The Raving Theist

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Richard Dawkins on South Park

November 3, 2006 | 19 Comments

The whole episode, on YouTube [caution: graphic cartoon violence, sex and obscenity].

Here Dawkins converts Miss Garrison:

Richard Dawkins: You have so much spunk, so much life . . . if only you were an atheist!
Miss Garrison: Well, well, you know, I . . . I’m open to stuff.
RD: Why has someone so outspoken as you given themselves over to the whole God thing?
MG: Oh, oh I’m not totally into the whole God thing . . . I . . . I just think you can’t disprove God.
RD: Well, what if I told you there was a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Would you believe it simply because it can’t be disproven?
MG: You’re right! It’s so simple! God is a Spaghetti Monster! Oh, thank you, geez . . . my eyes are open! [Standing up in middle of room]: Hey, everyone . . . I’m an atheist!
RD: Really?! Oh, that’s wonderful!
MG: No, I totally get it now! Evolution explains everything! There’s no great mystery to life, just evolution! And God’s a Spaghetti Monster! Thank you, Richard!
RD: You’re so welcome!

Dawkins expresses second thoughts about aggressive atheism after Garrison disciplines a student for expressing belief, but quickly comes around after fantasizing about a godless utopia. That, however, is later depicted as a bloody war (in the year 2546) between the Unified Atheist League, the United Atheist Alliance and the Allied Atheist Allegiance – apparently over which group is true heir to Dawkins’ legacy. It’s hard to tell where the South Park creators stand on religion vs atheism, as both are harshly mocked, but I assume they’re trying to make some mushy agnostic point about fundamentalism vs moderation.

Comments

19 Responses to “Richard Dawkins on South Park”

  1. Jody Tresidder
    November 3rd, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

    My comment just got sucked into pending hell – trying again.

    RA seems to have revealed himself as a Raving Theist at Dawn Eden’s http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html

    Check the credits for Dawn’s “Dylan” youtube!

  2. Jody Tresidder
    November 3rd, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

    Err, Everyone?

    I think RA has just outed himself over at Dawn’s?
    I’ll stick this again in the comments of RA’s latest post….RA seems to have revealed himself as a Raving Theist at Dawn Eden’s http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html

    Check the credits for Dawn’s “Dylan” youtube!

  3. Rich
    November 3rd, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

    SP can’t be expected to go easy on anyone. I think what Trey and Matt were saying is that there may be more to faith than Dawkins’ oft-repeated, simplified comparisons to “fairies at the bottom of the garden” or the FSM. Mrs. Garrison’s fervent “duncing” of Stan was also probably meant to parody people who beligerantly make fun of anyone with any amount of faith in God. This may be an indictment of Dawkins’ very recent and very public mocking of religious notions.

    I think they were pretty weak points myself, but the SP guys paint with a fairly broad brush, and definitely don’t like to dabble in details. The only part of the episode that really made me think (and laugh) was the “atheist future” where petty religious battles are replaced with with petty atheist ones. (People exclaimed “Science Damn it!” or “Oh my Science!”) This, I thought was pretty a spot-on observation on the human tendency to turn anything into an excuse to bash a person’s head in.

  4. Paul
    November 3rd, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

    Is this episode on iTunes? What is its title?

  5. MC5
    November 4th, 2006 @ 12:12 am

    The youtube has been removed (copyright).

    Here is a clip from the episode: http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/11/evolution_on_so.html

    Yeah I think you’re right Jody. After having to sit through that horrible Dylan remake (he’d be spinning in his grave if he was dead) it does appear that the disappearing “a” is a signal to readers of Dawn’s blog that he is now on their “side” – which is disappointing but at least it puts us out of our pain (and what pain).

    All I need now is the conversion story. I think it is only fair, RA, that we get to hear the internalization of your new belief system.

  6. Dude
    November 4th, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    Man, MC5, you’re one bitter, bitter atheist.

    I prefer to be a friendly one.

  7. Cthulance
    November 4th, 2006 @ 11:29 pm

    To Dude:

    How do you deduce from what he wrote that MC5 is bitter? All he did was express disappointment and an interest in hearing RA’s conversion story.

    Is every atheist bitter who expresses disappointment or interest in hearing about someone’s conversion? Is it bitter to respond to The Raving Atheist’s recent posts with anything other than unquestioning and devoted cheerleader enthusiasm?

    Honestly, I want to know, because I can’t see anything bitter in MC5’s comment–and even if it were bitter, what would be wrong with that? Is it wrong to feel bitter at seeing a theist posting under the name of a Raving Atheist? Is it wrong to feel bitter upon experiencing deception and subterfuge?

  8. MC5
    November 5th, 2006 @ 6:14 am

    Thanks Cthulance, I’m not sure where Dude got the bitter vibes from.

    I made a joke about the Dylan take off and insinuated that this blog was more entertaining when it was written by a raving atheist rather than a guarded agnostic/theist.

    But I am in no way bitter at RA or his apparent conversion. Just sad that a great blog as morphed into an average one. And interested in how such an intelligent, coherent advocate for non-belief could find god.

  9. Dude
    November 5th, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    Cthulance,

    Thank you for your comment. I found MC5 to be bitter for two reasons. One, the description of the video as horrible. On what grounds do you find it horrible? He makes no valid aesthetic point, just the quick snarky comment, and then goes on to Dylan rolling around in his grave. Atheists are people who value logic very much, I myself being amongst them. I find no logic here, just bold proclamations made easy by the anonymity and accessibility of the internet.

    Second, this whole thing about RA being on anyone’s ‘side’. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, my evaluation of the atheist/theist divide is that there is alot more common ground than is known. The arguments are quite similar for both positions, contain numerous ambiguities, numerous deficiencies, and have been argued with more or less precision by different parties for a long time now. I am not very friendly towards anyone who chooses to write someone off as being on another’s ‘side’ now that they believe differently. Such intolerance I’d expect out of theists… not here.

    Finally, your comment about RA’s posting under his current handle. I’ll say this much: while I do think it would be more honest of him to change his site’s name if he’s changed his views, the fact that these things remain (the ‘basic assumptions’ are still there) makes me wonder if he’s not really converted after all. Perhaps he’s in the ‘tug’ stage where he’s seeing the efficacy and veracity of both sides and is struggling with it. I don’t know the man, so I can’t say for sure. But, if you want to keep him on your side, I suggest you let him do as he pleases. At least then, if he converts, his last experience with Atheists/atheism will be a positive one… and that will leave the door open just enough to reclaim him later.

  10. Some Guy
    November 5th, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

    Atheist storm agnostic stronghold.

  11. Michael Bains
    November 6th, 2006 @ 5:49 am

    Perhaps he’s in the ‘tug’ stage where he’s seeing the efficacy and veracity of both sides and is struggling with it.

    Veracity? Of Christianity???

    LMAO!!! Otherwise, coolish commentin’, though you seem to have missed reading MC5’s last reply.

    Personally, I’m thinkin’ TRA is quittin’ drinkin’, and Dawn’s helpin’ him. That is Obviously and Totally a nearly completely ignorant take on the topic and is only proferred because, as we’ve all noted at one time or another, The Raving Atheist used to be one hilarious, and sometimes brilliant, blog about the IDiocy of organized religion.

    la Chaim and namas te, RA. I’m disappointed in the direction the site has turned, but still feel great affection for ya as finding it helped me launch my own, oh these many months ago.

  12. Dude
    November 6th, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

    Michael,

    It’s good that you show your biases quickly.

    I never ever mentioned Christianity. Not once. But since you bring it up, why not get on the subject. As much as I have dismissed it from my own life, I cannot dismiss all of it. It’s impossible to dismiss all of it, Michael. If it was possible, it wouldn’t be around anymore. Frankly, it’s hard to keep an open mind about something I find so false, but I subsequently find if I don’t keep the door open at least a little, then what I’ve done is stop thinking, stop logically parsing things out, stopped looking at every distinction possible. I refuse to consider only prima facie arguments that look like knockout punches, no matter the side they come from. If you do not do the same, that is fine, but you’ll receive no sympathy from me. I’ll never say I’m smart enough to dismiss something entirely. If I’d done that earlier in life, I wouldn’t be an atheist now.

  13. Michael Bains
    November 6th, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

    Me neither in regard to anything you said Dude. RA considering the veracity of Dawn’s beliefs would mean a christian “side” is being considered. Did you not know this?

    If it was possible, it wouldn’t be around anymore.

    Do you mean If it was not possible? Either way, you appear to be attempting a show of equanimity by attacking others’ imperfections whilst ignoring their well made points. I’ve yet to see that approach work, regardless of the subject matter.

    If you wanna be snarky, then go for it. Especially on what this site used to be, that’s a perfectly legitimate tack to take. Based on your display of obtuseness, you seem a bit thin-skinned for that route though.

    But if you’re gonna wear the “open-minded” hat, try wearing the whole suit, as it were. Hear everything, and reserve your comments for things you are sure about it, or for which you’re seeking to know more. Ignorance is not a crime, but neither is it an excuse for rudeness or itself.

    Good luck. (A commodity most easily found when made by oneself, btw.)

  14. MC5
    November 7th, 2006 @ 12:31 am

    Dude said:

    “I found MC5 to be bitter for two reasons. One, the description of the video as horrible. On what grounds do you find it horrible? He makes no valid aesthetic point, just the quick snarky comment, and then goes on to Dylan rolling around in his grave. Atheists are people who value logic very much, I myself being amongst them. I find no logic here, just bold proclamations made easy by the anonymity and accessibility of the internet.”

    The reason I don’t like the video is that Dawn has ‘reinterpreted’ a song I like, in much the same way as someone may reinterpret the Mona Lisa by giving her a mustache. The reason I didn’t bother mentioning this first time around is that, besides the fact I was trying to comment in a brief manner, my opinion on the video is necessarily, partially subjective, as we are talking about art here. This is not an area, as you allude, that logic is paramount. I have reasons for disliking the video but they are not the same as the logical reasons I have for holding that 2+2=4.

    Dude said:

    “Second, this whole thing about RA being on anyone’s ‘side’. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, my evaluation of the atheist/theist divide is that there is alot more common ground than is known. The arguments are quite similar for both positions, contain numerous ambiguities, numerous deficiencies, and have been argued with more or less precision by different parties for a long time now. I am not very friendly towards anyone who chooses to write someone off as being on another’s ‘side’ now that they believe differently. Such intolerance I’d expect out of theists… not here.”

    I used the quotation marks on ‘side’ for a reason. It was a short hand for RA’s apparent conversion to Christianity. In no way did I insinuate intolerance of theists. Most of my family and many of my friends are theists.

  15. Daniel
    November 10th, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    I am new here and only found this site because I thought the thrashing of Richard Dawkins on South Park was hilarious. I did not realize he was the author of the recent book, The God Delusion. I’m in support of evangelicals and other biblical literalists (come on!), but I have a very deep faith in a higher power. Now, before anyone goes off flaming about how can I believe such crap, let me explain a bit about what I actually do believe.

    I believe the universe was created by a being who most people refer to as God. I believe in everything science has discovered about the age of the known Universe being close to 14 billion years. (What’s a few billion years if you are God?) I believe in evolution. I believe in the spiritual (metaphysical) reality which transcends this physical reality. I believe that God is so far advanced from us that it is hard to understand God’s nature.

    Many of the arguments against belief in God rest on a few key obsolete hold-over beliefs which most of the more intelligent theists do not believe. Let’s look at a few:

    1 – God is pulling the levers on each event in life – I believe God set it all in motion and gave us the ability to complete the process by our free choices and in exercising such freedom we can define ourselves and in as much as we are God’s creation we are defining a part of God. I do not believe God orchestrates each event. We are the randomness of the universe. Without living beings all would be completely predictable. With sentient beings the universe is much more interesting.

    2 – If there were a Creator why would we have the bad side of life? – This all comes down to relativity. Without a relative position we can not define a thing. Without bad, there is no good. God allowed for relativity so we would have the ability to discern and choose and define ourselves. If we could not choose certain things then we are not truly free and our choices are not ours.

    3 – Why would God allow good people to suffer? – From God’s perspective our problems are small. This annoys people with big egos, but it’s the only realistic point of view. In the truly big picture, our sufferings are small and short-lived. Just as a kind and loving parent will watch a child running around with the realization that the child could fall and get hurt. That parent understands the difference between fatal danger and scratched up knees. Scratches will heal. Our world seems so real to us, but God knows that even the physical death of one lifetime is just a small learning experience in the long journey of each soul as it defines itself and finds its own unique path back to the creator.

    4 – God does not answer prayers! – Even if this were true, that does not disprove God’s existence. I believe that the universe is structured such that it answers all hopes and prayers without judgment. Then why don’t my wishes get granted, you say? Well, perhaps we just don’t fully understand how they are truly granted. There are many people who believe that their wishes are always granted and they seem to be right. If so, perhaps we just do not understand the creative principles fully enough to create consistently. In addition, I believe that our experiences are created by the interplay between our hopes and wishes. We get what we want at deeper levels, but the day-to-day events reflect a much more complex interaction. I didn’t want my mother to die, but she was done living. Who’s wish is more relevant? You have to look for the really big picture.

    5 – There is no proof. If God existed there would be proof. – First, lack of proof is not a disproof. Second, there is plenty of proof that there is more to existence than we can easily explain. There are documented cases that provide strong (though never irrefutable) proof of reincarnation. There are plenty of cases of inspired writings which are not likely to be the random imaginings of a creative writer alone. What is the source of these writings?

    6 – Belief in God, faith, is useless. What purpose does it serve? – A very wise person once said something like “The problem with this world is not a lack of faith. Rather people have too much faith in what is not possible.” You would think that by this point in our evolution that we would realize that nothing is impossible given enough time, energy, and creative focus. If we puny physical beings can harness physical laws to create the wonders of our modern civilization, who is to say that there are not many many very much more advanced things in the universe? Why not believe in God?

    7 – Trusting in God to help us is disempowering. Personally, I find it incredibly empowering. My trust in God does not mean that I wait for God to do things for me. It means God is there to help me do whatever I wish to attempt. That’s power!

    8 – The bible is a self-contradictory mish-mash. Yes, it is. That does not mean it is useless. It was training wheels for a young civilization created by divinely inspired people who still had their issues and who were trying to be acceptable to the politics of the time. We are slowly learning. The bible and all the books of faith are reinterpreted and certain things that no longer serve us are left out. We focus more on the pieces that are most useful. That’s intelligent.

    9 – Evolution is real. It’s not a theory. – I agree, but that does not mean God did not create the universe and all the physical laws. The story of creation is just that, a story. It’s a story to help us have some understanding. Now that we are more knowledgable we can understand the Big Bang. That does not prove there is no God. Who or what caused the big bang?

    I could go on. I’m sure some of you will have some good insightful questions. I’ll be happy to answer them.

  16. Godthorn
    November 11th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

    Yes, Daniel, everything is relative–or virtually everything. But your minimizing of suffering in your section 3 is appallingly naive, and the infinite value you ascribe to that mysterious bloodless “soul” is the ultimate insult to humanity. “Our sufferings are small and short-lived”? For the child gnawed by hunger all his life, or ravished from birth by a terminal disease, the suffering is life-long, not “short-lived.” The anguish of that child’s parents is not “small” by any rational standard. Your fantasy of some infinite reality that in its supposed absoluteness reduces the meaning and value of all mundane experience to zero is the height of irrationality. “God,” if he were, would be sufficient to himself. Is that not glaringly obvious? That Illusion does not require your concern, your worship, even the slightest nod of your awareness. Your attention to “God” is a measure of your humanitarian deficiency. You should endeavor to rectify that defect.

    To echo your concluding comment, I could go on. But to what purpose? I am merely wasting time. I am trying to teach pointilist art to the colorblind. I may be even more a fool than you!

  17. rezda
    November 13th, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

    god is real and ur all going to hell

  18. C. L. Hanson
    November 14th, 2006 @ 2:38 am

    Just because they’re making critical jokes about the new atheism doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to make some mushy agnostic point about fundamentalism vs moderation. It’s South Park — everyone is up for grabs. I’ll bet they’ll eventually do a joke mocking mushy agnostics at some point if they haven’t already. ;-)

    I don’t think it would be their style to champion one perspective. Even their episode on Mormons — which was hilarious and right on the money — presented some weirdly positive images of Mormonism (while shredding the theology of it).

  19. Goon
    November 25th, 2006 @ 9:48 pm

    “It’s South Park — everyone is up for grabs”

    Matt and Trey pick on what they dont like. To say they pick on everyone equally is just a flat out lie.

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