I just read on Cosmic Variance that Richard Dawkins is wondering aloud if ridicule as a way to deal with people who believe in God is enough. “I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt.”
Ridicule and humiliation generate one thing (mostly): anger. And that anger will either be directed inward or outward. Neither is a good thing. After spending a few years studying unsolved murder in New York, I can also add that for some the only way to restore their self-esteem is to kill someone. (Murder is often about shame, it turns out.) For the bulk of humanity however, shame will result in some smaller, quieter form of destruction, and rarely constructive change. “Nobody likes to be laughed at,” Dawkins points out. And you think the result might be a quick switch to the position of the tormenter? I suppose for a sad few it might, but that isn’t a true change of thinking or understanding is it?
Actually, the choice to follow such a course of action makes me wonder about those who made it. Who shamed them?
For the record, I am mostly an atheist. There’s just part of me that can’t get past the arrogance of atheism, and how it feels the same as religious fundamentalism, so I go with agnosticism. This could be as much to do with being a middle child as anything else. I know a lot of atheists think this is a cop out, but I can live with that.
My point is, I’m all for trying to increase everyone’s understanding of how the universe works. I want to know more. So to Richard Dawkins who was wondering aloud: hell no. (Little joke there.)