Don’t Blame Me August 22, 2007

Don’t Blame Me

Am I missing something or is this person just a bigot?

Dear editor, A few days ago I found a kitten on the sidewalk at the end of Cotton Street. It was dehydrated and very weak. It had laid down on the sidewalk to die. It has a 50 percent chance of survival. I am doing everything I can to save it. To the person who committed this horrendous inhumane act, I have a question for you. Are you an atheist?

This is *so* wrong.

I mean, everybody knows that atheists love kittens.

It’s the babies we don’t like.

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Darfasti

    What. The. Fuck. He did not just say that, did he?

    I know I’ve heard this kind of thing before, but this kind of thing still pisses me off whenever I hear it.

  • Richard Wade

    Hang on. Hold your fire. The Early County News says we won’t get to read the whole story until one week goes by, unless someone wants to subscribe. (I don’t.) Without more information it could be a mistake to go off on this person. On the surface it seems inflammatory, but we must practice circumspection and patience in waiting for adequate information before we come to a conclusion. That is the hallmark of a skeptic, is it not?

  • Anonymous Evil Atheist

    Like I have time to neglect and abandon kittens when there’s so many puppies to kick. This guy doesn’t know us at all!

  • Maria

    LOL, I got a comment similar to this. I posted a video of some really cute bunnies on my myspace (I love bunnies!). I got a comment from someone saying “but you say you’re agnostic, don’t agnostics hate bunnies?” When I asked him why, his rationale was that he knew an agnostic once who sneezed when bunnies were around and didn’t want them around. Yeah, I’m so sure that had everything to do with his agnosticism and not the fact that he was obviously allergic to bunnies. Now it’s kittens? ::sigh::

  • Darren

    Yes, it’s bigotry of the worst kind. Substitute the word “atheist” for any of “gay”, “black”, “Mormon”, “female”, “Republican” or any other group and you can see just how wrong that is. Why are atheists considered fair game? We should complain to the editor.

  • It’s not the most coherently thought out idea is it. Yes, of course it’s bigotry. Bigotry includes attributing horrible actions to people on the basis of their group identity and also the attributing to groups horrible actions with which they have absolutely no connection. But, then, that’s never stopped Harris, Hitchens or Dawkins from doing it and getting applause from atheists all round. Of what else does Sam Harris’ entire fame rest on?

  • Valhar2000

    Of what else does Sam Harris’ entire fame rest on?

    Oh, I don’t know… the fact that he is largely correct in attributing what he attributes to the people he attributes it to?

  • Actually I do hate kittens. They’re smelly, dirty creatures with no respect for property and they serve no useful purpose in the typical household. Plus they get fleas. 😉

    What is the “horrendous inhumane act” here anyway? Allowing a cat to have kittens? Maybe one wandered away from it’s mother? The writer has made a leap in associating a lone and sickly kitten with human interference or neglect. He’s made another by suggesting that abandonment of said feline is deliberate. Yet another by suggesting that no good Christian would do such a thing (riiiiight) and then another by attributing the abandonment to Atheists (as opposed to any other group).

    This is a wonderful example of the illogical thought processes that allow people to believe some of the pretty strange things that they see as irrefutable.

    I must check back in a week for the full story.

  • What gets me is that the editor was willing to publish such filth.

  • Wow. That really sucks.

    I think the kitty was sacrificing itself so feline-kind can have eternal life.

    Or it was a suicide kitty performing jihad on the western puppies.


  • What are you talking about! Atheists love babies!

    The meat is so tender, it falls right off the not-quite-formed bones. A nice, tangy barbecue sauce and you can enjoy real baby back ribs!

  • Thank you, Valhar2000, feel free to illustrate my point anytime.

  • If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    If a kitten is found on a sidewalk, does that mean a human left it there to die?

    Such absurdities …


    PS: if indeed this is a Christian nation (ha!) the odds suggest the dying kitten was left by One Of Them.

  • PrimateIR

    What gets me is that the editor was willing to publish such filth.

    You know, I have to wonder if the editor didn’t write it. Publishing letters with dull witted, atheist provoking remarks certainly gets a publication a lot of attention these days.

  • I don’t like cats, but my best friend Tracy does; she has FIVE of them. And yes, Tracy is an atheist.

    A joke between my wife and I is that I could never have an affair with Tracy, because every time I come back from her house, my clothes are covered with cat-hair! 😉

  • stogoe

    R. Wade, I hope you’re being factious.

    And if you’re not, well, then, let me just say that there appears to be enough evidence of this tool’s bigotry to make a preliminary statement that he is, in fact, a bigot, and no reason to assume that our declaration of his apparent bigotry will be overturned by reading the rest of the story when it becomes available.

    We could, of course, be mistaken. But at this point I don’t see how.

    Valhar, don’t feed olvlzl. He’s convinced he’s right, and won’t be swayed by petty things like evidence and logic.

    As for cats, I don’t see any reason to keep them as pets (I’m a dog person). But I’d never starve or torture one for fun. Even if they are entitled pains in the butt.

  • Polly

    Ways the rest of this story could do a 180.

    “To the person who committed this horrendous inhumane act, I have a question for you. Are you an atheist?…

    1)No, of course not, because atheists don’t believe in inflicting unnecessary pain”

    2)Because I expect better morals from an atheist”

    3)I hope not, because you’re giving us an undeservedly bad name”

    These are, of course, extremely unlikely.

  • chatterbox

    The real question is: who didn’t spay or neuter their pet in the first place?

    Obviously, all Christians spay and neuter their pets just as regularly as they practice birth control, right? It’s god’s will that cats and dogs produce as many kittens and puppies as possible. All the cats and dogs will go away when jesus returns during their lifetime anyways, so why should they worry about the problem?

  • stogoe, do you expect people to post things they think are incorrect? Sam Harris’ career, now that it seems his days as a “scientist” are not ever to be, is entirly comprised of promoting bigotry through stereotyping of exactly the kind Hemant asks about here. Change a few words and he wouldn’t have been out of place in Germany of the 1930s.

  • TXatheist

    How is supporting the idea of a more favored race through slaughter/eugenics and the problems of religious thinking comparable?

  • TXatheist, now that’s a challenge I’m going to have to take up. But I won’t inflict it on Hemant’s hospitality. Look for your answer at my blog next week.

  • Oh good.

    I was wondering how Olvizl could steer this thread into episode 8489 of his never-ending rant against HarDawkHitch.

    For a minute I thought it was impossible. Silly me.

    Sample conversation with Olvizl:

    “Hey, I stubbed my toe.”

    “–Speaking of toes, did I mention that Hitchens once supported a Holocaust-denier?”

  • TXatheist

    It’s not that difficult to summarize is it?

  • TXatheist

    Thanks for the heads up Siamang. If it’s just a rant against Harris and not on the foundational ideas I mentioned don’t bother olv

  • Hey now, I like babies because they are atheists!

  • Claire

    Of course, kittens are atheists, too. Yet another reason to like them.

    On the other hand, I have alway thought that dogs were closet christians, they seem to have the attitude. But, hey, I’m going to like them anyway, they’re sweet.

  • Dan

    I like babies it is kids I hate. Oh and the 49ers lol

  • Someone once said “A dog is the only animal who has seen his God.”

  • And here’s another episode of Siamang’s “How dare anyone actually read and critique what the atheist pop idols have written”. TXatheist, no, I think I want to take my time and get a real post out of this topic. Anyone who can read the hate speech of Harris and deny that it’s full of exactly the same kind of bigoted guilt by association of those who haven’t done anything wrong is lying. His entire line is that all religious people are resonsible for the actions of those who murder in the name of religion.

    Maybe you would like to read this piece I posted about Peter Hitchens a while back. Go on, it’s not very long, it won’t give you xooties.

  • Karen

    Olvi, weren’t you going on vacation? I believe you promised us last week you were getting out of town. Don’t tell me you can’t take a little rant-rest once in while – you’re overdue!

    Let us commit pop atheist idolatry in peace, already. [Pssst … is he gone?]

    Okay, everybody! Get our your HarDawkHitch totem poles and prostrate yourselves in 3 … 2 …. 1 …

  • Polly

    @Karen: LOL!

    Please, not another post diverted to a discussion about those guys! I haven’t even read any of their stuff. Nor did I intend to. But, if you keep at it olvlzl, I might just buy a copy of “The God Delusion”!
    http://www.Amaz – Don’t make me take out my credit card. 😛

  • TXatheist

    No thanks olv, when you say I can’t see it then you’ve already told me how objective you are.

  • Olvizl says:

    And here’s another episode of Siamang’s “How dare anyone actually read and critique what the atheist pop idols have written”

    ooooh…. someone here doesn’t read my blog!

    Please don’t think you can guess my opinions based on…. how did you phrase it?

    “…on the basis of their group identity…”

    Ah yes. Exactly.

  • TXatheist, I don’t know about you or Siamang but I’ve got other writing duties to get out of the way before taking requests and I like to research my blog posts. And, sorry Siamang, but I don’t get around to looking at all the blogs.

    Karen, keep your hair on, I was delayed a week by said writing duties. Then you will enjoy a couple of weeks free of someone pointing out what’s there to be seen in the blessed trinity’s writings. At least, of me doing it.

  • olvlzl, would you care to provide an example (perhaps a quote) of something one of the so-called “blessed trinity” has said that you see as bigoted?

  • Richard Wade

    Well, I was going to write a clever, insightful and ON TOPIC response to stogoe’s wondering if I was being “factious,” but in just the short time I was away once again olvie has derailed the conversation from a lost pet to his pet peeve. And the rest of you dumbass suckers have once again taken the bait. Several of you already decided he’s a troll but you haven’t done the one and only thing you should ever do with a troll. Ignore him! I have written thoughful and respectful responses to him and all I got in return was circumlocution, evasion, pathological perseveration of the same old remarks, or just being completely ignored. That last one is what we should all do. I’ve sincerely tried to interact with him and in return he has pulled this bullshit once too many times. I’m sick of it. This had the promise of an interesting thread, but you guys, the Troll Feeders just don’t get any more tired of his hijacking the discussion than he does. See that little button on the right? Use it and scroll past whatever he writes without reading it. Don’t worry, no need to peek, you’ve already read it many times before.

  • txatheist

    Sorry rich, didn’t realize this was his normal behavior and glad Siamang informed me of him.

  • Just off hand:

    “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” Sam Harris

    Not restrain in the absence of violent action, not counter with arguments, not place under surveillance, but KILL people for their thoughts. Something I’ve never heard a moderate or liberal religious believer ever advocate.

    I could go on to his general proposition that all religious believers especially moderates and liberals are responsible for the actions of people to whom they have no connection. His assertion that the destruction of religion is not only desirable but something that must be done is in itself advocating a form of genocide. And we haven’t even brushed his endorsement of torture.

    Richard Wade, I’d always thought a troll was someone who added nothing to the discussion of the topic. Since the original question asked if the attribution of evil actions to atheists on the basis of stereotyping was bigotry, what I said was on topic. I’m sorry if my opinion of the scientific failings of psychology offends you but I don’t think I said anything untrue on the topic, nothing that you refuted, anyway.

    If Hemant asks me to stop posting on his blog I will stop here and now without comment. A blog owner has the right to control the content of their blog. So, Hemant, what’s your verdict?

  • Richard Wade

    Hemant does not need to be involved for people to choose to ignore someone who repeatedly degrades and distracts a conversation with incessant harping on the same worn out topic. “True” or not your favorite statement has been made over and over again. Endless repetition has degraded your credibility and your ability to interest others in what you have to say. Those who will agree with you already have, and those who have not agreed never will. Other’s responses have become as tiresome as your repetitive remarks. This is the last time I will respond to you. Perseverate ’till you fall on your face onto your keyboard, for all I care.

  • Richard Wade, if endless repetitions are what degrades credibility then what of the endless repetitions of automatic praise and uncritical acceptance of the current stars of atheism? Call me old fashioned, but wasn’t it always making reasoned arguments based on fact that granted credibility? Or is that too strict a standard for someone in the behavioral sciences?

    Quite frankly, I don’t care if you don’t respond. As for Hemant, it’s his blog, who else am I supposed to ask? You?

  • On a side note, what is it with all the atheist Richards??

  • Ben

    Bookmarking to check back in a week. The story COULD go anywhere…I hope it doesn’t go the obvious route.

  • Tammy

    I’m just curious, olvlzl, where in Sam Harris’ published works did he write “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”? I’m not trying to engage in an argument, I’m truly curious- I’ve read both his books and all the essays, and that little gem is somehow new to me. I admit, I could’ve missed it, I read pretty much constantly and it’s been a while since I read either of his books, so let me know, if you don’t mind, where did you pull that quote from?

  • Darryl

    Richard is right. Ignore this fool. His rants are pointless.



  • Maria

    I found Harris’s books intersting, but I have to admit his views on torture and moderates do bother me. I agree with some of what he says on that, but I think he takes too far. I did however, like what he had to say about spirituality vs. religious dogma, as well as other things, like his arguments about stem-cell research. just my opinion.

    however, isn’t this thread supposed to be about this letter to the editor??? why do so many of these boards end up having irrelevant posts about Dawkins and Harris??

  • mollishka said,

    August 23, 2007 at 7:10 am

    What gets me is that the editor was willing to publish such filth.

    Personally, I prefer that editors continue to permit idiots to reveal themselves of their own accord. Censoring them would only render us blind to their presence until the moment that they do real harm.

    On another note… I prefer my kittens well-fed and deep-fried… not starving and toasted on a sidewalk.

  • Tammy, my notes tell me that quote is from “The End Of Faith”, the book Richard Dawkins wants to put in every hotel room. Sorry, I didn’t write down the page number. Faith isn’t about to end any time soon, based on the response in this thread. People, leave the practices of celebrity culture for show biz, it really doesn’t belong in intellectual pursuits.

    If you don’t like that one, how about this one which is quite the same thing as implying that atheists are kitten killers. Only much worse.

    “Religious moderates are, in large part, responsible for the religious conflict in our world, because their beliefs provide the context in which scriptural literalism and religious violence can never be adequately opposed.” Sam Harris, same source.

    Considering who designs just about all the weapons used in modern wars, why doesn’t he go after all scientists, including the teaching faculties who make it possible for weaponeers to do their work? It is a logical inference from his statement.

  • Bad

    Maria: I found Harris’s books intersting, but I have to admit his views on torture and moderates do bother me.

    Note that his views on torture have been variously misrepresented, though his writing on those parts is confusing enough that he should share a little of the blame. I do share your skepticism about his treatment of religious moderates though. I can see where he’s coming from, thinking about the big picture of how to de-legitimize irrationality in our culture, but the religious beliefs of moderates, and how they justify and employ them, are just far too diverse and personalized to shoulder direct blame. Moderates can be and often already are convinced that irrational or at least non-rationally justified beliefs make for bad public policy without having to give up every personal religious belief.

  • Tammy

    Sorry if I have participated in troll-feeding, and you are right, Maria, it was off the topic of this thread ( which was, if I remember, about how only a godless heathen atheist pig would abandon a precious kitten), but I really did want to know where he got that particular quote from. Besides, maybe I was bored last night and felt like going into a pointless irrelevant counter-rant myself;)

  • C’mon Olly, if you are taking the trouble to write notes down at least remember to put page numbers!

    Remember Amazon has a search function for many books, including The End of Faith. I just searched for “kill” and found the quote at the bottom of page 52. I don’t have time to type in the entire context, but get out your books or go to amazon and check it out yourself.

  • Tammy

    Page 52, thanks. In context that quote makes sense; if I actually believed one of my daughters was “being tortured in an English jail”, that’s a proposition that wouldn’t leave me with many livable options. Of course, I can’t be sure who I’d have to kill to rectify the situation…
    Well, thanks again for the page number. Now I have to go dump some baby birds out of their nest, kick some puppies, and steal candy from a few babies, all before lunch. Busy busy.

  • NYatheist, I’ve got a slow connection so I never even try things like that. And I didn’t think I’d need that level of citation when I had the book out of the library.

    Tammy, first, I’d urge you not to torture any small animals, not only is it evil but it only plays into the hands of anti-atheist bigots, the starting point of Hemant’s post. You do realize in my first comment of this thread I called that bigotry, don’t you?

    Second, the emergency torture scenario as an excuse for supporting torture is intellectually indefensible. First, the situation is very, very unlikely. Second there is every reason to believe that a person prosecuted for “emergency” torture who actually saved lives which were in imminent danger would almost certainly not be prosecuted or convicted or would certainly be a popular candidate for a pardon. However, consider what the unimaginary use of torture is in the real world. I’d rather risk a theoretical “heroic torturer” spending time in jail than I would to open the door to making torture illegal. “Emergency” has a very flexible definition when practiced by those with power and no conscience.

  • stogoe

    Ways the rest of this story could do a 180.

    “To the person who committed this horrendous inhumane act, I have a question for you. Are you an atheist?…

    1)No, of course not, because atheists don’t believe in inflicting unnecessary pain”

    2)Because I expect better morals from an atheist”

    3)I hope not, because you’re giving us an undeservedly bad name”

    These are, of course, extremely unlikely.

    I agree. Quite unlikely.

  • Loren Petrich

    I thought that those guys believe that animals don’t have souls. What made them change their minds?

  • Tammy

    Olvlz, I know you said it was bigotry. I’m just confused as to how you’ve managed to turn that into a critique of Sam Harris. I was also just being sarcastic about kicking puppies-I don’t even swat flies or squish ants that go for the sugar dish in my kitchen.

  • Tammy, I’m confused about how anyone couldn’t see the connection between the “are you an atheist, cat killer” letter writer and the stereotyping bigotry of Sam Harris and those who support his bigotry. That is unless a double standard is being practiced, then it’s as clear as can be.

  • Mriana

    Oh good grief! 🙄 Unbelievable! This person needs an education! What a jerk!

  • Bad

    olvlzl, you’re dissembling about Harris’ views on the justifiability of torture. His discussion of it in the book is just that: a discussion of where various logical arguments lead, and his overall point is to show that it is morally bizarre to oppose torture, but support bombings with huge collateral damage: a logical reconciliation of that contradiction is necessary. How can you honestly maintain that it is a straight-ahead endorsement when he directly follows up that discussion with ““Admittedly, this would be a ghastly result to have reached by logical argument, and we will want to find some way of escaping it.””

    His explanations sound a heck of a lot more reasonable than your interpretation of what he supposedly supports:

  • Bad, Harris is an operator who knows when he’s gone too far for most of his audience, though I’m struck at how many of them, oh let’s be entirely honest and say, how many of these neo-atheists, took the bigotry, stereotyping, war mongering and torture advocacy in stride but couldn’t stand his dabbling in eastern religion. Though there were a handful of atheist commentators who had their priorities straight.

    This reminds me of when Hitchens realized that his pal and ticket to massive attention, Holocaust denier David Irving, was going down for the third and last time in his attempts to turn his loss in his libel action around through appeals. Christopher Hitchens suddenly found that he was “Jewish”, quite convenient for someone who had spent the previous decade calling Irving a great historian even during the time he was an open Holocaust denier and was being exposed as no historian at all but someone who actively suppressed and fabricated to promote Nazi revisions of real history. Especially convenient as his own brother said it’s not true.

    This was the period when he was also back stabbing Sidney Blumenthal, who had been a good friend of his, lying about Bill Clinton being a rapist, etc. The period of “Missionary Position”. But in a thread above, you’ll find that many people here think Hitchens is the moral superior of Mother Teresa or at any rate, someone who is fit to judge her shortcomings on the basis of his own moral superiority. Schmoozing with the foremost Holocaust denier at exactly the same time he was calling Mother Teresa a “hell bat”. Yeah, I can see how Hitchens is a reliable source, if reliable lies to suit your purpose are what you want.

  • Bad


    It’s hard to imagine that in three full paragraphs, you didn’t manage to include even a sentence of on-topic argument about any substantive issue. You didn’t address anything I said or pointed out, nor dealt with any of the factual claims or evidence anyone has made for anything.

    Your personal opinion of people and things they’ve done is irrelevant to me: I don’t know you, and I now have even less reason to trust whether you are telling me the whole story on anything.

    Hitchens could be Hitler’s right hand man: the matter is still whether what he claimed was true, and it most certainly seems to be in all the key points (nor is he the only author to write on this subject and raise those points). I have no love for Hitchens personally: I think he’s by far the worst of the recent spate of atheist books and I do not share his politics or his arrogance. But again, none of that is particularly relevant to the MT issue.

  • Claire

    This article is now visible in its entirety, and yes, it went right where it looked like it was going. Letter writing campaign, anyone?

  • Thanks for noticing, Claire…. ugh.

    Hey Hemant, can we have a new thread about the actual know…topic, now that we can read it in full?

    this thread can be about Olvizi and his quote mining of Harris, and subsequent rationalizations when asked to put it in context? Kthxbye.

  • HappyNat

    Olive said,

    I’ve got a slow connection

    I think that everytime I read one of his posts . . .

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