“I’m interested in the cases where religion actually moves people to do horrible things … although they themselves might not be horrible people, they might be actually very righteous people,” Dawkins said. “They believe they’re doing right.”
That’s when he launched into an example surrounding the September 11 attacks to illustrate his point.
“I think the 9/11 hijackers all sincerely believed that they were doing the right and proper moral, religious thing,” he continued. “They were not in themselves evil. They were following their faith — and faith is pernicious because it can do that to people. It can do that to otherwise decent people.”
Richard Dawkins is a scientist with an analytical mind and the question of how religious faith can drive people to do both incredibly selfless and incredibly terrible things is of course fascinating.
So how could anybody take issue with his attempt to understand how religion both inspires and condemns people to act in certain ways?
Well if you are Nancy French that question is easily answered, you're an idiot who views the world through the eyes of a child.
Here was French getting her granny panties in a twist over Dawkins' remarks:
Regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof, it’s absolutely ludicrous to say that men who chose to train for years with the sole aim to kill as many people as possible are somehow not evil. I would say their actions are the very definition of evil.
It is an incredibly dangerous thing to downplay the motives of the hijackers or try to normalize them. They were not normal men. They were radicalized jihadists. And, yes, their actions were evil. If their actions are not evil, then one cannot even fathom something that would actually be evil.
This is the problem with radical atheists like Richard Dawkins. Their agenda is to attack people of all faiths. And Dawkins has to fit even something as obviously evil as the terrorist attacks on 9/11 into his own radical agenda.
So the radical atheist ends up defending the radical jihadists, because according to his crazy ideas, they aren’t evil – they were just brainwashed.
There's more but I think this gives you the gist of French's argument, which is "I see the world as simply a struggled between the magical forces of good and evil, and if somebody challenges my childish concept of evil it undermines my entire world view. So just stop it, stop it now!"
And this speaks to the real problem with seeing the world through a primitive superstitious prism.
The same fundamentalism which inspires a person to murder and destroy in the name of their god, even at the cost of their own life, is the same sort of fundamentalism that makes it impossible for a person to see the complexities of human emotion beyond the simple unsophisticated characterizations of "good" and "evil."
The truest statement in this ridiculous rant is the following:
"If their actions are not evil, then one cannot even fathom something that would actually be evil."
And the reason for that is because while there are terrible things occurring in the world everyday, simply labeling them as "evil" demonstrates a lazy intellect that does not want to get to the real questions as to why they actually happen.
One of the first things you learn while working in the mental health field is that simple labels are rarely appropriate, and that people's actions and behaviors are often driven by complex biological, developmental, and social issues that are not apparent at fist glance.
Richard Dawkins is a man who is fascinated with learning the truth. Ipso facto he became a scientist.
Nancy French is a person who is defined by a deep faith in a primitive superstition who views the world in stark shades of black and white. Therefore she is a hack writer, attacking her intellectual superiors, while hiding behind the facade of others, in return for money grifted from idiots who fail to recognize that they have been taken advantage of by a con artist.
There is no comparison between the two.
P.S. By the way if you think the above interview upset Brancy, just wait until she gets a load of this one:
During the exchange, Dawkins was asked if he thought religious people were “mentally ill.”
“It’s hard to use the word ‘mentally ill’ when there are so many of them,” the Briton responded. “If they believed what they did and they were the only one they would undoubtedly be called mentally ill.”
Oh yeah, that is going to drive her, and her fundie buddies, right over the freaking bend.