“Various Backward Parts of the World”

Ah, that subtle, insidious racism.

Atheism is far from dying. Quite the contrary: If anything, it is bound to grow as the stigma attached to atheism is challenged by scientists, journalists and philosophers [that’s a fine group!]. In the industrialized world the trend has been toward secularism for 250 years, though admittedly it has made no inroads in various backward parts of the world. –Steven Pinker, Science and Theology News (Dec. 2005), p. 12

Fits quite nicely with the name by which atheists prefer to be called: “brights.” By the way, Mr. Pinker, care to define exactly which parts of the world you consider to be “backward”?



8 thoughts on ““Various Backward Parts of the World”

  1. I may be heading off on a tangent, but…
    Other terms:
    -Intellectual Sobs
    -Politically Correct Intelligencia
    -Intellectual Gnosticism, even?

    I work at a large State university (not an professor). The general logic is that now that I’m educated I have no further need for faith. I am now smart enough to define my own beliefs for myself.

    I’ve been told, recently, that religion is nonsense and, “I don’t believe in that stuff”.

    Or, more specifically, now that we are “properly educated” we can set aside all that foolish childhood religous nonsense.


  2. I think referring to parts of the world as “backward” is rather unsubtle racism.

    With respect to those without faith, well of course they don’t see the value in faith –it takes faith or at least belief in the law to see the value of the Gospel. In this respect, calling them stupid in response is probably not really helpful.

    To those without faith that ask me about Evolution, and other issues, I tell them that of my own reason, I really have trouble believing in creation and consider that a matter of faith rather than science.

    And the point of that is that I need forgiveness something that God grants me and that God grants me the belief in. It just so happens that I can’t just accept the beliefs that I like and throw out the harder stuff (oh and there are more than a few of those). But God is God and picking and choosing is not something done in faith. I just recognize that acceptance comes from faith and ask for more so that I can accept (if sometimes grudgingly) the authority of God on harder matters that my reason doubts.

  3. Racism, no. Judgemental, yes. This isn’t about race, so much as it is about culture. (Culture and race parallel, yes, but some cultures embrace a wide range of races.

    In my case, my disdain for Intellectual Snobbery runs deep. But have I also, then, become an intellectual snob?

  4. It is racist because outside of the American South, perhaps, Pinker can only be referring to places like South America, Africa, and Asia where the Church is growing the fastest. That makes him and his ilk racist.


  5. Well, South America Africa are made up of a variety of races, including caucasians. Asia not so much so.

    I guess my interpretation of “backwards” was from an economical perspective. Maybe I missed Pinker’s point?

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