Anti-Dawkins fundamentalists

A new form of religious fundamentalist has been making itself heard: the anti-Dawkinists, most notably in the form of “God-particle” physicist Peter Higgs. In an interview reported in the Guardian, Higgs is quoted as saying

What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.

Keith Kloor then weighs in on the side of Higgs, fingering both Dawkins and Jerry Coyne as representing a “sneering and strident approach by the religion haters”. Unfortunately he gives no citations to support this, ending his piece lamely, in response to Coyne’s argument that religion is the enemy of democracy, with the conclusion “I think that intolerance may also be considered an enemy of democracy. Fundamentalism, whatever its guise, is certainly the antithesis of science.”

There is nothing new here of course. Kloor, like Higgs, sets up straw-man arguments against Dawkins, ignoring completely the nuance of what Dawkins has written in his numerous books and articles on the subject.

Coyne responds ably to Kloor here:

Presumably Kloor would have cautioned the early suffragettes to stifle themselves, as they were making enemies of almost everyone. Every moral advance in this world begins with a small minority of vocal people.

It is also quite ignorant to claim as Kloor does that ” The atheists who frequently disparage religion for all its faults don’t dare acknowledge that it has any redeeming value, or that it provides some meaning for those who can’t (or aren’t yet ready) to derive existential meaning from reason alone.” This issue is covered extensive in much atheist literature, and was one of the main themes in a talk By Dan Dennett in Cork a couple of years ago, who posed the question as to how atheism could do better all those things like community support and charitable work that religions can do well.

All this is just more of the usual turgid apologism for religion, attacking those who very reasonably challenge the privileged and fact-free status that religion still holds in society as “intolerant” and “fundamentalist”. In doing so, “atheists” like Higgs and Kloor are themselves an embarrassment, serving only to prop up corrupt institutions which in the long run for the betterment of humanity should really be on the way out. Indeed, this is how religions perpetuate themselves and survive against the reality of… well, of reality with its inconvenient “facts”: it lashes out at any who dare question it. The nebulous idea of “faith” has no other defence against the weight of evidence: look too closely and the Emperor will indeed appear to have no clothes.

But maybe there is a little more to the issue. On Twitter, @geneticmaize wrote

and asks:

This seems reasonable- many scientists are indeed religious. Tell people science and religion are incompatible, they might cling to religion.

But whatever you tell people, the fact surely is that science and religion clearly are not compatible, however much you might try to make them so or wish they were: religion depends on unquestioned faith- depends in fact on not being questioned- science depends on being challenged, and builds its truths on a process of questioning and always going with the best evidence, however unsettling those truths might be.

This does not mean that one cannot work productively with religious people of those with faith; nor is it a good idea to necessarily burst through the doors of the local church of a Sunday morning and loudly disrupt proceedings by yelling out “There is no God you fools! Dont believe the Priest- he’s just after power, money, and little boys!”

But while it might seem a reasonable political tactic in the short term if you are trying for example to get the religious vote to support science on genetic engineering, in the long run it may do more harm than good.

The whole project of science is undermined by religion in exactly the same way as it is undermined by pseudo-science- religion promotes and validates the idea that some things at least are beyond question, out of reach from the scientific method, untouchable and protected from criticism, and since in principle this might not be confined to “traditional” beliefs of established religions- the Church, say- but could be anything one happens to want to ring-fence in this way, this approach seems to me to be dangerously likely to back-fire.

Not even to mention all the real evils that religion is indeed responsible for.

Indeed, much of the environmental movement has been compared to being a religion, and can be seen to hold its position on various political issues as it were religiously: Gaia, Mother Earth and “other ways of knowing” are routinely invoked by the faithful to justify bans on the technology. Genetic engineering is not natural after all; and we just kind of know, in a deep inner-knowing kind-of-way that it is bad and dangerous. Our instinct, our feelings tell us so, and science is in any case reductionist and, well, fundamentalist in its tiresome demands for evidence.

Which all starts to sound very close to what Higgs objection is to Dawkins. To defend religion or pseudoscience, not on issues of facts, science or evidence or validity of their claims, but on the grounds that those you challenge might not like it, is weak and pathetic and reactionary. It also anti-democratic.

Should we really have to tolerate these intolerant fundamentalist anti-Dawkinists?

Good response to Higgs here by Nigel Farndale

and to Kloor here by PZ Myers

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18 Comments

  1. St. Augustine (Augustine of Hippo) noted ca. 370 AD that where the Bible is contradicted by facts, the Bible should be considered to be metaphorical/allegorical. Thus, the Catholic Church made its peace with science early on. It accepts evolution, as well as the heliocentric model of the solar system.

    Speaking of the latter, Galileo got into trouble for insisting that his model was *supported by* his interpretation of the Bible. As one of the first members of the Pontifical Academy of Science, he quickly ran afoul of scholars, who advised him to stick with astronomy. He wouldn’t give up, they lost patience, and the rest is a popular academic tale that’s told quite differently.

    The Church has a long and positive association with science, and is, for example, currently funding stem cell research — the type that uses the patient’s own cells. It has its own astronomical observatory, too. And it still has the Pontifical Academy of Science, the oldest science academy in the world.

    Equating religion with pseudoscience is painting clumsily with a broad brush, and describing people of faith as something akin to ‘blessed zombies’ is so inaccurate that it’s a straw man. With lamentable exceptions, of course. Believe it or not, Jim Jones has *very* few admirers.

    For those who refuse facts, little can be done, and these people are everywhere. Plenty of atheists (who bear an eerie similarity to Gaia-worshippers) will swear that GMOs are destroying the planet and sending billions to an early grave — does this put atheism in a bad light?

    So, relax. Atheists don’t have the sole claim to knowledge or virtue, nor does any other group. Save your vitriol for those who show they deserve it.

    Reply
    • Not sure what you are saying here. For example, you think that I am deserving of your vitriol? Noone is claiming sole claim to knowledge; science is a process, a methodology, not a group or an abstract unquestioned Truth. Whatever about the Catholic Church and Galileo, Catholicism depends entirely upon faith in an invisible creator and ancient fairy stories: clearly these beliefs are incompatible with science. Reference to the church support for the Political Academy of Science is irrelevant- the debate about science and religion was clearly very different in those days, when science first emerged in a world entirely dominated by religion, when atheism was often a capital offense (as it still is amongst some religions).
      In what way do atheists “bear an eerie similarity to Gaia-worshippers”? If that is what they believe about GMOs then of course it puts atheists in a bad light! But they do not believe this because of their atheism, but in spite of it. (I personally know atheists who believe in fairies and homeopathy; imo they are not really atheists but have rejected the oppressive religion -which you defend here- they were brought up with, and turned away from the Catholic frying pan and into the New Age fire.)
      You miss the point of my piece- I am taking issue with atheists primarily myself- Higgs and Kloor, so your comment is in any case redundant. You are judging atheism by your own religious standards, as if it is some kind of religious group. It is not, rather it is the absence of being part of an ideological group.
      A good piece about the dangers of religion when it comes into politics is here by Eric MacDonald re abortion and proposals to reduce the legal limits:

      Once again, it has to do, fundamentally, with religion, even though almost no one is saying this. There’s no reason for doing it; it’s just that conservatives, even when they are simply unaware of it, are still being tugged around by their religious presuppositions, and that the “miniature person” at the heart of all their deliberations is as much a person as you or I, because — what other reason could they possibly give — God has endowed it with a soul.

      I have already discussed in the post that many scientists are also religious, and of course many religious institutions accept many aspects of science. That doesnt change the argument in the slightest.

      Reply
  2. The Catholic Church is grounded as much in Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as it is in the Bible — check out Thomas Aquinas if your theology is rusty. You will notice along the way that together, these form the foundation of Western philosophy and Judeo-Christian ethics.

    More than anything else, you and Dawkins give the impression that atheists are angry people, eager to explain their anger. Fairy tales? I don’t denounce your viewpoint in such ungracious terms. If a deity is irrelevant to your world-view, it would be more sensible and civil for you to treat it as irrelevant, and move on.

    By the way, I haven’t said if I’m an atheist or not.

    Reply
    • Hi bestruger
      seems you are a very angry person, eager to explain your anger. If my point of view is irrelevant to your world-view, it would be more sensible- and, I might add, civil -for you to treat it as such, and move on.
      By the way, the reason you dont denounce my views as fairy tales is because they are not fairy tales; it is fine for you to believe whatever you want, but if you dont want your beliefs to be challenged and criticized, the best thing is to keep very quiet about them. This is not something the enormously powerful global institution of the Catholic Church is likely to do of course, since fundamental to its mission is evangelism and the perpetuation of and increase of its power.
      There are those who feel that institutionalized child rape is something worth getting angry about, but no doubt you would dismiss them as intolerant and fundamentalist.

      Reply
  3. I’m not angry, I’m awestruck. I thought atheism was akin to a philosophic position which, like others, is open to discussion. Apparently not, you’re positively choking with rage. My preconceptions of encountering a secular humanism, or something similar, have actually been shattered. My gosh, I never suspected this. Even the admonition to be quiet. Well, bye. I hope other atheists are not like you.

    Reply
    • Absolutely open to discussion bestruger. Thing is, you’re missing the point. But that is always the case with the religious and their apologists- as already made clear in the post, its all straw-men (and-women;)). If you want to know why atheists might be angry this might help http://www.amazon.com/Atheists-Angry-Things-Godless-ebook/dp/B007MCMKV6. I’ve said it clearly enough in the post, and already in these comments but here it is once more: the only way religion can defend itself is by playing the innocent wounded. Religions have no rational basis and do indeed perpetuate and cause great harm in the world; the only way they can defend themselves is to claim special status and play the indignant innocent: how dare you criticize my religion! So if you want to discuss some of the things that are self-evidently very very wrong with Catholicism or other religions, feel free. If all you are going to do is defend the traditional ring-fence of religion- claiming it is beyond criticism- move on.

      Reply
      • >>Religions have no rational basis and do indeed perpetuate and cause great harm in the world; <<

        I am entirely in agreement that religion should not be immune to criticism. But I disagree that 'religion' is a concrete enough idea to blame for harm caused in the world. Religion doesn't exist in a vacuum, and in order to understand society, and things that happen in the social world, we need a much broader perspective than one focussed on religion. It's no accident that the mildness of CofE occurs in the liberal democracy of the UK, for example.

        Reply
        • Is it really so mild though? Again these are old arguments extensively covered in Dawkins etc- to what extent do “mild” religious forms support and perpetuate more extreme ones? If the response to a critique of the CoE is always, oh it’s not doing any harm really and does a lot of good, leave it alone, then any religion can say the same. It’s a bit like saying homeopathy isnt so bad, leave it alone, but of course homeopaths also set up to peddle their wares in Africa deferring the use of effective medicine against serious diseases like malaria- a sort of neo-New Age colonialism on a par with Green-colonialism viz. anti-GM in Africa etc.. Ireland is also supposed to be a liberal democracy, but the Catholic Church here has long functioned as a front for widespread institutionalized child abuse, and has been able to get away with it partly because religion is considered above criticism.
          You are right about the context, but religion is much older than democracy, science or Enlightenment values; and there are compelling psychological reasons for irrational beliefs. So I see Dawkins and Dennett as spear-heading a very difficult path out of the historical legacy of religious power that goes back to the origins of our species.

          Reply
          • Yes it is mild. And the issue of homoeopathy raises an interesting point. Jumping up and down shouting ‘it’s wrong’ ain’t much use. In reply to my article I linked to on Twitter, James Randi was rather annoyed. I considered writing another in reply to him, in which I offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove that Randi (or his own million dollar challenge) had any effect on the take up of supernatural beliefs/homoeopathy, etc. The dynamic is, I argue, not in the power of ideas such as in alternative medicine, but the collapse of trust in things like medicine and other institutions of modern, secular, rational society. The same is true of religion, here in the West, where, since the enlightenment, religious belief and the influence of the church over the state has been in decline.

            Similarly, indeed religion is much older than our democratic institutions. But religious institutions no longer have such influence over the state per the constitution. I agree completely that any remaining institutional influence should be abolished — much as I think the HoL should be abolished as an undemocratic anachronism. But the remainder — and which I think is the object of much atheist anger — is not the institutions, but What People Think. If there has been any resurgence in religion in the West, I do not believe that has occurred because of religion’s power — either its institutional power, or its power as a system of ideas — but because of the (spontaneous, for the purpose of this argument) weakening of secular institutions.

            What I worry about mostly is the possibility that ‘spear-heading a very difficult path out of the historical legacy of religious power that goes back to the origins of our species’ replaces one creation myth with another. That’s not to say that the OotS is a myth, but that in the hands of some atheists, it has become a story of creation, and an explanatory framework, with consequences that are far wider than the idea of evolution warrants.

            There may well be ‘compelling psychological reasons for irrational beliefs’, but that *is* a problem for those psychologies. A persuasive argument must persuade on the basis that the persaudee is a rational being, not simply a machine ‘programmed’ variously to express a preference. After all, only a being capable or being rational is capable of being irrational. To over-emphasise the psychological component is to undermine the virtue of reason — a self-defeating relativistic bind that I don’t think Dawkins, Dennett and co manage to overcome.

          • Re homeopathy: noone just jumps up and down shouting “it’s wrong”- that is just another caricature. But anecdotally, it worked for me ;)
            -until I read Ben Goldacre, I presumed it was an effective medicine. I think you over-argue the point about treating people as rational- of course that is true, but a lot of this really does just come down to access to accurate information, which is why I think the skeptics movement is important. It certainly played the role of refuge for me – frankly, if it had not existed, I would very likely still be a New Ager and Deep Ecologist. It would certainly be useful to have data on what actually works to change people’e minds; but for your challenge to work you would actually have to have a million dollars and be ready to part with it (as Randi is)!

            Much pseudoscience and quackery was birthed in the 19thC; this was still in the early days of science, especially in terms of its general acceptance in education; and it was pre-Einstein, at a time when there were lots of new ideas and it was a bit of a free-for-all. So I think it has been an up-hill struggle for science/rationality, which is still novel for the human brain. That is why it is so easy to appeal to anecdote and people’s intuition.
            Has there really been a collapse in people’s trust in science? Or has science never really overcome the historical/evolutionary grip of religion?

            The main point of the MacDonald article is Hunt and abortion legislation- motivated by religious faith but this real reason is somewhat hidden behind politics and the untouchability of religion: Though shalt not criticize it.

            Kloor’s article is built around the idea that science and religion are compatible, which I respond to in my post. Religious belief is an extension of or an aspect of pseudo-science- how can pseudo-science be compatible with science?

            which I think is the object of much atheist anger — is not the institutions, but What People Think.

            -I think this is misconstrued. People take offence at what they see as an attack on their personal beliefs, but as I say, beliefs are partly formed by the the information available; it is the institutions of religion (and quackery) that are really the target, as they are seen as exploitative of individuals’, and because they ring-fence themselves with the privilege of being beyond criticism, there is really nowhere else for people to go. That is how cults (and sometimes environmental groups) operate- they draw people in with “good works” (like charity or allotments) and because these activities are beyond reproach, their wider ideologies and power structures become untouchable also. (eg I am told by my students I must not criticize Transition Towns position on peak oil or climate change because they organise clean-ups of the estuary.)

            So while they are often clumsy, I think there is a place for structures of atheism and skepticism; but they only exist in the first place in response to religion and pseudo-science- they give a legitimacy for criticism of religion and somewhere to escape to. This is true even if you are right about the failure of secular institutions- religion just fills a gap in that case, we shouldnt just sit idly by and let them have it all their own way! So again, atheism and skepticism are not ends in themselves, but an attempt to respond to the historical grip that religion has. If there has been a wider failure of secular institutions, then let’s have an analysis of this- trying to stifle debate by slamming Dawkins as “fundamentalist” and “puritanical” as Kloor does is not the way.

  4. Dawkins, Dennett and co clearly belonged to a school of ‘muscular atheism’ — I called it ‘angry atheism’. It seemed to be religiously opposed to religion, and seemed to make anti-religion central to its outlook. Whereas mainstream Western religions — on whatever basis — kept a place for human agency in their perspective, Dennett and Dawkins denied it. Dennett, for instance, developing Dawkin’s idea (from TSG) of memes to deny consciousness/agency as anything other than illusion.

    This led to deeply ahistorical accounts of religion’s apparent resurgence in the late C20th. But that apparent resurgence was rationalism’s loss, rather than religion’s gain, I would argue, and Dennett and Dawkins were unwilling to take responsibility for sustaining a shared rationalist perspective, preferring to blame biology, using the genetic analogy. They continued in their error, to offer pathological accounts of society and its problems. This culminates, per your example of Dennett, acknowledging rationalism’s failures, synthesising religion – i.e. creating a religion out of atheism – by asking ‘how atheism could do better all those things like community support and charitable work that religions can do well’.

    Atheism proper is inconsequential. I.e. there is no need to identify as an ‘atheist’, and the only reason for doing so is a dearth of ideas to rival a mystical perspective. If rationalist perspectives had been sustained, Dennett would not be wondering how to spread the word of atheism through charitable acts. This is a massive concession to religion.

    Dawkins almost redeems himself by distancing himself from memes: ‘we alone have the power to rebel against [memes]‘ (quote from memory). But it nonetheless explains everyone else’s failure as merely ‘bad programming’, which he later develops in a frank admission of biological determinism. Perhaps this cynicism is the reason Dawkins and co were unable to share their ‘rationalism’ to any significant extent — I rather think it is.

    Reply
    • Yes I agree that the issues of memes and biological determinism are problematic, but Im not sure what Dawkins actual position on this is (Im not sure what mine is either- Im not sure where human agency comes from; eg if I am acting under free human agency in expressing my concerns about religion, then that is good, no? But what if I am just expressing spontaneously arising atheistic memes? How do I even know? These seem ultimately self-defeating circular arguments.)

      I do also agree that Dennett concedes to religion the idea of spreading atheism through charitable acts- again I am not sure what his position on this is now, but the fact remains that many “liberal” religious are “culturally” religious, ie belief in a deity is optional, it it the community of the church that counts; but the problem is, this translates into political positions which do come back to religious beliefs:

      http://choiceindying.com/2012/10/07/the-incompatibility-of-democracy-and-religion/

      These are all interesting and important issues, but I think they are much better covered in Dawkins and other contemporary atheist writers than you give them credit; in any case the main point of my post stands: it is still considered uncool to make any critique of religion, you are just not supposed to go there, as in the apologists like Kloor and Higgs.

      Reply
      • Not knowing where/what the ‘seat’ of consciousness is/consists of isn’t (necessarily) a problem for a philosophical approach: it’s a starting point, from which philosophy begins. For e.g. Descartes ‘doubt’. It’s a problem for Dennet and co, because he really wants to do science/psychology instead. So he has to rule it out, because subjectivity is incompatible with that kind of science. And so he ends up with his deterministic account. And to reiterate the point, framing your perspective on the world in terms of the self or sense of self being an illusion is no basis from which to appeal to people — especially people who lack access to the privileged position that such pronouncements are frequently made from.

        The blog you point to makes too many points to know which one to address. But either way, I think misconceives religion as a force apart from, or coming from outside of society.

        I would be interested to read Dennett’s/Dawkins’ coverage of these points. I haven’t seen them overcome their determinism. And it seems to me that they are not infrequently victims of the very things they rail against — religion and postmodernism chief amongst them.

        I’m somewhat on Kloor’s side here. That’s not to give religion a free ride at all, but that atheists with anything to say on such matters rarely need to identify as ‘atheists’, much less attack religion. Does that make me an apologist for religion or a critic of hollow rationalism? Both perhaps — give me religion over nihilistic determinism, any day.

        Reply
  5. Hi Graham,

    Sorry? I didn’t read bestruger as angry. Bringing counter-evidence to bear, hardly seems angry.

    Regardless, I’m reminded of Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain.” We are hard-wired to believe.

    Shermer says, “We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large; after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.”

    From michaelshermer.com, “Dr. Shermer also provides the neuroscience behind our beliefs. The brain is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. The first process Dr. Shermer calls patternicity: the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. The second process he calls agenticity: the tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency.”

    I agree with Dr Shermer (because I see this in my writing and thinking), “after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them…” It takes a lot to weaken and break those beliefs.

    Happy New Year,
    Norm

    Reply
    • Hi Norm
      I was being facetious – repeating back to bestruger his/her own words, which appear to me to be merely trying to silence the debate- telling me to “move on” etc which is basically the point of Kloor’s piece also- not engaging with the issues at all, merely calling those who criticize religion “fundamentalist” and “puritanical” etc.. So yes, you are absolutely right, very hard to change people’s mind, but the most important thing is, demand an environment where criticism is welcome, is cool, is ok, because religion only really is able to sustain itself by ring-fencing itself with the privilege of being beyond scrutiny, beyond critique, and I think this is wrong, which is why I wrote my post.
      Happy New year to you!

      Reply
  6. >>[The sceptic movement] certainly played the role of refuge for me – frankly, if it had not existed, I would very likely still be a New Ager and Deep Ecologist. ]

    That demonstrates my point, somewhat, that trust in institutions helps us to formulate ideas. No doubt some of that is useful, insofar as it helped you realise some of the faults of the New Age BS. But it was you who made the decision ultimately, contra Shermer’s denial of agency.

    My non existant million dollars would be as safe as Randi’s — for the same reason.

    >>Has there really been a collapse in people’s trust in science? Or has science never really overcome the historical/evolutionary grip of religion?<>it has been an up-hill struggle for science/rationality, which is still novel for the human brain.<>religion just fills a gap in that case, we shouldnt just sit idly by and let them have it all their own way!<<

    My problem with the Dawkins et al is that they reproduce the problems that both religion and secular society have. The worst of both. Religions certainly don't get it all their own way. It didn't get it about abortion in the first instance, civil partnerships and soon gay marriage, women priests and soon women bishops. But one of the reasons religion does get an oar in in today's Britain in matters of public life — rather than personal conscience — is more down to the vacuity of politics than to its own power. Blair, for instance, was keen to recruit religions into his social agenda, because he didn't really have the means to deliver it by himself. Rationalists should engage in a bit more self-reflection. Their own failure to do so, and instead doing things like over-stating Darwin's ability to explain the social world, makes atheism anti-human, and religion seem positively humanising. That cannot be the right course of 'humanism'. Shermer should be ashamed of himself.

    Reply
    • I dont think Shermer is denying agency; he is just saying there maybe psychological/neurological reasons why we tend to stick to our guns, and why people are slow to change beliefs.

      trust in institutions helps us to formulate ideas.

      are you denying agency and saying it is all down to institutions? no. Institutions, neurological pathways, tribalism, upbringing and many other things all play a role. Maybe genetics to? None of this means there isnt also agency. How free are we? Scares me to think of all the strange beliefs I used to have before I became Enlightened ;)

      Hilarious re the Beyond Belief prog; but I dont see Dawkins as an environmentalist, nor as a doomer; cearly he believes in agency, otherwise he wouldnt think anyone can change; it is certainly worrying that certain sections of the sci establishment, inc. Rees as you say, have turned science into a kind of apocalyptic religion, but I dont think that includes Dawkins;

      in any case failures in secular society and science in particular do not explain very well the persistance of religion- you still dont account for the fact that religion is much older, has always been with us; secular ideas, science, atheism -and esp the “muscular” atheism of Dawkins, who dares to speak out, are much more recent. Of course religion has always had considerable power, enormous power over over the human mind, and is able to wield politcal power, because the real faithful (like Hunt, and thre Christians on Beyond beleif) really do believe the stories perhaps partly because indeed we have evolved with religious memes; that would explain better why even some sections of science have taken the clothes of apocalyptic religion- we have to work hard to defend secularism and rationality, it just doesnt come as naturally as superstition; and no doubt we always will have to.

      that is why in my opinion the work of Dawkins and skepticism is so important, and why attacking hm for being “fundamentlaist” and “puritanical” is so crass.
      It’s really just another way of defending religion, supporting its special privilege- a privilege Dawkins and the rest of us certainly do not have.

      Reply
  7. On BBC R4 just now — beyond belief — I caught the end of a complaint by a Christian that environmentalists had stolen the Apocalypse from the church and secularised it. I think that nice captures the point I was trying to make.

    Reply

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