How Are Anti-Intellectuals Like the Roadrunner? December 14, 2010

How Are Anti-Intellectuals Like the Roadrunner?

RogueBlueJay talks about “anti-intellectuals” — a group that basically includes everyone from fundamentalists to Birthers to Sarah Palin fans…

Is the analogy accurate?

Who else is like the Roadrunner?

(Thanks to Jake for the link!)


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  • While I’ve never personally used the Wiley Coyote analogy before, I think it is perfectly apt for the theists I deal with on a daily basis.

    I’ve noticed that they don’t even need the Bible to describe a miracle for them to invoke it – if they’re in trouble, they just invent a completely separate miracle to cover up evidence fo the first, or imagine that the Ark had a wormhole or spacetime anomaly. Because, of course, their God can do ANYTHING.

  • Brian C Posey

    That analogy is friggin genius.

  • Santiago

    Although I agree in general with the roadrunner analogy I do think that an “anti-intellectual” can reason himself out of his delusions, otherwise we’d get far fewer converts from religion or from believers in woo, etc.

    The thing is, if you actually want to help someone give up their religious or irrational beliefs then, first of all, you have to stop having arguments about them. Arguments are, by their nature, confrontational and they inevitably involve the ego’s of the people involved. The fact that each person doesn’t want to lose face will make him/her less willing to show doubt or agree with the other person and instead it’ll probably just make him/her try harder to come up with a rebuttal and never really understand or think through the opposing argument.

    Asking questions out of honest curiosity and without implying that your views are superior is a far better method to get someone to question and logically analyse their own beliefs.

  • Cabal

    I think my only problem with the analogy, because otherwise it’s brilliant, regards the fact that even if injured–to the extent of being horribly mangled–the Coyote never dies. So the laws of physics don’t entirely apply to him either.
    However, this point may further contribute to the analogy instead: regardless of however our arguments may backfire due to inane ad hoc responses, those responses are always non-lethal to the logical arguments we posit. Further, instead of the source of the argument dying (ie., us), it just gets to suffer in its frustration. lol

  • Jake

    I’ve always said, you can’t win an argument with a crazy person.

  • Ben

    Who else is a roadrunner? Sarah Palin.

  • Claudia

    Yep, sounds like every creationist vs. reality “debate” I’ve ever heard.

  • pansies4me

    That is a great analogy, but I think the Roadrunner is cute. Anti-intellectuals aren’t cute, they’re just… yucky. 🙁

  • Slider33

    Feels pretty accurate based on the conversations I’ve had in the past.

    However, I will say one thing: I was on the other side of that coin not too many years ago. Was I always a doubting Christian? Yeah, probably so. Willfully ignorant to boot? I blame it on childhood indoctrination.

    But, it only took one (very persuasive) coyote to get me to embrace rationality vs. blind faith.

    I refuse to think it’s a lost cause or a futile effort, as I too, used to be one of the willfully deluded.

  • This guy has nailed it!
    Wonderful analogy.
    When I was a member of the Church of Christ, I was in a lengthy debate/Bible study about creationism with one of the elders. This took place in private on Wednesday evenings.
    This man was no Sarah Palin. He had a Master’s of Arts in classic languages(Ancient Greek and Latin), was a professional technical writer and an incredibly intelligent human being. Still, he resorted to the “goddidit” tactic whenever confronted with the truth or reality. It was both frustrating and incredibly depressing. What a tragic waste of an incredible mind.
    I wish I had known of the Roadrunner analogy back then. It would -at the least- have been fun for me to use, if not convincing to him.

  • Disconverted

    This is by far the best post I’ve seen on this site so far. Granted, I’ve only been visiting for maybe three months… (And that’s not saying there isn’t quality here. There is a reason it is the first website I visit in the morning :P)

    This guy nailed it.

  • Mike

    The thing is, if you actually want to help someone give up their religious or irrational beliefs

    This sentence hits the nail on the head for why I lump fundamental aetheists and fundamental christians in the same pile.

    As a progressive christian, I no longer find it necesary to predicate my faith on the blind unwavering belief in the literal interpretation of the miracles in the bible. Yet so many aetheistist (like so many christians) cannot get past the tie between faith and irrational belief.

    Why must the argument be between the two extremes? Why must religion be expunged? Yes, fundamentalist christians need to learn from science how to reform their faith to something relevant. But, fundamental aetheists also need to open their minds to the possiblity that religion (not necessarily church institutions) might just have the potential to inject real meaning into life.

    Apologies to any progressive aetheists out there who happen to agree with me. I’m sure you don’t like being lumped in with the “fundies” any more than I do (albeit at opposite polarity).

  • Chal

    Fundamental atheism is a nonsensical term that seems to have been made up by those seeking to create some sort of false equivalence. It sounds more like you’re talking about antitheists.

  • Trace

    Mike, I don’t think we have “fundamantalist” atheists as much as “evangelical” (conversionism) ones…and even those (if they really exist) tend to be, in my experience, “young-in-the-faith” and certainly not the norm.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  • Freak

    @Mike:

    Are you claiming that religion can inject meaning into life or that it is true?

  • Wrich Printz

    There are irrational people who believe all sorts of things, even…sometimes…the same things I believe in (with inconclusive facts), and sometimes the things that are facts with very little doubt.

    I have very little problem with anyone who wants to believe anything they like. My only problem shows up when they want me to believe it too.

  • HamsterWheel

    What is the difference between a fundamental atheist and a non-fundamental atheist? Are fundamental atheists ones who successfully deconvert theists?

    One need not believe in a literal interpretation of miracles in the bible to be an irrational theist, because even the most subtle, progressive, I-don’t-believe-the-Noah’s-Ark-global-flood-story theism is by definition irrational. The reason why all theistic beliefs are irrational is because the basic, primary, fundamental premise of theism, i.e. life after death and the existence of a supernatural being(s), does not have one single iota of rational, credible, verifiable evidence to support it. That’s why theism is irrational and atheism is not.

    Call me fundamentalist if you want, but I fail to see how belief in something which is totally unsupported by any evidence and is clearly just a primitive superstitious fantasy dreamed up by ancient semi-literate goat-herders has any potential to inject real meaning into life.

  • Jeff

    Does this mean we get to drop anvils on them?

    Call Acme.

  • Oh God… My mother. My mother’s ideology spreads across the entire spectrum from fundi, birther and Sarah Palin fan… Roadrunner Platinum.

  • JustSayin’

    Chal wrote:

    Fundamental atheism is a nonsensical term that seems to have been made up by those seeking to create some sort of false equivalence.

    Kinda like “activist judges”? Every time I hear that phrase I want to punch the speaker/writer.

  • Richard Wade

    From what I can tell from the use of the terms by theists, the difference between an atheist and a fundamental atheist is that the fundamental atheist speaks.

  • captsam

    one very good analogy.

  • Michael

    Wow, sorry for being late, but, i had to wade through all of mike’s smugness. All you need is one of those stereotypical british accents and a monocle and you’d be a cartoon.

    I think it’s hilarious that you seperate faith and irrationality. By definition, one is the other. “Eh heh hmmm, my belief in something without reason is reasonable! My lack of evidentence is evidently logical!”

    That stuff is more annoying to me than any actual fundamentalism.

  • Defiantnonbeliever

    “From what I can tell from the use of the terms by theists, the difference between an atheist and a fundamental atheist is that the fundamental atheist speaks.”

    hahaha, good one

  • A fundamentalist Christian will say to your face that you will burn in hell and then quote bible verses to try to bring you to Christ. A progressive Christian will just think those thoughts and remain silent.

    A fundamentalist atheist will either say that there is no god or at least no evidence for gods. A non-fundamentalist atheist will just think those thoughts and remain silent.

  • I don’t know, Jeff P. I don’t care to deconvert anyone but it depends on the circumstances on whether or not I remain silent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with discussing it with theists who are open to discussion (vs. just pretending to be in hopes of converting you, though I guess there’s some degree of that on both sides even in a friendly discussion) and I’ll be downright confrontational to those who want to inflict it on me by rule of law.

    The analogy didn’t wow me but that’s probably because I hate that damned cartoon and I think he nailed exactly why I do.

  • Claudia

    @Mike, no one has mentioned it, but you may have noticed that you’ve been spelling atheist wrong. Given that it’s the most frequently used term on this site, you may want to correct that.

    Your statement reminds me greatly of this.

    The term “fundamentalist” when applied to atheists is merely an attempt to rile us up by applying a religious label to the community. I always find this strategy amusing. A theist will throw out “Oh yeah? Well atheism is just another religion!” clearly wanting “religion” to be used as an insult, which is ironic, considering that they do this supposedly in the context of defending religion.

    So what do fundamentalist Christians do? They want to prevent gays from getting equal rights (many would prefer homosexuality be illegal outright), want women to be forced to carry an embryo to term, even if its the result of rape. They also want their iron-age creation mythology taught as “science” in public schools and want official recognition that their religion is the country’s religion.

    What do fundamentalist Muslims do? They bomb unbelievers. They threaten people who refuse to bow to their arbitrary religious laws. They beat or kill girls and women who want to assert their autonomy and dignity.

    What do fundamentalist atheists do? Uhh, they write books saying bad things about religion. They demand strict adherence to the constitutional separation of church and state. They openly ridicule creationists and fight them tooth and nail to prevent their ideas from being taught as “science” in the schools. They also try to convince others they are right by…uhm…talking to them, buying billboards and wearing snarky t-shirts. Oh, and also the aforementioned books.

    Yeah, I can totally see why we’re the same as the others.

  • Bob

    I can see Mike’s point about faith not necessarily being irrational … but only from the perspective of avoiding contempt prior to investigation.

    Otherwise, sorry – even as a lapsed Catholic, I am weary of hearing how all values that are good and true come from religion, when that’s simply not true: man had to have some concept of right/wrong in order to develop the concept of religion or even accept the teachings of an apparently superior/supreme being.

  • Alex

    One thing about this analogy that does not work is that the Road Runner never appears to be afraid. Now your typical fundy maybe be very certain about his beliefs, but fear played a part in establishing his beliefs.

    In the book, The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, by Mark Mittelberg. His forward opens with the following statement: “Have you ever experienced “spiritual vertigo”- a queasy sense of disorientation, confusion, and even panic that can overtake us when a critic challenges the core of our faith in a way that we cannot answer?”

    If you plan on debating with a fundy maybe you need to keep in mind you are dealing with a nervous jumper standing on a high ledge. It’s a challenge trying to convince him that the fall won’t hurt and that you will be there to catch him.

  • Robert W.

    Claudia,

    So what do fundamentalist Christians do? They want to prevent gays from getting equal rights (many would prefer homosexuality be illegal outright), want women to be forced to carry an embryo to term, even if its the result of rape. They also want their iron-age creation mythology taught as “science” in public schools and want official recognition that their religion is the country’s religion.

    Even some people who are not fundamentalists ( or even Christian) believe that the baby in the womb is a life that is worth protecting.

    What do fundamentalist atheists do? Uhh, they write books saying bad things about religion. They demand strict adherence to the constitutional separation of church and state. They openly ridicule creationists and fight them tooth and nail to prevent their ideas from being taught as “science” in the schools. They also try to convince others they are right by…uhm…talking to them, buying billboards and wearing snarky t-shirts. Oh, and also the aforementioned books.

    And in some instances they kill millions of people to stomp out all religion in the name of the state.

  • Steve

    Bringing up the ridiculous and completely false comparison to Stalin should be a law akin to Godwin’s Law.

  • RJ

    @ Robert W.

    You forgot to use the old stand byes; Hitler was an atheist, Stalin and Pol Pot’s motivations were strictly atheist in their origins and had nothing to do with political ideologies. Atheism is immoral and/or a religion, atheist believe in nothing…yada yada yada. Roadrunner.

  • pansies4me

    Didn’t take long for this to happen:

    And in some instances they kill millions of people to stomp out all religion in the name of the state.

  • pansies4me

    Aw, Steve and RJ you beat me to the punch! 😀

  • Robert W.

    Rj,

    Nice try but wrong. I know you guys don’t like it but history is history. Stalin did what he did not just because he was an atheist but because he wanted an atheist state. He certainly was a fundamental atheist who wanted to impose his views on others through active atheist propaganda, intolerance and ultimately mass murder.

    Dawkin’s defense of his atheist is beliefs not playing a part in this actions simply doesn’t fly.

    False comparison- not hardly

    religious fundamentalists- use propaganda, oppression and violence to impose their beliefs on others in an effort to control them and the government and make it the religious state that they want

    Stalin- used propaganda, oppression and violence to impose his atheist beliefs on others in order to control them and the government and make it the atheist state that he wanted.

  • Claudia

    @Robert, Stalin wanted to stamp out religion because he didn’t want any competition in terms of faith. People worshipping god were wasting precious time they could spend worshipping him or his ideology. His ideology wasn’t atheism because atheism is not an ideology. Please, feel free to describe what the ideology of atheism prescribes beyond “there is no evidence for a god”. Simply stating that his atheism form the basis for his massacres in the absence of a shred of supporting evidence is what “doesn’t fly”.

    As for the pro-life position yes, I’m aware that not just fundamentalist Christians hold that position. What is true however is that the position that a woman or girl who has been raped should be forced against her will to carry the baby to term even to the point of denying the morning after pill is an extreme minority position that you find ordinarily in fundamentalist Christian circles (and sometimes very conservative Catholics). Name me one anglican abortion clinic bomber.

  • Steve

    Don’t feed the troll. Don’t feed the troll…

  • Jeff

    @Jeff P: A fundamentalist Christian will say to your face that you will burn in hell and then quote bible verses to try to bring you to Christ. A progressive Christian will just think those thoughts and remain silent.

    Jeff, the real liberal Christians don’t think that (and, please believe me, I am NO defender of Christians). I think that more accurately describes the moderates. Even then, they aren’t monolithic.

  • @Jeff,

    I agree that there are some “real liberal Christians” that don’t believe that. I was thinking, though, of most of the mainstream Christians I know representing, among others, the following faith groups: Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Episcopalians, etc… I personally know people in each of these groups that believe the heaven and hell business who none-the-less don’t go around trying to convert people. That is all I was trying to say. Truth be told, I guess they only kind-of half-way believe it.

    I agree that the beliefs are not monolithic. There are about as many slants on belief as there are people believing the stuff.

  • Robert W.

    Claudia,

    @Robert, Stalin wanted to stamp out religion because he didn’t want any competition in terms of faith. People worshipping god were wasting precious time they could spend worshipping him or his ideology. His ideology wasn’t atheism because atheism is not an ideology.

    I don’t believe that is correct. His clear goal was to create an atheist state in an effort to promote communism which has as one of it’s tenets the abolition of religion. My comment was not an attempt to say that he did these things just because he was an atheist, but it he did do them to establish an atheist state, much like what was done in Albania. Which I think makes the comparison appropriate in the context of bad acts done based upon a fundamentalist fervor.

    What is true however is that the position that a woman or girl who has been raped should be forced against her will to carry the baby to term even to the point of denying the morning after pill is an extreme minority position that you find ordinarily in fundamentalist Christian circles (and sometimes very conservative Catholics).

    I am sure you are correct that if there is a minority of folks who argue that a lady that is raped should be forced to carry the child, those folks are probably fundamentalist Christians. But that wasn’t your original comment.

    Steve,

    Do you have anything of substance to add to the discussion? I assume not but will give you the benefit of the doubt.

  • ACN

    Stalin was a mass murdering, totalitarian dictator who happened to be an atheist, but exploited the fact that for years before the communists took power, the czar was viewed as something close to divine as the old kings of Europe were.

    Robert, you make it sound as though when Stalin grabbed power, he was laughing maniacly and thinking “now I’ve really got them, I can force EVERYONE to not believe in god!” What nonsense. The soviet totalitarianism was a cult of the personality, and a regime of disgusting indifference to human life.

    I’ll quote “The God that Failed”:

    Communist absolutists did not so much negate religion, in societies that they well understood were saturated with faith and superstition, as seek to replace it. The solemn elevation of infallible leaders who were a source of endless bounty and blessing; the permanent search for heretics and schismatics; the mummification of dead leaders as icons and relics; the lurid show trials that elicited incredible confessions by means of torture…none of this was was very difficult to interpret in traditional terms. Nor was the hysteria during times of plague and famine, when the authorites unleashed a mad search for any culprit but the real one. Nor was the ceaseless invocation of the a “Radiant Future”, the arrival of which would one day justify all crimes and dissolve all petty doubts

  • Claudia

    Which I think makes the comparison appropriate in the context of bad acts done based upon a fundamentalist fervor.

    I certainly agree that the acts were done in the context of a fundamentalist fervor. But it was not atheist fundamentalism, it was communist fundamentalism. Fundamentalism of any sort, since it requires adherence to dogma above all else, is particularly vulnerable to these sorts of acts. Religion is particularly vulnerable to fundamentalism because it places faith (belief without the requirement of evidence) at its center. However both communism and fascism show that you can have political fundamentalism as well. What I dispute is the possibility of atheist fundamentalism because atheism is not a belief system but the absence of one. For instance, I do believe you could have secularist fundamentalism because secularism actually has an attached ideology. I would dispute that this was the base or core nature of Stalinsim, though obviously persecution of religion was one aspect of it. On the same vein, religion was one aspect of Nazism (both in identifying victims and justifying actions) but I would dispute that the horrific acts of the Nazis were based on religion. Do you see the difference?

  • Fundie Troll

    Why are arguments/debates with Christians so frustrating? Because atheists and Christians have different sources of authority. Bible-believing Christians hold that God is the ultimate authority in the universe, and that the bible is God’s revelation to mankind. Actually some Christians I know are very “intellectual”, in the sense that they enjoy discussing and debating theological matters, and these discussions tend to be logically rigorous and challenging.

    I know I know, an “intellectual christian” is an oxymoron to most of you…

    Just trying to be helpful and spare some of you much grief… 🙂

  • I know I know, an “intellectual christian” is an oxymoron to most of you…

    Not me, fundie. I used to enjoy many a long debate with a Christian friend/coworker I had years ago. We honestly respected each other and found each other stimulating and thought provoking. I still miss it from time to time since we’ve both gone our own ways.

    But I think you’re right about the core of the problem in our discussions. Christians believe god is the ultimate authority and, for Atheists, that’s kind of like making the Easter Bunny the ultimate authority. Very frustrating.

  • Robert W.

    Avn and Claudia,

    I understand the point you are making however I think to say that atheists don’t have a dogma and therefore this cannot be the motivating force behind their actions downplays the reality that the goal of Stalin and others who pushed for communism was to make the country an atheist state. They used murder, oppression and propaganda to achieve that goal.

    Here is an example of what they did:

    State atheism in the Soviet Union was known as “gosateizm, and was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism

    Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideological stream that emerged as the mainstream tendency among the Communist parties in the 1920s as it was adopted as the ideological foundation of the Communist International during Stalin’s era….

    . As the founder of the Soviet state V. I. Lenin put it. “Religion is the opiate of the people”:

    “Religion is the opiate of the people” is one of the most frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx. It was translated from the German original, “Die Religion …..

    This saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.

    Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression,and, ultimately, the elimination of religious beliefs. Within about a year of the revolution the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution).

    In the 1920s and 1930s, such organizations as the League of the Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Atheism was propagated through schools, communist organizations (such as the Young Pioneer Organization)

    So at the core of communism is the hatred of religion which only can come from an atheist worldview. In other words, you can’t have communism as practiced in the Soviet union and create an atheist state without atheism. You can’t separate the influences and say atheism didn’t play a part.

    It went further in Albania where the constitution specifically created an atheist state:

    Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution of 1976 stipulated, “The State recognizes no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people.”,

    This led to banning all religion and calling for criminal penalties for practicing it. Also nationalization of all religious property and preachers and clerics were imprisoned and murdered.

    Some of this information came from this website:

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/State_atheism

  • ACN

    Robert,

    This statement:

    In other words, you can’t have communism as practiced in the Soviet union and create an atheist state without atheism.

    may be literally true, but as I tried to point out in my earlier post, the actual goals of setting up a totalitarian state are much more complicated than you seem to let on. At this point, it looks to me like we’re talking past each other.

    I would like to really focus on the quote from Marx that you mentioned (and truncated rather largely) in your block quote. The full quotation is:

    Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.

    There is a lot more here than you’re letting on about Marx’s thoughts on religion. Marx is saying that the purpose of a religion is to grant fantasies that bring happiness to the poor, for whom economic reality prevents from finding happiness in the present life. Religion tells that this lack of satisfaction here is ok, because they will get a better deal in the next life. If you read the quote carefully, you even see that Marx isn’t cold or without sympathy for people in this condition, there are people who are truly distressed, and religion is trying to provide solace as one might relieve physical pain with any opioid.

    The critique here, is really more about a society that has become cold to its least members than about the religion that is trying to provide some bit of solace to them. The problem, and here is why the opiate analogy is so poignant, is that the opiate DOES NOT fix the problem, it relieves the symptom, pain. Religion is not fixing the predicament of these distressed people, it is causing them to forget why they’re suffering and replacing that with promises of another life where they won’t have any pain.

    For Marx, religion isn’t even all that important, his key points are about oppressive economic realities, and he spends A TON of time talking about these, and a rather trivial amount of time talking about religion. If you buy his claim about the importance of fixing these economic realities, then you can see why he wasn’t a very vocal enemy of religion. If humanity could fix these economic problems that caused so much distress, then there would be no need for the soothing promises of religion, and it would simply disappear on its own.

    Because of Marx’s emphasis on poltical/economic structures, there are many marxists who are actually sympathetic to religion. For example in “Foundations of Christianity” Karl Krautsky wrote that early Christianity was remarkably similar to a proletarian revolution against privileged Roman oppressors. In fact, in latin america, the catholic church used marx’s work as a basis to criticize economic injustices and they called this “liberation theology”!

    I have some philosopher friends who have talked to me at length about this because it really gets their goat how thoroughly quote-mined that “opiate of the people” line is. It really bugs me when people use the Marxism-Leninism label, then apply it to soviet russia, when Marx was over thirty years dead at the time of the revolution, and over 40 years dead at the time of the founding of the Soviet Union.

  • Robert W.

    Acn,

    Very nice post. I don’t disagree with your point but I don’t think that it gets communism off the hook for its persecution of religion.

    Marx also said this:

    “Communism begins from the outset with atheism.” (He said this in Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right).

    Lenin said:

    “A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could”(He said this in his book, Private Property and Communism).

    The idea that in order to establish an atheist state, both Marx and Lenin had to eradicate religion. The persecution of religion started with them and continued through Stalin.

  • Mike

    @Mike, no one has mentioned it, but you may have noticed that you’ve been spelling atheist wrong. Given that it’s the most frequently used term on this site, you may want to correct that.

    Apologies. My spell checker kept complaining about “atheist,” but not “aetheist”. It seemed wrong at the time, but I went with what got rid of the annoying red underline. I’ll need to check if someone screwed around with the user dictionary. Guess I should have gone with my gut… or better yet, taken the 1.5 seconds necessary to look at the banner bar and see the correct spelling…. What can I say? I clearly have egg on face for being lazy.

    Perhaps I am mistaken in my use of the term “fundamentalist.” In which case, allow me to explain the reason that I chose that word. I fully realized that it would get attention and raise eyebrows… but I also believe it is the correct word. It would seem that it refers to anyone who holds (dare I say it) sacredly to a fundamental principle of their belief system and refuses to even entertain the notion that it might not be 100% accurate. It does not refer to the behavior that flows from said belief. Sadly, religious fundamentalism has more often than not let to disastrous consequences. And on that note, I would not equate fundamental christians with fundamental atheists. Where I equate the two in in the unwavering belief that the other side has nothing to bring to the table and has nothing but negative (often derogatory) things to say about them. Typically they often fail to recognize that between the extremes is a full spectrum of belief systems. I have little regard for either extreme as I am often lambasted by both.