Talk:The Trouble with Atheism

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A few sources[edit]

I found a number of TV guide entries by searching the digital databases of my local library, these are at least third party opinions and might be of some value:

  • The Times, December 19
  • The Times, December 18
  • Sunday times, December 17: If you think religion is unscientific baloney that causes wars, do not assume atheism is any more peace-loving: non-believers such as Hitler and Stalin killed millions. That, more or less, is the thesis of the Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle in this documentary, but it proves neither the devout nor the doubters right.
  • The Daily Mail, December 18: IN THIS intelligent dissection of atheism, Rod Liddle, a man never afraid to say what he thinks, challenges the idea that non-belief is 'the answer to our prayers'. Is it, instead, another form of dogma? He confronts controversial figures, such as an 'atheist Messiah' who changed his name to Darwin. Yet, although Charles Darwin has been used as atheism's trump card, some of his findings are being contested. For Liddle, the real question is -- if religion is removed, what happens to morality?

Alright, that's all I could find. UK libraries might have more. --Merzul 23:51, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

It would be more effective to cite actual reviews of this programme, rather than state the opinions of editors. Please could editors find, and reference published reviews of Liddle's documentary. Atheist and Christian weblogs would be a good place to start.

You seem to be forgetting something. All (or almost all) of Liddle's arguments are old, and so are the counter-arguments, and it's so routine merely running through it is something anyone who knows about the atheism-agnosticism stuff can do. that's why it's not OR. The analysis section gives extra details on what Liddle said, explains where he does or does not understand scientific fact properly (e.g. the Schwarz thing), points to arguments against his old arguments that predate his work just as do his own arguments, etc. By all means, call SOME of it OR. However, it's not ALL OR. That's what you have to recognise if you actually think it through. 22:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Explaining where someone does or does not understand something is OR. "All of Liddle's arguments are old" is also OR -- where's the proof, where's the citation? Frankly I agree with you about the age of the arguments and such, but my opinion should not go into Wikipedia. And please don't accuse others of not thinking things through. I think you may have others have given this as much or perhaps even greater thought than you have. Mullibok 01:49, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Some may have, but with you specifically I'm not sure what to think. I'll try to grant you some concessions in this. The section could do with some citations, I admit. If you give me a week, I'll find as many as I can. Here was me thinking, however, that the only reason we even have an "original research" template was because without it we would have to completely remove material just because we cannot immediately find citations for it. Not everything uncited violates the cardinals of Wikipedia enough to need speedy deletion. Only a tiny minority of all the statements on a science article have citations (I bet there's no citation of the inverse square law of gravity for example), but we don't go around deleting like there's no tomorrow. That's what that template is for. My thanks to whoever added it. That's what the "may need attention from an expert" template is for. That's what generic indicators of a need for citations are for. If you are going to delete an entire section, I'm pretty sure you should start a discussion - yes, even just for a section. I've seen that done before even where the need to delete seems painfully obvious. See here. Read carefully the comment made by the starter of the debate. So I think what should happen is this: I put the section back up with citations, then after a week you can start such a discussion if you feel you must. I will wait for your reply before I even undelete the section though, in case you end up redeleting it before you've even read this part of the talk page, which Sod's law says is very likely. 08:57, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, by wait I mean a reasonable length of time. I've already collected some citations from at least 25 sources. I plan to collect some more too. I'll be editing the code for the section in Microsoft word, ready to put a less objectionable piece up in due course. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:09, August 22, 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to again ask you not to be rude or insulting towards other Wikipedia editors. If you want to reach consensus, that is really not the way to do it. Scientific laws & facts don't need to be analyzed, they are what they are. If someone comes along and says "I don't think he just said the same old stuff, I thought he put a new twist on it, and whoever wrote this is cherry-picking to make him look wrong", it's a matter of one editor's opinion versus another's. And how long is one supposed to wait before deleting OR? There's been a dispute for two months, the deleted section was tagged for over a month, and no one was doing anything to improve it whatsoever. By all means, start the section anew, and look for both positive and negative reviews of the piece. It would be strongly preferable to turn it from an "analysis" section to a "critique" section, in my book. Mullibok 14:34, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Given how little the article has in it, I feel compelled to try something along those lines. I was making efforts to be neither rude nor insulting. If they apparently failed, that is a shame. Moving on, I will be adding to this article in the near future. 16:06, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I will say that I think the Reviews section there now is a huge improvement over before, and while I may be interested in tweaking one or two things in the future, I would happily defend its right to stand more or less intact. Mullibok 17:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Further to the above[edit]

Following Mullibok's advice I took a look for reviews that were both positive and negative, specifically on Google, and I have added a section on that to the article, including some citations. I reasoned it was pointless including references to forums, but it didn't really matter much for my main problem. There were thousands of reviews, but all my ingenuity turned up only one that was even partially supportive of the programme, and that was on a blog. The media's reviews were lopsided. I know that the article on Ghost Dad reports on reviews of that film, and only describes disapproval because nothing else good, citable and reliable could be found. It's a shame, but I honestly couldn't find anything pro-Liddle besides that blog - and I looked! If anyone can update that section with a review of either kind, please do, because I would hate for it to be torn down because it doesn't give anywhere near equal weight. Of course, the weight I have given need not be undue. I hope the section i have added can be expanded, but to avoid giving undue weight to critics I kept details of counterarguments to a minimum. Any thoughts? Oh, by the way, I said in the article that Google is more or less unanimously against it. I know technically I can't verify that without going through an enormous number of web pages, but if you don't believe me, just try finding any other positive reviews. If you can't, I'm right; if you can, we can expand this section. If only I had any sympathy for Liddle myself, that would be an unambiguous win-win situation for me; it's pretty good now! Thanks. 17:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


This section isn't balanced; I agree the programme didn't genreally get good reviews but this article deliberately selects the very worst. The National Secular Society isn't part of the media, it's an organisation that campaigns agains religions. Of course it was critical, but this criticism is not necessarilly representative. I would like to read the Scotsman article to know what it actually says (the link doesn't work). I don't object to proper criticism appearing but "moronic" isn't worthy of a mention in this article. Would it not be possible for the article to quote this reviewer's actual objections instead? I've tried to give a more balanced overview of the programme's critical reception. --Lo2u (TC) 23:56, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

For your information, as the person who started that section (with a different IP), I tried very hard to track down any remotely positive reviews, and all I could get was some poxy Christian's blog, and you can see from the revision history that that was cut back for precisely that reason. It became less balanced, as it were, precisely because Wikipedia's NPOV policy asks for the most balanced description achievable within the bounds of notability. Well done on finally finding something that can round things out. I don't know how you did it or how much work it involved, but you've been helpful. Also, just so you know, that Scotsman link did work back then.

However, you have gone too far. Now all the section does is to say "reviewers called this fascinating, and conceded his point might be good, but it was boring and a little bit too quick to establish the stuff". This is not a fair summary of the controversy surrounding the programme. When any of these reviews is quoted in greater detail - see the Radio Times (or TV Times, whichever it is), for instance - it gets worse. The National Secular Society's comments should also not be utterly deleted. Yes, their disapproval is inevitable, but WP:NPOV at least says big groups should be quoted, and the National Secular Society's arguments are not so predictable. Don't you think people should see just how decent a comeback they could come up with? WP:NPOV works by letting people form opinions by seeing what was said by the various sides. It is no fairer to shut up about how badly received the show was then with Liddle's work in general, or anyone's work in general. However you found that Guardian review, any meta-analysis you might perform - for instance, via Google - shows how very lop-sided it was. "Mixed" is a technically correct weasel word. (talk) 19:44, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Personally I think "mixed" was a fair assesment; it's not a weasel word. Some were moderately negative; one was very negative; one was positive. The term "mixed reviews" is usually a euphemistic way of saying "poor reviews" anyway; nevertheless I agree the article is better off without it. The NSS quote is basically invective and I don't see that it adds anything to the article. There's no substantial criticism here, nothing to inform readers about the content of the programme, just name-calling. My suspicion is that the editor wishes that the article could just say "biased, dishonest and about as profound as a pancake" without the need for the inconvenient quotation marks. --Lo2u (TC) 23:55, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

User:Abhishikt's Revert[edit]

User:Abhishikt restored an advocacy clause in the article with the edit summary "It do criticise science." The clause he/she restored is in italics: "The documentary focuses on criticising atheism, as well as science." I reverted his edit because this clause is not supported by a reliable source. Moreover, it is not supported by the film, which links science as a support for theism. For example, one of the quotes from the documentary states: "Another problem for atheists is that modern physics, far from doing away of the idea of God may leave us a glimpse of His hand at work" (see 07:50). In another example, we have the following quote: "It is very very unlikely that those fine tunings which allowed the pyramid of complexity to arise would be there. Of course, one of the first explanations that comes to mind is there was a tuner or a creator, or if you'd like, God" (see 0:01). Unless a reliable source is given in the article for the clause, it should continue to be precluded from the article. Thanks, AnupamTalk 04:00, 25 October 2011 (UTC)