without supporting evidence or which are refuted by evidence, are simply personal opinions and usually mistaken ones or wishful thinking!

  • Surely you are well educated…Almost of you speak many languages….Even given you have beautiful minds… What you luck is beautiful hearts.. “Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts”Koran surat al hajj….

  • First of all, the heart has nothing to do with learning and wisdom. It’s just a pump. One thousand years ago people believed that the heart was the seat of emotion but now we know that it’s just a pump. Emotion and wisdom lives in the brain. The Koran is one thousand years behind the current times in terms of knowledge and ethics.

    If you want to discuss neuroscience you’ve come to the right place but the Koran and the Bible have nothing useful to say about that topic.

    A discussion of the process of indoctrination would be relevant. That’s a brain thing.

  • the heart is just a pump…..waw you are far far away from the truth…..the braveness, the generosity …are inherited also….the are not proteins to be codified into DNA….

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