The Unbelievers – A Short Review

Late last night I finally got around to watching the Dawkins and Krauss film “The Unbelievers” on Netflix. For those who have not seen, it follows both Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they go on a world “tour”, taking on religious figureheads and visiting fans (including 2 reason rallies) along the way.

One thing is clear. . . . I wish that I had seen this film BEFORE I hit rocky terrain in terms of my atheist stance, and of how the movement was behaving. Had I viewed this film previous to that, I may have enjoyed it more. But as it would seem, it just became further “proof” of what is wrong (to me) about the Nu-Atheism movement.


Though the meme above is likely meant as a mockery to the unreasoned intellectuals of various members of theism, it is quite fitting for this film.

Science, science, science. We must not trust theism, but we must trust what we learn in science. Not that I necessarily DISAGREE persay. But it goes deeper then that.
I will delve deeper later.

Beating the “Science” drum was one problem of this film. But the other big problem, was the lack of GOOD QUALITY debate between worthy candidates. I mean, 2 people who are of (more or less) the same intellect, but residing on far differing conclusions on the given topic.
I understand that having a high intellect an being devoutly (or
strongly) theistic may seem oxymoronic to many, but I am sure SOMEONE exists, who would also love to take on a secularist heavyweight.

But as usual, the best “debates” we seen were Dawkins vs some Catholic Arch Bishop and Krauss vs a group of Muslims. Possibly entertaining in my previous “Atheist” days. But not so much anymore.
A debate is not REALLY a debate, if it could be taken on by a 10 year old with a proper educational background.

Speaking of a lack of debate, this was a path actively CHOSEN early in the film by Dawkins, citing the problems with a BBC debate with the arch bishop of Canterbury (the moderator was a bit of a pain in the ass in trying to engage all participants. AND because he was a philosopher and had to “clarify” things. Gotta get that swat at philosophy in!).

And as such, the rest of the scenes (for the most part) showed conversations between Dawkins and Krauss in front of an audience of fans. Or they were shown speaking to an audience of fans (at the reason rallies, one in Australia and the other in DC).

All in all, I understand the need for what both these men are trying to accomplish. I have known for the past decade (along with the rest of my secularist peers) how much of a dark cloud that religion is on our species. If we are not careful, these delusions may make “something into nothing” (to quote Krauss’s speech at the reason rally in DC).

But my first wish is that the esoteric debates of the nu-atheist movement would become, more even levelled. People like Ken Ham, Sye ten Bruggencate and others are nothing more then idiots. When you put up someone with the intellect of Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss (etc) against one with no evidence, OF COURSE they will “WIN”. A monkey could win a Ken Ham debate with the right training (oh how I would LAUGH!).
That is not just a pointless debate, but also a slap in the face to the “question everything” attitude that these people are supposed to be promoting. The importance of questioning everything was even mentioned early in the film by Krauss to his muslim audience. Only to go on and have either a debate with willful morons, or further preaching to the choir. This attitude permeates the new atheist movement.

The next problem I have with this film is how it treats science as if it is an unquestionably positive force that should be a replacement to theism. I should stop myself here, and say that science should NOT be a replacement for theism (to clarify). Science can not be a “replacement” for theism, because it is not a belief set. Science is a tool (or a set of tools, depending how you look at it). Though the tools of science, one may find the need for a universe ordering deity removed. But one can not “replace” the deity (or theism) with science, nor should they really replace it with anything.

The thing that seems to fly over most heads is that as a tool (as with any other tool), science is impartial to ethics and morality. It can be used for good, and it can be used for malice. Another thing that science does not come with is precautions.

The world that we live in today, is the product of scientific endeavour and invention.
Even though that sentence is positive in the brains of most people, that is but a part of the picture. Remember that climate change, nuclear dead zones, man made petroleum disasters and any number of other problems of the modern era, are on the heels of past scientific breakthrough.

This is my biggest problem with many of the big names in the secular/science world. They piss on the tenants of philosophy as though they are useless dribble in the face of the empirical data of science (even though science is but a subset of philosophy, known as the philosophy of science). And yet, this casting aside of the knowledge and wisdom of past philosophers warnings, is apparent in todays world.

Dawkins speaks of the remarkable ability of the human brain to be able to not just come up with all of the technology that we see today, but to also for tell (foresee) future problems. Keep in mind that this is based on his speech about taking back intelligent design (its not a word for word quote).
But you can tell that he either misses (or is willfully ignorant to!) why the oceans are filled with plastic, the atmosphere is filling with carbon, the gulf of Mexico is sick, some nuclear power facilities (even in the most technologically advanced of nations!) are polluting the environment, along with any number of other examples one could use.

All in all, the goal of religious irradication (or at least unseating its domination) is a worthy one. But in doing so, we must not fall into the same trap as the theists we are attempting to educate.

Secularists of the world. . . . You have to be willing to question your conclusions to. Life education is ongoing. Jumping to atheism then leaving it at that is like exiting high school and never taking in ANY further knowledge again.

Life, like the vast library of human knowledge, is ever growing and changing. The secular movement will NEVER get any further then eliminating prayer out of schools, unless this attitude changes.



This entry was posted in Atheism Criticisms, Opinion, Religion & Atheism. Bookmark the permalink.

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