Rex Murphy writes the worst anti-atheist column ever

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If I tried to refute every atheist-bashing column or op-ed in the popular press, I’d never get anything done. And it would be tedious, for most of them say the same thing, or use the same tropes. I’m singling out one today, however, because the author is well known and his piece is ineffably stupid.


I have to admit that my knowledge of our Friendly Neighbors to the North is pretty much on a par with that of other Yanks: i.e., very little. So when a reader called my attention to a vicious and ignorant column by one Rex Murphy, I didn’t know who the man was. Wikipedia has now enlightened me, and I see that he’s a widely published Canadian columnist and broadcaster with some outré views:

He is a vocal in his denial of climate change and proposed policy responses for it, such as the Green Shift. On September 29, 2011, Murphy hosted “Climate Change 101″ at the University of Calgary. The event was sponsored by W. Brett Wilson, a Canadian entrepreneur and a former employee of Imperial Oil.

But of course that’s irrelevant to his latest column, “The angry atheist“, published three days ago in The National Post.  It is a vicious diatribe about a fracas in the U.S. about nonbelievers wanting “humanist chaplains” in the military. (Many religious denominations have their own chaplains.) This week the U. S. House of Representatives passed a bill preventing the appointment of humanist chaplains in the military. That seems unfair, because although “chaplain” has the connotation of “religion”, there are nonreligious humanist chaplains (Harvard has one); because unbelievers can get counseling for such people if they need it, just as believers do from religious chaplains; and because if Christians can turn to a like-minded person for solace, why not atheists?  It also seems to me like a violation of the First Amendment.

Written By: Jerry Coyne
continue to source article at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com

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  1. Off subject, but I wanted to comment on this global warming nonsense. It’s pure confidence that we break our heat record year after year. Not to mention, the 55 plus years I’ve been in existence, IT’S GETTING HOTTER THAN FU*K!!!…..On subject, Luckily I don’t know this goofy looking mouthpiece.

  2. Anger seems a common condition among this kind [those who engage in "anti-God apologetics"].

    Those theist blinkers sure project the confused anger of the delusion threatened by reason and evidence!

    Hitchens’ grim, self-advertising equal, Richard Dawkins, is a very bundle of anger and aggressiveness. Dawkins can be quite the toad, a kind of Don Rickles for unbelievers.

    Really! Has this clown read any of their work and seen interviews, or does he just look at strawman and ad-hom fiction made up by other fundie clowns.

    He appears not so much as a person who subscribes to a particular philosophy or worldview as someone who cannot abide the thought that others do not wish to think the same as he.

    So is the author too illiterate to read published material, or is he too lacking in intellect to recognise it when it is presented?

    There’s something almost fanatic about the intensity with which he derides and insults Christians and other faiths (but, it seems to me, mostly Christians).

    A prime example of Psychological projection .

    Such “professional” atheists also display an unseemly infatuation with being regarded as victims.

    Ha! ha! ha! Definitely psychological projection.

    When they are not being superior and angry, their more frequent pose, they are whining that their non-beliefs do not receive the respect or standing of their opposites.

    Ha! ha! ha! Definitely psychological projection! – Science is not a non-belief!

    that their non-beliefs do not receive the respect or standing of their opposites.

    This egotistical muppet is so deluded, that he thinks university professors are given less respect from the educated public, than hack-journalists who make up emotive drivel based on their personal ignorance and obvious absence of research skills!!!

    do not receive the respect or standing of their opposites.

    The opposite of “scientist” is “irrational ignoramus”!

    • In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

      Anger seems a common condition among this kind [those who engage in "anti-God apologetics"].

      Those theist blinkers sure project the confused anger of the delusion threatened by reason and evidence!

      Hitchens’ grim, self-advertising equal, Richard Dawkins, is a very bundle of anger and aggressivenes…

      Speaking only for myself, there’s a reason for my militant-ism or ‘anger’, I was beat to death with that stupidity when I was a kid and became quite cynical about it. If you want to believe in fairy tales, if it helps you get through life using a brainwashing crutch, by all means, go for it. Not me, not ever. I prefer the real world regardless of how ugly it is. At least it’s ‘REAL’.

        • In reply to #7 by bluebird:

          In reply to #5 by fishhead:

          I prefer the real world regardless of how ugly it is

          Monty Python classic

          I didn’t realize I was quoting Monty Python when I said that. Kinda makes me proud!!! In america, I watched them on PBS, of all things, back in the day. I kinda thought it odd being on an educational channel, but now the truth comes out.

  3. looks a bit mean

    A bit mean? Looks like a mugshot for an animal cruelty case, via ‘Animal Cops’.

    It’s time for Rex to get out of the game

    Bubba shot the jukebox last night – put that Colt 45 on the table, son…

    • In reply to #6 by Neodarwinian:

      ” Dawkins can be quite the toad, a kind of Don Rickles for unbelievers. “

      Read that far. Obviously this twit has never caught the Rickles act!

      I like Don Rickles. His sarcasm is funny, when it’s not annoying. But it takes the world’s biggest DUMBASS to compare him to Sir Richard in any way, shape, or form. Sorry, MODS for that personal attack!

  4. Neo- I plowed on a bit farther but aside from just being wrong the guy’s problem is that he is not being wrong in even a remotely interesting way. If he has throngs who hang on his every tedious word, I might just switch sides because there is clearly a fortune to made in the confirmation bias biz.

    • In reply to #8 by rjohn19:

      There are no “throngs” but he is certainly a respected political commentator who’s crazy religious ideas hardly every come out – like a funny Frank Skinner or a serious Evan Solomon. Thankfully we are not as daft as Jerry’s countrymen and the crazy is hardly ever on display.

      Neo- I plowed on a bit farther but aside from just being wrong the guy’s problem is that he is not being wrong in even a remotely interesting way. If he has throngs who hang on his every tedious word, I might just switch sides because there is clearly a fortune to made in the confirmation bias biz.

  5. I truly could not care less about what this absolute hack has to say about paper bags let alone him on his high horse pontificating about topics that he clearly does not have any interest in getting educated about. All it is is attacks and hate.

    Fuck him. I could write the same tripe with my target as the pope and at least make valid points that even the faithful have to acquiesce to. Scandal and lies and cover up and rape and hate and and and and … At least I could substantiate my venom with some modicum of reality based criticism.

  6. I’m sorry….THIS guy is calling Hitch and Richard angry??? Ok.

    One of the chaplains at the hospital approached me (after hearing I was an atheist) and asked me “wouldn’t you want someone to talk to if you were in the hospital dying?” I told him, “of course, I would much appreciate someone holding my hand, sitting with me if I was coherent and aware I was dying.” He appeared to take that as an aha until I told him, “but if they brought up religion, I’d use my last dying breath if I had to, to tell them to get the hell out. I’d rather die alone than get preached to in my final hours.” To his credit, he seemed to get it.

  7. I know journalists have to write something for a living, but why do some of them have to write such nonsense? In Murphy’s case it seems that belief in God, the necessity for armed forces, and the necessity for religious chaplains are mandatory. Why?

    From my POV the armed forces are only there to protect the interests of the capitalists.

  8. I wrote the CBC ombudsman complaining about Rex Murphy’s fraud on a phone in show Cross Country Checkup supposedly to discuss the relative merits of ebooks vs paper books. He posed as an expert on ebooks, and trashed them. Yet over and over he betrayed the fact he had never used one. He thought they needed to be plugged in. He thought they scrolled the text at you at fixed speed like a times square display. He thought they are heavier than paper books. He thought you could not read them in the bus. He was unaware of any of their advantages. I am willing to forgive him lack of preparation, but not lying about it.

    I asked the CBC why they did not have any guest panelists on who had actually used ebooks. They said it would appear biased, as if there were trying to sell a particular brand of eBook reader. I suggested to them all the ebook manufacturers would have grounds for a lawsuit with all the dishonest trashing Rex did of their products.

    Most of the callers had never used an eBook, and were absolutely convinced they would not like them. I find that attitude irritating, but at least the callers did not pretend they have tried an eBook the way Rex did. They have so many misconceptions, e.g. that eBooks have screens similar to computer screens, that you cannot mark your place… and they convince themselves to to even look. That reminds me of the bishop’s and Gallileo’s telescopes. It is religious attitude, that there is no need to check your assumptions and its it your duty to spread your ignorance far and wide.

  9. I never heard of Rex Murphy before this morning. I can take from his article that he is a science illiterate and has a somewhat ignorant “get off my lawn” attitude. He is so incredibly out of touch with reality, that I must wonder how he got his position at the National Post. He simply continues the time-honoured religious tradition of obfuscation, delusional prosecution and personal attacks to avoid the real issue. If he is not a “bloated, hateful bible believing frankenstein” then he does a good impression of one.

    @ Mr. Murphy, education is the foundation upon which humanity builds it’s future. Only an inquisitive and free mind is open to new perspectives and possibilities, only an inquisitive mind can go deep into the unknown, and emerge with the truth. Don’t be afraid to embark on this journey of self discovery Mr. Murphy. You are not “retiring” from the world, only from a way of life that controlled you for so many years. The unknown is the cause of fear, fear drives people to act irrationally, ignorant and are easy to manipulate. A human being who is afraid of the unknown, who has not self discovered and educated himself, who as not freed himself from the mental restrictions of religion and the notion of God is more likely to surround himself with like-minded people who share his fear and beliefs, thus creating a vacuum of ignorance and denial towards reality and your fellow human beings who do not share your fears. Don’t just follow the path of others because it is the path of least resistance. Follow the path of evidence, science and knowledge, for it is the one true path that will make you happy!

  10. Rex is a toadying mouthpiece for Steven Harper, the conservative, global warming denier Prime Minister. Harper fired most of Canada’s environmental sciences and insisted the text of any speech given by a government scientist be first censored by his office.

    A decade ago, Rex was a quite reasonable person. I don’t know what got into him. It may just be the budget cuts at the CBC and he has been toadying like mad to keep his job. Some say he is angling for a cushy retirement as an appointed senator.

    • In reply to #20 by Roedy:

      Rex is a toadying mouthpiece for Steven Harper, the conservative, global warming denier Prime Minister. Harper fired most of Canada’s environmental sciences and insisted the text of any speech given by a government scientist be first censored by his office.

      A decade ago, Rex was a quite reasonable…

      I used to listen to him – not anymore. Just another hack for the ruling political party, a mouthpiece of ex repute, now one of ill repute.
      Well turned phrases hiding his ignorance.

  11. He’ll burn in hell for lying so shamelessly about Hitchens and Dawkins.I have watched many of their debates and they were courteous and patient with the nutcases who were hellbent on insulting and aggravating them.

  12. Why do contributors to these threads stoop to an Argumentum Ad Hominem so often and easily?

    It weakens the point that they’re trying to make and smacks of lack of confidence; no, worse, Facebook!

    What someone happens to look like in a given photo is totally irrelevant.

    I’ve had far worse pictures than that taken of me!

    Mr Murphy’s argument is weakened by his personal attacks on Dawkins and Hitchens and he’s out of his depth anyway, whereas Eric MacDonald sticks to the subject and is on the buttom; that’s the beginning middle and end of it.

  13. “Why should those who don’t believe at all clamour for the same structures, assists and services of those who in fact do believe? Funny, you never hear them wishing for their own Hell.”

    I was tempted to just stop reading there as that’s the point where he clearly demonstrates he’s missed the point entirely. I’ll spell it out for you Mr Murphy – what we want is a) to stop being marginalised and denied things because we don’t share your beliefs and b) to stop having OUR lives dictated to according to YOUR beliefs.

  14. This isn’t the first anti-atheist piece Murphy has written. The last one was basically a “move the goal posts” argument where it came down to his assertion that only simpletons follow the god atheists attack and that his god is much more refined and special than the Christian god in books. Completely unable to grasp the evidence qualifier atheists tend to look for, he fails hard. He’s known for being a grumpy bastard, which makes this new argument all the more funny.

  15. The matter is so simple. One of the services the army provides is chaplains. Their function is to salve consciences of soldiers doing things that violate their moral codes. The purpose is to keep the soldiers killing efficiently. I personally consider the chaplain profession considerably below pimping child prostitutes.

    Rex is saying that atheist soldiers don’t deserve this service. They are unworthy because they do not share Rex’s religious beliefs.
    Get stuffed Rex. Your beliefs are even more whacko than most. Freedom of religion means you get treated equally no matter what religion or no religion you subscribe to.

  16. As a stereotypically inoffensive Canuck, I’m embarrassed by Rex Murphy, and I apologise on behalf of rational Canadians for the ignorant drivel spewed out by this deluded hoser. We’re mostly better than this jerk, really …. well, apart from our Prime Minister, and some other nutty, hypocritical faith-heads. Rex should just take off, eh…. 8-(

    • In reply to #32 by CdnMacAtheist:

      As a stereotypically inoffensive Canuck, I’m embarrassed by Rex Murphy, and I apologise on behalf of rational Canadians for the ignorant drivel spewed out by this deluded hoser. We’re mostly better than this jerk, really …. well, apart from our Prime Minister, and some other nutty, hypocritical f…

      Couldn’t have said it better myself :)

  17. A couple stupid questions I hope someone will be kind enough to answer:

    What is the difference between humanist chaplaincy and good counseling from an officer or counselor?

    Because chaplaincy as it stands also requires observance, management, and maintenance of religious services, what would a humanist chaplain’s duties be if not doing those things?

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