back to article Turkey probes The God Delusion for 'insulting religion'

A prosecutor in Turkey has launched an investigation into Richard Dawkins' bestselling polemic The God Delusion on suspicion that it incites religious hatred and insults religous values. Publisher Erol Karaaslan said today he will be quizzed by authorities in Istanbul on Thursday. A successful prosecution could land him a year …

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  1. Mark

    I am not a Turk

    I am a human being!!!

    (I wonder if that defense could work...!)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What!

    Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Toughening

    If a religion can't stand up to a little criticism, then it's not much of a basis for living your life, is it?

    And that's not blood, it's vomit. Anonymous vulture vomit. First the thin-skinned Sundanese, now this.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hysterical

    So now the world is in search of a tactful way of telling deluded idiots their sacred beliefs are a load of crap. Tricky one.

  5. crashIO

    Fanatics scare the daylights out of me

    Having faith in a supreme being is all well and good until you show up at my door. I have my own beliefs. I do not force them on others. I expect the same courtesy in return. Faith is one of those things that should be intensely private like making love.

  6. Cameron Colley

    How about a follow up?

    It could be called "The Turkey Delusion", and debunk the belief that Turkey isn't run by deluded fools.

    Still, the way UK law is heading, we'll be back to having to "respect" these fairy-story belief systems too.

  7. Sean Aaron

    Turkey should totally be in the EU...

    But frankly given the xenophobic reaction by nations that think the EU should be a x-ian only club they're probably better off staying out.

    Article 301 is clearly a problem; the government is clearly interested in doing something about it. I'm sure the publisher isn't going to get done under that law; it just doesn't seem to apply given that Turkey is a secular state and not an Islamic republic.

  8. Paul Taylor

    Funny

    The first chapter of that book is all about how it's okay to criticise almost anything except religion, and why that should ( or should not ) be the case.

    Quite odd that a supposedly secular country like Turkey is pursuing it. Surely secular covers atheism as well.

  9. oliver Stieber

    makes a change

    that makes a change from religion insulting peoples intelligence.

  10. Tony Barnes

    @crashIO

    Erm, I take it you harbour a dislike for pron then...?

    Otherwise good standpoint!

  11. this

    @crashIO

    I suppose that would make organised religion pornography then. Doing it in public, with everybody looking etc.

    (Hey, Reg! Organised doesn't have a 'z' - surely a UK publication should have a UK English compatible spell-checker! - it can't spell theatre either. It's a pity It won't correct 'there', 'their' and 'they're' though [sigh])

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward 1

    "Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"

    From what I've seen of EU "incitement to hatred" and "hate speech" laws, Turkey, far from being a laggard, is on the avant garde of European policy.

  13. James Pickett
    Stop

    Eh?

    So, he's inciting religious hatred by arguing that God doesn't exist? I think I'll go and have a lie down, with my teddy, Beelzebub.

  14. eddiewrenn
    Pirate

    Best book ever

    Seriousaly, should be required reading in all schools and all fanatic-countries. It's intentionally inflammatory just to balance out the crap we've had to deal with from religious groups in our ages.

    The universe and questions within philosophy are so exciting as it is, I don't know why anyone would want to view the road through ridiculous filters.

    /goes back to scribbing doodles of Mohammad on his notebook

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well that will be another reason not to let them join the EU then....

    Teddy Bears called Mohammed, now this. When will the world learn: religion - just say no.

    Still at least Turkey doesn't prosecute the victims of rape so that makes them moderate muslims then I suppose?

  16. breakfast
    Go

    @crashIO

    Are you suggesting that religion is like making love to a beautiful woman?

  17. Paul Corbett
    Alien

    Scary

    Unfortunately most religions have a "Go out and tell people" component and "we are the right religion and the rest are rubbish".

    The scary thing is not the religions themselves just the fanatics who can read the same passage of the Bible/QurÕan as another believer but somehow interpret it as telling them to smite the unbelievers.

    Got the book and i AM going to read it which is more than most of the Turkish Council will do.

    Alien Logo because i often feel the Aliens are already here and creating these bizzare news events.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    One Reader !!!!

    Just re-read the article and ONE READER complained out of 6000 copies.

    You could chain yourself to the Prime Ministers front door in the UK with the wife AND kids and they wouldn't bother to acknowledge you.

    (unless you were Paris Hilton!)

  19. John A Blackley

    Their business

    If any country wants to proscribe negative comments on their religion that is - as far as I'm concerned - their business (and that of their citizens). Of course we can do business with them, at arm's length, and enjoy relations with them that lead to better understanding.

    The problem we've made for ourselves is that, instead of respecting our own traditions and institutions, we've bent over, wrung our hands and spent the last decades apologising for being British.

    Time we sorted our own problems instead of pointing out others'.

  20. Tam Lin
    Dead Vulture

    Sounds like down-home Texas-style religion to me

    In the US, the president George W "thumper" Bush tried to revoke citizenship of the non-theists. The actual, physical, current Constitution of state of Texas prohibits anyone born without the god gene from holding public office in the state. The only country on the planet whose citizens support the USA is likewise a theocracy.

    But, hey, thanks for the report on Turkey, At least I know I needn't be jealous.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Religions worry me.

    The fact that this is happening is pure and simple justification for one of Dawkins' themes: religion is about accepting what you are told - subjugation is rewarded, faith without any shred of evidence is a virtue and god help you if you question the religious.

    if you haven't read the book, read it - it's superb. Every argument for religion is systematically dismantled utterly, utterly brilliantly.

    This handling with kid gloves of anything to do with religion needs to stop.

    The fact that the silliness about The Golden Compass being spouted by the Catholic League is getting coverage just depresses me... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7115300.stm - but then again the general American public acceptance of religious claptrap as truth scares me.

    Roll on a secular world...

  22. Anthony Hulse

    Dawkins should be proud

    It doesn't matter how much religious people run to the courts, there still isn't a god :-)

  23. James Brash
    Flame

    Religious Criticism

    When Scientific Beliefs are criticised scientists attempt to prove them - why can't religious zealots do this in the same way? ... oh wait.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uh huh

    A reader of a book called "The God Delusion" has complained that it insults "sacred values".

    Well put me in a bear suit and call me Mohammed!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Idiots

    This is even sillier that the teddy named Mohamed, please let this be the reason for not letting them into the EU so they grow up and stop playing with imaginary friends.

  26. D

    Is it competition time or something?

    Seems like there's some sort of bidding war going on for the most shit-thick, regressive claim of criminality going on.

    We've had the ever progressive Saudi establishment insisting on the incarceration and whipping of a women for having the brazen feminist lunacy of not only getting raped but complaining about it.

    Next up the Sudanese government offered to flog a teacher for calling a fake bear after an imaginary man - AKA Mohamed.

    Now Turkey, upset at suspicions of liberality cropping up, reaches for the blasphemy laws once more.

    So far, a certain flavour of Islam seems to be hogging the limelight: come on Jews and Christians, where are you? The Lords Resistance Army of Uganda, I'm thinking of you just about now... .. .

    Mind that Rabbi who blamed hurricane Katrina on Louisiana's black population as they 'don't do Torah' really wouldn't go amiss either,

    C.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with the turks...

    but only because dawkins is such a pointless individual and anyone associated him deserves to be locked up. Well, okay, i'm exaggerating quite a lot. But really.

    Does such a clearly intelligent man really have to write thousands and thousands of overly convoluted words to point out that ...What. We have no proof of God, religion can cause wars, people can get a bit obsessive. Well no shit sherlock. Pats on the back all round. Is his next book going to be, 'Water - how we can't live without it.' Or is it that other classic 'Crystal Balls, they don't really see into the future?'

    Can't wait for those insights either.

    I don't do god at all but nor do I get tied up in being anti-god. It's all irrelevant. It's not like he's saying anything new, interesting, revelatory - although i guess he'd probably be against the latter anyway.

    These atheists are just as fanatical. Bloody Freethinker readers. At least with the god believers you know where they are on a sunday, atheists creep up on you when you're least expecting it.

  28. RK
    Gates Horns

    it's funny how...

    no one ever seems to prosecute religious fanatic freaks for persecuting others (except for the occasional abortion-clinic bomber).

    this kind of story (along with sad tales of the imminent extinction of wild tigers) has a lot to do with why i've essentially given up on humanity as a hopelessly backward species that will eventually do itself (and huge numbers of other lifeforms) in through a mix of cleverness and gullibility. what's really sad about it is that the numbers of the brainwashed religious fanatics in my country (Amerikkka) are growing faster than the counterbalancing numbers of open-minded fanatics, trending us inevitably towards a new dark-age.

    TEH DOOMSAYER HAS SPOKEN!

    thank you, time for a nap.

  29. Graham Dawson
    Coat

    @crashIO

    You just paraphrased about half of the New Testament. Just thought I'd mention that... :)

    I find it odd that Dawkins has railed against the christians in particular and not met with much more than blank indifference, a lot of shouting and... not much else, and now the supposedly secular government of Turkey is talking about banning his book. The world has gone insane. I think I might just buy a copy out of spite now.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    I do try to accept other cultures as merely being different to my own. and accept they are as worthy of respect as my own values. But it is difficult to retain tolerance in the face of such blatant intolerance such as we have had reported recently. If I wasn't trying so hard I might even think that It appeared, some folk deliberately hold ridiculous views, and countries pass ridiculous laws, just to be awkward.

  31. Adrian Challinor
    Paris Hilton

    What I dont get

    If the reader who bought the book and was insulted (or felt a long dead prophet was insulted) why did he simply not put the book down and read something else?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    "I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!"

    "Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"....

    I cannot belive there people are readers of the Register enjoying insulting Turks and calling US "un-human" "these people".

    I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

    Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights..

  33. The Cube
    Flame

    This could be taken as good news

    If the stability and customer base of organised religion (like organised crime but not yet illegal) in Turkey is now so fragile that they have to lash out in this pathetic way against any structured and informed debate then that should be good news. If the perceived risk of this book to the collapsing power base of the organised churches is so high that is call for a party.

  34. Pat
    Black Helicopters

    EUAW & off you go

    Lucky that Turkish prosecutor can't apply for an EU Arrest Warrant...yet!

    "Fast-track extradition warrants are being issued for minor offences including a demand for the arrest of one suspect for the theft of a piglet, European Union officials have said...

    Civil liberties campaigners are concerned that the EAW does not require a proportionality test or allow refusal if the offence does not exist under national laws."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/16/warrest116.xml

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dawkins delusion

    Insult to religion? Insult to descent well structured arguments more like.

    Either way, it's just a book putting forward someone's opinions, it can be insulting in parts, sometimes apparently deliberately so, in order to ram home an argument, it is pretty transparently a rallying call to Dawkins' fans. Ultimately if something exists that is insulting to your religion, chances are that it will polarise people's beliefs so are that a fair amount of people will become stronger believers because of it.

  36. Tim Blair
    Unhappy

    Hungry

    So can I still have Turkey for Christmas? I promise not to call it moohamud.... or jeezus.. or budder...

  37. lglethal Silver badge

    To quote Galileo

    "I feel no need to subscribe to belief in a god who has endowed in us sense, reason and intelligence, but does not wish for us to use it"

    Religious idiocy has been going on for millenia but until we stop giving into any moron with a belief in fairies and stand up to the idiots that perpetuate these stupid ideas things will not improve...

  38. ian
    Alert

    Ideology is a substitute for religion

    If ideology is a substitute for religion, what can you say about religion as a substitute for ideology? Certainly Turkey seems to have completely mixed ideology and religion!

    If having a religion opposed to the EU's dominant Christianity is the equivalent of having an opposing ideology to the EU's, then certainly Turkey should not be admitted.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Re: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    To the anonymous coward who thinks criticising Turkey because of its government policies is racist...

    It would be racist if people said "We shouldn't let these people into the EU because too many of them have beige skin and a penchant for Fez hats".

    It is not racist to say "We shouldn't let these people into the EU because they ban books about religion and throw people in prison for criticising the government".

    Your post is yet another example of a shrill intellectual wimp cheapening the term 'racism' by using it as a meaningless slander whenever faced with an argument that you can't defeat through other means. Thanks to your ilk, the term 'racist' has been robbed of all force and meaning.

    P.S. "these people" is not a racist epithet.

    Devil Steve is my icon, because he's a racist. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Apple charge more for black iBooks.

  40. Mark Adamson

    RE: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    >"I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!"

    I don't think that was an attempt to dehumanize Turks, but more an attempt to try arguing the logic that one's geographical place of birth should not define them. Any more than one should say that they're Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim before they remember that they're human first and foremost. It's the thing we all have in common. :-D

    >"Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"....

    >

    >I cannot belive there people are readers of the Register enjoying insulting Turks >and calling US "un-human" "these people".

    The concern people are expressing here is really in response to such a Theistic culture where this could even be considered. The problem with this view point is that in these terms I can see that the UK seems to be lagging behind, but we'll catch up. Bearing in mind that in the US the equivalent nut-jobs have already had their shouting.

    >I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file >charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

    I don't think that it's fair that this sort of Generalization is thrown around, in either direction. The prosecutors need to be hand-slapped for raising this, I agree.

    >Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights..

    Bugger. You see, right up until there I was right with you; I've only been fortunate to meet a handful of turks, each of which was as nice a person as I could hope to meet, but that, right there is a bunch of crap.

    Racism is similar to a lack of human rights; both dehumanize the individual and damage their liberties based upon erroneous, misinformed perceptions. However, as they're both grey areas, where does one draw the line? Is referring to the local shop as a "Paki's" really worse than giving somebody 200 lashes for being Raped?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @Adrian Challinor

    A bit like the bloke having sex with the bicycle.......... why did these cleaners have to stay and watch?

    It does make you wonder if there is any sense left in the world. As for Turkey joining the EU, I do wonder how many more people Europe can take flooding into their country before it becomes a problem? I'm not being a Xenophobe or racist, but I just think that there has to be a point where Britain can't physically take any more immigrants?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @John A Blackley

    "The problem we've made for ourselves is that, instead of respecting our own traditions and institutions, we've bent over, wrung our hands and spent the last decades apologising for being British."

    I thought that WAS a British tradition... Ah well, what do I know, just a yank...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Science Delusion

    I think a lot of humans have a predisposition to want explanations for phenomena.

    This predisposition is making them believe that science is the new religion.

    Science is just 'best guess', most good scientists will tell you that. Science through the ages has proven itself wrong countless times. That is the beauty of science.

    But, ever since Dawkins has been going on about the God delusion, science has been attracting the moonbats who would normally be associated with main stream Religion. After seeing a few of his talks, I think he borders on the delusion that science can explain all, but still marvels at the things we (well he) don't know. Most of his followers though use his work to support the religion of atheism.

    Who is to say that evolution was not designed, or that our understanding of the world was not already mapped out at the macro level; the dark ages and the Library of Alexandria's burning demise could point to some external influence.

    One thing is for sure though, nearly all religions are about control, they are the tap from which decisions flow. It just looks like the new religion of science wants that role now.

  44. Rick Brasche
    Flame

    "tolerance" is also a cultural value

    so before everyone gets holier (or unholier)-than-thou about "keepin them durn Turkish savages outta my EU" try to remember that this "tolerance of other cultures" that you pat yourselves on the back for, is just another cultural value that's been promoted by Western societies. For you to force "tolerance" on any cultural is *exactly* the same as forcing any of the *rest* of your judeo-christian cultural values. Any arguments made to the contrary are simply justification and excuses-which often sound the same as the "failth" arguments that you are so disrespectful of religious folk using.

    But, don't let that get in the way of your "faith" in Humanity and Science (capitalized so the 'smarterer" non-religious folks don't get offended and start a crusade).

    Nor does being an anti-theist make you smarter or more intelligent. An intolerant moron is still an intolerant moron no matter his faith or lack thereof. Following a faith with quotes from a holy book, or following a "science" with quotes you took from another "holy" source (wikipedia, the Library perhaps?) which you cannot personally verify and didn't really even bother to research from multiple sources (getting hand-fed "facts" is not research) is pretty much the same thing. (Funny how history shows that many people who could actually design, perform, witness and understand the experiments to show how the universe really works, Einstein for example, were *still* strong in their faith. While some college student specializing in hemp and hops consumption sees a paragraph on "E=MC^2" on a Wikipedia page and takes all the conclusions reached on *Faith* In Science and adds that to his already-decided "there ain't no God" support folder.)

    Any difference is liberal narcissim. If you want to understand the "religious" fanatic, look to your own absolute sense that you are *absolutely* right and anyone who doesn't agree is somehow less than you, subhuman.

    *sits back to watch the Jihad Of Science And Logic..."Burn the Believers!"

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    You are getting it wrong

    I am a Turkish citizen living in US. I can assure you that that prosecutor is most likely not a religious person. Turkey is an over-secular country. The secular establishment is very strong, and no one can really be blamed of being non-religious. It is so extreme that Turkish army keeps warning governments for being not secular, where they are secular but they also want to let people be free in practicing their religion.

    Anyway, this is probably a "ultra-nationalist" prosecutor. The government can not control prosecutors. Some of them keep filing charges against people and cause a headache for the country. Turkey doesn't deserve this. Turkish people have no problem with other people's faith, not at all. The government officially says they don't agree with these suits. And I can tell you 99%, no one will be hurt because of this case, but Turkey.

    Before swearing or insulting nations, try knowing them first.

  46. Joe Stalin
    Unhappy

    Closer to home

    Our previous beloved leader Saint Tony of Sedgewick was a firm believer in faith based schools. Also he was quite happy to chuck large sums of money at people who wished to set up such schools. Given our freedoms under the EU convention on Human Right could I apply for fund to set up an anti-denominatonal school, yes thats right ANTI not just NON-denominational. If the goverment is willing to support religion it must also have a duty to support the opposite view as well. Or am I just a deluded fool?

  47. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: I agree with the Turks - and the comment about racism

    Dawkins didn't just write about religion. He's an evolutionary biologist. I wouldn't lightly call a man with his achievements 'pointless' - have you read The Selfish Gene? Heard of it?

    ...Now to the comment about racism - I think you've taken the posts here a bit too hard (understandable though - if I read your post correctly I take it you're Turkish; if I was, I think I'd have felt the same to be honest). I think this is more about careless wording than racism.

    I mean, I could easily be wrong, but I don't think people here are suggesting that Turks are crazy religious fanatics and shouldn't be allowed to enter EU countries. Some people here strongly object to the Turkish government's apparent attitude to what amounts to polite criticism of ridiculous views held by a subset of the population, and do not think it's a good idea to allow Turkey as a country to join the EU.

    Personally I disagree - I don't really see a problem with allowing a relatively religious country or a country with a relatively religious government to join. After all the UK is a fairly christian place (not something I approve of; 'broadly christian' worship sessions being required in schools is frankly bizarre. I was raised an atheist and found it a little confusing as a young child being told that there was an afterlife and a god that my parents hadn't mentioned to me by people who couldn't back up their claims in any way, but people I generally trusted and was expected to believe, in other contexts).

    Anyway, I digress. My point really is that I don't think this place is full of racists; don't worry about it. I suppose it would make sense to speak carefully when one's words might offend.

    (Actually come to think of it, I'm not sure what the hell "I'm not a turk, I'm a human being" comment meant; racist or not it's a bizarre and apparently nonsensical comment!)

    I do think though that it's a bit much to say that racism is worse than human rights abuses. I think it's a subset of them. Obviously I'm not condoning it, but I think to suggest that human rights abuses in general are less serious than racism in particular is a bit of an odd assertion.

  48. Crazy Fool
    Coat

    Insulting science & religion

    Maybe god is made of dark matter.

  49. Fozzy

    Pointless argument

    I was always told that when in polite company never discuss, sex, politics or religion. I asked why and my dad quietly told me (out of earshot of my mum) because with any of these three you get a bunch of freaks,fanatics and fuckwits. Because if you do it right, or wrong, with any of these you will come out of it dirty, embarrassed and in need of a hot shower and a stiff drink.

    Think about it ........

  50. yeah, right.

    Not in Europe

    I have to agree, unfortunately. Turkey is most certainly not ready to be part of the E.U. Not with asinine religious laws like that still on the books.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Religion is Poison - Its Heavy Maaan

    All religion is poison and it is killing the world. Faith is a psychosis caused by brainwashing. There is no hope for the human race if it can't leave these barbaric delusions behind.

    Religion is created by man as a value system which allows for the subjugation of the many by the few. None of it has any relationship to the existence or otherwise of a supreme being.

  52. John A Blackley

    @Tam Lin

    "In the US, the president George W "thumper" Bush tried to revoke citizenship of the non-theists."

    Tam Lin, please tell me what you're talking about.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Insulting Common Sense and reason

    Hope they don't happen to look through a copy of the Old Testament then.. now theirs a book that incites religious hatred!

    Maybe i should sue publishers of Bibles and Koran for inciting ignorance and xenophobia and insulting my values of logic and reason, while I'm at it the British education system for trying to ram Christianity down my throat in religious assemblies for 10+ years.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @I agree with the turks...

    Quote: "Does such a clearly intelligent man really have to write thousands and thousands of overly convoluted words to point out that ...What. We have no proof of God"

    Yes, simply because everyone else who has tried has been even MORE convoluted and ineffective. And possibly to balance out the millions of people who are very forcefully advocating not only that there IS such a being, but that you should not be given any rights unless you agree with them.

    I assume you are a happily weak, submissive, and accepting person then? Maybe you should go to America...?

  55. Danny Thompson
    Stop

    It is amazing the hypocrisy

    ... of those on here who are so scathingly critical and negative of religion. Does not your own atheism or agnosticism allow you to practise the tolerance that is at the heart of all established religions. You are behaving as badly as the religious fanatics that you complain about.

    There is no proof that there is a God. Equally, there is no proof that there isn't. What we have, as humans, is the ability to have unshakeable faith - either way.

    It is a crying shame that respect cannot be given to the other, even in this brave new secular world of ours. No change there then. Move on, nothing special to see here folks.

  56. Vinod Patel

    "The God Delusion" could save the world.

    Not only does Dawkins surveys the phenomena of God but gives rational explanations of its proliferation (its a by-product of the evolutionarily beneficial ability for abstract thought), and that delusion is a natural side-effect of having a brain and that you just have to be vigilant about that (like many impulses we've all inherited).

    Delusion can make a person dangerously short sighted and thats just not viable with the powers we have now to destroy the world.

    He explains that he is biased towards 'evidence' for his statements and merely points out that doesn't exist for belief systems and thats why he appears or is anti-theist.

    It is probably more humanly relevant than many religious texts because 'human nature as can be evidenced' (and not intangible metaphysics or souls) is actually the subject and so it implores us as thinking beings capable of considering evidence rather than receptacles for dogma and commandments. Found myself nodding to it often.

    He says he cites Christianity more simply because that is his background and easier to illustrate, but his argument applies to all believes in the 'god hypothesis' (but it nevertheless contains an amazing breadth of diverse religious references).

    If they send him to jail, they will have to arrest me next.

    More likely it is all a political ploy - amazing how easy it is to twist religion for political gain, but i wanted to say i liked the book as well. (sorry about the length of this comment).

  57. J

    Re: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    "I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!"

    Hmm, I took it differently, although it sure could be interpreted the way you did (which might tell more about you than about whoever wrote it in the first place...).

    Maybe it was because of my views, but I myself saw it as a statement of humanity, instead of allegiance to a place where you were coincidentally born. When people ask me (due to my accent) where I am from, I answer "Earth". After the funny look that always ensues, I complement "but I happened to be born and raised in Brazil", so they are satisfied. I am not a Brazilian, I'm a human being! :-)

    "Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights."

    Haha, you're joking, right? Racism IS one aspect of "lack of human rights", but maybe I shouldn't expect you to know that.

  58. Chris G Silver badge

    chrisgood1child@hotmail.com

    Running around in print or otherwise, wildly slagging people off for believing in a god or anything else, is as bad as being devout and slagging off anybody who does not believe in what ever it is that you do. Any religion that can't tolerate a little criticism is probably on shaky ground anyway, as is any critic of religion who thinks they have the only grasp of common sense.

    Making love might be intensely private at the moment but it may not be once that nice Mr Darling has put a tax on it.

  59. Mono Ape
    Flame

    Dr

    (One of the) Anonymous Cowards: "I don't do god at all but nor do I get tied up in being anti-god. It's all irrelevant."

    Where to start? Oh, I don't know - 11 September 2001, perhaps? Maybe you didn't have access to a TV on that day (or the intervening 6 years)?

    OK, you obviously have internet access. Do some searches for things like "sudanese teddy bear", "saudi woman raped jailed", "danish comics muhammad", "faith schools england creationism".

    Read. Think. Then come back here and tell us that 'god is irrelevant'.

    FFS.

  60. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Stop

    @ AC / Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    "I cannot belive there people are readers of the Register enjoying insulting Turks and calling US "un-human" "these people".

    I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

    Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights.."

    ------------------------

    ...and looking hard trying to find something to be "offended" by is almost as stupid and intrinsically criminal than just accepting that others have different opinions to you. Of course, no religion would ever preach tolerance and forgiving would they?

    Don't know about others here, but I read the statement "I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!" not as a slander on anybody or any nation but as an assertion that the person is HUMAN.

    As for "these people", well it's an adequate way to describe a nation. Would you be less "offended" if the statement "Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?" would instead be worded as "Can someone please explain why we are letting Turkey join the EU when they appear to have no sense of tolerance, common sense and the makers of rules have a deep seated fear of being questioned about their beliefs?"

  61. John PM Chappell
    Flame

    "z" question

    @ "This" : Guess again sunshine! :¬) It does indeed have a 'z' in it in the correct English spelling, the 's' spelling is from a fad for Francophilia which swept the south of England about two centuries ago now; they wanted to make words look more French, hence the retention of 'u' in words where it was disappearing and the addition in other words where it did not belong but 'looked right', alongside using 's' instead of 'z' in places where the same or similar French word would have it.

    There are a few words which are not spelt correctly with a 'z', "analyze" being the best example, since it comes from "analysis" but any place where a noun has been made into a verb by adding -ize to end, that is the correct, coming from the (Ancient) Greek method for doing the same with 'eizo'. Of course, if spelling were more phonetic, they would all be z, as tends to be favoured by the Americans.

    As for Turkey... well, they are large enough to *not* join the EU, it's the rest of the EU that would like them to do so and many Turks who do not wish to.

    Religion is, of course, stupid and criticizing it should be a protected right in any civilized and especially any secular state.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ Danny Thompson

    "There is no proof that there is a God. Equally, there is no proof that there isn't."

    That is complete b*llcks. It is NOT equal at all. There is no proof that my bottom doesnt become bright green when I am not observing it, but that does NOT mean that it is impossible , or that it is Equally likely!! You can not say for certain that a dropped ball will fall to the ground (random motion of billions of atoms could make it go another way in an extremely extremely unlikely event) but that does make the two possiblities equal.

    Not being able to prove something 100% or disprove something 100% does NOT make the two likelyhoods equal. That is a ridiculously naive opinion.

    "What we have, as humans, is the ability to have unshakeable faith - either way."

    That is NOT true either. If you can produce some convincing evidence of something to me then I will believe it, unless the evidence for something else is stronger. At the moment I believe there is almost definately no god, because there is simply so much evidence that debunks any valid theory of what a god is. If you can find evidence that shows otherwise then I will happilasy believe you.

    It is you lunatic religious nutters that have an "unshakable faith" not us rational minded people. You are the ones that are able to justify bombing people based on their beliefs because you have an "unshakable faith" that somebody will give you browny points for doing so. It is that "unshakable faith" that stops any rational or reasonable processes going on in your heads much of the time. Or, my goodness, even blowing yourself to bits, in the "unshakable faith" that you will get browny points for doing so. I mean, its just nuts.

    "It is a crying shame that respect cannot be given to the other, even in this brave new secular world of ours."

    When you stop disguising propoganda centres as abortion clinics, stop taking advantage of impressionable people,.. When you stop scamming, bullying, killing, jailing, executing, declaring wars, on people because of your "unshakable faith" then you will see some more respect.

    You are not all like that I know, but unshakable faith is a ridiculous thing to have, and it is a quality that I find to be in religious people way more than non-religious people.

    You can keep your beliefs to yourself, or banter about them like we are now on the internet or in discussion or whatever, but when you start punishing people for disagreeing, which religious institutions do all the time, then you deserve no respect.

  63. snafu

    Saudi Woman

    That woman who was violated is not going to be lashed for that but for being in a car with a man who was not family to her (a former boyfriend who had photos of her she was trying to retrieve or something like that).

    ("These people" certainly is a useless sweeping generalization. Turkey merits a bit more depth of analysis)

  64. Mike Crawshaw
    Stop

    Jesus Wept....

    This is ridiculous.

    OK, before we start: here's my "credentials" to avoid any charges of intolerance/KKK membership etc.

    I'm a Canuck living in the UK, born to Limey Mom and Canuck Dad. I was brought up Christian, but "went agnostic" at the age of 12 because it just didn't make any sense to me, especially the parts that were obviously nicked from other religions (look up the Roman God Mithras, for example). My girlfriend is Indian/Pakistani heritage, brought up a Muslim who turned her back on it all and lives agnostically, but still retains many Muslim values (e.g. doesn't eat pig meat). She was born in Manchester, but please don't hold that against me.

    OK, the beef.

    <rant>

    For thousands of years, religions of various types have been hammering "you must believe this!" down our throats, and anyone who doesn't believe (or at least publically profess to believe) faced various censures - from social exclusion, to exile, to corporal punishment (e.g. mutilation), to capital punishment (stonings, burnings, beheadings). Even if you DO believe, you still don't get away with it (female circumcision, anyone?)

    So the backlash has begun. People are saying "y'know what? This is cobblers." - but the religious leaders, of whatever stripe, are hanging on by their fingernails trying desperately to retain their temporal power over their followers. In some countries, thankfully, their ability to do this is limited by law. In countries like Saudi Arabia, it's not. In Afghanistan, a man who converted to Christianity was tried for blasphemy, and his family mounted a defence of mental instability on his part to try and get him off the death penalty (they failed) - and this was AFTER the ousting of the Taliban.

    I've only known two Turks - one was a nice guy, the other was a tosser. Same sort of ratio as most nationalities, and religion didn't come into it. But I have nothing against the Turkish people.

    I do, however, have a hell of a lot against a country where you can be charged with criminal offences for expressing a religious view that goes against the "official state religion" in the same way as happened in Russia under Stalin or happens in Saudi now.

    You have your right to religious beliefs. I have my right to mine. I'll happily discuss them with you, our shared ideals and conflicting notions. If you're happy to do that, I look forward to talking to you. If you're not, because you're sensitive about it, then that's ok too - though I suggest you might want to reconsider your faith, as it's obviously not very strong. But the day you arrest me for expressing my religious views is the day I go up the clock tower with a rifle...!

    </rant>

  65. Andy Worth

    Twats

    Religions are THE least accepting of other peoples beliefs. Most non-religious people accept that people can believe what they want, but deeply religious people are very unaccepting of that principle in general.

    Turkey have one of the worlds worst records in human rights, and yet are "offended" by a book about religion that does not pander to the beliefs that they hold. Does that seem hypocritical to anyone else?

  66. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Dawkins is no saint

    From what I've heard from Dawkins on TV (I can't see a point in wasting time to read his book) his main counterargument to religion seems to be his belief that there is no god. That in it's own right sounds like a religion to me. Beat a bigot by counter-bigotry? Thanks but no, thanks.

    He also seems to suggest that all we have to do is abolish religion and Shangri-la will descend upon us. This plainly insults intelligence.

    If we are a product of the evolution, clearly we have evolved to have religion in some shape or form and for a purpose. Mr Dawkins' efforts would have been more useful if he tried to examine what purpose does it serve, how to use it productively, when does it become couterproductive and how to recognise the signs and how to avoid it.

    Religion is not about God, it's about us, humans. We can't live without it just like we can't live without the liver (not for long anyway). Every time somebody tries to abolish religion they only succeed in replacing it with another form of religion, a pitfall, Mr Dawkins himself have not managed to avoid.

    Having said this - banning his book because it offends someone's religious feelings is so bloody... religious.

  67. David Evans

    @Danny Thompson

    Maybe if you actually read the book you'd understand why your view is EXACTLY the kind of thing that Dawkins is so dismissive of. "Faith" is not a valid argument, and doesn't deserve equal consideration with the scientific method. While you're correct that science can't "prove" God doesn't exist, that's to misunderstand the scientific method. Science shows that the balance of probability is heavily weighted towards no God. Faith shows us...nothing apart from faith itself.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    61 comments and counting... what a hoot!

    Nothing quite like a criticism of the High Priest of Atheism to bring out a *really* long comments list! I must congratulate almost every commenter here on their, dare I say "religious", even "evangelical" (as in "Go, tell it on the mountain^H^H^H^H^Hblog") zeal in condemning this outrage!

    However, I do detect a lack of rationality. What is the reason for this outpouring of zeal? Atheism proposes that there is no God, no standard given to humanity to adhere to, no reward or punishment for departing from it and no existence after this. All the righteous indignation displayed here seems strangely at odds with the consensus of professed belief.

    Should Turkey ban the book? It doesn't matter - there is no "good" or "evil" - those are religious concepts - "to allow the few to control the many", I think someone said. There is really only the law, which is a construct of human thought which is in itself the product of human life which is, as with all life, a mere random accident without design or purpose. Therefore, morality is bunk and the law only matters insofar as there are questions over what you can get away with doing.

    Suggesting that something is good or bad is a denial of materialism.

    You can either accept the materialist viewpoint, in which case your thoughts don't matter, since everything is just a random accident, or you can reject it.

    --

    BTW: tolerance is about co-existing with people you *don't* agree with. You don't have to like or approve of them, merely be civil. Tolerance is not "I'll agree with you if you agree with me and anyone who doesn't agree should go away."

    --

  69. asi dana
    Stop

    I am Turk

    But the descion to investigate whether the book is insults religous values is a madness and does not reflect Turkish idea about democracy! It reflects idea of stupid - close minded - uneducated goverment and it's civil servants.

    This is not Turkey but on the other hand i can't belame anyones who thinks Turkey is sh*t because people of Turkey who keeps goverment in power

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    life of brian

    I think someone should invent a Religion that includes *sense of humour* at least.

    I seem to recall "Life Of Brian" being banned in some highly religious third world countries.

    And i still chuckle about the response in NTNOCN:

    http://videos.emule.com/play/not-the-nine-oclock-news---general-synods-life-of-christ-(ykN-00i7VVs

  71. Ali M
    Thumb Down

    hmmm freedom?

    "Freedom is the freedom to do as one wishes as long as it does not impinge on the freedom of others"

    ALL and I mean ALL religions should know and respect and remeber that. Sure have your thoughts/views/values etc. However trying to force them on other people; that's not religion that is more commonly known as intolerance/brainwashing as far as I know.

    (thumbs down icon because I cannot stand intolerance of any kind)

  72. {¯`·.¸_LÅMߤ¥_¸.·´¯}

    the lunatics are in the asylum

    Does morality come from religion? For me the answer is no (hell no!)...for many religious people, the answer is yes. This is a problem, you do not need 'god' to know right from wrong, and you certainly shouldn't base a countries laws on such absurd concepts - unfortunately many countries do and you end up with religious lunatics running the asylum.

  73. Evil Graham
    Stop

    Religious dudes - read the fecking book first!

    There are quite a few posts on here from religious types who clearly haven't read The God Delusion.

    Might I suggest, before you spew your mal-formed thoughts onto the comments page, that you read it first. Then you'll be in the wonderful position of knowing something about the thing you are criticising, which I imagine for some of you might be the first time ever.

    Reminds me of the time I worked with a born-again type who announced he was off to picket outside the local cinema, which was screening David Cronenberg's "Crash" (remember the furore about that?)

    Now that film might well be a river of steaming filth, I don't know because I haven't seen it. But guess what - neither had he.

    Good job they didn't tell him to go out and burn witches really, I'm sure he would have been up for that too.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Shining Wit

    Congratulations Turkey - I never thought it would come to this but I find myself supporting that uptight, hypocritical bile-spewing man Dawkins. I may even go out and buy his stupid book just to show my support for the silly man.

    And no I'm not jealous cos he married a Dr Who companion and I didn't! Nor because he was introduced to her by his personal friend Douglas Adams, one of the great minds of the 20th century.

    Yours anonymously....

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    One doesn't need to read a particular book to support the author's right to state their opinions in it.

    Intolerance may not be about agreeing with others, but one can legitimately complain that some others seem to be trying to abuse one's attempts to be tolerant to their viewpoints. We're only human and there is a limit to how much intolerance anyone can tolerate.

  76. Sceptical Bastard

    Hang on a minute...

    ... a woman is stoned to death for adultery, another woman is hanged for "incest" because her brother raped her, another woman is flogged because she called a teddybear Mohammed.... and 18 Saudi Arabian scum fly three airliners into buildings and crash a fourth plane.

    Perhaps the pro-islam, pro-religion defenders of "faiths" can prove to us that Islamism, Wahhabism and Sha'ria are desirable and beneficient rather than being vile barbarous misogynist medievalism.

    And keep charges of racism where they belong. Hatred of religions - or of a specific religion - is not racism. It may be based on many things but race, per se, is not a necessary prerequisite.

    As to Turkey, it should not be allowed to join the EU until it drags itself into at least the 20th century, if not the 21st. It is generally thought that the EU is a socio-political grouping of European nations but by culture, tradition and even geography Turkey is not a European country.

  77. {¯`·.¸_LÅMߤ¥_¸.·´¯}

    The book

    Whilst I did enjoy the book and agreed with it in the most part - I didnt like the antagonistic approach in many parts. I feel he over used the 'negative sarcastic aspect ' of debunking religious myths. Apart from that an excellent read.

  78. John Vaudin
    Black Helicopters

    Who says it couldn't happen here?

    I think you'll find we have laws banning 'incitement to racial or religious hatred', which seems to be essentially what the Turks seems to have invoked here.

    I'm sure we would like to believe that we our version of these laws wouldn't apply in this case, but that's just arguing over shades of grey. Bottom line is you can't say what you want about religion in this country either.

    @Faith Schools - the main reason the government like them so much is that the relevant church contributes towards the funding. And if you've got money in your pocket the government is more than happy to sell you some easily moulded minds.

  79. Jimmy

    @ Mono Ape

    You completely misunderstand the nature of our beloved Anonymous Coward. AC is our very own Flying Spaghetti Monster, our imaginary friend and spiritual guide.

    His omnisience is proven by his ubiquitous presence all over this site like a viral rash, bringing darkness where there was formerly light, and confusion in place of order.

    His self-referential and often self-contradictory posts have the same validity as the 13th century theological arguments about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Respect his presence.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Erm...

    <i>A law known as Article 301, introduced in 2005, states: "A person who, being a Turk, explicitly insults the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months to three years."</i>

    I hate to point this out, but Richard Dawkins was born in Kenya, not Turkey, and is British, not Turkish, so that law doesn't apply to him. If I was him I'd simply refuse to be interviewed by them under the fact that they have no juristiction (unless he currently resides in Turkey, which I doubt). That and the fact that they're bunch of closed-minded secular bigots.

  81. Mike Crawshaw
    Joke

    Life of Brian???

    "life of brian

    By Anonymous CowardPosted Thursday 29th November 2007 11:04 GMT

    I think someone should invent a Religion that includes *sense of humour* at least."

    You clearly haven't heard about Scientology.....!!!

  82. Martin Harrower
    Flame

    @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    A quick point Vlad,

    You say "Mr Dawkins' efforts would have been more useful if he tried to examine what purpose does it serve, how to use it productively, when does it become couterproductive and how to recognise the signs and how to avoid it."

    If you had bothered your arse to read the book you would find that this takes up a huge portion of it. Obviously you based you opinion on a couple of minutes of out of context TV footage and decided the man is the Atheist equivalent of Ann Coulter.

    "Beat a bigot by counter-bigotry? Thanks but no, thanks"

    Nice words :o) eat them.....

  83. Mark

    Re: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    Well "I am not a turk, I am a human being" was a parody of The Prisoner's "I am not a number, I am a human being" and can either be construed as

    a) turks are not human beings

    b) human beings are a superset of turks

    you took a.

    Because if you want to take offense, you will.

    Now, please show me the genetic code for Turk and how it differs from Human. No?

  84. Mark

    Atheists not citizens of the USA

    George W tried to get the oath of allegiance ("we are one nation under God") to mean that if you don't believe in God you cannot take the oath and cannot be a US citizen.

    That the section was added (IIRC) in the 60's and wasn't in the original oath wasn't for him a problem.

  85. Olly Molyneux

    @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    "From what I've heard from Dawkins on TV (I can't see a point in wasting time to read his book) his main counterargument to religion seems to be his belief that there is no god."

    jeepers creepers. NO ITS NOT. I can see the point in you reading the point - that you may understand the arguments before posting stupid messages on websites.

    His argument is ... nope I can't be bothered, read the book.

  86. Mark

    @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    The argument is that you have to define God first.

    And all the definitions of God do not work.

    Old testament (word of God says Bats are birds). OK, so not that one.

    New testament (God loves a repentant sinner/Sinners will bur in hell) OK. Not that one either.

    Bhudda (was human, achieved enlightenment). Nope, still not.

    OK, what about "God is what God does". Does he cause the sun to rise? No. Does he create life? No. Does he make creatures evolve? No.

    And so on.

    There MAY BE a God. But whatever God is, we haven't got a description that works.

  87. Marco

    Re: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

    "I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

    Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights.."

    "Ok, we will give you twenty years for making a joke about Mohammed, you filfthy infidel, and you better be happy WE ARE NOT RACISTS!"

    Another point why the Turks should never ever get into the EU.

  88. Danny

    outdated business model

    Religion is nothing more than an outdated business model and, much like other businesses we've seen, its CEOs are clinging on to old ideas and suing all and sundry around them to have their way.

    In its time it was the law when there wasn't law. It was about controlling the plebs. A commentary on how to behave in social situations and the like. Not eating swine is handy health advice in hot climes before the invention of the refrigerator. Now we have 'fridges it's redundant advice. Now we have our modern-day laws. Now we have science and understand there is no god or gods. Only atoms and the universe.

    Science has demonstrated time and time again the fallacies in the various Good Books. Earth-centric universe anyone? Earth created 6kya? Total lack of mention of dinosaurs? How about the various "acts of god" demonstrating there is nobody out there or He is indifferent to human suffering. And while religious intolerance has caused more killing than anything else in human history I think the psychopaths in society will just find some other reason to kill each other.

    I've read most of his books I can see Dawkins is an astonishingly clear thinker. People are opening their eyes and seeing that the indoctrination they were subjected to as kids is just nonsense.

    Religion is dying concept. Get over it.

  89. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    @Martin Harrower +

    "If you had bothered your arse to read the book"

    Oh God, that's exactly what I usually hear from the religious types - "if you just read the Bible, Coran, Tora, Dianetics etc etc...." Which just about proves my point :-P so, no, I'm not going to eat my words...

    @Mark: "There MAY BE a God. But whatever God is, we haven't got a description that works."

    But that's just sophistry, hardly an answer to a question. The problem with these arguments is that they require faith to answer them. If I believe in God I will answer in one way, if I don't - in the opposite way.

    "Does he make creatures evolve? No." Says who? Maybe my God Bumbu-bimbu said that every creature must evolve or else (I would have told you to read the Book but I haven't written it yet, sorry)...

    I apologise for arguing about a book without having read it first (I don't do that usually. Honest.) but I think that I've got enough information about it's content from legitimate alternative sources (the man himself, on TV) to make reading it surplus to requirements. I found his (TV) arguments shallow, unoriginal and often missing the point.

  90. Bill Smith

    this could be interesting

    see a while ago some little boys and girls got very upset when a newspaper produced some cartoon images depicting their favorite invisible friends representative - now how far will The Register go in the name of free speech (by the way, if any Americans are reading this, it would be interesting to get your views re the First Amendment and those cartoons). Personally I understand the slow-witted obesssion with invisible friends but I grew out of the need for one when I was three - guess you people have some growing to do but please do me a favour and leave us normal people out of your petty uninteresting hate filled lives or, better yet, commit suicide and go see your invisible friend early!

  91. {¯`·.¸_LÅMߤ¥_¸.·´¯}

    @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Sorry Vlad, the books are far more insoghtful than his 'dumbed down' TV work. In this case you really should read his book before denouncing him. You never know, you may still feel the same way after you've read it......but I dont think you will.

    Are you ready to accept that your beliefs may be wrong?

    Didnt think so, and the same goes for any religous person.

  92. Stuart
    Paris Hilton

    UhOh methinks we got a religious nutter 'ere!!

    Eexxccuussee me but I need to write a comment here. That's right I'm a devout christian nut job and I must use this opportunity to profess my faith and soundly(?) argue that you too should join me.<humo(u)r>(brackets for the pedantic grammar twats out there who don't realiz(s)e the qualitative value conferred by the word 'COMMENT':-)

    You are still reading, right? Well then, congratulations brother/sister I and the Gman, Jman love you. I hope that wasn't too inspirational (thud..thud.. oh dear that's my parents fainting:-).

    Hey it's a bit sad really but I'm the only one who can/will fail in that statement. They have promised to love you UNCONDITIONALLY(so you should've stopped reading a long time ago as it's not required:-) for eternity and it's in the Bible.... Where? ...Oh, in a few places, I'll go out on a limb, expecting a smackdown, but love is one of the most frequent words in the Bible.

    -OK the PH angles overdue- I fail as I don't think I could fully love Paris, as she's a bit of a scrawny dim tart:-) -Aaahhh I got it in; thanks Paris, d'ya wanna do it again:-)

    Well that's enough discipleship (I would've said preaching but that's not going to stop:-). I mean, WHOAA, what was the story really about? Huh? Oh, yeah Turkey, it's admission to the EU, it's questionable prosecution system. Hey who dragged God into the raging commentary arguments? You should've known it'd stir up w**kers like me to come over all holier than thou:-) </humo(u)r>(maybe!?!?:-)

    Now seriously has anyone made the comment that maybe Turkey's EU admission may be determined a bit more by what they did to the Armenians and that lovely little isle called Cyprus that our glorious boys help maintain some Greek ownership of, eh? It has nothing to do with their humanity(?) or their opinions about some jumped up, self important scientist dude! Richard Dorkins(intentional, before you beat up on me:-) can go and have his opinions rot in hell. It's fine with me and I'm quite willing to let my body decay to nothingness if he's correct!

    It's been mentioned a bunch of times you can't conclusively prove either way and you can keep picking until you find a fault with any argument. I'm just selecting a no-lose, win-win scenario for me:-feeling the love and believing.

    I should know I'm that worst kind of zealot:- a freshly converted atheist. Besides which, conceptually it's the right way to go. I mean, don't kill, don't steal, don't lust after Paris (sorry I couldn't stop more humo(u)r just for icon relevance, dont ya know?:-). Hey, don't you know it, you're living by those laws now, I hope. Throw in a bunch of love and do goodery and you want to be/are a christian.

    OK, OK, I know about all those buggering priestly bods, religious wars, etc but please show me where any religious faith actually states:- go forth and molest some young boys!?

    You probably want to throw some Jihad extremism my way too: Ahh, well, for starters: not my religion, so nyehh, and for seconds you'll have a tough time scraping up real, sane, fanatical, Muslim clerics for this one either. It's one of their way-out, in left field, interpretations too. Oh come on, 77 virgins in heaven, for strapping a bomb to yer ass(arse).

    That's why Britain's not big on this fanaticism as we know you're not going to find one, anywhere, without buying Sharon 20 pints and then asking her:-

    "yeah, of course luv me ain't never been laid" :-)

    Okay, lets see:-

    Proffessed faith--------------check

    Tried to convert--------------check

    Confessed my sins----------we'd better ask Paris:-)

    Over and out.

    You're dear friend Stuart Sangster (d'ya know me,eh,eh? Well drop on by!)

  93. skeptical i

    prisoner, bible, primed to believe

    1. The Prisoner (Number 2) says "I am not a number, I am a free man!" (not a human being). </pedant> I thought of this when I read Mark's "not a Turk" post too.

    2. For a book which mentions love more than anything else, the Xian Bible sure do manage to stir up big bunches of hate, don't it? If Jesus truly was the prince of peace, wouldn't he be absolutely appalled at some of the acts committed in his name or under color of the religion which purports to follow his teachings?

    3. Kurt Vonnegut had a good theory about the persistence of belief in deities: humans require a long "raising up" period -- from birth to late teenagerhood (or later) we are overseen, managed, and taken care of by a parent (or relative or foster parent or somebody), and having someone "above" us and generally in control becomes part of our mindset. Thus believing in a heavenly father, god, or other guy in the sky isn't too big a leap for some to make.

  94. Peter Mellor

    Religious scientists (Re: "tolerance" is also a cultural value)

    Rick Brasche posted Wednesday 28th November 2007 21:01 GMT:

    "Funny how history shows that many people who could actually design, perform, witness and understand the experiments to show how the universe really works, Einstein for example, were *still* strong in their faith."

    There are scientists who possess a strong religious faith (for example the Rev. Polkinghorne, a distinguished professor emeritus of physics as well as an ordained Anglican minister), but Einstein was not one of them.

    Although he was brought up in the Jewish faith and knew the scriptures well, when Einstein referred to "God" (as in "God does not play dice with the universe": a criticism of the probabilistic basis of quantum mechanics) he was speaking metaphorically. We know this because he said so when asked point-blank if he believed in a God.

    His sense of wonder and awe when contemplating the universe inspired his research, and such feelings are also a source of inspiration to atheistic scientists such as Dawkins (as Dawkins himself tells us). A profound scientific insight is compatible with certain types of theistic belief (e.g., Fritjof Capra in "The Tao of Physics, to take a non-monotheistic example) but not with a crudely superstitious belief in a sky-god who helps mankind (or at least His "chosen people") with supernatural interventions.

    (OK; there are the creationists, but the depth of their scientific understanding needs to be questioned; indeed, whether they are promulgating "science" at all.)

    To get back on topic, the attitude of the Turkish state seems to be self-contradictory. Modern Turkey, as founded by Kemal Ataturk, is one of the most ferociously secular states in existence. The cited "Article 301" makes insulting *the state* illegal. It is obviously contrary to international human rights regarding freedom of speech, but has been invoked (fortunately unsuccessfully, as pointed out in the main article) in 2005 against the Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk for stating that the massacre of a million Armenians in the early 20th Century amounted to "genocide".

    That massacre, of course, occurred under the Ottoman Empire, not under Ataturk's secular state that replaced it, so the Pamuk case was also bizarre.

    It is quite reasonable of the EU to take the view that a member nation cannot have garbage like this on its statute books.

  95. John Ryan

    @ Danny Thompson

    There is no proof that there is a God. Equally, there is no proof that there isn't. What we have, as humans, is the ability to have unshakeable faith - either way.

    unfortuntely the burden of proof falls on the believers as you cannot prove something doesn't exist only wether it does, have you ever heard of the flying spaghetti monster? or the celestial teapot hypothesis? try this link -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_teapot

    the main reason most of us have a problem with religion is they insist on forcing they're belief systems on us and condem us for not believing the same claptrap they do. I was raised a catholic and went thru 10 long years of religious indoctrination but, thanks to Mr Dawkins, Mr Russell and many many others, I mamaged to shake off the belief and I've never looked back,. i believe(!) that belief can slow the mind and make you much more credulous and subervient.

    anyway I'm off tangent here, peace and love to you all...no matter what fairy tales you believe!

  96. John Ryan

    @ the science delusion

    "Who is to say that evolution was not designed, or that our understanding of the world was not already mapped out at the macro level; the dark ages and the Library of Alexandria's burning demise could point to some external influence."

    sigh here we go again, if evolution was designed they were a pretty poor designer. our eye's are wired vback to front, our hips and pelvis don;t adequately support our weight and lets face it we're full of "design" flaws.

    as for the dark age does anyone else think that could have been caused by the church supressing free thought, look what they did to the 1st few brave souls to poke their heads above the parapet. Imagine where we could be now if we hadn't lost the best part of a millenia to a dogmatic, knowledge hating, hateful religion.

    At least science, generally, admits when it's wrong, admits what it doesn't know and refines itself as time passes.

    again peace and love to you all

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