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Signals => General Chat - English => Topic started by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 13:35:23 pm

Title: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 13:35:23 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 13:22:08 pm
Getting rid of belief systems or religion or whatever you want to call it is all well and good, but what are you trying to eradicate by removing them ?   

I don't think society would improve if religion was removed as the evil that you see inherent in it is actually part of the human psyche and will not disappear even if "belief systems" do.


Carry on ...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 13:44:01 pm
QuoteGetting rid of belief systems or religion or whatever you want to call it is all well and good, but what are you trying to eradicate by removing them ?   

This of course will never happen but what can be removed is the influence of "churches". Their ability to foist their views, customs and superstitions on others should be eradicated.

QuoteI don't think society would improve if religion was removed

Depends what you mean. If by religion you mean "belief" then we'll never remove that.

Quoteas the evil that you see inherent in it is actually part of the human psyche and will not disappear even if "belief systems" do.

So, we could get rid of religion and still all be the same people. And the evil that religion causes would be gone so in effect society would be better off.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 14:46:38 pm
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Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 14:54:07 pm
So you be happy to eradicate differences in culture and have the World as a homogenous gloup.  Doesn't sound like much fun.

My essential point is you're against religion when really what you're against are certain aspects of human nature.  Even if  you could take away religion and they would still reside.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 15:16:40 pm
And we're off again.  :)  Disclaimer to all for reference: It's Nothing Personal!  And if it seems that way, call me on it.

So...

Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 14:54:07 pm
So you be happy to eradicate differences in culture and have the World as a homogenous gloup.  Doesn't sound like much fun.


Doesn't follow: the eradication of religious belief doesn't preclude diverse cultures.

QuoteMy essential point is you're against religion when really what you're against are certain aspects of human nature.


But is every single aspect of human nature - by definition - a "good thing"?  For instance, it's human nature to have as many offspring as possible.  Yet this "basic instinct" is, almost unanimously, considered enormously detrimental (for obvious reasons).
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on May 01, 2012, 15:24:14 pm
Oh, this again............pfffft. sorry I've got too much of my own boring/pointless shit to think/talk/worry about
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 15:32:12 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 15:16:40 pm
And we're off again.  :)  Disclaimer to all for reference: It's Nothing Personal!  And if it seems that way, call me on it.

So...

Doesn't follow: the eradication of religious belief doesn't preclude diverse cultures.

But is every single aspect of human nature - by definition - a "good thing"?  For instance, it's human nature to have as many offspring as possible.  Yet this "basic instinct" is, almost unanimously, considered enormously detrimental (for obvious reasons).



I'm not even sure why I'm getting into these debates.  I'm not particularly religious I just seem to react when anyone knocks it.  I suppose I'm anti-athiest more than anything..  Again though you're knocking religion when the problem is human nature.  I realise by happening to bring up "offspring" you're trying to steer it in a particular direction and I don't want to get into a position where I'm forced  to defend the indefensible.  I'm certainly not saying that religion does no harm.  I do believe that it's no more harmful than any other facet of society and absolutley zero problems will be solved by its removal.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 16:13:12 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 15:32:12 pmAgain though you're knocking religion when the problem is human nature.


Then anything goes, it seems to me.  Homicide is also a part of human nature.  Altruism is also a part of human nature.  Yet we can't knock the former or praise the latter?   

Feudalsim is human nature.  Creating order to specifically avoid feudalism is human nature.

Seems to me that an all-encompassing definition of "human nature" is hard to pin down in the first place, let alone cite it as a problem.

QuoteI do believe that it's no more harmful than any other facet of society and absolutley zero problems will be solved by its removal.


Then (as a thought experiment) if your country of residence suddenly became a Saudi Arabian-style theocracy from tomorrow for 6 months, and then reverted to a secular democracy, you wouldn't notice any difference?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 16:21:12 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 16:13:12 pm
Then anything goes, it seems to me.  Homicide is also a part of human nature.  Altruism is also a part of human nature.  Yet we can't knock the former or praise the latter?   

Feudalsim is human nature.  Creating order to specifically avoid feudalism is human nature.

Seems to me that an all-encompassing definition of "human nature" is hard to pin down in the first place, let alone cite it as a problem.

Then (as a thought experiment) if your country of residence suddenly became a Saudi Arabian-style theocracy from tomorrow for 6 months, and then reverted to a secular democracy, you wouldn't notice any difference?


Who says we can't knock religion ?   That's certainly not been my line of reasoning.  I'm against its eradication but that doesn't mean it can't be improved.  The Catholic church needs to evolve and I'm sure many other religions are the same.

As to Saudi Arabia - where does the religion end and where does local culture begin.  The 2 are inextricably linked it seems to me
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:21:40 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 15:32:12 pm
I'm not even sure why I'm getting into these debates. 

Well - you did start it in the other thread.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 16:26:36 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:21:40 pm
Well - you did start it in the other thread.  :)


I reacted; I certainly didn't start.  I seem to have a convulsive reaction to atheism that I don't seem to be able to control.  I think I do it because someone has to.  Otherwise T-N-M-S  would become synonomous with atheism.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 16:30:45 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 16:21:12 pm
Who says we can't knock religion ?   That's certainly not been my line of reasoning.  I'm against its eradication but that doesn't mean it can't be improved.  The Catholic church needs to evolve and I'm sure many other religions are the same.


Interesting: so these eternal, infallible (and mutually exclusive and mutually blasphemous) dogmas should be "improved"?  Toward what, exactly?  Modern secular outlooks based on reason and evidence?  Then why have them at all?

QuoteAs to Saudi Arabia - where does the religion end and where does local culture begin.  The 2 are inextricably linked it seems to me


Well....exactly. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:32:37 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 16:26:36 pm
I reacted; I certainly didn't start.  I seem to have a convulsive reaction to atheism that I don't seem to be able to control. 

:D ... and now look what you started.

QuoteI think I do it because someone has to.  Otherwise T-N-M-S  would become synonomous with atheism.

Think of it as being synonymous with critical thinking.  It's a good thing :)
But then again we do have Zoony.  ::) And Jonners.  :o
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:36:56 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 16:21:12 pm
Who says we can't knock religion ?   That's certainly not been my line of reasoning.  I'm against its eradication but that doesn't mean it can't be improved.  The Catholic church needs to evolve and I'm sure many other religions are the same.

As Matt says - how do you evolve as a religion other than by becoming less 'religious'?

Quote
As to Saudi Arabia - where does the religion end and where does local culture begin.  The 2 are inextricably linked it seems to me

But the culture is born out of it's religion. They use a 'get out of jail' card and blame their middle aged misogynous nature on "culture" when of course it's root is in it's religion.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 16:37:04 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 16:26:36 pm
I reacted; I certainly didn't start.  I seem to have a convulsive reaction to atheism that I don't seem to be able to control.  I think I do it because someone has to.  Otherwise T-N-M-S  would become synonomous with atheism.


I don't think you need worry - there can't be that many threads condoning atheism and dismantling theism!  It's the rabid Old Rush-and-nothing-else proponents folk should be wary of...  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:37:50 pm
Quote from: Bisto on May 01, 2012, 15:24:14 pm
Oh, this again............pfffft. sorry I've got too much of my own boring/pointless shit to think/talk/worry about

:) Bye then.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 16:41:48 pm
I should stop actually as I'm not very good at this and it's too easy a fight for you.  What I'm actually doing is giving full reign for you, Ron, Matt, Chris etc to enter into a debate with virtually no opposition.  At least if I step aside you may argue among yourselves  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:59:30 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 16:41:48 pm
I should stop actually as I'm not very good at this and it's too easy a fight for you. 

Fair enough. But it is worth having a go. If you can refute the points from 'our side' then go for it.
It's hard arguing for religion isn't it? That's because there's absolutely no logic to it!

Quote
What I'm actually doing is giving full reign for you, Ron, Matt, Chris etc to enter into a debate with virtually no opposition.  At least if I step aside you may argue among yourselves  ;D

We won't argue because we are all singing from the same, err, hymn sheet.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 01, 2012, 17:01:54 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 16:59:30 pm
Fair enough. But it is worth having a go. If you can refute the points from 'our side' then go for it.
It's hard arguing for religion isn't it? hat's because there's no logic to it!
We won't argue because we are all singing from the same, err, hymn sheet.


That's the thing I don't particularly want to argue for religion.  It's more that I'm against atheism.  Why not leave religion alone and go and do some science ?  :D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 01, 2012, 17:12:15 pm
Quote from: dom on May 01, 2012, 17:01:54 pm
That's the thing I don't particularly want to argue for religion.  It's more that I'm against atheism.  Why not leave religion alone and go and do some science ?  :D

I guess in the "post Dawkins" era atheists now feel they can merrily speak out against religion and confidently voice all the arguments they want to. Previously there was an underlying "how dare you - you should have respect for religion" thing going on. Feck that - respect has to be earned and now with the cat out of the bag it's obvious that religion (both "belief" as a concept and  'the church' in it's various forms) really does not deserve much, or indeed any. The fact we speak out against religion comes exactly from "doing science" - or at least reading about it or continually opening our minds to it. The more you do that the more bloody ridiculous religion looks with it's middle aged misogyny, everything-phobic culture and man in the sky superstition and ritual.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 01, 2012, 17:27:28 pm
I am interested in where we (let's call us "the atheist brigade", I'm sure we've all been called worse...) do potentially differ.

Religion has already had to give so much to scientific evidence as well as humanistic and secular victories, it tries to claim the credit for much, but has delivered very little, and these days offers nothing and better options are available.

Are we just simply ignoring the nuances of religion? Would a more "sophisticated" understanding of theology help? Are science and religion compatible at all? My answer is of course, no, these are tools that those of faith cling to with little relevance. When something in science is disproved it is discarded, when something in theology is disproved it simply becomes a metaphor... I don't see how this is helpful, is theology even a subject at all? If god exists outside of the sphere of human observation, then surely all attempts at understanding are worthless and we can only carry on assuming one doesn't exist.

What evidence could there possibly be that would make us "believe"?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 01, 2012, 18:01:12 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 01, 2012, 17:27:28 pmis theology even a subject at all?


Nope, it's arbitrary, unfalsifiable made-up stuff about...erm, made-up stuff.

Theology is akin to a blind-folded person in an unlit windowless room at midnight looking for a black cat that isn't there.

QuoteWhat evidence could there possibly be that would make us "believe"?


Good question.  Peter Collins?  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 00:14:36 am
It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in the stance you're taking in a debate ... without conflicting opinion there's no debate!

The wise man will always disagree with another! ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 03:56:22 am
Regardless of a debate, it doesn't matter what anyone believes, things are either true or they aren't, regardless of how we feel about it.

Take evolution vs creationism/intelligent design, there's a good argument to say it's not worth even "debating", since it gives right to the idea that there's a legitimate "other side"...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 02, 2012, 11:54:00 am
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 03:56:22 amTake evolution vs creationism/intelligent design, there's a good argument to say it's not worth even "debating", since it gives right to the idea that there's a legitimate "other side"...


Much like human biology vs stork theory, chemistry vs alchemy, Hold Your Fire vs Caress Of Steel etc etc  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Topper on May 02, 2012, 12:23:04 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 03:56:22 am
Regardless of a debate, it doesn't matter what anyone believes, things are either true or they aren't, regardless of how we feel about it.

Take evolution vs creationism/intelligent design, there's a good argument to say it's not worth even "debating", since it gives right to the idea that there's a legitimate "other side"...


One of the things that gets me is when a "Creationist/intelligent design" supporter says about Evolution, "It's only a THEORY". As if someone just threw the evolution idea out there without millions of pages to support it.  Anyway, peace. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 12:30:09 pm
Yes creationism is annoying and pathetic
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Jonners on May 02, 2012, 12:34:44 pm
I dont particularly feel I have an awful lot to add to this debate that has not already been said, but as a Christian, my only real annoyance from this type of discussion is the obvious vehemence and pleasure atheists get from debunking and ridiculing people with faith.

Sometimes you can almost feel the hatred and bile physically building.

(must be a bit like being a fan of modern Rush!)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 02, 2012, 12:44:43 pm
Quote from: Jonners on May 02, 2012, 12:34:44 pm
I dont particularly feel I have an awful lot to add to this debate that has not already been said, but as a Christian, my only real annoyance from this type of discussion is the obvious vehemence and pleasure atheists get from debunking and ridiculing people with faith.


No, no, no....it's against the ideas, not the people who hold them.  Huge difference.  Otherwise, I'd be fulminating against almost all of my extended Irish Catholic family and many close friends.  We should guard against ad hominem attacks, incoming and outgoing.

I take no pleasure from it, personally - I'd only take any pleasure from it if it was unnecessary.  But unfortunately it isn't.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 12:56:39 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 01, 2012, 17:27:28 pm
I am interested in where we (let's call us "the atheist brigade", I'm sure we've all been called worse...) do potentially differ.

My stance is that of course 'God' exists, but only in the heads of each individual believer. Belief is purely a self help system. Prayer is simply self help - the stuff the rest of us do every day by having a think, but we don't attribute it to a man in the sky/voices in our head.

Given all the various god systems which have come and gone - Norse, Viking, Greek, Egyptian, Aztec, Mayan etc etc it's interesting that as soon as the civilisations who worshipped them disappeared then so did the gods. So obviously they were all made up by these civilisations.

Science/discovery/knowledge has shown us there's no Greek gods on top of Mount Olympus in exactly the same way as there's no evidence for any of the christian biblical stories old testament exodus; Adam and Eve or a flood, virgin births, sons of gods, resurrections etc etc. It's just old myths and legends. It's all just made up, and most christians these days will acknowledge it as such - oh except somehow for the resurrection because without that their whole religion makes no sense. "Cognitive dissonance" it is where there's a complete blank spot in an otherwise sane person over something which would compromise an ideal entirely. Most christians (and the catholic Church) are perfectly happy with the concept of evolution (if they have bothered to actually understand it that is) which wipes out all religious explanation of creation, and yet they still stick to a "goddidit" when it comes to stuff that 'science' still cannot 100% explain.

So many contradictions are brought on by belief and it's a fascinating, illogical concept, and seems to getting more and more illogical,  and plain nutty (hello USA), the more science finds out 'stuff' and consigns current favoured religious explanations to the dustbin of myth and legend. Seems like desperation which drives people into Evangelism, Mormonism or Scientology for instance. "Belief" seems to come out of what...? Ignorance, neediness and/or indoctrination and it seems once afflicted with it it's very difficult to shake off.

As for "Theology" - it's the study of the church an churches etc, which is fine. It's history. There's a difference between that kind of stuff and 'spirituality' which definitely is stepping into the realm of made up stuff - may as well study faeries or astrology.

QuoteWhat evidence could there possibly be that would make us "believe"?

Rabbit fossil in amongst a dinosaur shale? Or would that have been put there by god as a double bluff to test us...?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 13:05:54 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 12:30:09 pm
Yes creationism is annoying and pathetic

But it's in the bible. It's "god's word" just like the rest of it.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Jonners on May 02, 2012, 13:07:25 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 02, 2012, 12:44:43 pm
No, no, no....it's against the ideas, not the people who hold them.  Huge difference.  Otherwise, I'd be fulminating against almost all of my extended Irish Catholic family and many close friends.  We should guard against ad hominem attacks, incoming and outgoing.

I take no pleasure from it, personally - I'd only take any pleasure from it if it was unnecessary.  But unfortunately it isn't.


I hope so, but just sometimes there does seem to be an air of disbelief (see what I did there?) and incredulity that rational and sane people (ducks for cover) can hold religious beliefs, which can be a little hurtful

(again, like enjoying new Rush!)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 13:21:15 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 13:05:54 pm
But it's in the bible. It's "god's word" just like the rest of it.


It's man's interpretation of "god's word" and was written when man knew nothing of evolution.  The original writers of the bible can be forgiven.  Anyone who still takes it on face value  needs to get a grip.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 02, 2012, 13:25:06 pm
Quote from: Jonners on May 02, 2012, 13:07:25 pm
I hope so, but just sometimes there does seem to be an air of disbelief (see what I did there?) and incredulity that rational and sane people (ducks for cover) can hold religious beliefs, which can be a little hurtful


I can see that.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of virulently anti-theist (as opposed to anti-theism) infantile knobheads out there who seem to delight in mercilessly lambasting folk with even meek and mild religious faith at every opportunity; but I consider them almost as bad as the fire and brimstone swivel-eyed lunatics of the "God Hates Fags" brigade.

Quote(again, like enjoying new Rush!)


I can empathise with that!  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 13:29:50 pm
The important thing to remember about evolution is that constant study is revealing that it is far more subtle and complex than even Darwin imagined although as far as the broad strokes go he does seem to have got the essentials verifiably correct.

Any evolutionary biologist will be quick to point out that like many other theories it is in a constant state of development and refinement and that they evaluate, and either reject or embrace discoveries as they emerge based on evidence. This is something that those of religious disciplines just cannot do. They either follow their dogma when evidence emerges that their world view is either incorrect or impossible or they fraction into various levels of adherence to the literal word of their chosen religions. While this is amusing to watch from outside it is undoubtably one of the sources of extremism in religions and extremists are often very far from amusing.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 13:32:26 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 13:21:15 pm
It's man's interpretation of "god's word" and was written when man knew nothing of evolution. 

Hang on - surely "God", being omniscient and all, would have known all about evolution and whatnot and passed this on for man to write down. Instead he seemed to take all the credit himself with this seven days business. Cheeky bugger. And a liar too.

QuoteThe original writers of the bible can be forgiven. 

Yeah - just like Joseph Smith and L Ron Hubbard.

Quote
Anyone who still takes it on face value  needs to get a grip.

This is true. Taking the bible as 'gods word' does seem to be daft given all the rewrites it's had. But then again there's a worryingly large percentage of the USA population who are 'creationists'. I dread to think what could happen if the republicans get in again - Bush was bad enough.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 13:36:43 pm
Any form of extremism is a bad thing, whether it be religious beliefs, political persuasion or anything else. 
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 15:52:56 pm
I do like the band Extreme. Does that make me an extremist? :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 16:23:45 pm
The problem is, at least with the evangelicals, you know exactly what they think, regardless of how nutty they are, you have to... I was going to say admire but that's the wrong word... at least they are consistent. What is difficult to grasp is the cherry picking most religious people do now that we know better. Under what manner can one justify a belief that Jesus was god made flesh and was crucified for our sins and later resurrected, but say that walking on water or turning water into wine is a metaphor?

And Jonners actually just shows how religion is not special, there are those on here who love Rush, they take any criticism of Rush as a personal insult, the same is true for many people with regards to religion. However, religious people tend to not see the hypocrisy when they use the same tools to criticise any other subject.

Criticising christianity is no different than saying Snakes and Arrows is shit. That's not to say all christians are idiots or all Rush fans have terrible taste in music (though sometimes a brief look at "what's in your CD player thread" could be damning evidence :D).

As Matt says, it's important to concentrate on the idea, not the person. Ignorance is not a crime, and neither is stupidity for that matter (we are all ignorant and stupid in regards to many matters). Throwing personal insults around gets us nowhere (though the fact that insults can be thrown around rather than torture and burning heretics is sign of progress!).

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 16:36:55 pm
It's fine to be atheist and brilliant that you can spend all day knocking as many holes into people's personal beliefs as you want.  The thing is, whatever its faults and its lack of crediblilty for some it provides others with solace and/or a sense of community or who knows what else.  Do you really want to take that away because you don't believe ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 16:52:14 pm
Well again, let's change that subject from atheism/belief into new rush/old rush, and you have this forum!

Of course believing in certain things can bring solace, but obviously that doesn't make it true. Religion could act as a placebo and nothing else, or a means of community, although one wonders that there are surely other options available that don't require believing anything without evidence. But we have to be honest about what we know and what we don't know, especially when reality tends to be much more inspiring and beautiful.

And while there may be some of us who would claim that the world would be better off without religion, I doubt anyone here would say it should be taken away from anyone.

However, no amount of knowledge we have amassed as a species has done us any harm, understanding the nature of the universe can only help us, even if that knowledge isn't consoling. And again, a brief forage into history shows that it isn't atheism that's particularly intolerant of other beliefs by comparison...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 17:02:40 pm
And I should add, one can have all kinds of beliefs without pointing to the supernatural or iron age mythology. You can be an atheist and believe in an afterlife if you really want to... I think promise of an afterlife is just about the only thing religion has left which has ultimately kept it going.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Summerland on May 02, 2012, 17:05:37 pm
People join clubs for companionship, as well as an interest in the club's key function. People enjoy herding (some do, anyway) and being with others of a likemind; although this could just be those they may consider "nice", not that they agree on anything in particular.

I expect many who take part in church services or other organised events by religious bodies corporate are like many who join cricket clubs..........they just like a get together, a cucumber sandwich, a natter, or a drop of sherry.

Also, I'm glad to see some discussion here highlighting that religion, belief and theology are not synonymous. 
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 17:08:35 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 16:36:55 pm
It's fine to be atheist and brilliant that you can spend all day knocking as many holes into people's personal beliefs as you want.  The thing is, whatever its faults and its lack of crediblilty for some it provides others with solace and/or a sense of community or who knows what else.  Do you really want to take that away because you don't believe ?

As has been shown in all manner of faith discussion no one's likely to stop believing because they get to see the holes in the logic of their belief system. People only stop believing when they have no more need of the emotional crutch it provides.
Atheism as a 'movement' is there if anything to try to negate the damage being done by the various strands of organised religion, and remind believers that as a member of any church they really should take a good look at what it is they have signed themselves up for.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:18:45 pm
The irony is that all of you feckers are as boring and monotonous as the most zealous of evangelists.

:)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 17:24:29 pm
Quote from: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:18:45 pm
The irony is that all of you feckers are as boring and monotonous as the most zealous of evangelists.

How about joining in with the discussion instead of throwing insults around? Kind of underlines the point Chris was making about not being able to handle criticism. Ironically.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:28:49 pm
Nah, you're alright thanks. Bit too boring for me.  :)

Am I allowed to be facetious, then?  Just asking, like.   :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 17:29:32 pm
Next you'll be bringing out the term "science fundamentalist" :P

You can be as facetious as you like, although I'm not a fan of the word as I've never been able to say it properly, gets my tongue all twisted. Farsheeshous....
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:30:32 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 02, 2012, 17:24:29 pm
Kind of underlines the point Chris was making about not being able to handle criticism. Ironically.  :)

Not really. 
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 17:34:13 pm
And what exactly, would someone do in the name of zealous atheism? Contrast this with the zealous religious and tell me that it's really as bad... last time I checked, there weren't any atheist terrorists (justified under their atheism).

I'll take boring over terrorism any day :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:37:20 pm
Amen.


Oops!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 17:41:40 pm
RAmen :D

(http://dailynoodle.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/frm.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 02, 2012, 17:43:35 pm
Quote from: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 17:18:45 pm
The irony is that all of you feckers are as boring and monotonous as the most zealous of evangelists.

:)


The difference being, of course, that us feckers haven't come to you, you've come to us; whereas by definition it's vice versa for evangelists... :P
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 18:32:52 pm
Some ambiguity there Kurtzy. Are you referring to the boring theist feckers or the boring atheist feckers? :D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on May 02, 2012, 20:18:18 pm


I'm not really a great one for debating religion.

I'm an atheist.  I do not believe in what's in the bible, god (any god), jesus, the afterlife, any of it.

Whether someone does believe or doesn't, matters little to me.  I don't really care.

I won't castigate them for their beliefs, I won't go out my way to point out the error of their ways.  It's up to them.

As long as they keep their mumbo jumbo away from me and mine, they can defrock as many virgins and slaughter as many goats (or is it the other way around) as they want.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 21:43:17 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on May 02, 2012, 20:18:18 pm

Whether someone does believe or doesn't, matters little to me.  I don't really care.

I won't castigate them for their beliefs, I won't go out my way to point out the error of their ways.  It's up to them.


Thats what I was trying to say.  :)

You cannot use terrorism as a means to debunk religion, as Chris has done a few posts up from this one - thats ludicrous. 
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 21:49:37 pm
I think as long as people do exactly that ... keep their belief related actions under control and benign ... then there's a whole universe of available space out there in which to house all 'truths', possibilities, wishes and a whole lot more than we could possibly imagine no doubt... it's infinite (yet finite).

That's without bringing in multiple universe theory of course! ;)

Its never the 'bigger picture' that causes the problems though... that will be by default all encompassing.... is always the narrower viewpoint that is lacking and troublesome... and most often most vocal in human terms. :P
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 21:57:19 pm
I do care but probably because I was brought up in a country where religion was used to divide people that would otherwise be friends. As an adult and looking around the world I can see the same thing everywhere but on a grander stage with scarier odds if it all goes jihad, crusade whatever. Witnessing what I have and based on the evidence of history I think religion is a genuine evil upon mankind. It is seductive and makes promises and offers solutions that require no reason, just blind obedience. Religions are the dark side. Reason offers the one possible hope for a long term future. Our species needs to grow out of these inconsistent barmy superstitions or one day they will indeed spur on those with righteous zeal to do something horrid in the name of their beliefs that will lead to the end of us all.

I don't believe this. I REASON it based on the evidence tested by the social experiments of countless religions down the ages.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 22:04:54 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 21:57:19 pm
I do care but probably because I was brought up in a country where religion was used to divide people that would otherwise be friends. As an adult and looking around the world I can see the same thing everywhere but on a grander stage with scarier odds if it all goes jihad, crusade whatever. Witnessing what I have and based on the evidence of history I think religion is a genuine evil upon mankind. It is seductive and makes promises and offers solutions that require no reason, just blind obedience. Religions are the dark side. Reason offers the one possible hope for a long term future. Our species needs to grow out of these inconsistent barmy superstitions or one day they will indeed spur on those with righteous zeal to do something horrid in the name of their beliefs that will lead to the end of us all.

I don't believe this. I REASON it based on the evidence tested by the social experiments of countless religions down the ages.


But Rush fans can't even agree on what is good and bad and battle it out relentlessly... albums, eras, songs, lyrics, instruments, clothes, style, trib band etc etc etc....

Where do you begin on a worldwide scale?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 22:05:17 pm
Quote from: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 21:43:17 pm
Thats what I was trying to say.  :)

You cannot use terrorism as a means to debunk religion, as Chris has done a few posts up from this one - thats ludicrous.


I think you're being intellectually dishonest here.

It's not ludicrous at all (and for a start, I'm not using it to debunk religion, there are plenty of other ways for that)l. You started the comparison by comparing zealous atheists with religious zealots saying they're as bad as each other. All I'm saying is, if you really consider the actions of both, can you honestly say that they are as bad? There is no logical pathway to terrorism through atheism (not to say that atheists can't be bad people), on the flipside... when was the last time anyone read about an atheist suicide bomber? Or let's go away from terrorism, when was the last time an atheist tried to tell people they shouldn't use contraception, or tried to mutilate a child's genitals?

So again, on what grounds are those who act zealously (with justification from their...) atheism just as bad as zealots who act in the name of their religion? I'm genuinely curious as I believe it was just a flippant comment you haven't really thought through to its logical conclusion.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 22:13:38 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 21:57:19 pm
I do care but probably because I was brought up in a country where religion was used to divide people that would otherwise be friends. As an adult and looking around the world I can see the same thing everywhere but on a grander stage with scarier odds if it all goes jihad, crusade whatever. Witnessing what I have and based on the evidence of history I think religion is a genuine evil upon mankind. It is seductive and makes promises and offers solutions that require no reason, just blind obedience. Religions are the dark side. Reason offers the one possible hope for a long term future. Our species needs to grow out of these inconsistent barmy superstitions or one day they will indeed spur on those with righteous zeal to do something horrid in the name of their beliefs that will lead to the end of us all.

I don't believe this. I REASON it based on the evidence tested by the social experiments of countless religions down the ages.


Top blame the situation in Northern Ireland on religion is a bit disingenous I think.  Religion was the marker that defined the 2 camps but it was basically a colonial dispute was it not.  It's a bit like saying the struggles for self rule in India and Africa were in reality about skin colour or race.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 22:21:21 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 22:13:38 pm
Top blame the situation in Northern Ireland on religion is a bit disingenous I think.  Religion was the marker that defined the 2 camps but it was basically a colonial dispute was it not.  It's a bit like saying the struggles for self rule in India and Africa were in reality about skin colour or race.


You are making my point for me Dom. Religion masks the real underlying causes of disputes between peoples. Ireland North and South is littered with crimes done throughout history behind the flag of religion. Looking around the world I see more and more of it. Without religions the truth of what is causing a dispute and the motivations are clear and logically explorable and debatable and you can easily get to the right and wrong of it. Combine tribal passions with religious justifications and add big enough toys and it's good night vienna for everyone. This is the inevitable conclusion I draw from allowing the persistance of religions to go logically unchallenged.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 22:35:55 pm
I wonder if everyone in the world was able to form a single line (hold hands if you like) and talk about something as benign as the weather to the persons next to them then would the whole (human) world would be in harmony?

For some it would be too hot, others too cold, others still too wet, dry, cloudy, sunny windy, still, humid, barren ... blah blah blah

Where is the unity to be found?????
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 22:42:56 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 22:13:38 pm
It's a bit like saying the struggles for self rule in India and Africa were in reality about skin colour or race.


On that particular point I would say that the struggles for self rule in those places was about justice and humanity but the invasion and subjugation of those same peoples definitely came about a lot easier using religious motivations. Stirring hatred of peoples based on their religious difference is an often used tool used to manipulate and control soldiers on battlefields and the opinions of their supporting nations throughout the history of wars. Kill the Heathen! Burn the infidel! Cast out the ungodly! So much easier and less wordy than "Subjugate the people between us and all those lovely resources. We've got flagging economies to shore up and frankly they can't defend themselves so let us take from these people what we want and need because we really don't give a feck about them and we have the muscle to do it!"
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 22:46:01 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 22:21:21 pm
You are making my point for me Dom. Religion masks the real underlying causes of disputes between peoples. Ireland North and South is littered with crimes done throughout history behind the flag of religion. Looking around the world I see more and more of it. Without religions the truth of what is causing a dispute and the motivations are clear and logically explorable and debatable and you can easily get to the right and wrong of it. Combine tribal passions with religious justifications and add big enough toys and it's good night vienna for everyone. This is the inevitable conclusion I draw from allowing the persistance of religions to go logically unchallenged.


Yes I can see that; not the first time you've made excellent points on this thread
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 22:49:26 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 22:42:56 pm
On that particular point I would say that the struggles for self rule in those places was about justice and humanity but the invasion and subjugation of those same peoples definitely came about a lot easier using religious motivations. Stirring hatred of peoples based on their religious difference is an often used tool used to manipulate and control soldiers on battlefields and the opinions of their supporting nations throughout the history of wars. Kill the Heathen! Burn the infidel! Cast out the ungodly! So much easier and less wordy than "Subjugate the people between us and all those lovely resources. We've got flagging economies to shore up and frankly they can't defend themselves so let us take from these people what we want and need because we really don't give a feck about them and we have the muscle to do it!"


Yes religion was the mask or the tool just like it was in the religious crusades.  It wasn't the cause of the conflict.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 23:02:07 pm
Think independently.

Dominate no-one and be dominated by no-one also.

If someone fails to comply... wish them luck... they'll need it!!!!

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 02, 2012, 23:05:21 pm
OK. You've got the drift of what I am trying to say now. Religion is not the cause, it's the facilitator, the catalyst, the excuse. I do not command that you follow any given path, creed or thought. I simply ask that you consider what is the logical conclusion given ever increasing hostilities between large religiously motivated and sectarian power blocs in an age of increasingly efficient technologies for getting rid of people. I don't like my conclusions when I think about it so I speak up against what I see as the most likely way for man to inflict a potentially final fire for the human race. It's really not difficult to see why religions all have their end of the world "armageddon" predictions. It's the one thing about them all that I am in agreement with them on. Follow illogical beliefs for long enough and sooner or later a zealot will rise in a position of power with a "if we're all dead, God will resurrect the righteous!" total religious conviction. Oh well, at least then we'll all be in agreement of how alike we really were after all.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 23:10:38 pm
Well exactly, any belief system (atheism is not a belief system, just to throw that out there), especially those who adhere to one without question, will likely cause problems.

The problem is believing in anything (doesn't have to be religion) without sufficient evidence, critical thinking is the only way to better our lives, and thankfully if you look through our history, there is an upward trajectory in that regard, we tend to get better at it.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 23:15:31 pm
But mankind has an ingenious ability to discover new ways of manipulating, harming, torturing, controlling.  If religion wasn't there something else would replace it. 
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 23:18:07 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 22:05:17 pmYou started the comparison by comparing zealous atheists with religious zealots saying they're as bad as each other. All I'm saying is, if you really consider the actions of both, can you honestly say that they are as bad?


No, I said that both sides were as boring as feck - that's quite different from saying they're as bad as each other. 

One love, Brother.   :-*
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 02, 2012, 23:18:56 pm
When I learned to play guitar the Rush music books were the total bible of 'How It Is'

Such beautiful chord diagrams, bewildering time signatures... and lyrics to match!

WOW! ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 02, 2012, 23:29:51 pm
Quote from: captainkurtz on May 02, 2012, 23:18:07 pm
No, I said that both sides were as boring as feck - that's quite different from saying they're as bad as each other. 

One love, Brother.  :-\


Well, I still think it's dishonest about the nature and potentially issues with regards to zealousy in the name of atheism (which again, I'm still unsure what that is, writing a few books?) vs zealousy in the name of religion. Is what (for the sake of the thread title) Richard Dawkins does as equally boring as a religious zealot (take your pick). In what way? Was Osama Bin Laden not a religious zealot? He certainly justified what he did through his interpretation of his faith.

People do good and bad thing things, religious or not, but we have to be honest about the reasons for those things.

Hate the game, not the player :-*

Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 23:15:31 pm
But mankind has an ingenious ability to discover new ways of manipulating, harming, torturing, controlling.  If religion wasn't there something else would replace it.


But as Ron said, at least the "something" would be apparent and more easily defined. And I'm actually not entirely sure that's even true, you might get a few pockets of tribalism or despotism, but you'd probably be hard pushed to find something on a global scale like religion can bring together (for good and bad reasons) all across the world. It is the belief of things without worthy scrutiny that is the problem, we tend to believe a junk theory rather than no theory. Mankind needs to somehow find a way to live more compassionately toward one another, religion has tried to do on occasion, and I would say, failed miserably.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 02, 2012, 23:38:11 pm
Fascism and Communism have had a bit of an impact in the recent past.  Just because we can't think of a replacement today doesn't mean it can't happen.

Don't forget that the ideals of religion are generally benign but they are manipulated and perverted by others for their own gain.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on May 03, 2012, 00:10:26 am
Facism and Communism are alive and well I reckon.

These are modern day ideals that have failed... as yet!

Religion will always entwine itself around greater motivative forces.

You can pray all you like but its unlikely the politicians and money people will answer them!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 03, 2012, 15:35:57 pm
Quote from: dom on May 02, 2012, 23:38:11 pmDon't forget that the ideals of religion are generally benign but they are manipulated and perverted by others for their own gain.


Not quite.  The tenets that aren't benign - and there are many - are utilised by some to the letter.  This includes, of course, "divinely" sanctioned homicide in many forms.

They're only doing what they're told...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 03, 2012, 15:56:46 pm
Divinely sanctioned homicide - would that not be the local society's interpretation for their own ends.  Is this actually contained in any original religious scripture ?  In England people who were thought to be witches were murdered but I don't remember that being sanctioned in the Bible.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 03, 2012, 16:04:35 pm
I actually did think of a positive use for religious texts the other day. Is it possible to get a loo roll with a different page from all the current religions of the world on each sheet? I'd buy that and then I would be truly and measurably equal in my dealings with all religions. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 03, 2012, 16:11:36 pm
Quote from: dom on May 03, 2012, 15:56:46 pmDivinely sanctioned homicide - would that not be the local society's interpretation for their own ends.  Is this actually contained in any original religious scripture ?


Infallible, inerrant, non-negotiable, unambiguous religious scripture, be it the Torah, Bible (which contains the Torah) or Koran (which borrows heavily from the Bible), most definitely, yes.  It's all in there.  In abundance.

QuoteIn England people who were thought to be witches were murdered but I don't remember that being sanctioned in the Bible.


Exodus:
Quote22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.


Equally charming, by the way, in the very next verse:

Quote22:19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.


Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 03, 2012, 16:19:27 pm
Fair enough I can't argue with that - you certainly know you're scripture very well - I wonder why that passage was never read out when I went to Church ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 03, 2012, 16:31:09 pm
Quote from: dom on May 03, 2012, 16:19:27 pm
Fair enough I can't argue with that - you certainly know you're scripture very well - I wonder why that passage was never read out when I went to Church ?


To be fair, I did have to look up the book, chapter and verse.  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 03, 2012, 16:40:31 pm
I think I'm done here now...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 03, 2012, 16:43:33 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 03, 2012, 16:04:35 pm
I actually did think of a positive use for religious texts the other day. Is it possible to get a loo roll with a different page from all the current religions of the world on each sheet? I'd buy that and then I would be truly and measurably equal in my dealings with all religions. :)

Removed my original reply as really, joking aside, there is a line not to cross when talking about people's faiths and Ron went and stomped right over it!  :o
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 03, 2012, 17:23:24 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 03, 2012, 16:43:33 pm
Removed my original reply as really, joking aside, there is a line not to cross when talking about people's faiths and Ron went and stomped right over it!  :o


Probably he's only gone one faith further than all the others.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 03, 2012, 17:23:24 pm
Quote from: dom on May 03, 2012, 16:19:27 pm
Fair enough I can't argue with that - you certainly know you're scripture very well - I wonder why that passage was never read out when I went to Church ?


That's the point really, we have learned to ignore a lot of what the "holy" books actually say. And through what means has this been possible? Through influences outside of the religions themselves, the books haven't changed. Left to their own devices, given the supposed orders from god, we'd still be stoning newly wedded wives if they weren't virgins before wedlock, performing witch hunts and all manner of atrocities. If the bible could have told us anything (to improve the culture of the time) it could have easily said that slavery was wrong, and it doesn't, it gets it completely wrong.

It wasn't until we learned to reason with evidence that we have been able to ignore many of these things, we know witches don't exist. No more witch hunts, we know about bacteria, germs and all sorts of things, suddenly a crop failing can't be blamed on the evil eye of a neighbour. Back when we had no other explanations, we believed these things.

There are some beautiful passages in all the books, but they also contain some of the bloodiest and most horrific messages one could ever imagine. We shape our own morals, I would certainly hope no-one really got theirs from the bible, or koran, torah or any other book of that ilk. It's fine to take inspiration from them, but they are not devine, it's no different from taking influence from your favourite novel.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 03, 2012, 17:25:56 pm
And with regards to fascism, communism, etc. Just remember this, as Sam Harris notes, no society has ever suffered from being too reasonable, and that's all the matter at hand really is, what is reasonable.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 03, 2012, 18:21:54 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 03, 2012, 16:43:33 pm
Removed my original reply as really, joking aside, there is a line not to cross when talking about people's faiths and Ron went and stomped right over it!  :o


Why thankyou.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 03, 2012, 22:46:24 pm
A lot of folk, quite understandably, wonder why atheists have become so vociferous and active, particularly in the mainstream media, over recent years.

The main reason, I think from my perspective at least, comes not so much from their atheism as the fact many (if not the majority) are secularists (as are many theists) and this is why I get so exercised by this thread's type of debate.

The fact is that religions (and the UK is a good case study) currently enjoy - and expect - many and varied special exemptions and privileges in law.  The reason basically being that...they're religious.  Now, this reasoning is obviously about as circular as it gets and a growing number of people have simply asked why this should be.  Why shouldn't a law that applies to a non-believer not apply to a believer? (NB. the converse questions are also just as valid and important).  The answer I'd say is pretty obvious: there's no good reason whatsoever.

The hysterical reaction from many religious groups and their apologists (including avowed atheists) to this question has been extremely revealing.  The response to this question has basically been a barrage of vituperative and patronising ad hominem attacks, limp appeals to tradition and authority and incredulity and offense that they should even have this perfectly reasonable enquiry made of them in the first place.  What they have emphatically failed to do is even address the actual question on its own merits, let alone offer a coherent, logical response.

The related debate about whether the historical and factual claims of all major and minor religions and their narratives are actually objectively true has demonstrated pretty comprehensively that they aren't, and until all these mutually exclusive and mutually blasphemous religions can provide extraordinary evidence for their extraordinary claims, they've simply lost the argument, hence their claims to automatic respect and privilege in general, and protective cocoons for their ideas in everyday discourse in particular, especially in legislature, look pathetically untenable.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 04, 2012, 13:29:11 pm
Spot on Matt. Then again their defense will always be that it can't be argued logically and you just have to take their gods word for it because he/she/thing said so.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 04, 2012, 15:15:34 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 04, 2012, 13:29:11 pm
Spot on Matt. Then again their defense will always be that it can't be argued logically and you just have to take their gods word for it because he/she/thing said so.


Indeed, sir.  But then, of course, anything goes and they're back to square one.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 04, 2012, 15:57:21 pm
Yes and that's probably where Matt's post perfectly illustrates the split with regards to the subject matter. The privilege that religion expects, and often gets vs its objective truth. The two are separate, though related, arguments.

Now, if a religion could prove itself to be objectively true, then of course it should be afforded all privileges possible and we should spend our time worshiping the relevant deity to our best abilities (and presumably, however horrible it sounds, that would include for example, killing apostates). However, one only has to look at the evidence and realise that all the supposed instructions from god are merely born from the culture of their origin (though that doesn't mean something isn't true, it should be enough to cast grave doubt). Christianity in particular only really spread thanks to Emperor Constantine.

Maybe if there is a god, another religion was right in the past but has already been wiped off the planet without trace. How would we know (unlikely of course, but I'm just throwing it out there)? We're lucky we have what we do from Greek culture in the past, for example, as a lot was destroyed by angry Christians. Who knows what else has fallen by the wayside in history.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 04, 2012, 18:58:35 pm
The destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria by the Romans was probably the single biggest setback to human advancement though Jeremy Kyle might run it a close second. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 04, 2012, 20:19:06 pm
I tend to think the rapid decline of the sciences (and for what reason? Religion!) in the muslim world probably caused a greater retardation of our species. If they could have kept on the trajectory they were going, I think we'd probably all have jetpacks by now :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on May 05, 2012, 05:03:28 am
Right now that Theism has been dealt with.....how about Karma? I don't believe in reincarnation or that there is some cosmic justice readjustment bureau in operation administering some kind of 'don't think you've got away with it, we'll get round to you eventually even if you come back as a tree sloth' pay back or that places a random, seemingly fortuitous £20 note in your path on a loosely quid quo pro basis (no pun intended)......... however,  the basic ethical principles that underpin Karma appeal to me and the discipline and forward thinking philosophy required to consider not only the direct effect of your actions but also their potential repercussions as they ripple out into the future and impact on others is one I'd very much like to cultivate.

A philosophy that encourages honest self evaluation and a lifetime (in fact several) of conscious, considered, pro-active and conscientious decision making. In Karma there is no inherent pre existing sinful state that underpins the moral position of the human species, nothing that undermines the principle of true free will and seeks to reinforce subservience and dependency through the vicious circle of guilt, confession and penitence, thus denying true choice and personal accountability.

There are paradoxes, determinism being one if you believe in Karma being worked out (mysteriously) over multiple reincarnations. I can't buy into that any more than I can invisible sky gods. Neither do I think it helpful or possible that good deeds can be banked to be drawn on in kind at a later date. As with presents of any kind the joy should be just as much, if not more, about the giving rather than the receiving (though both can be good!) but as an ethical principle and discipline that has many personal and social benefits it certainly seems to have a lot of merits. I think one of the main things that appeals is the need for discipline and rigour. I have fallen into very poor mental habits and allowed circumstances to make me more bitter, cynical and distrustful than I have a right to be....which in turn has made me disengage or opt out of life far too easily and too often. This isn't exactly a road to Damascus moment, far from it, rather its a rather embarrassing public declaration that I hope might help kick start my Arse into motion and I have a habit of romanticising ideologies into an aesthetically pleasing concept rather than a way of life to be actively lived.

Its not perfect or entirely rational but neither am I....at the risk of sounding like a Hippy... even as a metaphor it has the potential (at least) to create a serendipitous circle of benign and positive giving that I intend to become a part of...























































































had you going for a second there didn't I..go on admit it. Lighten up dudes! :)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 05, 2012, 12:06:15 pm
The bottom line for me is that religion, in an ideal World is a good thing.  The sense of community, the ideals of giving and sacrifice - that everything is not just for the self are all great ideals and the World would be a much better place if everyone adhered to them.

What happens though is that human nature gets in the way.  Those in power abuse the power given to them.  As the power is seen to be given to them by god it becomes very easy to abuse and twist the ideal. Those who follow do so unquestioningly no matter what sh*t gets served down.

Pretty much the same with Communism - I don't think there is a better ideal than "from each according to his ability to each according to his need".  But again we are blighted by human nature.  Those with the ability to provide more begrudge the giving and those who receive more than they put in are quite happy to sit back and benefit from the toil of others.  And those in power abuse as much as the religious leaders.

And good old secular democracy gives us Boris Johnson Sarkozy, Bush, Brown, Ahern, Thatcher etc etc.  I think we're all fecked whichever route we choose.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 05, 2012, 13:27:01 pm
Interesting article on Mormonism

http://www.economist.com/node/21554173?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/themormonwayofbusiness
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 05, 2012, 13:46:02 pm
Quote from: dom on May 05, 2012, 12:06:15 pm
The bottom line for me is that religion, in an ideal World is a good thing.  The sense of community, the ideals of giving and sacrifice


Often to the exclusion of others outside the faith.

Quotethat everything is not just for the self are all great ideals and the World would be a much better place if everyone adhered to them.


Theists are promised an eternal reward for it, so you have the question the core motive.

QuoteWhat happens though is that human nature gets in the way.


Already dealt with.  I'll just add: when the bad parts of religion are ignored, is that also human nature getting in the way?

QuoteAnd good old secular democracy gives us Boris Johnson


The UK isn't officially a secular state.

QuoteSarkozy


That's one then...

QuoteBush


Born-again Christian who repeatedly breached Church/State separation.

QuoteBrown


See Johnson.

QuoteAhern


Devout Catholic.

QuoteThatcher


See Johnson.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on May 05, 2012, 13:53:25 pm


What amazes me is that a lot of atheists seem to spend far too much of their time going on about how wrong religion is.

If they don't like it, why can't they just leave it alone?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 05, 2012, 14:34:07 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on May 05, 2012, 13:53:25 pm

What amazes me is that a lot of atheists seem to spend far too much of their time going on about how wrong religion is.

If they don't like it, why can't they just leave it alone?


A considerable amount of the devoutly religious don't like atheism up to and including a homicidal degree.  Why can't they just keep their fantastical beliefs to themselves and leave everyone else alone?  The moment they do that, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris et al will gladly shut up.

It's not as if there isn't any provocation is it?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on May 05, 2012, 15:08:18 pm

But for them to preach and pontificate about atheism, and gather followers, is quite ironic, is it not?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 05, 2012, 15:27:20 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on May 05, 2012, 15:08:18 pm
But for them to preach and pontificate about atheism, and gather followers, is quite ironic, is it not?


Given they allow for the fact they could be proven wrong given sufficient evidence, then I wouldn't say so.  It's no more ironic that, say, Eminem gathers followers for preaching and pontificating in his music.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 05, 2012, 16:01:32 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on May 05, 2012, 13:53:25 pm

What amazes me is that a lot of atheists seem to spend far too much of their time going on about how wrong religion is.

If they don't like it, why can't they just leave it alone?


They can't leave it alone because logic dictates that if it is left alone and unchallenged it will continue to be used to foment division and war.
In the absence of religion the truth about conflicts becomes exposed. i.e. "We are coming to take your stuff and if you're in the way then prepare to die".
That logic is easy to argue against and rally international opinion around to prvent the conflict from happening. Everyone can clearly define the motivation, the agressor and the people being put upon illegally. Once a conflict is perceived to be about ethnicities and sectarian divides though, no-one will intervene and personally I can understand why. You can't reason with people fighting over religion and ethnicity so how are you supposed to make a decree on the right or wrong of it!  :P They have gone beyond rational behaviour and are just acting like primitive lunatics.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 05, 2012, 16:10:11 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 05, 2012, 13:46:02 pm
Often to the exclusion of others outside the faith.


Yes your job is to find all the bad - I'm just pointing it it's capable of doing a whole lot of good too.  and in terms of the benevolent status in the State, they do as much and more good than many charities and are fully deserving of charitable status

Quote)Theists are promised an eternal reward for it, so you have the question the core motive.


So it should be discounted.  Pretty poor reply by your standards.  Is anything truly altrustic with no thought of any personal benefit ?

QuoteAlready dealt with.  I'll just add: when the bad parts of religion are ignored, is that also human nature getting in the way?

Already dealt with.  I'm trying to highlight the good - you're doing a great job on highlighting the bad ;)

QuoteThe UK isn't officially a secular state.

That's one then...

Born-again Christian who repeatedly breached Church/State separation.

See Johnson.

Devout Catholic.

See Johnson.


I was comparing poor leaders of religion with those of the state.  You'll do very well to find a truly secular state.  Even better to find one that's half-way decent.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 05, 2012, 17:10:46 pm
I havn't done the studies but I would be truly surprised if there is isn't a direct inverse correlation in countries between the proportion of the population that shows devoutness to religions and the general wellbeing, wealth and health of the individuals therein. I am of course talking about countries where people are free to believe or not and not totalitarian regimes where said freedoms are not present.

I do know that Scandinavian countries have some of the highest rates of agnosticism and atheism as nations and they also seem to contain some of the healthiest, wealthiest, long lived people on the planet with carefully planned families, social responsibility, excellent childcare and very low crime rates. Contrast this with devoutly religious countries and things that spring to mind are slums, low incomes, drug turf wars, a high birth rate, a low life expectancy and a total meltdown of the fabric of reason based society with everything left to religious charities to sort out.

Conclusion. Religion is BAD for you and it's bad for any kind of future.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 05, 2012, 17:48:04 pm
Perhaps  - I always put the well-being of the Scandinavians down to the fact that they have a very robust attitude to welfare state and the wealthier seem to be reasonably happy to pay higher than usual taxes; its inequality that leads to slums and the like.  And if it wasn't for religion in some of those countries, things would be an awful lot worse..

The theory that more equality equates to better society was espoused in this book

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6304389-the-spirit-level
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 06, 2012, 15:27:11 pm
Quote from: dom on May 05, 2012, 17:48:04 pm
Perhaps  - I always put the well-being of the Scandinavians down to the fact that they have a very robust attitude to welfare state and the wealthier seem to be reasonably happy to pay higher than usual taxes; its inequality that leads to slums and the like.  And if it wasn't for religion in some of those countries, things would be an awful lot worse..

The theory that more equality equates to better society was espoused in this book

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6304389-the-spirit-level


I do not agree with that at all. I don't think it makes logical sense on so many fronts that I do not know where to start.
I'll have a go at a sweeping summary though. :)

Inequality is a fact of life. Random chance of birth or just plain ability will always cause some people to rise above and achieve more. It's not fair but it's the way it is and at least it mirrors the unfairness of the rest of the universe.
As I see it, countries which embrace this reality and also have the wit to look out for the less well advantaged and help them to stay educated and have a a chance of rising do the best. Countries which just take their masses and keep them opressed by theocracies just mask this reality with offers of godly rewards in the next life if they just stay faithful and uneducated, keep on reproducing and preferably feck off back to the tip to collect a few more bags of scraps. Meanwhile the wealthy and educated in these countries keep the wealth to themselves and scoff down at the religiously strangled masses.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 06, 2012, 17:24:48 pm
Well like the Scandinavian countries (where people are happiest) I believe that one of the roles of the state is to iron out inequality.  it's  difficult balance to achieve where you don't want to halt the desire to progress and improve but there's no reason for anyone who lives in a modern society to suffer from poverty.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 06, 2012, 18:23:25 pm
Quote from: dom on May 06, 2012, 17:24:48 pm
Well like the Scandinavian countries (where people are happiest) I believe that one of the roles of the state is to iron out inequality.  it's  difficult balance to achieve where you don't want to halt the desire to progress and improve but there's no reason for anyone who lives in a modern society to suffer from poverty.


Now this I agree with. The degree of state sponsored "ironing" though is a very tricky balance to get right. Too much and you get rampant uncaring dogmatic communism. Too little and you get rampant uncaring dogmatic capitalism.  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 06, 2012, 21:10:13 pm
We found some common ground  8)  i think we should leave the debate there  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 08, 2012, 15:54:14 pm
We seem to be skirting around the issues which Matt highlighted, is a religion objectively true and does religion warrant a privilege within a society or with regards to criticism?

If either of those questions is "no", then the rest is just noise, if either is "yes" then an argument needs to be put forward in support.

Regardless, a few points to catch up with:

Re: Atheists spending a lot of time blah blah blah, for a start, I doubt the vast majority of atheists don't exactly log onto google and type in "religious message board" and start firing away. Unless you think religion is a special topic it is no different than saying "I don't understand why people log on to a Rush forum to discuss other bands". And second to that point, if the worst people can say is that "I don't see the point" then I would be happy to take the criticism. It's not like any atheist (I'm sure if you trawled the internet for long enough you might find a couple...) is saying that anyone who doesn't think the same way or believes in any god should be killed, etc.

We should not discount Matt's other point about questioning the core motive about someone's action with regards to heaven or hell (or other equivalent in a particular religion). As Steven Pinker notes, if you can promise utopia (everything is perfect forever) then anything you can do to reach it is justifiable. This relates to other ideologies as well such as Hitler's perfect solution, etc, but is also applicable to beliefs on the afterlife.

Consider this: Is there anything you wouldn't do to get to heaven if you truly believed it existed? Let's call heaven eternal unimaginable bliss, and hell is eternal unimaginable suffering. I think if you wouldn't do anything then you'd end up regretting it later on...

If religion is not true (thankfully there is no proof that it is) and does not warrant privilege in society (it doesn't), then what are we left with? Community? The churches are empty, what community does it even give any more? Comfort? Again, something can be comforting but it doesn't make it true. I might be comforted that the moon is made out of cheese. The ideals of giving and sacrifice are not even exclusive to religion, so those are out.

We just have to be honest about the nature of the way the world is, and to do our best with regards to the evidence we currently have, and work to know more. Evidence and reason are what has advanced is as a species, faith is the antithesis of this and causes nothing but problems. To find a path of shared values and compassion among everyone, we have to do away with doctrines that preach about indifference.

With regards to understanding human nature, again, any knowledge we have amassed has helped us advance, if we know that something is in our nature we at least know that we have to work at either encouraging it or discouraging it. That we appear to be charmed by superstition or conspiracy theory over no theory at all should at least lead us toward skepticism about all claims.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 08, 2012, 17:55:26 pm
Quote from: dom on May 05, 2012, 16:10:11 pm
Yes your job is to find all the bad - I'm just pointing it it's capable of doing a whole lot of good too.


Indeed, fair enough. :)  However, it's not required for a good person to do good, but it appears to be a frequent common denominator to drive a good person to do bad.

Quoteand in terms of the benevolent status in the State, they do as much and more good than many charities and are fully deserving of charitable status


No reasonable person would deny them that, provided not a penny of any State funds received is used for genuine charitable work and not proselytization.

QuoteSo it should be discounted.  Pretty poor reply by your standards.  Is anything truly altrustic with no thought of any personal benefit ?


Even if it were to be conceded that the answer to that is "no", compare the (false) reward promised by religions to believers with the personal "reward" for an atheist who, say, donate monthly to UNICEF; the former gets eternal nirvana in the company of the omnipotent Creator Of The Universe, whereas the latter probably gets a simple, humble satisfaction they're simply Doing A Good Thing.  The key difference here is that the believer's perceived reward literally infinitely outweighs the award to any beneficiary of their good deed, whereas the non-believer's reward is far exceeded by their beneficiary's award.

QuoteYou'll do very well to find a truly secular state.  Even better to find one that's half-way decent.


More's the pity!  But I think we're getting there, albeit painfully slowly.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 08, 2012, 23:35:46 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 08, 2012, 15:54:14 pm
We seem to be skirting around the issues which Matt highlighted, is a religion objectively true and does religion warrant a privilege within a society or with regards to criticism?


I have no issue with criticizing religions.  Some of the multiple faults mentioned here and many others could have been avoided if they'd been more opportunity to question in the past.  As to its privilege, I think it would be a good idea to list what these are.  I've mentioned its charity work both here and in the 3rd World and they are fully deserving of charity status imo.  What other privileges do they have ?

QuoteIf either of those questions is "no", then the rest is just noise, if either is "yes" then an argument needs to be put forward in support.


I'm not sure you're going to get that - there's only me here putting up anything of a counter-argument and I'm not really religious at all.  I just don't get the atheist stance.  Just let the believing get on with it

QuoteRegardless, a few points to catch up with:

Re: Atheists spending a lot of time blah blah blah, for a start, I doubt the vast majority of atheists don't exactly log onto google and type in "religious message board" and start firing away. Unless you think religion is a special topic it is no different than saying "I don't understand why people log on to a Rush forum to discuss other bands". And second to that point, if the worst people can say is that "I don't see the point" then I would be happy to take the criticism. It's not like any atheist (I'm sure if you trawled the internet for long enough you might find a couple...) is saying that anyone who doesn't think the same way or believes in any god should be killed, etc.


I have no issue with this

QuoteWe should not discount Matt's other point about questioning the core motive about someone's action with regards to heaven or hell (or other equivalent in a particular religion). As Steven Pinker notes, if you can promise utopia (everything is perfect forever) then anything you can do to reach it is justifiable. This relates to other ideologies as well such as Hitler's perfect solution, etc, but is also applicable to beliefs on the afterlife.

Consider this: Is there anything you wouldn't do to get to heaven if you truly believed it existed? Let's call heaven eternal unimaginable bliss, and hell is eternal unimaginable suffering. I think if you wouldn't do anything then you'd end up regretting it later on...


I really don't get this - if good is being done - if people/society is benefitting from someone's good deeds why do their motive need to be question.  Is the desire for eternal life better or worse than trying to get a few million cut off your tax bill.

QuoteIf religion is not true (thankfully there is no proof that it is) and does not warrant privilege in society (it doesn't), then what are we left with? Community? The churches are empty, what community does it even give any more? Comfort? Again, something can be comforting but it doesn't make it true. I might be comforted that the moon is made out of cheese. The ideals of giving and sacrifice are not even exclusive to religion, so those are out.

We just have to be honest about the nature of the way the world is, and to do our best with regards to the evidence we currently have, and work to know more. Evidence and reason are what has advanced is as a species, faith is the antithesis of this and causes nothing but problems. To find a path of shared values and compassion among everyone, we have to do away with doctrines that preach about indifference.


Religion is true to millions of people and I don't think there's any reason to take that away from people, especially if society is benefitting as a result.  Obviously if religion is being used to harm others then this needs to be stamped out.

I don't think your ideals about using evidence conflict with religious ones.  Science and progress in general are not being prevented from advancing man-kind.  That may have been the case in the past but I don't think it is currently.

QuoteWith regards to understanding human nature, again, any knowledge we have amassed has helped us advance, if we know that something is in our nature we at least know that we have to work at either encouraging it or discouraging it. That we appear to be charmed by superstition or conspiracy theory over no theory at all should at least lead us toward skepticism about all claims.


Again, no conflict here.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 08, 2012, 23:44:56 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 08, 2012, 17:55:26 pm
Indeed, fair enough. :)  However, it's not required for a good person to do good, but it appears to be a frequent common denominator to drive a good person to do bad.

No reasonable person would deny them that, provided not a penny of any State funds received is used for genuine charitable work and not proselytization.

Even if it were to be conceded that the answer to that is "no", compare the (false) reward promised by religions to believers with the personal "reward" for an atheist who, say, donate monthly to UNICEF; the former gets eternal nirvana in the company of the omnipotent Creator Of The Universe, whereas the latter probably gets a simple, humble satisfaction they're simply Doing A Good Thing.  The key difference here is that the believer's perceived reward literally infinitely outweighs the award to any beneficiary of their good deed, whereas the non-believer's reward is far exceeded by their beneficiary's award.

More's the pity!  But I think we're getting there, albeit painfully slowly.


In terms of the doing good - what does it matter what the perceived benefit is ?  If you take that away and people are less inclined to do good, then everyone suffers as a result
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 08, 2012, 23:54:54 pm
Quote from: dom on May 08, 2012, 23:35:46 pm
I don't think your ideals about using evidence conflict with religious ones.  Science and progress in general are not being prevented from advancing man-kind.  That may have been the case in the past but I don't think it is currently.


This is blatantly and demonstrably not true. Throughout history religions have actively persecuted science when it conflicts with their dogmatic world order view. The catholic church with earth at the centre of the universe vs Galileo and his observations. The conservative christian movement vs Darwin and evolution. Islam vs the invention of the printing press was a real tragedy for the islamic peoples of the world. The west got the technological renaissance thanks to rapid dissemination of printed scientific works ironically largely preserved by islamic scholars and the islamic nations were stifled due to a religious decree that the printing press was a "work of evil" as early versions of it could not reproduce the Koran accurately. Today I would maintain science is facing an even greater threat. Religious zealots are now trying a new tack and are trying to pervert actual science with bogus pseudo science. You only have to look at the attack that reason and science is coming under from the intelligent design brigade (who are really just fundamentalist Christians trying to undermine evolution) to see that religion if left unchallenged will always rise up like the lunatic it is to try and put the clock back to an age of thoughtless obedience.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 09, 2012, 00:02:04 am
In the past when religion had full control over societies, it did have the potential to hold back progress. Crazy creationists may have their say but they can't halt scientific progress.  In Islamic countries religion can still have a crippling effect, I suppose, but not anywhere else.  Even if it wanted to religion doesn't hold the sway over the vast majority of societies like it used to.  If you think it still does, you're seeing it holding a lot more power than it actually has.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 09, 2012, 06:56:47 am
Quote from: dom on May 08, 2012, 23:35:46 pm
I have no issue with criticizing religions.  Some of the multiple faults mentioned here and many others could have been avoided if they'd been more opportunity to question in the past.  As to its privilege, I think it would be a good idea to list what these are.  I've mentioned its charity work both here and in the 3rd World and they are fully deserving of charity status imo.  What other privileges do they have ?


Take marriage for example, which is basically a historically secular practice, has ultimately been hijacked by religion and is now the sole objector to same-sex marriage. We have seats reserved in the house of lords for bishops, the only country in the world with a similar setup is Iran. We've also barely talked about faith schools *shudder* which can discriminate based on faith and don't even have to teach the census. The potential retardation of education that these schools can potentially have on their students is very frightening. Faith groups that can also discriminate. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/may/31/religious-groups-public-service-providers-equality-law these are real problems that cannot be ignored. Closer to home, imagine if the child rape scandals in Ireland had been under a non-religious institution? There's enough outrage as it is of course, but I suspect people would be acting a lot more quickly and harshly than with the catholic church.

Quote
I'm not sure you're going to get that - there's only me here putting up anything of a counter-argument and I'm not really religious at all.  I just don't get the atheist stance.  Just let the believing get on with it


That was a more general point. The problem is, letting the believers just get on with it is not a particularly helpful comment in its own right. Suicide bombers are just "getting on with it", for example. Most atheists I suspect would be happy to let people "get on with it" so long as they didn't expect their point of view to be respected more than any other, but that really isn't the case and the moment one makes their opinion known it is open for debate.

The catholic church appear to be "just getting on with it" by writing to every single state-funded catholic school asking them to sign a petition against gay marriage - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/25/catholic-church-schools-gay-marriage I'd actually be surprised if this wasn't actually illegal, now what would the outcry be if the roles were reversed in a similar scenario I wonder?

Quote
I really don't get this - if good is being done - if people/society is benefitting from someone's good deeds why do their motive need to be question.  Is the desire for eternal life better or worse than trying to get a few million cut off your tax bill.


The definition of "good" would certainly need to be looked at on a case by case basis if we're going to dig that deep. Christian missionaries in Africa may appear to be doing good work, but the net effect is hugely negative. In any case, do you think people would stop giving to charity if it weren't for religion? A bit like asking if people would start raping and pillaging if it weren't for their religious belief.

In any case, it's a simple straight-up comparison that is worth highlighting.

Quote
Religion is true to millions of people and I don't think there's any reason to take that away from people, especially if society is benefitting as a result.  Obviously if religion is being used to harm others then this needs to be stamped out.


Again, what's true to someone does not make it "true". Better to track reality, and "benefiting society", by what standard? Society benefits when it removes itself from ideology and deals with evidence. Some small gains are offset by faith in general which has held back progress particularly in developing nations (especially those where religious "morals" have gotten there early on under the guise of charity, but was little more than a recruitment drive).

Quote
I don't think your ideals about using evidence conflict with religious ones.  Science and progress in general are not being prevented from advancing man-kind.  That may have been the case in the past but I don't think it is currently.


Of course it is! The objection to stem-cell research (probably our biggest chance of a huge medical breakthrough) is 100% religious, and no doubt there are other significant areas where progress is halted in the science world (or if not, certainly having the findings of science impact on society). No US president is going to get elected if they ran on a campaign based on scientific advance which included a hugely funded stem cell research program, for example. We see the pope going to Africa and saying that aids is bad, but condoms are worse! To say this is a problem of the past is just not true. Society moves by the will of the people (generally speaking) who elect who they want, unfortunately they allow moronic ideas to hamper progress.

A quick-fire list:

The suicide bomber community - 100% religions
The genital mutilation community - 100% religious
Resistance to same-sex marriage - ??? imagine what the world would be like if each "holy" book simply had a passage saying something like "men can love men and women can love women, for this love pleases god as much as any other", I suspect within a 10% margin of error this is a 90% of the cause of homophobia
Resistance to stem cell research - 100% religious
Preaching abstinence-only sex education - 100% religious
Global warming skeptics - ???
Anti-abortion - I wouldn't say with complete confidence but I would wager the vast majority of objection is from religion

And a simple question, would the world be better off without religion? Not asking to rip it away from anyone, not asking for anyone to be killed for thinking differently, just a simple, ideological question (not even commenting on the likelihood).

People can believe what they want, no-one is asking anyone to be punished of thought-crime (hello commandment number 10), one simply has to ask what believing in claims with unsupported evidence can actually do for good...

Is a bit of charity work and comfort really worth all the bother, when those options are available without it anyway?

There really doesn't seem to be a coherent argument against all this other than "some atheists are annoying".
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 09, 2012, 09:41:35 am
Quote from: dom on May 09, 2012, 00:02:04 am
In Islamic countries religion can still have a crippling effect, I suppose, but not anywhere else.  Even if it wanted to religion doesn't hold the sway over the vast majority of societies like it used to.  If you think it still does, you're seeing it holding a lot more power than it actually has.

You really need to have a good look at some catholic societies such as the Philippines where the lack of, and indeed opposition to from the church, contraception is causing a disastrous population rise and subsequent terrible poverty for a large proportion of it's people.  See also swathes of Africa.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 09, 2012, 10:50:51 am
Quote from: dom on May 08, 2012, 23:35:46 pmAs to its privilege, I think it would be a good idea to list what these are.  I've mentioned its charity work both here and in the 3rd World and they are fully deserving of charity status imo.


No-one would argue with their charitable status, providing they are subject to the same terms in being granted that status as everyone else.  Unfortunately, they often seek exemptions from those terms for the "right" to discriminate and proselytize.  See: Catholic adoption agencies.

QuoteWhat other privileges do they have ?


How long have you got?  :o There is an astounding multitude of privileges and exemptions they enjoy and automatically expect in employment law, tax rules, animal slaughter, the education system, State-funded chaplaincy, State-funded broadcasting, criminal law and so on and so on.

Even the ludicrous notion of a blasphemy law wasn't abolished until very recently.

And that's just in the supposedly secular UK!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 09, 2012, 13:59:52 pm
Consider this simple statement.

Hydrogen + gravity + time = everything we experience. :) You could argue that dark matter/energy and anti-matter are equally important but from our corner of the universe everything we are is a direct result of that simple formula. Oh and if you ever meet your anti-matter self in a vaccum I strongly advise against shaking hands.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 09, 2012, 21:47:40 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 09, 2012, 06:56:47 am
Take marriage for example, which is basically a historically secular practice, has ultimately been hijacked by religion and is now the sole objector to same-sex marriage. We have seats reserved in the house of lords for bishops, the only country in the world with a similar setup is Iran. We've also barely talked about faith schools *shudder* which can discriminate based on faith and don't even have to teach the census. The potential retardation of education that these schools can potentially have on their students is very frightening. Faith groups that can also discriminate. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/may/31/religious-groups-public-service-providers-equality-law these are real problems that cannot be ignored. Closer to home, imagine if the child rape scandals in Ireland had been under a non-religious institution? There's enough outrage as it is of course, but I suspect people would be acting a lot more quickly and harshly than with the catholic church.


My secondary school was a faith school and religion and science co-existed perfectly well with one another.  If a faith school were to teach creationism taught instead of  evolution i would be completely against that.

Irish society has been left hamstrung by the Catholic Church for way too long.  The fact that abortion is not permitted here and the abuse of children is truly shocking.  The full impact of the abuse scandal will reduce still further the Church's influence on Irish society and politics.

QuoteThat was a more general point. The problem is, letting the believers just get on with it is not a particularly helpful comment in its own right. Suicide bombers are just "getting on with it", for example. Most atheists I suspect would be happy to let people "get on with it" so long as they didn't expect their point of view to be respected more than any other, but that really isn't the case and the moment one makes their opinion known it is open for debate.


Well of course regardless of belief people should always act within the rules of the state.   

QuoteThe catholic church appear to be "just getting on with it" by writing to every single state-funded catholic school asking them to sign a petition against gay marriage - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/25/catholic-church-schools-gay-marriage I'd actually be surprised if this wasn't actually illegal, now what would the outcry be if the roles were reversed in a similar scenario I wonder?


I'm personally in favour of gay marriage but I'm not against people having an opinion contrary to that and being free to express it.

Quotehe definition of "good" would certainly need to be looked at on a case by case basis if we're going to dig that deep. Christian missionaries in Africa may appear to be doing good work, but the net effect is hugely negative. In any case, do you think people would stop giving to charity if it weren't for religion? A bit like asking if people would start raping and pillaging if it weren't for their religious belief.


I suppose that goes for all charities - not  the raping and pillaging bit obviously.  And doing good in the Church is not restricted to giving to charity. 

QuoteIn any case, it's a simple straight-up comparison that is worth highlighting.

Again, what's true to someone does not make it "true". Better to track reality, and "benefiting society", by what standard? Society benefits when it removes itself from ideology and deals with evidence. Some small gains are offset by faith in general which has held back progress particularly in developing nations (especially those where religious "morals" have gotten there early on under the guise of charity, but was little more than a recruitment drive).

Of course it is! The objection to stem-cell research (probably our biggest chance of a huge medical breakthrough) is 100% religious, and no doubt there are other significant areas where progress is halted in the science world (or if not, certainly having the findings of science impact on society). No US president is going to get elected if they ran on a campaign based on scientific advance which included a hugely funded stem cell research program, for example. We see the pope going to Africa and saying that aids is bad, but condoms are worse! To say this is a problem of the past is just not true. Society moves by the will of the people (generally speaking) who elect who they want, unfortunately they allow moronic ideas to hamper progress.


Like you, I'm against religion hampering progress like this.  I can't see it being delayed for too long.  Scientists will move to countries where the research is permitted.  Countries that prevent its progress will be the ones that suffer.

QuoteA quick-fire list:

The suicide bomber community - 100% religions
The genital mutilation community - 100% religious
Resistance to same-sex marriage - ??? imagine what the world would be like if each "holy" book simply had a passage saying something like "men can love men and women can love women, for this love pleases god as much as any other", I suspect within a 10% margin of error this is a 90% of the cause of homophobia
Resistance to stem cell research - 100% religious
Preaching abstinence-only sex education - 100% religious
Global warming skeptics - ???
Anti-abortion - I wouldn't say with complete confidence but I would wager the vast majority of objection is from religion


I completely disagree with suicide bombers being 100% religious.  Religion is being used  for political reasons.  The lowly suicide bomber has been swayed by the bastardisation of his religion for goals that are not religious at all.  Genital mutilation is truly sickening but I'm not sure how based on religion it is or from the societies where they are practiced.   I don't know enough about it to comment.

QuoteAnd a simple question, would the world be better off without religion? Not asking to rip it away from anyone, not asking for anyone to be killed for thinking differently, just a simple, ideological question (not even commenting on the likelihood).

People can believe what they want, no-one is asking anyone to be punished of thought-crime (hello commandment number 10), one simply has to ask what believing in claims with unsupported evidence can actually do for good...

Is a bit of charity work and comfort really worth all the bother, when those options are available without it anyway?

There really doesn't seem to be a coherent argument against all this other than "some atheists are annoying".


i think society would be worse off without religion.  It provides a valuable pillar for communites which would suffer if they weren't there.  There are exceptions, which i'm sure you're going to go through in great depth again, but in general they provide a good moral compass for people.  They  give people solace and provides meaning to people's lives.  I don't want religion to have any say in the running of society but I think it should be allowed to exist within it.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 09, 2012, 22:43:01 pm
Quote from: dom on May 09, 2012, 21:47:40 pm
My secondary school was a faith school and religion and science co-existed perfectly well with one another.  If a faith school were to teach creationism taught instead of  evolution i would be completely against that.


Religion and science are simply not compatible, that doesn't mean religious people can't be scientists, teach science, etc I'm sure some faith schools are just fine, but the whole method of them is at best ill-advised and divisive. One simply has to ignore a lot of what religious scripture says in order to marry the two most of the time, or start inserting imaginary things into something that supposes none of the sort (eg, evolution is guided by the invisible hand of god...).

Quote
Irish society has been left hamstrung by the Catholic Church for way too long.  The fact that abortion is not permitted here and the abuse of children is truly shocking. The full impact of the abuse scandal will reduce still further the Church's influence on Irish society and politics.


One would hope, but it remains to be seen. I suspect like most religious (and as an aside, political) scandals, it will end up being forgotten in a few years and most of the people involved will actually go largely unpunished, I hope I'm wrong.

Quote
Well of course regardless of belief people should always act within the rules of the state.   


Indeed, though there are many loopholes for religious groups.

Quote
I'm personally in favour of gay marriage but I'm not against people having an opinion contrary to that and being free to express it.


Oh of course not, freedom of speech has to trump over almost everything, I would never want someone to not have an opinion. People can say what they like, I merely hope for a society where people are willing to point out the bullshit when they do. Plus, in the example I gave, I believe it has actually just been deemed an illegal move by the catholic church.

You pay a (often social) price in society for certain views, I would like to see homophobia given the same treatment as racism, maybe one day. If I were to truly believe, and state that the world was ran by a bunch of alien lizard-like beings disguised as humans, I would be ridiculed, and yet the thought that a desert tribe of peasants had access to the creator of the universe is somehow not on the same ridiculous level as something like denying the holocaust ever happened.

Quote
I suppose that goes for all charities - not  the raping and pillaging bit obviously.  And doing good in the Church is not restricted to giving to charity. 


No, but being there for the needy is a handy way to get new recruits as well.

Quote
Like you, I'm against religion hampering progress like this.  I can't see it being delayed for too long.  Scientists will move to countries where the research is permitted.  Countries that prevent its progress will be the ones that suffer.


That's a bit speculative, however, the major economies are the driving force in science mostly because they can afford it, moving to a poorer country often leads to a higher level of religiousity therefore resistance, so it's a bit of a circular. If stem cell research is (to be speculative) the path to a cure for many currently incurable diseases and illnesses, we will only be able to look back on the resistance to it with horror and outrage. Not being delayed for too long (how long is that?) is still much too long for too many people, and the only ideological resistance is from religion. Stem cell research isn't going to speed up unless a country like the US gets behind it.

Quote
I completely disagree with suicide bombers being 100% religious.  Religion is being used  for political reasons.  The lowly suicide bomber has been swayed by the bastardisation of his religion for goals that are not religious at all.


I really think you're wrong on this. Martyrdom and jihad are pretty solid doctrines within Islam and the koran doesn't have to be read out of context to lead one to dying in defence of the faith (which is just about the highest honour possible and a fast-track to paradise). If one truly believes in such doctrines, they are based on their interpretation of their religion. It is a fallacy to say something like, while suicide bombers are religious it isn't the religion that is causing them to do it, it really is. Of course many muslims can ignore or change the ideals of martydom and jihad so that they don't lead one to blowing up a bus full of school children, but they're both completely plausible readings of the very same thing.

If I really believed that killing infidels would not only gain me passage to paradise but for my family as well, I would certainly consider killing infidels (in fact if I really, truly believed it I suspect I wouldn't have much hesitation). The problem is that people don't tend to accept just how much beliefs actually matter and drive our intentions and desires. We can say these people are deluded or simply wrong, but we can't say their religion is either out of context or misinterpreted.

Quote
Genital mutilation is truly sickening but I'm not sure how based on religion it is or from the societies where they are practiced.   I don't know enough about it to comment.


I'll dig some stuff up but you may not want me to! ;)

Quote
i think society would be worse off without religion.  It provides a valuable pillar for communites which would suffer if they weren't there.  There are exceptions, which i'm sure you're going to go through in great depth again, but in general they provide a good moral compass for people.  They  give people solace and provides meaning to people's lives.  I don't want religion to have any say in the running of society but I think it should be allowed to exist within it.


Well in terms of a moral compass, how so? The religions themselves, when actually analysed are anything but moral. And again, would these people be raping and pillaging if it weren't for their religion? And if one is to insinuate that some people need religion it's a bit condescending when others clearly don't. To reiterate, it's only through humanistic and secular victories outside of religions which have advanced our sense of morals, if our moral compass was led by religion we would still have slaves and do all kinds of wicked things, its only when they weren't allowed to do that anymore religion had to let it go. Religion has held back our moral progress, not helped it.

What does religion give people that can't be found elsewhere whilst not believing in things that have no evidence? You can believe all kinds of things and not be religious, emancipating ourselves from iron-age mythology would only help, not hinder. Why would communities suffer? We're social species and in general, like to help the tribe, and the tribe has expanded to a worldwide scale these days, our levels of empathy have risen, not because of religion (which is divisive to those of other beliefs) but if there was a single reason it would probably be the advent of the printed press. Word was able to travel much faster and seeing through the eyes of another point of view has been a victory for the species that is probably unsurpassed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 10, 2012, 13:23:12 pm
Quote from: dom on May 09, 2012, 21:47:40 pm
i think society would be worse off without religion.  It provides a valuable pillar for communites which would suffer if they weren't there.  There are exceptions, which i'm sure you're going to go through in great depth again, but in general they provide a good moral compass for people.  They  give people solace and provides meaning to people's lives.  I don't want religion to have any say in the running of society but I think it should be allowed to exist within it.

Replace the word 'religion' with football, the local pub or "being a Rush fan" and this paragraph would still make sense. Sure, religion provides 'community' but as we have argued there is often a very serious price to pay within any such community through organised religion (Catholic kiddie fiddling priests, FGM, forced marriages etc etc). There is a lot of other things humanity pulls together for which provides the same service but without the associated brainwashing, guilt, sex issues and misogyny.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 10, 2012, 16:15:25 pm
I'd actually go one step further in my condemnation of organised religions. Being a preacher is not a real job in my opinion. It has no peer reviewed targets or proveable successful outcomes. It's a licence to talk bollox and divide people up based on arbitrary religious guidelines. If I had my way they'd all be made to do REAL jobs where pressure and targets and measurable goals are present. I think people working in religious groups are just shirking their responsibility to muck in with the rest of us and do a decent days work. Personally I think they are all just career avoiders and they get short shrift when they turn up on my doorstep.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 10, 2012, 16:27:01 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 10, 2012, 16:15:25 pm
I'd actually go one step further in my condemnation of organised religions. Being a preacher is not a real job in my opinion. It has no peer reviewed targets or proveable successful outcomes. It's a licence to talk bollox and divide people up based on arbitrary religious guidelines. If I had my way they'd all be made to do REAL jobs where pressure and targets and measurable goals are present. I think people working in religious groups are just shirking their responsibility to muck in with the rest of us and do a decent days work. Personally I think they are all just career avoiders and they get short shrift when they turn up on my doorstep.

The Witnesses I know (and it's a few) all do full time 'normal' jobs and go out doorstepping when they have time (weekends and evenings) so I think you are possibly being a tad disingenuous. I do have one evangelical acquaintance though who does religion as a full time job (passing the Evangelical word on via USA stylee teaching). I keep reminding him it's a load of brainwashing bollocks but he's a full on creationist and already too far gone. Fun for a debate now and then but we have to agree to disagree or we'd fall out, and he's a nice chap really.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 10, 2012, 16:41:06 pm
What would the targets and goals of a priest or someone of similar standing actually be anyway?

I don't think that's a workable system nor one that is particularly reasonable, who would make sure these people were doing their "jobs" anyway?

It all comes down to belief again, if you really believe that if you accept jesus as your personal saviour you get to heaven and if you don't you go to hell, I'd feel it a moral responsibility to "spread His word" as well.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on May 10, 2012, 18:08:08 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 10, 2012, 16:15:25 pm
I'd actually go one step further in my condemnation of organised religions. Being a preacher is not a real job in my opinion. It has no peer reviewed targets or proveable successful outcomes. It's a licence to talk bollox and divide people up based on arbitrary religious guidelines. If I had my way they'd all be made to do REAL jobs where pressure and targets and measurable goals are present. I think people working in religious groups are just shirking their responsibility to muck in with the rest of us and do a decent days work. Personally I think they are all just career avoiders and they get short shrift when they turn up on my doorstep.


Ron, I'm not a believer and there are few things that grind my gears more than BACs preaching the Gospel or Hellfire and Damnation. I too have no problem telling them I'm not interested but you can't tar everyone with the same brush. There are people I have known (dead now from old age) who preached both in church and in public who were employed by the C of E and worked for peanuts for little thanks and often lot of abuse (some of it physical), regularly had their Vicarage broken into and ransacked. They were on call 24/7 visiting the elderly, sick, poor, homeless, mentally illl...and did what they could to bring them comfort and practical help...often they were the only advocate some of those people had. They didn't have a massive pension or retire early to a tied cottage, they gave most of their money away and gave themselves away too. They may well have been deluded but they did what they did out of genuine love and care and not just for the hope of a heavenly reward. They both had prior careers; he was an engineer, she was a nurse Frankly I think you know youre going a bit OTT here! I hope so...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 10, 2012, 22:49:17 pm
This thread needn't become a series of links pointing out all the bad that religion causes people to do but I really couldn't help but be pretty sickened by this story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?_r=2&em&exprod=myyahoo

Sometimes "community" goes a bit too far :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 10, 2012, 23:59:30 pm
Quote from: Bisto on May 10, 2012, 18:08:08 pm
Ron, I'm not a believer and there are few things that grind my gears more than BACs preaching the Gospel or Hellfire and Damnation. I too have no problem telling them I'm not interested but you can't tar everyone with the same brush. There are people I have known (dead now from old age) who preached both in church and in public who were employed by the C of E and worked for peanuts for little thanks and often lot of abuse (some of it physical), regularly had their Vicarage broken into and ransacked. They were on call 24/7 visiting the elderly, sick, poor, homeless, mentally illl...and did what they could to bring them comfort and practical help...often they were the only advocate some of those people had. They didn't have a massive pension or retire early to a tied cottage, they gave most of their money away and gave themselves away too. They may well have been deluded but they did what they did out of genuine love and care and not just for the hope of a heavenly reward. They both had prior careers; he was an engineer, she was a nurse Frankly I think you know youre going a bit OTT here! I hope so...


I too know a few people who work fulltime in religious duties. I am not saying they are not good people and not well meaning. One in particular I can think of is particularly diligent about making sure people are ok after bereavments and just generally looks after the elderly and all that but I still feel at the back my head that niggle that i'd quite like to get paid to do that too instead of what I do as long as I didn't have to do the religion bit. It just sticks in my craw that people high up in religious organisations get a very high standard of living and don't really at the end of the day do anything that I can see that is worthy of their earthly rewards. Cardinal Daly springs immediately to mind. I think he and his ilk have severly misinterpreted "Suffer the little children to come unto me". Mind you I suppose I could level the same level of esteem at high up executives in the City of London financial institutes and i'm not calling for them to....  oh hang on a minute, yes I am.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 11, 2012, 00:11:33 am
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 10, 2012, 22:49:17 pm
This thread needn't become a series of links pointing out all the bad that religion causes people to do but I really couldn't help but be pretty sickened by this story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?_r=2&em&exprod=myyahoo

Sometimes "community" goes a bit too far :-\


That's truly awful and despicable.  Given that most child sexual abuse occurs in the home, i take it you'll be wanting to rid society of families next ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 11, 2012, 12:57:03 pm
Quote from: dom on May 11, 2012, 00:11:33 am
That's truly awful and despicable.  Given that most child sexual abuse occurs in the home, i take it you'll be wanting to rid society of families next ?


Red herring, non sequitur.  We need to be rid of any stigma or reluctance or outright refusal in the reporting of child sexual abuse.  In certain religious sects this is pretty much institutionalised.  Can you think of any secular organisations that have been and are being consistently investigated and brought to account on these grounds?  Cos I can't.  :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 11, 2012, 13:14:30 pm
I can. The Kincora house scandal and the various nursery abuses that hit the news. Predation upon children happens wherever kids are concentrated and access to them is granted to unvetted opportunistic predatory individuals. The difference with those however is that there isn't a massive protective organisation hiding behind layers of mumbo jumbo so they were relatively easy to rule on and deliver justice against. From a purely atheist point of view you could argue that the paedophiles hiding in religious organisations are actually doing the world an unwitting favour by depopularising and hastening the demise of those same organisations but that's not a thought that I can gain any genuine satisfaction from. The cost is too high in terms of innocents suffering.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 11, 2012, 14:09:53 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 11, 2012, 13:14:30 pm
I can. The Kincora house scandal and the various nursery abuses that hit the news. Predation upon children happens wherever kids are concentrated and access to them is granted to unvetted opportunistic predatory individuals. The difference with those however is that there isn't a massive protective organisation hiding behind layers of mumbo jumbo so they were relatively easy to rule on and deliver justice against.


Indeed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on May 12, 2012, 09:35:43 am
Plenty of people work in the careing professions Faith is not a prerequisite of gaining employment for most of them....nothing stopping you. I spent about 5 years doing it in my early adult life. It was the most traumatic, upsetting and rewarding work I've ever done and if I could afford to go back to doing it in some capacity I would .... I'd encourage anyone who feels they could commit to it to give it a go but its not for the faint of heart, mind or stomach!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 15, 2012, 16:16:45 pm
Norway set for church/state separation, good for them :)

http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/9652353.html

"All parties stand united when the Norwegian constitution is changed, so that the state will no longer be a part of the Norwegian church. The amendment is to be presented Tuesday.

The amendment which will be passed later in May, historically changes the state's relationship with the church. Parliament will no longer appoint deans and bishops, and Norway will no longer have one offical state religion."
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 15, 2012, 17:04:05 pm
Brilliant news.  There is hope for rationality in the world.  :)

Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 15, 2012, 16:16:45 pmParliament will no longer appoint deans and bishops, and Norway will no longer have one offical state religion."


Indeed - because no-one has ever satisfactorily explained why they should.  In Norway, or anywhere else for that matter.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 15, 2012, 18:03:56 pm
It's good that their not siding with one particular belief but allowing all belief (and non-bellef) to flourish
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 15, 2012, 18:18:15 pm
Yes, only in a secular state can all beliefs (including non-belief) be on the same level.

I find it hard to disagree with anything on Evan Harris' article from a couple of years ago:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/sep/18/secularist-manifesto-secularism
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 15, 2012, 21:01:44 pm
Quote from: dom on May 15, 2012, 18:03:56 pm
It's good that their not siding with one particular belief but allowing all belief (and non-bellef) to flourish


Given that state preferential support for religion has been removed I would wager that it will be reason and non-belief that will flourish. Norway I salute you in your example setting!  8)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Prince By-Tor on May 15, 2012, 21:10:43 pm
Ditto. May many more follow.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on May 15, 2012, 22:10:10 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 15, 2012, 21:01:44 pm
Given that state preferential support for religion has been removed I would wager that it will be reason and non-belief that will flourish. Norway I salute you in your example setting!  8)


I reckon its a good thing for the Norwegian Church too - to be freed from the shackles of the state.  Hopefully the organisation will become less political and more spiritual
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 15, 2012, 23:30:08 pm
Now with that comment Dom you strike a good blow for the religion side. :) If faith is truly spiritual in nature and stays within that realm then it is more likely to generate some of the good it wants to foster and get back to the roots of what it is supposed to be about. I may not agree with religions or even think they are healthy but by concentrating on what it is supposed to be about it probably will give a lot more honest support to the people who really do believe and have faith and get back in touch with people who maybe who have lost their faith due to corruption of the message from political distractions. I don't want to deny anyone the freedom of choice to believe if that is what they need to survive.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 15, 2012, 23:43:25 pm
I'm not sure there's a coherent description of what religion is or what it's really for to be honest! Religion doesn't own "spiritual", it'll only be able to do good if it rids itself of some of the nonsensical ideas that are held so dear in scripture.

Meditation, "transcendence", finding oneself, etc, are all potentially secular activities without having to believe in anything that has no evidence. Even the most liberal reading of scripture is often halfway to crazy land.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 12:10:16 pm
One of Britain's most deluded and hypocritical men spouts laughable bollocks for a change:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2145529/Dangerous-atheists-want-wipe-Christianity-Cardinal-warns-lack-belief-fosters-violence.html?ito=feeds-newsxml (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2145529/Dangerous-atheists-want-wipe-Christianity-Cardinal-warns-lack-belief-fosters-violence.html?ito=feeds-newsxml)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 12:45:21 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 12:10:16 pm
One of Britain's most deluded and hypocritical men spouts laughable bollocks for a change:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2145529/Dangerous-atheists-want-wipe-Christianity-Cardinal-warns-lack-belief-fosters-violence.html?ito=feeds-newsxml (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2145529/Dangerous-atheists-want-wipe-Christianity-Cardinal-warns-lack-belief-fosters-violence.html?ito=feeds-newsxml)

What do you expect from a 79 year old man who has never been married  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 13:24:01 pm
The more ejits like him organised religions allows to make public their insanity the sooner they hasten their demise and allow humankind a chance of rising beyond superstition. Well done the cardinal! I wonder has he any similar non-thinking friends that he can recruit as well? We should write him a letter of encouragement to continue! :D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 13:30:30 pm
There's just so much wrong with that speech.

'No one is forced to be a Christian...' :o

On the church not being anti gay at all, honest: 'It was, he said, 'a more subtle issue, namely about democracy and the nature of marriage itself. On what grounds does a minority have the right to change the meaning of a fundamental institution for the majority?'
FFS. It's not changing the meaning of marriage you twat. 

And I bet Rowan Williams will not be endorsing these views.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 13:50:23 pm
Apparently if you are not a christian there are all sorts of afterlife complications but if you DO believe then you get rewarded by going to heaven when you die where all the really good christians go. So, basically you'll be sitting around a cosmic campfire singing kumbaya for all eternity with Ned Flanders types in badly knitted pastel jumpers with out of tune acoustic guitars and not a marshall amp in sight.  :o :P :P

Something that really honks me off about christianity in particular. This magnificent being tells us to worship him and we will be saved because he has all the power in the universe but deigned to get himself nailed to a stick to prove he loves us. That just strikes me as a being a bit of an arrogant dick actually. I don't recall WWII allied forces veterans turning around as they went up the beaches from their landing ships to sacrifice themselves and saying that we should worship them. They just did it and saved all of us without singling out any particular grouping of religious people for a heavenly reward.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 14:12:13 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 12:45:21 pm
What do you expect from a 79 year old man who has never been married  ::)


That description could apply to me in 40 years' time.  :o ;)

I think the most pertinent characteristics of Murphy-O'Connor are that he's a theocrat and bigot, to be honest.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 14:14:06 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 13:50:23 pm
Apparently if you are not a christian there are all sorts of afterlife complications but if you DO believe then you get rewarded by going to heaven when you die where all the really good christians go. So, basically you'll be sitting around a cosmic campfire singing kumbaya for all eternity with Ned Flanders types in badly knitted pastel jumpers with out of tune acoustic guitars and not a marshall amp in sight.  :o :P :P

I think the Islamic virgins thing sounds much more appealing.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 14:21:14 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 12:45:21 pm
What do you expect from a 79 year old man who has never been married  ::)

The catholic church does seem a rather convenient way to go if you are a social misfit or have some other rather, how can I put it... unsavoury character flaws. What finer place to hide than in the isolation of catholicism? No wife, no kids to look after (...in theory), no actual job, no house to buy. No commitment apart from to some imaginary man in the sky. And you get power over others too. Recipe for disaster if you ask me.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 14:32:05 pm
A Tory nutter/religion crossover issue:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/poll/2012/may/16/gove-bibles-schools
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 15:14:19 pm
Schools (should) already have bibles, so on that score alone it's a supremely inane thing to do.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 15:38:47 pm
Schools should not teach about religions other than as an anthropological non-faith specific study of their effects on human beings. Universities however should have archives of religious history where the last examples of all the religious texts of the world are stored in electronic archives that can be displayed on viewing stations but not printed out or taken away. Turn left out of the Sir Richard Dawkins wing, accross the Carl Sagan memorial garden and turn right into the Sir Charles Darwin wing following the staircase down depicting the evolutionary ascent of man in reverse order all the way back to the earliest hominids and finishing with a portrait of the worlds current religious leaders on the door to the religious archive with a nuclear holocaust motif of rising mushroom clouds in the background of the image.

Off site backups (or any backups) of the electronic archive of religion should not be permitted as this is counter to the principles of faith that all will be well. The deities whose religions are preserved there should be entrusted to fix the archives should they break and if the texts are lost then we'll patiently wait for the deities to bring them back and tell us who they are. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 15:50:51 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 14:12:13 pm
That description could apply to me in 40 years' time.  :o ;)

I think the most pertinent characteristics of Murphy-O'Connor are that he's a theocrat and bigot, to be honest.

I am sure there will be a few differences in 40 years time; for 1 you will know who Rush are and you will still be fuming at the price of those tickets.

My point being that this sort of opinion is not that uncommon for people of that age.
You have to remember how quickly things have changed in the (western) world in the last 40 odd years..........

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 16:02:32 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 15:50:51 pm
My point being that this sort of opinion is not that uncommon for people of that age.

So true. My parents for example. The reason that generation have those opinions (homophobia, bigotry etc) is because they were all brought up as, and still consider themselves to be, 'good christians'.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 16:06:06 pm
Quite easy to see how the dark ages and the crusades happened really when you backwards extrapolate.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 17:07:24 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 15:50:51 pm
I am sure there will be a few differences in 40 years time; for 1 you will know who Rush are and you will still be fuming at the price of those tickets.


;D

QuoteMy point being that this sort of opinion is not that uncommon for people of that age.
You have to remember how quickly things have changed in the (western) world in the last 40 odd years..........


Indeed on both counts; however, bigotry isn't a necessary criterion for senior citizens, but it is a necessary - indeed institutianalised and doctrinal - criterion to officially be an obedient Catholic.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 17:33:53 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 17:07:24 pm
however, bigotry isn't a necessary criterion for senior citizens, but it is a necessary - indeed institutianalised and doctrinal - criterion to officially be an obedient Catholic.

No its not and I know many many loyal church going Catholics.  The problem is you lot keep lumping all Catholics/christians/theists together and make them all out to be bloody fundamentalists.  Its a very broad church.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 17:34:44 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 17, 2012, 16:06:06 pm
Quite easy to see how the dark ages and the crusades happened really when you backwards extrapolate.

Actually it is very cyclical.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 17, 2012, 17:44:28 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 17:33:53 pm
No its not and I know many many loyal church going Catholics.  The problem is you lot keep lumping all Catholics/christians/theists together and make them all out to be bloody fundamentalists.  Its a very broad church.


The broad church approach is really just part of the problem. The cherry picking that religious people can do is a real headscratcher and there's no rhyme or reason for most of it. At least the fundamentalists are consistent.

Although, there is evidence that Jesus looks the other way when it comes to pornography:

(http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/southwest-2012-035.jpg?w=500&h=363)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 17:51:41 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 17, 2012, 17:44:28 pm
The broad church approach is really just part of the problem. The cherry picking that religious people can do is a real headscratcher and there's no rhyme or reason for most of it. At least the fundamentalists are consistent.

Although, there is evidence that Jesus looks the other way when it comes to pornography:

(http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/southwest-2012-035.jpg?w=500&h=363)


Brilliant picture.

My favourite
(http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/279/0/c/god_listens_to_slayer_by_tiger4iq-d4bzsc1.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 18:03:36 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 17, 2012, 17:44:28 pm
The broad church approach is really just part of the problem. The cherry picking that religious people can do is a real headscratcher and there's no rhyme or reason for most of it. At least the fundamentalists are consistent.

No its not cherry picking.  Fundamental christianity first came about as a reaction to the scientific revolution of 19th century and in particular Darwinism.  It is basically a scientific analysis of the bible (or should I say an attempt to create a science from the bible).  It is perfectly reasonable to analyse it in a humanistic way like any other book where it can be interpreted.  The basic arguement being that it is a series of books writen by men trying to explain what they saw left and understood.  the metaphor often used is that it is like looking at a mountain.  Lots of people can see it from many different angles  and at different times through the clouds. The mountain looks different to everyone and they all try to explain it as best they can.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 18:05:34 pm
(http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/279/0/c/god_listens_to_slayer_by_tiger4iq-d4bzsc1.jpg)
Brilliant. His musical taste leaves a bit to be desired. But then again if his ethics are anything to go by...  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 17, 2012, 18:18:45 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 18:03:36 pm
No its not cherry picking.  Fundamental christianity first came about as a reaction to the scientific revolution of 19th century and in particular Darwinism.  It is basically a scientific analysis of the bible (or should I say an attempt to create a science from the bible).  It is perfectly reasonable to analyse it in a humanistic way like any other book where it can be interpreted.  The basic arguement being that it is a series of books writen by men trying to explain what they saw left and understood.  the metaphor often used is that it is like looking at a mountain.  Lots of people can see it from many different angles  and at different times through the clouds. The mountain looks different to everyone and they all try to explain it as best they can.


Yes that's all fine, but the point is that it isn't a special book deserving of any more attention than someone who, for example, wanted to base their life and values on Tin Tin the Adventurer. The bible is not divine, the koran is not divine, etc, etc, they're just books.

If people think Jesus was a nice guy, that's fine, if they really believe that he was born of a virgin, sacrificed for our sins and accepting him as your personal saviour is the only way to heaven, then that's a different thing... a lot of people seem to have a problem saying one thing is a metaphor while believing another thing to be true, it simply is cherry picking, either the bible (in this instance) is making truth claims or it isn't, and where do believers make the distinction?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 17, 2012, 18:25:13 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 17:33:53 pm
No its not and I know many many loyal church going Catholics.  The problem is you lot keep lumping all Catholics/christians/theists together and make them all out to be bloody fundamentalists.  Its a very broad church.


I am not referring to adherents but to doctrine, specifically, in this case, Catholic doctrine.  It's a fine job that my Irish mostly-practising Catholic family also reject its nastier elements, but that's a separate point; meanwhile the men at the top (which can't be women) take pride in hollering out this bigotry on the international stage.  They, as the foremost experts and highest authority, are surely following the doctrine most faithfully and consistently.  And they are one of the major reasons I rejected and emancipated myself from Catholicism some 20-odd years ago (other than realising it's fundamentally false - but therein lies another tale).

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 18:50:51 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on May 17, 2012, 18:03:36 pm
The mountain looks different to everyone and they all try to explain it as best they can.

They look at a stream flowing uphill on the sacred mountain and they know it makes no sense whatsoever, in reality streams do not flow uphill. But they figure out that because their mountain is sacred that it's all correct. Science can't explain everything and streams can flow uphill on holy mountain because, well... ummm ... it's a holy mountain, and whats more the fact that streams flow uphill on it proves it's holy.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 18, 2012, 12:33:19 pm
Listed churches in public money handout tax-exemption "shocker" (that no other listed buildings get):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9273747/Osborne-unveils-30m-package-to-help-churches.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9273747/Osborne-unveils-30m-package-to-help-churches.html)



Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 18, 2012, 13:54:00 pm
Man mooted as next Archbishop of Canterbury in feeble homophobia apologism "shocker":

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/17/justice-equality-same-sex-marriage (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/17/justice-equality-same-sex-marriage)

Two on the same day.  Where's the atheists' demands for State tax-exemptions and the State-colluded ability to trample on equal rights this weekend, then?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on May 18, 2012, 14:06:45 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on May 17, 2012, 18:50:51 pm
They look at a stream flowing uphill on the sacred mountain and they know it makes no sense whatsoever, in reality streams do not flow uphill. But they figure out that because their mountain is sacred that it's all correct. Science can't explain everything and streams can flow uphill on holy mountain because, well... ummm ... it's a holy mountain, and whats more the fact that streams flow uphill on it proves it's holy.

I think you missed my point.
Which is basically my point.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 18, 2012, 16:37:53 pm
There isn't really much of a point, some explanations are just wrong :) if a man sees the mountain as a giant elephant, chances are they are mistaken...

With regards to tax exemption, Dawkins tried to get his charity (The Richard Dawkins foundation for science and reason) tax-free, religious groups can do this pretty much automatically. But he was asked to provide evidence to show how promoting science and reason benefits society!

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 20, 2012, 11:26:30 am
Quote from: Chris Quartly on May 18, 2012, 16:37:53 pm
But he was asked to provide evidence to show how promoting science and reason benefits society!


I can imagine him answering "The Renaissance" with a flourish and then seeing the blank looks coming back and giving up.  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 21, 2012, 13:45:18 pm
Seeing as this thread is in his name - here's RD on the King James bible:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/19/richard-dawkins-king-james-bible
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 22, 2012, 15:23:44 pm
I sometimes wonder if the King James Bible really is a great work of literature, when taken as a whole. What does everyone think? Of course there are some great parts, but they're always the same ones that get mentioned, and it's rather a big book.

Imagine someone writing an objective review for it as a work of fiction (which it obviously is), how would it stack up (or as a further thought experiment, imagine someone reading the book who had no prior knowledge of christianity, say, an alien from another planet!)? I suspect the reviewer would have to say it was at best an uneven book!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 22, 2012, 15:35:23 pm
Most of it is deadly boring and a lot of the rest of it is utter nonsense. But there is the odd flash of brilliance.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 22, 2012, 15:55:06 pm
Cecil B Demille covered all the good bits in the movies. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on May 22, 2012, 16:00:53 pm
Just remember to treat all the vile, horrible and absurd stuff in the three main mutually-plagiarised holy books as "metaphorical" and "symbolic" and all the nice, commendable stuff as "definitely true".  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on May 22, 2012, 17:08:58 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on May 22, 2012, 15:55:06 pm
Cecil B Demille covered all the good bits in the movies. :)

He should have had a crack at the Koran. Without depicting yer boy Mohammed, obviously.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 22, 2012, 20:42:24 pm
Here's an interesting thought if you think religion is essentially benign and should be left to do its own thing. Ask any follower of an organised religion what is more important. A) The love of their god or B) The survival of the human race?

I'd say 90% plus of the faithful would answer A. If this is the case then there's an awful lot of people out there with seemingly good natures doing the best they can for their fellow paritioners who would happily march to an armageddon if their particular church deemed it necessary for the preservation of A.

This is why I think for the sake of B, A has inevitably to go.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 22, 2012, 21:02:30 pm
I think that's a bit of a weighted question to be honest! The survival of the human race is a bit of a non-question, survive for how long? Forever is most likely impossible. Forever is only possible with some kind of afterlife, which is the only reason religion still lingers on I suspect.

But there is something to your point, afterall, for christians at least, the rapture and endtimes would be a great thing if it were true. And what loving person could realistically want or expect a time where pain and suffering hits the earth upon a scale we could scarcely imagine? It's pretty hideous.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 22, 2012, 21:26:01 pm
When I say survival of the human race I specifically mean the survival of intelligence and awareness as currently emobodied by homo sapiens and whatever we evolve into over time. I just don't want to see this privileged state of matter end here in this little corner of the universe and I really do think that religion combined with man's seemingly inexhaustable creativity when it comes to ways of killing each other is a combination that does not bode well for long term survival of the species. I think we can handle the weapons and the responsibility that goes with having them if we are cool and rational beings making logical decisions about whether or not to beat someone over the head with the latest big stick. Throw religious perspectives into the mix though and all bets are off over whether the buttons get pushed for a sensible reason.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 22, 2012, 21:55:00 pm
I hear what you're saying and I share your concerns, but I think we also have reason to be optimistic. The less religious and more rational the world has become, violence has been in decline (indeed, even many undeveloped nations succumb to some amount of peer pressure on occasion) , once you start looking at the data it's pretty staggering. I'm reading "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker and it's just an amazing book, here's a talk worth watching but the book is 800 pages long so it barely scratches the surface - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8jzumc1wvg

But, violence isn't 0 and it's unlikely it ever will be. It just needs some twisted ideology to ruin everything, but I think we're on the right path, it's just a bumpy one :) but I do think the correlation between violence and reason vs violence and faith/superstition is there for all to see
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on May 25, 2012, 01:04:31 am
I love your optimism Chris. It's thoroughly infectious even if it isn't terribly well reasoned. ;) :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on May 25, 2012, 16:21:29 pm
It's the other way round, my optimism has been reasoned into me! Check out the book, or at least the talk, it will give you something to think about :)

It won't take much for something to go wrong, but we also have to concentrate and not lose sight of what we've done right. There are some victories that aren't going to be unwon, take racism for example (clearly racism is still a problem, but by comparison...), I just can't see a scenario where it will ever be like it was even 60 years ago, within a lot of peoples lifetimes, even.

But facts are facts, the world is currently enjoying its most peaceful period in history, regardless of what the news shows us 24/7 (and for a large part I see that as a reduction overall of superstition).
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on June 07, 2012, 13:05:30 pm
I don't look at it like that. I think it's actually the other way round - the reduced levels of religious superstition are a measure of society becoming more civilised and enlightened. I think that's why there's less violence overall, as well.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on June 07, 2012, 13:14:56 pm
I thought that's what I said, essentially.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 07, 2012, 13:36:23 pm
Quote from: Slim on June 07, 2012, 13:05:30 pm
I don't look at it like that. I think it's actually the other way round - the reduced levels of religious superstition are a measure of society becoming more civilised and enlightened. I think that's why there's less violence overall, as well.


I agree with this and my point is that I fear that the increase in fundamentalism in certain religions is actually a dangerous threat to the species. Overall lower levels of violence throughout more enlightened societies is no guard against a fundamentalist movements with dangerous competing agendas.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on June 07, 2012, 13:41:13 pm
No religiion is absolutely no guarantee of no violence.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 07, 2012, 15:28:34 pm
True but at least you could see what the violence was about and deal with it in a rational manner. Chuck magic pixies in and "You've offended my holy right to stand on one leg on a wednesday full moon and therefore you must ALL die" and all bets are off though.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on June 07, 2012, 16:06:04 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on June 07, 2012, 13:36:23 pm
I agree with this and my point is that I fear that the increase in fundamentalism in certain religions is actually a dangerous threat to the species. Overall lower levels of violence throughout more enlightened societies is no guard against a fundamentalist movements with dangerous competing agendas.


Well, has fundamentalism really increased or are we just more aware of the fundamentalism that is currently around? I would probably say the latter (though as science and reason continually encroach into the realm of religious claims, it obviously causes friction). Barely anyone knew what was going on in many muslim countries and the level of oppression toward women, for example. Now, fundamentalism is a real threat, and religious fundamentalism (and religion in general) is, in my opinion, the biggest obstacle to peace, but all I'm saying is that humanity has a good track record if you actually look at the data and reasoning. It won't take much to turn it around, but let's also concentrate on what we've done right rather than just ignore it, because it will help in the long run.

We have to guard against complacency and continue to educate against dogma, but all I would do is urge you to simply look at the data, you can't ignore the historical breakthroughs through any rational reason.

Quote from: dom on June 07, 2012, 13:41:13 pm
No religiion is absolutely no guarantee of no violence.


Well, Jainism is a completely non-violent religion. A fundamental Jain would probably end up barely moving through fear of killing bacteria... that's another problem with discussing religion, we have to be honest about the threats involved, Muslim Jihadists intent on blowing themselves up and fundamental Christians who wish to send education into a spiral of retardation pose much greater threats than your average Buddhist, for example.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on June 07, 2012, 16:10:29 pm
A brief interview worth reading: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/qa-with-steven-pinker
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on June 07, 2012, 16:56:49 pm
Quote from: dom on June 07, 2012, 13:41:13 pm
No religiion is absolutely no guarantee of no violence.


But every little helps.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on June 12, 2012, 18:26:36 pm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18412222
C of E shouting all sorts of scaremongering rubbish over this - the gay marriage issue.
Was thinking that the Queen would have to sign this off in parliament and as she's head of the church she's going to have to decide whether she's terribly offended by the whole thing or not. Could be interesting.
Anyway - it's a civil thing. I got married and the church had absolutely nothing to do with it.
As has been stated no one's going to force any church to marry same sex couples - they'll have civil services.  I'm sure some churches will do same sex ceremonies, voluntarily, and good on them. But surely you'd be nuts to get married somewhere where you are not welcome.
And why on earth does same sex marriage in any way demean any one else's marriage?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on June 14, 2012, 13:32:36 pm
CofE bigots threatening to disentangle their ludicrous organisation's pampered, over-privileged tentacles from the State over the issue.

Well, whoooaah, CofE, I'm really intimidated!  Cheerio then, bigots!  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 20, 2012, 20:30:23 pm
Be interesting to ask a CofE clergyman if bigotry is a sin and then follow that up with asking them to explain their position on gay marriage. :)

From what I can see the only way to square this particular circle is to adopt terms equivalent to "religious marriage" and "civil marriage" and give both identical legal standing. Then heterosexual people of a religious persuasion can decide to have a religious mariage and the non-religious people of whatever persuasion can elect to have a civil marriage. I don't think it's right for churches to allow homosexual marriages on their premises as the bible like it or loath it is rather particular on what they see as valid for a religious marriage. I couldn't personally give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys about what they think but trying to force them to accept gay marriages on religious premises is not really fair on them and in my opinion is akin to not standing for The Queen when the national anthem is played in a royalist club. It's not about right or wrong, it's about what is appropriate within the context of the establishment and the rules it abides to and showing respect for that particular tradition on its home ground regardless of what you personally think about it.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on June 25, 2012, 17:07:32 pm
Its probably too much of an insurance risk to have Gay marriages in churches anyway
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on June 25, 2012, 17:27:08 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on June 20, 2012, 20:30:23 pm
From what I can see the only way to square this particular circle is to adopt terms equivalent to "religious marriage" and "civil marriage" and give both identical legal standing.

Be better to allow all to get married and give them a certificate of marriage. It should not be up to the church who gets a marriage certificate as that is discrimination.
People already choose who marries them and where they get married, and a lot of churches for instance don't 'allow' divorcees to get married in their churches. Which is fair enough. Go elsewhere. Churches should never be forced to marry people - if gays want to get married they go to a registry office, or if they want to and can find a nice sensible church who will marry them then go to that church.
Of course what will happen is that you'll get a catholic gay couple who'll use the new non discriminatory law as a test case to see if they can make their church marry them - and that's when it will all get really interesting. And of course that's what the catholics fear.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on June 25, 2012, 17:29:01 pm
Quote from: Bisto on June 25, 2012, 17:07:32 pm
Its probably too much of an insurance risk to have Gay marriages in churches anyway

How come?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 25, 2012, 17:35:32 pm
That comment baffled me too. Please elucidate Bisto.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on June 25, 2012, 17:44:17 pm
Remember David Jenkins, the Bishop of Durham? You cant insure buildings against acts of God

...Thunderbolys and Lightning
Very, very expensive thing!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on June 25, 2012, 18:43:15 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on June 25, 2012, 17:27:08 pm
Be better to allow all to get married and give them a certificate of marriage. It should not be up to the church who gets a marriage certificate as that is discrimination.


Well it isn't up to them in any case - I got married without a suggestion of a hint of involvement by a religion or its premises. On that basis, given that they can't actually stop people getting married, it's not really a problem. What is annoying is their presumption to judge the circumstances that people should be allowed to get married outside a church as well as inside one.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 26, 2012, 11:01:53 am
I think the churches maintain that it's not really marriage unless it's in a church. They do like to live in their own little worlds it seems.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on June 26, 2012, 11:53:58 am
Yes, so actually their stance against gay marriage is somewhat self-defeating.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: andyhaines on June 26, 2012, 12:24:59 pm
Quote from: Bisto on June 25, 2012, 17:07:32 pm
Its probably too much of an insurance risk to have Gay marriages in churches anyway


;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 26, 2012, 16:00:48 pm
I still need it explained to me. Why is it funny?? :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on June 26, 2012, 17:39:09 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on June 26, 2012, 16:00:48 pm
I still need it explained to me. Why is it funny?? :)



Quote from: Bisto on June 25, 2012, 17:44:17 pm
Remember David Jenkins, the Bishop of Durham who denied God exists and shortly afterwards the Cathedral was struck by lightning and it was razed to the ground? You cant insure buildings against acts of God and this is gonna be Sodom and Gomorra part 2 for any church that hosts a gay wedding so strongly does the lord feel about this!

...Thunderbolts and Lightning
Very, very expensive thing!


Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on June 28, 2012, 12:19:22 pm
Ah right. Sorry to be so thick Bisto. D'oh! :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on June 28, 2012, 16:30:16 pm
German court rules that non-medical infant circumcision constitutes 'bodily harm'. Good call, hopefully it will catch on.

http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1059

Andrew Copson wrote a nice little article about it, while sympathetic to tradition, thinks it's also the right call (and it really is a no-brainer).

http://andrewcopson.net/2012/06/cutting-bits-off-babies/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on June 28, 2012, 16:51:03 pm
Mutilating the genitals for non-essential and non-medical reasons of anyone who cannot give informed consent, particularly infants, is utterly revolting and despicable.  How can it possibly not be?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on June 28, 2012, 16:52:56 pm
It's just about the clearest "no brainer" one can think of, but I'm sure the idea of it will face opposition (from you know whos...) on the grounds of religious freedom and "tradition".

I don't particularly know how secular Germany is in particular, but I can only imagine the shit storm it would raise in the US if something like that tried to go through.

But I think Copson's article really hits the nail on the head, people don't want to be told that they've basically abused or have been abused by and to others in a period of their life where they had no control, regardless of ideology.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on June 29, 2012, 13:05:13 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on June 28, 2012, 16:52:56 pm
.... people don't want to be told that they've basically abused or have been abused by and to others in a period of their life where they had no control, regardless of ideology.

Tell that to the FGM brigade - they continue to pass that on through tradition, and it's the grandmothers who seem to do it to the girls with permission of the mothers. Madness.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 04, 2012, 16:08:01 pm
Some discussion on the Higgs in the annoyance of the day thread prompts me to say this.

From a purely logical point of view I do not see how the proving or otherwise of the existence of the Higgs in any way contradicts anything in any religious point of view. I don't recall the bible for one stating anything on the fundamental nature of the constituent particles of the universe other than dark was separated from light (wow, really!) and that God made it all (Zzzzz). Darwin and evolution is a far more fundamental and important assault on religious dogmas in my opinion.

As for the biblical dark separated from light thing I do find it interesting that recent discoveries involving galaxies indicate that all have a supermassive black hole at their center. As life cannot exist near or in a black hole it's interesting to note philosophically at least that dark is indeed separated from light. I'd give that one out as a placater to any religious friends as a little salve from their constant inevitable retreat into smaller and smaller places for their views.  ;D ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 04, 2012, 16:37:35 pm
Since the non-existence of something can't be proven, any point of knowledge that we know can always have the added caveat "but god did it" at the end (as intellectually dishonest as that is).

Should scientific discoveries diminish one's faith to the point of (insert preferred level: atheism/deism/agnosticism, etc)? Of course. Will it? That's down to the individual. Especially when faith is seen as a virtue...

The universe is queerer than we can imagine :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 04, 2012, 16:49:24 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 04, 2012, 16:37:35 pmThe universe is queerer than we can imagine :)


Doesn't Leviticus have something to say about that?  ::)  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 04, 2012, 16:58:59 pm
Something about an abomination I seem to remember, can't remember the exact verse. And that's not nearly the nastiest thing in it!

Of course, that's mostly ignored by "sophisticated theologians (TM)"...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 04, 2012, 17:12:50 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on July 04, 2012, 16:08:01 pm
Some discussion on the Higgs in the annoyance of the day thread prompts me to say this.

From a purely logical point of view I do not see how the proving or otherwise of the existence of the Higgs in any way contradicts anything in any religious point of view.

Agree. "Finding" the Higgs is another stage tidying up of the theoretical theories about the composition of the universe. It was a known unknown. The Bible lot can still say Godidit, and no doubt the always will - the gaps that their god gets to fill just get ever smaller.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 04, 2012, 17:30:52 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 04, 2012, 16:58:59 pm"sophisticated theologians (TM)"...


The biggest oxymoron of all time.  Nothing will ever trump it.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 04, 2012, 17:35:17 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on July 04, 2012, 17:12:50 pm
Agree. "Finding" the Higgs is another stage tidying up of the theoretical theories about the composition of the universe. It was a known unknown. The Bible lot can still say Godidit, and no doubt the always will - the gaps that their god gets to fill just get ever smaller.


I'm sure no-one expected God to be found in the gap now taken by the Higgs Boson.  I really can't see how this particular (no pun intended) discovery would affect anyone's belief ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 04, 2012, 18:20:41 pm
Quote from: dom on July 04, 2012, 17:35:17 pmI really can't see how this particular (no pun intended) discovery would affect anyone's belief ?


I can't either, in and of itself.

Anyway, wasn't the unfortunate and misleading "God Particle" monicker a media extrapolation from when a scientist (possibly Higgs himself) expressed his frustration at it and described it as "...that god-damned particle!"?  Not sure.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: BaldiePete on July 04, 2012, 21:57:27 pm
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v308/BaldiePete/480771_461519587200068_169377646_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 05, 2012, 00:05:39 am
Ker-boom Ker-boom
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Nïckslïkk2112 on July 05, 2012, 00:24:25 am
Quote from: Bisto on July 05, 2012, 00:05:39 am
Ker-boom Ker-boom

That the sound of the exploding Black Holes of Doom at CERN?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 05, 2012, 00:34:47 am
Quote from: Nick Sims on July 05, 2012, 00:24:25 am
That the sound of the exploding Black Holes of Doom at CERN?


Just me being a bit quarky
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Nïckslïkk2112 on July 05, 2012, 00:40:13 am
Quote from: Bisto on July 05, 2012, 00:34:47 am
Just me being a bit quarky

I had you down more as Strange but charning...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 05, 2012, 01:56:48 am
Quote from: Nick Sims on July 05, 2012, 00:40:13 am
I had you down more as Strange but charning...


Well I always try and maintain a degree of freedom and put a positive spin on things but Im also prone to be a bit up and down from time to time
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 05, 2012, 11:00:57 am
Oh you guys. You're such a party kill.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 05, 2012, 13:27:14 pm
It's quite elementary - I think we need some fundamental new, clear laws in this thread before it spends half its life in confusion; let's see what reaction that gets, not that I'm fission for one, of course. ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 05, 2012, 14:16:29 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 05, 2012, 13:27:14 pm
It's quite elementary - I think we need some fundamental new, clear laws in this thread before it spends half its life in confusion; let's see what reaction that gets, not that I'm fission for one, of course. ::)


very good!  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 05, 2012, 16:51:26 pm
Woah. What. The. feck. The national trust should be unambiguously disgusted with themselves.

http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/07/national-trust-promotes-creationism-at-new-visitor-centre

Edit: the NT have been quick to try and speak on this issue (good for them) http://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-interpretation/ but I still don't see how giving creationists a platform in this ilk helps at all, because the age of the earth is not up for debate as they think it is.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 05, 2012, 17:48:37 pm
I thought these numpties were only a public pest in certain parts of the US.  Suppose not, then.  :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 05, 2012, 17:58:23 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 05, 2012, 17:48:37 pm
I thought these numpties were only a public pest in certain parts of the US.  Suppose not, then.  :-\

http://www.genesisexpo.co.uk/
Fraid not. feckwitnessism is alive and well on these very shores.  :o
EDIT: I bet their visitors book comments is somewhat selective...  :D
"Return visit. Will be back again. How can anyone dispute Creation?" ....  :'(
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 05, 2012, 18:04:18 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 05, 2012, 16:51:26 pm
Woah. What. The. feck. The national trust should be unambiguously disgusted with themselves.

http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/07/national-trust-promotes-creationism-at-new-visitor-centre

Edit: the NT have been quick to try and speak on this issue (good for them) http://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-interpretation/ but I still don't see how giving creationists a platform in this ilk helps at all, because the age of the earth is not up for debate as they think it is.

It's not really promoting the creationist view though - it's just mentioning that there are people who have a different, err, perspective, on history.

Like many natural phenomena around the world, the Giant's Causeway has raised questions and prompted debate about how it was formed.
This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of the Causeway to science and, historically, the Causeway became part of a global debate about how the earth's rocks were formed.
This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science.
Young Earth Creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis.
Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective.
Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant's Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 05, 2012, 19:11:07 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on July 05, 2012, 18:04:18 pm

Like many natural phenomena around the world, the Giant's Causeway has raised questions and prompted debate about how it was formed.
This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of the Causeway to science and, historically, the Causeway became part of a global debate about how the earth's rocks were formed.
This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science.
Young Earth Creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis.
Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective.
Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant's Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.



Debate and challenging questions?! With fundamentalist christians? Dream on. Feck me but this is feckwittery blether of the highest order. I've tried talking to these Young Earth Creationist types in the past and you might as well beat your head against a brick wall if you are waiting to hear anything resembling an intelligent answer.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this exhibit depresses me and embarrasses me as a reasoning human and an Ulsterman.
I am not surprised though considering that none other than Ian Paisley jnr was heavily involved in the development of the new visitor center. "Young Earth Creationists". YEC! "Appropriate abbreviation" is the only positive thing I have to say about their utterly laughable ears closed, eyes closed "la la la i'm not listening to you" brainless excuse for a viewpoint. I wish they'd all just swim out to sea and go meet their beloved maker.... Yesterday.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 05, 2012, 19:53:08 pm
 :-\ Poseidon?  ....now that would really  piss on their chips!  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 05, 2012, 23:37:05 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on July 05, 2012, 19:11:07 pm
I've tried talking to these Young Earth Creationist types in the past and you might as well beat your head against a brick wall if you are waiting to hear anything resembling an intelligent answer.

True - but it's just admitting that some people have a different view of 'creation'. It's not adding credence to that view, surely, by happening to mention it?
The fact that creationists practically shit their pants when their particular nuttery is given a mention in anything other than their own propaganda  shows how desperate they are.
I think the exhbition has made a mistake though in not mentioning ALL the other superstitions and their thoughts on creation: tortioses all the way down etc. But of course they would not have the space to fit them all in there's so many. Looks like they have been very prejudiced in just mentioning the one superstition and they should be ashamed of themselves.

QuoteI cannot begin to tell you how much this exhibit depresses me and embarrasses me as a reasoning human and an Ulsterman.

I think this is getting blown out of proportion - there's no some big pro creationism exhibit is there? One mention that some people might not think the same way as others by way of their beliefs isn't some affront to your country?  I don't suppose anyone who is doing all this protesting has actually been to the exhibit yet?

Quote"Young Earth Creationists". YEC! "Appropriate abbreviation" is the only positive thing I have to say about their utterly laughable ears closed, eyes closed "la la la i'm not listening to you" brainless excuse for a viewpoint.

...and it's the way they smile while you try to talk rationally to them that's the scary thing. You just know they are are utterly ignoring everything you say as it's not possible for them to be waivered by anything outside their faith.

QuoteI wish they'd all just swim out to sea and go meet their beloved maker.... Yesterday.

Hah. They'll all be off to Giants Causeway now to listen to half a line of an audio presentation. With a bit of luck it'll be a double bluff and the rest of it will be hard science showing them how loony their beliefs are after all.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 01:36:51 am
I disagree about the promotion Andy, it states at the visitors centre that "the debate continues", well, the debate does not continue, saying stuff like this gives the idea that there is an alternative but there really isn't, as you well know.

It's typical creationist wedge "teach the conspiracy" type bullshit and has no place in a landmark like this, it would be ok if it was touted as a creation myth, but it isn't.

http://www.calebfoundation.org/

"As an umbrellaorganisation which represents the interests of mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland,we have worked closely with the National Trust over many months with a view to ensuring that the new Causeway Visitor Centre includes an acknowledgement both of the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and of the ongoing debate around this. We are pleased that the National Trust worked positively with us and that this has now been included at the new Visitor Centre."
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 06, 2012, 09:56:56 am
It says a lot that one sentence regarding their point of view and they extrapolate from that they are suddenly vindicated in believing a man in the sky zapped us all into existence. Of course they are not, but they are entitled to a point of view no matter how nutty it is. Anyway, look on the positive side - this will show how desperate they are. Really looking forward to the debating about this - given it'll show once again just what a load of infantile superstitious nonsense these religious types believe in. ID is not likely to be taught in schools science classes because of this.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 06, 2012, 10:57:24 am
Anyone know about the ongoing case of the Indian skeptic Sanal Edamaruku?  He's debunked a Catholic "miracle" - and has found himself accused of the "crime" of "blasphemy".  This madness can only come from religion...  :o  >:(

From reason.com:

QuoteLots of countries, including many in Europe, are adopting laws that make it a criminal offense  for a person to make fun of another person's religion. Just how dangerously stupid this can be is illustrated by the case of Sanal Edamaruku, who is being sued for debunking a "miracle" at a Roman Catholic church in Mumbai, India. Apparently, the local priest and enthusiatic laity were claiming that water dripping from the feet of a statue of Jesus was a divine miracle.

With the consent of the church authorities Edamaruku investigated the miracle and found that the water was actually being diverted from a clogged washroom drain eventually dripping through a nail hole at the base of the statue. Miracle debunkers are rarely popular, and it proved to be true in this case. Instead of thanking Edamaruku for his hygienic discovery, two Catholic lay organizations are seeking his arrest and trial under Section 295A of the Indian Penal code:

Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as a insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Interesting notion that alerting people to the fact that their holy water was in fact sewage somehow constitutes criminal "defilement."
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on July 06, 2012, 14:50:43 pm
Here you go
What made the creationist footprints in the Giant's Causeway visitor centre?
The National Trust isn't endorsing the nonsense of the young Earthers - it just knows the value of the crank pound
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/06/creationism-giants-causeway-national-trust
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 15:37:03 pm
I read that earlier, but Andrew Brown's columns tend to be filled with disingenuous nonsense that make them nauseating to read (see here his complete misunderstanding of what Dawkins and Dennet say).

And he also misses the point, because people are blaming the National Trust. I think if anything the National Trust has simply acted in a gullible way, while the caleb foundation are simply rubbing their hands. The fact is, no matter what spin anyone can put on this, the creationists themselves think they have scored a goal here. No amount of debate or reason is going to change their minds (as if there wasn't enough evidence and reason before?), they are sitting, fingers in their ignorant ears, claiming victory and the legitimacy of their position.

Yes they also tell the tale of Finn McCool, but the point is no-one in their right mind actually believes that story is true, they just know it's a nice story. But there are people who actually believe that the world is only 6000 years old. Perhaps they should have added under the Finn McCool part "for some, the debate continues", but they didn't do that. I am pleased at the outrage from the public at least, hopefully they won't do anything like this ever again...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 15:38:40 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 06, 2012, 10:57:24 am
Anyone know about the ongoing case of the Indian skeptic Sanal Edamaruku?  He's debunked a Catholic "miracle" - and has found himself accused of the "crime" of "blasphemy".  This madness can only come from religion...  :o  >:(

From reason.com:


Yes I've been following that recently, I donated to his defence fund a few weeks ago. It's madness.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 06, 2012, 16:02:21 pm
Personal attack defence:  :)
Quote from: Bez on July 06, 2012, 12:24:20 pm
I'd be more worried that they're exposed to your particular version of right and wrong, your narrow minded, and frankly bigoted, views on religion and homoeopathy, alternate lifestyles and your un-willingness to see an unconventional view.

Well you seem to have made some sweeping judgements there.
Bigoted views on religion? Hmmm. Please enlighten me as to exactly what I think about religion and in particular why I am bigoted?
Homeopathy - quack medicine which works as a placebo, and should not be sold as 'medicine'. Nothing much else to say really.
"Alternate lifestyles" : err, I don't think I've ever made a comment on an alternate lifestyle?  Have we done these?
"un-willingness to see an unconventional view." Ok, it's obvious You haven't got a clue and I have been wronged. This is libel but I'll accept an apology.  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 16:12:53 pm
I am pretty unashamedly and unambiguously against the lifestyle and practice of the KKK, for example. I would imagine everyone is bigoted towards some point of view at some point.

They are allowed to have their views of course (can't convict anyone of thought crime unless you literally believe in some passages in holy books), but I don't have to respect their beliefs at all. So in the strictest sense I am a bigot. Some ideas are worth being bigoted about. I would certainly include homeopathy as well! I have sympathy for people who are ill and want to get better, but the fact is that homeopathy does not work and will never work. Any mention of its efficacy is simply a placebo affect, which can be talked about honestly and it is a powerful thing, but homeopathy isn't.

It's a bit like saying "I just want everyone to be happy", well that's impossible due to multiple conflicts of interest. The difference we have to talk about is being bigoted with or without good reason.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 06, 2012, 16:56:07 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 16:12:53 pm


They are allowed to have their views of course (can't convict anyone of thought crime unless you literally believe in some passages in holy books),


I think you can find examples of this outside religious works Chris.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 17:18:29 pm
Of thought crime? For not even verbalising?

Maybe Minority Report I suppose :) but I can't think of an ideology outside of religion, it requires the omnipotent and ultimate power of a deity unless we're all hooked up to mind readers. Censorship and punishing those for externalising those views is a different matter, of course, and can be found elsewhere, but that wasn't my point.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 17:40:19 pm
Well at least you know the reason why you've had all that rain over there lately.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html)

The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God's judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops.

One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.

"This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way," he said. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused."

The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman empire as a result of its immorality.

"We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate," he said


The church could spread some better messages with this weather, they could easily say things like "if we don't treat the planet fairly, it will punish us in return", something like that, climate change, etc, but it always seems to have to also be about moral judgements, and those horrible gay people!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 06, 2012, 21:22:34 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 17:18:29 pm
Of thought crime? For not even verbalising?

Maybe Minority Report I suppose :) but I can't think of an ideology outside of religion, it requires the omnipotent and ultimate power of a deity unless we're all hooked up to mind readers. Censorship and punishing those for externalising those views is a different matter, of course, and can be found elsewhere, but that wasn't my point.


I was referring to certain repressive authoritarian regimes who tried to suppress thoughts that went against their continued rule; such as with Mao in China and in North Korea that attempt to create a culture that doesn't countenance opposition.  Obviously they can't get inside people's heads and must be very envious of the omniscience and omnipresence of deities.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 21:45:38 pm
Yes, they basically put themselves in the place of god (in some societies, literally, hello Japan up to 1946). One shouldn't be in the dictatorship business if you can't take advantage of a servile population.

At least you could die and leave those places, however, no eternal hell to pay.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 07, 2012, 02:53:32 am
I don't think by being reasonably opposed to a viepoint you are bigotted. The literal definitiion of bigotry is to express a dislike of something based on narrow mindedness, unfair and unreasoned bias and emotionally based illogical discrimination.

I would proudly stand toe to toe with any Young Earth Creationist and debate the age of the earth free of any feelings of malice or bias or narrowmindedness. I might have a lot of pity for them though. I would simply ask him/her to explain radioactive decay and the fossil record and then ask them how that fits into their world view that the earth is only six thousand years old. I can remember showing a model of a T-rex skeleton to one of these YEC's that I used to work with and asked him what he though of it. He said it was a nice pre-flood dragon skeleton model.  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 07, 2012, 03:01:30 am
The OED defines bigotry as: intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.

As I said, the difference we have to talk about is being bigoted with or without good reason.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 07, 2012, 03:10:12 am
That OED definition is far too narrow and logical and totally out of step with the common usage of the word. I suspect it may have been put there by a bigotted person to cover up their own inadequacies. Think Rush - Witch Hunt when you think of bigotry, the loyalists or republicans in Northern Ireland. Racist or sectarian or homophobic sickness basically. That's proper bigotry. To decry someone as irrational when all the evidence points to a contrary position to the one that someone is adhering to is not bigotry it's rationale and statistical realism.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 07, 2012, 03:32:21 am
Well yes that's the obvious connotation, but I think that it has other (more literal) uses as a word as well.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 07, 2012, 12:07:08 pm
It's mainly (very stupid) ideas being attacked in this thread. How can one be bigoted against an idea?  :/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 07, 2012, 13:49:03 pm
Its getting rather boring waiting for something game changing to. As a species we've had diametrcally opposed systems of power, order and control butting heads for millenia...as well as those that in reality go hand in glove together.... What we need is a cleansing blast of chaos and anarchy as a species.....a benign Alien visitation with an exotic equation or eaily replicated technology that produces free energy....now that would really put things into perspective and cause no end of fun! Then maybe we could get down to some serious business....won't hld my breath though....
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 07, 2012, 15:29:50 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 07, 2012, 12:07:08 pm
It's mainly (very stupid) ideas being attacked in this thread. How can one be bigoted against an idea?  :/


Very well summarised Matt. An idea will stand or fall on the merits of evidence. Where there is no evidence it is not a rational idea, it's a belief. Two completely different things. In my experience, people with a belief about something and people with an idea about the same subject do not tend to have very productive conversations.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 07, 2012, 22:22:57 pm
They aren't completely different things .. most beliefs are based on rational principles. If you'd said "faith" rather than belief I would have agreed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 08, 2012, 21:32:26 pm
Faith in something can be based on either belief or reason. I have faith in the knowledge that water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen based on evidence provided by molecular chemistry. This is not a belief. Beliefs do indeed require a rationale but I have yet to find one where the rationale is based on a rational principle. :) I can honestly say I am not aware of any beliefs that I may be holding. I know what the words faith and belief imply to me and I think I am quite clear and consistent in my position on their usage. If I happen to be wrong based on a specific dictionary definition then I think I can live with this. ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 08, 2012, 22:22:03 pm
I lean more towards Slim on this one, I think the word faith is more entrenched as a belief in something without evidence.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 08, 2012, 22:44:53 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 08, 2012, 22:22:03 pm
I lean more towards Slim on this one, I think the word faith is more entrenched as a belief in something without evidence.


is that blind faith ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 08, 2012, 23:37:32 pm
Semantics aside the chemical composition of water is not variable and not at all dependent on faith or belief or lack there of.....your knowledge of this is not really a tennet by which you live your life...it simply is...it wouldn't make any difference to you or anybody else if it was some other compound as long as it had the same properties and behaved the same way
Christians will also claim faith in the knowledge (personal revelation  and intervention directly or through God moving through his faithful followers) of God. I certainly believe that faith and belief can make a huge difference to peoples lives. Doubt and lack of belief  have major impacts too of course. Powers of recovery from cancers, feats of extreme endurance,  mind over matter...all have been achieved through faith and belief. There is a power at work there that is not present in other animals You can say from a rational  pov that self belief and determination are a matter of will but there are plenty of people who give up their belief in their own abillties and put their complete trust in God. Even if there is auto suggestion or placebo effect working here shouldn't these people have the right to survive even though their recovery is based on a false faith...?  Without their God they would be faithless and less likely to survive. I am playing devil's advocate here a little but I am genuinely curious as to how far people with such evidently strong faith in Science and Rationality would go as you see Faith in God as such an obstacle when by your own observations and admissions the  faith goalposts move to accommodate every scientific proof and discovery
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 00:03:40 am
To answer Dom I think that all "faith" is blind to varying degrees, the opposite of faith to me, is reason.

And to answer Bisto, well the first thing is to be intellectually honest about the situation. No-one should in their right mind claim that beliefs don't matter (which is why unfortunately they can also be quite deadly eg martyrs blowing themselves up really believe that jihad is a fast-track to paradise), the placebo effect is a very powerful thing that is not completely understood. But that's where the honesty comes in, placebo and belief can have effects on someone's health (although it seems as though it's rarely pointed out when these beliefs make no difference at all, only the inconsistent smattering of "miracle" cases).

It leads no credence to the veracity of the belief itself, a christian who prays to god and survives cancer does not mean that jesus died for our sins when coupled with the fact that a jew who prays may also survive cancer. So that's the first thing.

It would be easy to find out if prayer really works or not, all proper tests have proven that it doesn't. Or how about everyone in the whole world prayed for an amputee to have their limb grown back, I think we can all safely agree that the person would still be sans-limb. The fact that belief is itself limited to physical realities should be enough evidence of this.

To whatever degrees beliefs matter to a person's wellbeing, it is still happening at the level of the brain and other organs, this is a matter for science to understand. Theology can tell us absolutely nothing about these things. Substitute the word god in your post for pink fairy and nothing has really changed, it's all about motivation at some level and even fobbing off those responsibilities onto "god", it still actually comes from within. 

And neuroscience isn't nearly complete enough (it's really just in its infancy) to know about other animals, whales and dolphins may be capable of mental states beyond ours, for example. Who knows what a sperm whale has to get through mentally to get those squid at the bottom of the ocean!

Faith really is an obstacle to progress, if we could all just act honestly about the nature of reality we would be driven much more quickly to greater discovery.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 09, 2012, 01:54:26 am
Incoherent rant removed  :-[
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 03:39:18 am
Well that's as incoherent a rant as we'll ever see on here I think, well done! ;D

For a start, and I don't know why I have to keep saying this, but yes it is about being honest toward the nature of reality. Humans are often irrational, the point is to realise this and to learn to deal with it when possible, and to accept the facts even when they are counter-intuitive. Without this we'd still think that the sun orbited the Earth (ask yourself how differently the sun would look to us on Earth if it did...), for example. No society ever suffered from being too reasonable. Understanding our own ignorance is a key factor, we have to be honest about what we do and don't know (an atheist/agnostic/scientist, etc can believe in an afterlife if they want to, nothing stopping them).

Saying that muslim extremists are only responding to western influence is a red herring. Again, if we're going to be honest about the situation, Mohammed was basically a conquering warlord! There are tenets of Islam that, through no matter of liberal reading are violent (what is the penalty of apostacy?). Just like Christianity spread violently as a result of the Roman empire and there are no Amalekites (thanks to the Jews/God). Again, let's be honest about this, jihadists are a danger (this doesn't mean all muslims are jihadists or that all muslims are terrorists, most muslims are just fine and dandy), who really believe about paradise and the path towards it. We simply have to be honest that different beliefs cause different problems, if anyone is sitting up at night equally worried about an attack by the amish, they are clearly misguided, where are the christian suicide bombers? We simply can't say a "what if..." in the muslim world, one only has to look at Sharia law and the treatment of women in many parts of the world and simply recoil in horror. Islam is a much younger religion that christianity and judaism, so it hasn't had as much time to even out, so to speak. There are reasons that jews don't stone wives who aren't virgins on their wedding nights anymore. We have to attack the ideas that are in place, with better ideas, some may react violently to this but there are two ways of dealing with conflict, conversation and violence...

And what are you basing you comment of "I didn't really see the Scientific community speaking out against their Western Government paymasters or going on strike en masse in protest at what the "Christian" West has done on behalf of its citizens, tax payers and voters interests", it's just a bizarre statement. For a start, the vast majority of scientists (especially the ones with the highest accolades) are atheist (because there's simply no evidence for a deity). I think you'll find plenty of people who were against the war (in fact I can only think of Christopher Hitchens as a public intellectual who was for it). You certainly don't get a scientific community calling for the murder of non-scientists.

You can't have your argument both ways, science has given us vaccination (judging from your rant I wouldn't be surprised to hear you say that they cause autism...), better infrastructure, more efficient travel, taken us to the moon ("science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings), anti-biotics. If you put yourself back a couple of hundred years you would probably have thought that harnesing electricity for human consumption was a force too powerful to be tampered with.  I could go on but hopefully you get the idea! Without science most of us will barely get old enough to see our hair turn grey.

And yes, we don't fully know the effects of cloning, but by using good science and reason, we will, what's the answer to bad science? More and better science (when has the answer to a problem been "more religion"?)! It is a self-rectifying mechanism. Genetically modified crops are a good idea in my opinion, so long as they are rigorously tested, the almost evangelical and irrational hatred towards GM and cloning is bizarre to say the least. Would it even be possible to feed the worlds population by traditional agriculture?!

Yes we created nuclear missiles (again, your point goes against humans, not science), but let's look at the facts, how many nuclear missiles have gone off since world war 2 (if in 1950 you predicted 0 you would probably have been laughed at)? And if you wind the clock back in time you only need to look at the history of weapons, we could easily just say "science gave us swords!" and contemplate the death toll.

It seems that your issues are not with rationality or science, but with greed and capitalism. Well if you want to make a case for that then do so by all means, but it seems as though you are confusing the two.

If religion can only work as a placebo, let's be honest about that. That's what you asked and now seem to be getting your knickers in a twist for some reason. The thought that CERN might have created a black hole or something is beyond hyperbolic.

Do you think mutually exclusive faiths will lead us to peace or even just simply leave each other alone?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 09, 2012, 10:12:43 am
Quote from: Captain Ron on July 08, 2012, 21:32:26 pm
Faith in something can be based on either belief or reason. I have faith in the knowledge that water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen based on evidence provided by molecular chemistry. This is not a belief.


I think that is a belief. I believe that it's composed of hydrogen and oxygen, anyway. The trouble with the word "faith" is that it's a bit vague. It has two meanings, really.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 09, 2012, 10:45:34 am
Yes it was an incoherent rant
sorry
It was not meant to be posted and I will delete it to save myself from further embarrassment but too late  to as you have replied.  New York time didn't help me either lol.I usually compose and edit my ramblings in a notes app on my mob but this time I had two tnms windows open and used the preview box and must have hit  post. I was about to leave work at the time ....I made a couple more posts in the other logged on tab and just put my mob into sleep mode until I got home so I could continue to edit but ended up having to pick up my daughter from a party. Bit of a drama in the house police called fights etc. Anyway I had to spend an hour comforting her and then my wife came downstairs a bit pissed off with us so we all went to our beds and I forgot all about tnms and my mob until  now. To make matters worse I've just had a text from  Tescos informing me that I've exceeded my monthly data allowance (I left my mob on all night on 15 second interval auto refresh ....no idea how that happened its a dolphin add on)

Apologies
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 09, 2012, 12:34:53 pm
Totally agree with you with respect to the cause of Islamic terror by the way, so sorry to see you deleted that part.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Jonners on July 09, 2012, 15:07:56 pm
Worth trying I suppose, getting a bit bored of the rain now
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 09, 2012, 15:08:30 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 17:40:19 pm
Well at least you know the reason why you've had all that rain over there lately.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html)

The church could spread some better messages with this weather, they could easily say things like "if we don't treat the planet fairly, it will punish us in return", something like that, climate change, etc, but it always seems to have to also be about moral judgements, and those horrible gay people!

And them bankers. If we got rid of gays and bankers the weather would be nice. Stands to reason really.  :)  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 09, 2012, 15:09:21 pm
Quote from: Bisto on July 09, 2012, 01:54:26 am
Incoherent rant removed  :-[

Damn. I like a good incoherent rant.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 15:46:12 pm
There's no need to apologise for an incoherent rant, I dare say we've all clicked the "post" button too hastily for a variety of reasons in the past  :P

The terrorism argument comes two-fold, regardless of the causes we have to analyse the methods as well. With doctrines such as jihad and martyrdom as central tenats of Islam, you have a religion right there that is made for those kind of suicide attacks. Who else in their right mind could blow themselves up in a bus of schoolchildren (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haifa_bus_37_suicide_bombing) unless they believed that doing so was a moral thing to do against the infidel? Accommodationists wants to blame socio-political problems, but the problem is the ideas within the religion (just like religion is the cause of creationism).

Again, what's the likelihood that mutually exclusive faiths could ever end peacefully? If they ever could it would be down to secular and humanistic reasoning, not anything that comes from those supposed great moral lessons found within (unless you do some pretty hectic ignoring). All these books had to do was say unambiguously "you know what, people that think different are fine, worship other gods if you want, draw pictures of me because I like that", etc, etc. But they don't. The people that actually get their morals from what these books say are the ones who are the most dangerous.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 09, 2012, 15:52:08 pm
"Tora Tora Tora" - did that have much/anything to do with religion ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 16:11:01 pm
They had a god, the emperor. Kamikaze means "wind of god" or "devine wind", afterall. Besides, Zen Buddhism also played a part in the kamikaze mindset.

Would Japan have had so many willfully complicit in suicide if it weren't for their faith?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 16:36:27 pm
That's the thing - it resembled a religion pretty much identically; not the absence of one.


By the way, I must thank CQ for saving me all that typing...!  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 09, 2012, 20:08:21 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 15:46:12 pmThere's no need to apologise for an incoherent rant, I dare say we've all clicked the "post" button too hastily for a variety of reasons in the past  :P

The terrorism argument comes two-fold, regardless of the causes we have to analyse the methods as well. With doctrines such as jihad and martyrdom as central tenats of Islam, you have a religion right there that is made for those kind of suicide attacks.


Every religion is like that to a degree.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 20:24:47 pm
Well that's clearly not true, Jainism for example is a religion completely based on non-violence. The more fundamental one becomes as a Jain, the more likely they are to cripple themselves by not moving for fear of stepping on a bug or something. A Jain suicide bomber is nigh on impossible, it would go against everything they believe in and centred their life around.

Islam is certainly unique today with the danger it poses to others. The biggest threat of christianity (which I believe is substantial) is the potential retardation it poses to education throughout the world if certain sects had their way, particularly here in the US. That wall of separation gets a daily battering.

There are no comparable doctrines in christianity, judaism or tibetan buddhism to jihad or martyrdom. Find me an amish, quaker, tibetan buddhist, etc, etc going on a suicide mission in defence of their faith, then maybe we can talk about the degrees of similarity!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 20:29:49 pm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/bombing-our-illusions_b_8615.html
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 09, 2012, 21:24:20 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 16:11:01 pm
They had a god, the emperor. Kamikaze means "wind of god" or "devine wind", afterall. Besides, Zen Buddhism also played a part in the kamikaze mindset.

Would Japan have had so many willfully complicit in suicide if it weren't for their faith?


Fair enough I really should do a bit more research  :)  I still think the real issue lies with human nature and not religion though.  Your basic premise is that everything would be great if humans behaved rationally and if religion wasn't around we would be much closer to that goal.  The fact that religion forms such an important part in society is a proof in itself that people need more than rationality to get  by.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 21:51:15 pm
Human nature is very difficult to define. Is it human nature to be religious? I have a sample of 1 for which I know that isn't true :)

If something is human nature, then we have to find rational policies with which to encourage the good and punish the bad parts therein (eg, we have come up with laws in society). Our brains have learned to inhibit certain behaviours through moral progress over time, there are reasons why disputes don't lead to violence as much as they used to.

I just don't think people really need it and yes, we would be better off without. The countries (and indeed, states within the US) that have the lowest level of religiousity show the lowest levels of social dysfunction, these are statistical truths. Many studies have shown this to be true, but here is one: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=pzuckerman_26_5

The problem is, ignorance breeds ignorance, the areas in which religion is highest also tend to have the largest birth rates (par for the course when you analyse what most sects preach about contraception). The only part religion has in society tends to be that of halting progress :)

I'm hopeful over the long term though, the world has progressed morally over the course of history (and is significantly less violent overall), no thanks at all to religion. There's still a long way to go but we've done a lot right as a species and deserve a pat on the back on occasion.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on July 09, 2012, 21:51:25 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 06, 2012, 17:40:19 pm
Well at least you know the reason why you've had all that rain over there lately.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html)

The lot of them should be sectioned.  Unbelievable.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 21:54:17 pm
Having clicked on that link again I've noticed and should point out that it is from 2007 (doesn't make it any less looney though), it has been doing the rounds lately.

Would be interesting to know if they're still in the same jobs and still have the same opinions!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 22:16:50 pm
Quote from: dom on July 09, 2012, 21:24:20 pmThe fact that religion forms such an important part in society is a proof in itself that people need more than rationality to get  by.


Two quick points.  In Northern and Western Europe, generally, society is, in practise and observance worthy of the name, indifferent to religion at best.  Yet this area is about the most socially comfortable place to live on the planet, even accounting for obvious economic woes.   Religion is genuinely an important part of society only in theocracies - which tend to be oppressive and extremely dictatorial hell-holes.

I do agree that there may well be a latent human need for more "spiritual" aspects for fulfilment - however, it doesn't automatically follow the default for that is believing fairy stories of antiquity are real, or even useful.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 22:24:47 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 22:16:50 pm
I do agree that there may well be a latent human need for more "spiritual" aspects for fulfilment - however, it doesn't automatically follow the default for that is believing fairy stories of antiquity are real, or even useful.


Yes exactly, it doesn't mean we need religion or that religion has to fill that side of our need. One can have all the spiritual fulfillment they want without having to turn to iron-age mythology. There is great wonder in the world to be had, why dampen it with all the hogwash?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 09, 2012, 22:27:15 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 22:16:50 pm
Two quick points.  In Northern and Western Europe, generally, society is, in practise and observance worthy of the name, indifferent to religion at best.  Yet this area is about the most socially comfortable place to live on the planet, even accounting for obvious economic woes.   Religion is genuinely an important part of society only in theocracies - which tend to be oppressive and extremely dictatorial hell-holes.

I do agree that there may well be a latent human need for more "spiritual" aspects for fulfilment - however, it doesn't automatically follow the default is believing that fairy stories of antiquity are real, or even useful.

With regard to your first point i think you understate the role of religion in Western Europe - it's still very much there both actively and passively - just think of how much material you're finding for this thread

I agree with your 2nd point - I do believe though that if religionis were ever got rid of it the gap won't be filled with rational thinking.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 09, 2012, 22:41:25 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 21:51:15 pm
Human nature is very difficult to define. Is it human nature to be religious? I have a sample of 1 for which I know that isn't true :)

If something is human nature, then we have to find rational policies with which to encourage the good and punish the bad parts therein (eg, we have come up with laws in society). Our brains have learned to inhibit certain behaviours through moral progress over time, there are reasons why disputes don't lead to violence as much as they used to.

I just don't think people really need it and yes, we would be better off without. The countries (and indeed, states within the US) that have the lowest level of religiousity show the lowest levels of social dysfunction, these are statistical truths. Many studies have shown this to be true, but here is one: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=pzuckerman_26_5

The problem is, ignorance breeds ignorance, the areas in which religion is highest also tend to have the largest birth rates (par for the course when you analyse what most sects preach about contraception). The only part religion has in society tends to be that of halting progress :)

I'm hopeful over the long term though, the world has progressed morally over the course of history (and is significantly less violent overall), no thanks at all to religion. There's still a long way to go but we've done a lot right as a species and deserve a pat on the back on occasion.


You make good points here Chris, and I agree religion can be used to surpress people's development.  That's not the defined goal of religion, but people with power use it that way. just like people use politics or the media, for example, for their own ends.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 23:02:45 pm
Does religion have a defined goal? That's ultimately part of the problem, I think, it's ambiguity and want for claiming credit where it's not due and ignoring when it's at fault :)

If you look honestly at the books, we can at least look at what the end-game is if they are true, and I don't think any of them paint a pretty picture.

I'm skeptical as to whether religion has ever really been about anything other than controlling others. All religions are clearly man-made, with an emphasis on the "man" part. Quite clearly the work of desperate peasant virgins.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 23:26:28 pm
Quote from: dom on July 09, 2012, 22:27:15 pm
With regard to your first point i think you understate the role of religion in Western Europe - it's still very much there both actively and passively - just think of how much material you're finding for this thread


It's on the wane - it just won't go quietly.  It's determined to pick all sorts of fights with the growing tendency toward secularism, wherein orgianised religions' hitherto automatic and unearned special privileges and exemptions in State legilatures are gradually being exposed as the outmoded traditions they are.

QuoteI agree with your 2nd point - I do believe though that if religionis were ever got rid of it the gap won't be filled with rational thinking.


Not completely, no.  But one would hope the remaining gap would be filled by irrational thinking that isn't dangerous.  Like...peace, man.  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 09, 2012, 23:40:12 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 23:26:28 pm
It's on the wane - it just won't go quietly.  It's determined to pick all sorts of fights with the growing tendency toward secularism, wherein orgianised religions' hitherto automatic and unearned special privileges and exemptions in State legilatures are gradually being exposed as the outmoded traditions they are.


Yes,  the vested interests that were using religion to further their own ends don't like what's happening.  Hopefully though (as i think i've saiid before on this thread) more spiritual and less political organisations will result as their power wanes

QuoteNot completely, no.  But one would hope the remaining gap would be filled by irrational thinking that isn't dangerous.  Like...peace, man.  ;)


Another point i made before - less religion will not result  in less violence
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 10, 2012, 00:26:55 am
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 09, 2012, 20:24:47 pm
Well that's clearly not true, Jainism for example is a religion completely based on non-violence. The more fundamental one becomes as a Jain, the more likely they are to cripple themselves by not moving for fear of stepping on a bug or something. A Jain suicide bomber is nigh on impossible, it would go against everything they believe in and centred their life around.

Islam is certainly unique today with the danger it poses to others. The biggest threat of christianity (which I believe is substantial) is the potential retardation it poses to education throughout the world if certain sects had their way, particularly here in the US. That wall of separation gets a daily battering.

There are no comparable doctrines in christianity, judaism or tibetan buddhism to jihad or martyrdom. Find me an amish, quaker, tibetan buddhist, etc, etc going on a suicide mission in defence of their faith, then maybe we can talk about the degrees of similarity!


OK. Jainism and one or two other peaceful cults aside - what I said is actually quite true.

You believe that Islam is unique in the danger that it poses, as you understand it. You appear not to be aware of the Spanish Inquisition, or the Crusades, or the quaint practice of burning witches and Catholics in this country in centuries past. Muslims weren't responsible for these unfortunate episodes, by the way.

Of course, Christians don't tend to partake in these behaviours often these days. Yet the tenets of the religion which inspired this inhuman conduct remain the same in the 21st century, so I'm afraid it's a double standard to point to Islam as being uniquely able to inspire homicide and violence. We may have a different translation these days, but it's essentially the same Bible.

Similarly, millions of Muslims are as averse to homicidal nutters as you and I are.

So - without a doubt, the violence you ascribe to Islam is actually a cultural / political phenomenon, just as the Inquisition was. It's true to say that some parts of the world are still a few centuries behind the rest in some cultural respects, of course. But the particular religion has nothing to do with it.

The prime driver of what's seen as Islamic terrorism is provocation from the West, I have no doubt about that.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 01:32:35 am
Quote from: Slim on July 10, 2012, 00:26:55 am
OK. Jainism and one or two other peaceful cults aside - what I said is actually quite true.


You said every religion, therefore your statement is incorrect, I think if you can't accept that detail then we'll struggle to have an honest conversation :P

Quote
You believe that Islam is unique in the danger that it poses, as you understand it. You appear not to be aware of the Spanish Inquisition, or the Crusades, or the quaint practice of burning witches and Catholics in this country in centuries past. Muslims weren't responsible for these unfortunate episodes, by the way.


I said "today", clearly Christianity (in particular catholicism) was the most destructive religion in yesteryear, that's not in dispute. I was quite clear in my wording.

Quote
Of course, Christians don't tend to partake in these behaviours often these days. Yet the tenets of the religion which inspired this inhuman conduct remain the same in the 21st century, so I'm afraid it's a double standard to point to Islam as being uniquely able to inspire homicide and violence. We may have a different translation these days, but it's essentially the same Bible.


It's not a double-standard, far be it for me to defend Christianity, but I'd like you to point out any central doctrines that are similar to martyrdom or jihad. I didn't say they were uniquely able to inspire homicide and violence, merely that they pose a unique threat with which to do so. Again, quite clear in the words I have used. There's no central tenet of any other religion (of which I'm aware) that can lead one to a fast track to paradise in the same way as dying in defence of the faith in Islam.

Quote
Similarly, millions of Muslims are as averse to homicidal nutters as you and I are.


No doubt!

Quote
So - without a doubt, the violence you ascribe to Islam is actually a cultural / political phenomenon, just as the Inquisition was. It's true to say that some parts of the world are still a few centuries behind the rest in some cultural respects, of course. But the particular religion has nothing to do with it.


To say the religion has nothing to do with it is frankly, ludicrous. The culture and politics in those countries come from the religion! That's like saying hamburgers have nothing to do with cows, they're just a cultural phenomenon... we're dealing with the here and now, hopefully they'll grow out of it like (for the most part) christianity and judaism have and they can also ignore most of what their religion actually says.

Quote
The prime driver of what's seen as Islamic terrorism is provocation from the West, I have no doubt about that.


And what of the historical violence in the middle east and continued violence towards women in other muslim countries. Last time I checked, the west hasn't really had a lot to do with them. Sharia law has nothing to do with any western influence. Other cultures have suffered at the hands of the west much more than Islamic countries and not resorted to suicide bombing (and other cultures have also suffered far worse from other non-western cultures), because there is no logical pathway to it in their faith.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 02:34:14 am
I suppose creationism has nothing to do with religion, it's a political issue...

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/creationism-and-political-power-northern-ireland

What nonsense!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 10, 2012, 11:33:36 am
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 09, 2012, 23:26:28 pm
It's on the wane - it just won't go quietly.  It's determined to pick all sorts of fights with the growing tendency toward secularism, wherein orgianised religions' hitherto automatic and unearned special privileges and exemptions in State legilatures are gradually being exposed as the outmoded traditions they are.


And right on cue, a story in The Telegraph from yesterday...

QuoteUse schools to 'spread Christian story'

Christianity is in danger of 'sliding out of cultural memory', the Church of England's head of education has warned, as he unveiled a new drive to use its network of schools to spread the religion.

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor

10:00PM BST 09 Jul 2012

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, chairman of the Church's board of education, signalled a new move to promote religion through its schools.

He told the Church's General Synod meeting in York that plans are being drawn up to overhaul the entire curriculum to reflect the Christian foundation "in every part". He also called for clergy to be trained to maximise their use of schools to extend the church's "mission".

The bishop said church schools were "under attack" from all corners but the Church should respond to "creeping scepticism about religion" by using its schools as a tool for evangelisation.

He made his comments as he launched a new report on the future face of the Church of England's schools, which calls for "faith and spiritual development" to be placed at the "heart" the curriculum.

"If we miss the importance of this report the Christian story will continue to slide out of cultural memory," he told them. "But if we seize the moment, we could be embedding that story in the life of the nation in a way we haven't been able to do for decades. I'd put it as strongly as that."

The bishop highlighted campaigns to force the Church to relax its entry criteria to its schools, which reserve places for churchgoers, and calls for state funding to be removed from faith schools.

He said: "Church schools are under suspicion or attack in many corners of society . . . the pressure is on and our response must not be defensive but confidently on the front foot. Nationally we have a million parishioners in our schools every day. And these children have a whole hinterland of families. What an opportunity - are we up for it?"

He added: "Do we train our clergy for that opportunity or do we see engagement with schools as optional? The clergy ought to have a camp bed in there."

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said the speech smacked of "desperation".

"Despite increasingly heavy evangelisation in church schools in recent years, church attendance continues its long-term decline, being almost abandoned by the young," he said.

"The running costs of these schools is paid for entirely from public funds.

"The Church is given this money in trust for education, not to act like a salesman with his foot in the door force feeding increasingly unwilling children with its dogma.

"What we hear is desperation. It is quite clear from the declining and ageing church congregations that the Church can only survive a few more decades in any meaningful way as a national church."


Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 10, 2012, 12:21:53 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 01:32:35 amYou said every religion, therefore your statement is incorrect, I think if you can't accept that detail then we'll struggle to have an honest conversation :P


I've already acknowledged that there might be minor peaceful cults from which can be found no inspiration for violence, so you either need to read more carefully before replying or indulge in a bit more honesty yourself.

QuoteI said "today", clearly Christianity (in particular catholicism) was the most destructive religion in yesteryear, that's not in dispute. I was quite clear in my wording.


Of course, but the problem for your argument is that the Christianity that inspired barbarism in centuries past is essentially the same religion that's practiced today. Even Bibles printed today and sitting in middle class bookshelves up and down the country contain exhortations to murder and stone people in certain circumstances.

If groups of Christians went round shouting "death to homos" and burning gay people on bonfires you could easily find a justification in the Bible for it, and you'd no doubt conclude that Christianity was to blame. That doesn't happen in the present day only because the political and cultural circumstances are different. It has nothing to do with the particular religion.

You're right to point out that Islam has a particular tendency to inspire suicide bombers, but the means of the lethal violence is hardly important. The Crusaders may not have used suicide bombs, but so what? They probably managed to off more people than decades' worth of suicide bombers in Palestine in a single engagement.

Ultimately religion is not the cause, and really has nothing to do with it. You haven't been able to show otherwise, and you won't be able to. If the West practised secular Islam and the Middle East was predominantly Christian, you'd have exactly the same problem. Perhaps they'd prefer car bombs to suicide vests, but what of it? Two Christian communities in a single small country managed to practice terrorist murders against each other for years not far from here.

It's frankly laughable to look to the theology for a cause of the violence we see directed toward the West. The provocation is painfully obvious.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 16:14:10 pm
Well I think we are at an intellectual impasse, but it's quite clear to me that you're wrong and I'm quite surprised to see a man of your intelligence fall into the PC trap of not being able to lay blame where it belongs.

Quote from: Slim on July 10, 2012, 12:21:53 pm
Of course, but the problem for your argument is that the Christianity that inspired barbarism in centuries past is essentially the same religion that's practiced today. Even Bibles printed today and sitting in middle class bookshelves up and down the country contain exhortations to murder and stone people in certain circumstances.


No arguments here, but that's not the point at all. Christians and jews simply don't practice (for the most part) the doctrines that instruct people explicitly to act out barbarism. The point is that Islam (in most parts of the world where it is practiced en masse) has not had the secular and humanistic values imposed on it that religion has in western Europe (and constitutionally at least, in the US). There are reasons why jews don't stone their wives but parts of the muslim world still punish women for the crime of being raped (http://www.worldgonemad.tv/2011/03/sharia-law-bangladeshi-girl-14-whipped-death-raped/), this is not a cultural instruction because the religion is the culture. Only when they have a cultural breakthrough from scripture will your point (and mine) be valid, and I suspect we will see a decline in violence in those countries. Particularly towards women.

Quote
If groups of Christians went round shouting "death to homos" and burning gay people on bonfires you could easily find a justification in the Bible for it, and you'd no doubt conclude that Christianity was to blame. That doesn't happen in the present day only because the political and cultural circumstances are different. It has nothing to do with the particular religion.


As I've already said, it's about the culture rising above what the religion instructs them to do. Do you think that sharia law has nothing to do with Islam? Give me a break :-*

Quote
You're right to point out that Islam has a particular tendency to inspire suicide bombers, but the means of the lethal violence is hardly important. The Crusaders may not have used suicide bombs, but so what? They probably managed to off more people than decades' worth of suicide bombers in Palestine in a single engagement.


The crusades ranks among (in terms of the worlds population) one of the most devastating events in history, that's not in debate. If you're enemies are engaging in, shall we say, regular means of violence, there are different methods with which to deal with said threat. Trying to defend oneself against those who not only fear death, but revel in it changes the gameplan.

Quote
Ultimately religion is not the cause, and really has nothing to do with it. You haven't been able to show otherwise, and you won't be able to.


The reverse is true and you haven't been able to show otherwise, this is beyond silly.

Religion is the cause, the cure is for society to grow out of its religiousity, there are multiple indicators in which to do this that are proven (though the path is bumpy). Democracy (or any efficient leviathan), openness to trade, a police/judicial system to get out of Hobbesian traps among civilians, access to education, empowering women, etc, etc. Most Islamic states fail miserably in these indicators.

People will still fight, but without explicit doctrines (that are adhered to by the letter) there will be different methods and different reasons. The justification behind a lot of violence of the past is religion.

Quote
If the West practised secular Islam and the Middle East was predominantly Christian, you'd have exactly the same problem. Perhaps they'd prefer car bombs to suicide vests, but what of it? Two Christian communities in a single small country managed to practice terrorist murders against each other for years not far from here.


Hypothetically we would have exactly the same problem in reverse, but the fact is we don't. I'd be quite happy to defend secular islam in the face of extreme christianity, but that is not the problem the world faces. Not to say christianity doesn't give us problems (which I've already noted).

I suppose religion in Northern Ireland has absolutely nothing to do with the problems there... as Ron has said previously, religion provides the reason to discriminate, there are other complicated factors, made even more complicated by religion.

Quote
It's frankly laughable to look to the theology for a cause of the violence we see directed toward the West. The provocation is painfully obvious.


You've misread the argument, we have to analyse the cause and the methods, the methods are religious, with religious justification. But 9/11 was also a result of people failing to accept the dangers that religion poses to the world, and one that many people still fail to accept.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 11:30:17 am
The Vatican is trying to ban a German magazine from exposing its dirty secrets with a pathetic objection to this satirical cover (rough headline translation: "The leak is out!").

(http://taz.de/uploads/images/684x342/papst_titanic_1007.jpg)

From the National Secular Society's website:

QuoteThe small German magazine Titanic is being prosecuted by the Pope over the cover of its latest edition which satirises the "Vatileaks" scandal.

The front and back covers of the current issue of the magazine -- which show the pope with a yellow stain on his cassock and the headline "The Leak Has Been Found" -- are "illegal and harm the holy father's legal rights", says Matthias Kopp, spokesperson for the German Bishops' Conference. "Titanic oversteps every measure of decency," he says.

On Tuesday, a state court in Hamburg issued a temporary injunction against the magazine. The issue has been withdrawn from circulation and the magazine has been forbidden from publishing it on the internet.

The magazine published on its home page a copy of a letter sent by Archbishop Angelo Becciu to a German lawyer in Benedict's name asking him to take "the necessary legal steps against this publication".

"The Holy Father tasks you to institute proceedings against this violation of his personal rights," the letter added.

The magazine's editor Leo Fischer said in a statement:

"Benedict must have misunderstood us." He said the cover showed a Pope who had accidentally spilled a soft drink over his cassock in his exuberance. But he says that the magazine will fight the ban.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: "It is almost unbelievable that a court in a developed Western nation should think it legitimate to go along with the Vatican's authoritarian tendencies and suppress a rather mild satire like this.

"The Vatican comes over once again as a humourless, controlling dictatorship that will brook no criticism. This crazy case will simply draw ever more attention to the things it is trying to cover up. The Pope seems to think that we are still living in the 15th century when deference to his office was expected - whatever outrage was committed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 11, 2012, 13:29:01 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 16:14:10 pm
I suppose religion in Northern Ireland has absolutely nothing to do with the problems there... as Ron has said previously, religion provides the reason to discriminate, there are other complicated factors, made even more complicated by religion.


That's a misrepresentation of what i was trying to say. Religion is definitely heavily implicated in the causes and sustaining fuel for the problems in NI. A particularly virulent variety of militant christianity is responsible for the latest travesty at the Giant's Causeway and if left unchecked and given a free hand would almost certainly have most of the scientific discoveries in evolution and genetics ruled against in terms of what can and can't be taught in schools there. Bunch of backward looking numptys basically.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 11, 2012, 15:58:34 pm
I wouldn't say that was a misrepresentation, personally, but always happy to see you expand on a point :)

With regards to the way the vatican are handling the magazine image. Does anyone know what the actual content of the mangazine is? It's perhaps telling that they aren't making any noise about that.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 11, 2012, 16:48:07 pm
Telling that you wrote Mangazine too perhaps? :) ;)

Is it actually Pope Benedict in the photo? If so they should have just put another old duffer in Papal robes Surely there would be no basis for a lawsuit if they did?!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 17:26:06 pm
Quote from: Bisto on July 11, 2012, 16:48:07 pmIs it actually Pope Benedict in the photo? If so they should have just put another old duffer in Papal robes Surely there would be no basis for a lawsuit if they did?!


There is no basis for a lawsuit.  The only lawsuits with links to the pope should be issued against his organisation (as they frequently are - and with consistent success, too).
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 11, 2012, 17:34:49 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 17:26:06 pm
There is no basis for a lawsuit.  The only lawsuits with links to the pope should be issued against his organisation (as they frequently are - and with consistent success, too).


Not even when he got shot ?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 11, 2012, 17:42:47 pm
Quote from: Bisto on July 11, 2012, 16:48:07 pm
Telling that you wrote Mangazine too perhaps? :) ;)



;D

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_STzvkHo79P0/S0UniE87kHI/AAAAAAAAAPA/a3gXCUoejwM/s400/mangazine-fannymbystedt.jpg)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 11, 2012, 17:51:41 pm
No punches pulled in this article.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/religion-lies-about-women/2011/04/13/AFDS9mXD_blog.html
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 21:04:16 pm
Quote from: dom on July 11, 2012, 17:34:49 pm
Not even when he got shot ?


To clarify, I was referring to Ratzinger, not the previous one.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 11, 2012, 21:07:17 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 21:04:16 pm
To clarify, I was referring to Ratzinger, not the previous one.


Oh sorry i thought you were referring to the position
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 11, 2012, 21:24:40 pm
Quote from: dom on July 11, 2012, 21:07:17 pm
Oh sorry i thought you were referring to the position


No worries, my post had an ambiguity.  :)  I've actually not got a problem with the position in principle, so long as it isn't seen as a license to trump secular law and stick its oars into non-Catholic business.  Unfortunately, those seem to be in the job description.  :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Slim on July 11, 2012, 22:03:09 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on July 10, 2012, 16:14:10 pm
Well I think we are at an intellectual impasse, but it's quite clear to me that you're wrong and I'm quite surprised to see a man of your intelligence fall into the PC trap of not being able to lay blame where it belongs.


I appreciate the compliment, but it's crystal clear to me that you're quite wrong, and with all due humility I've already shown that. I read most of your post. You go on essentially to repeat yourself. It's nothing to do with "PC", it's just about being able to recognise the genuine causes - they are actually pretty obvious - and not fall into the obvious trap of taking an excuse to bash a religion by looking for motives in its scriptures.

I'm a fan of what's called the "new atheism" as you may know, but one thing that does diminish its credibility is its intellectually lazy propensity for taking an excuse for Islam-bashing from the strife in the Middle East that occasionally spills over into the West. This has as much to do with Islam as loyalist terrorism in Northern Ireland had to do with Protestant doctrine. Of course people take recourse to their religion in any conflict - that's partly what their gods are for, after all - but it's a gross error to confuse this with the actual cause. The Germans in WW1 had "Gott Mit Uns" engraved on their belt buckles. That doesn't mean that they were at war because they'd found a logical path to fight in Europe in the Bible.

A justification and support for any brutal act of violence can be found in the Christian scriptures as well as the Islamic. It really has nothing to do with that, which is why even the Salvation Army doesn't organise homosexual burnings.  You can take an excuse for killing people from the Bible just as easily as from the Koran. It doesn't happen because the cultural and political motives for that just aren't there. The West provides those motives to societies in the Middle East in spades.

Have a closer look at what Sharia and Jihad mean by the way if you aren't already familiar - you might be surprised.

Thanks for the discussion though; I'd been meaning to blog about  the New Atheism and its unfortunate fondness for the Muslim-bashing bandwagon for some time, and this has helped me to crystallise my thoughts.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 11, 2012, 23:03:49 pm
Quote from: Slim on July 11, 2012, 22:03:09 pm
A justification and support for any brutal act of violence can be found in the Christian scriptures as well as the Islamic. It really has nothing to do with that, which is why even the Salvation Army doesn't organise homosexual burnings.


They probably don't do that as they probably think homosexuals are all going to burn in hell anyway. ::) Most ironic as without the efforts of the likes of Alan Turing in cracking the German Enigma code machine none of these idiots would likely be around to hold their stupid bigotted views.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 11, 2012, 23:50:25 pm
Slim, you still don't appear to understand the conversation which is utterly baffling.

The fact is that the religion and the culture are currently indistinguishable. I know plenty about sharia law and have read decent chunks of the quran, for your point to make sense, it seems as though you have to show it (sharia law) has nothing to do with Islam, I'll give you all the time you need... You cannot separate the culture in Islamic states from religion (there are reasons they are called Islamic states).

So women are forced to cover themselves from head to toe, are punished for the crime of being raped and forcing shame upon their families, etc, etc, and these things have nothing to do with the religion? If we were dealing with jains or quakers, no amount of abuse is going to cause them to fly planes into buildings (or probably even retaliate at all). These were educated men who believed in a central tenet of their faith, that martyrdom and jihad against the infidel were not some inner struggle, but that dying in defence of the faith was the fast-track to paradise. Oh but it has nothing to do with religion... absolutely 0% apparently.

If the situation were reversed as you suggested the possibility of earlier (eg, extreme christianity in the east, secular islam in the west), we would not see the same type of attack today. It would be a completely different ball game, we just have to be honest about the methods being used and the justifications for. Their are reasons why the salvation army don't burn homosexuals, because of laws and changes in the culture. Absent of these they probably would, this is the kind of morality you get from religion. The fact that you can't see you're making my point for me is puzzling. What Islam needs is for a massive movement away from the validity of its scripture (which by its own account is the perfect and final word of god), this has yet to happen to any worthwhile level. Secular and humanistic victories have rendered much of christianity and judaism as nothing more than flowery words for the most part by comparison, Islam has not had this same moral war of attrition.

Your argument doesn't even begin to make sense. But then of course, you've already admitted to not reading the entire post, so there's little left to argue.

Bin Laden's rants pre 9/11 need to be understood from a theological standpoint, he ranted about proximity of the infidel troops to muslim holy sites, he wanted to reinstate the caliphate, he rants about apostates. Regardless of the many complex issues, there are people who would happily conquer the world for Islam. And it's why there is a different threat about that than if we were talking about Tibetan buddhists or quakers, etc.

If the quran were different, the methods and justifications of violence would be different. Beliefs matter and we have to be honest about what people believe.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 12, 2012, 13:23:57 pm
I believe none of it and I still want my looroll with every religion represented on each square. In the interests of fairness though i'll have three squares on the roll about 20 sheets from the end with a portrait of Mr. Dawkins. Arrogant atheism is just as offensive as stupid religion and seeing his face would be a good reminder to A) go gently when trying to lead people away from ancient beliefs and B) buy more looroll. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 12, 2012, 14:47:10 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on July 12, 2012, 13:23:57 pmIn the interests of fairness though i'll have three squares on the roll about 20 sheets from the end with a portrait of Mr. Dawkins. Arrogant atheism is just as offensive as stupid religion and seeing his face would be a good reminder to A) go gently when trying to lead people away from ancient beliefs and B) buy more looroll. :)


This surprises me coming from you, El Capitano.  Richard Dawkins has been portrayed as "arrogant" and "strident" so repetitively - especially by people who can't respond adequately to his actual arguments - that even some atheists have fallen for it.

The reality is the polar opposite.  Faced with even the most swivel-eyed, caterwauling, froth-mouthed fundamentalist fruitbags in person, in writing and on the airwaves, he somehow manages to show a remarkably mild-mannered restraint.  Sure, he gets frustrated sometimes, but when most of your opponents are hell-bent on repeatedly trying to smear your character and credentials rather than engaging with what you actually say, then I'd get more than a little ticked off as well.

Most of the self-righteous outrage directed at Richard Dawkins seems to be from folk who are used to having their beliefs automatically respected and left unscrutinised.  Dawkins has simply called their bluff, receiving a cacophony of a million indignant cries of, "How dare you?!!" in response.  Which kind of says it all, really.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 12, 2012, 15:07:31 pm
Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find a more polite person.

In fact, I can't quite decide what is a more exhausting topic, debating with religious fundamentalists who can't accept evidence, or the "I'm an atheist, but..." type of people who think he's some kind of evangelist in even the remotely same manner. I've lost count the number of times I've been told "Richard Dawkins is the god of atheism" or words to that affect.

And it's not just his character that his detractors concentrate on, his domain of expertise is constantly being battered, and yet for the most part the majority of scientists are simply quiet on the matter when they should be anything but unapologetic.

Furthermore, while people seem to shirk away from Dawkins' apparent brand of public relations, one only has to look at his converts corner to see that his approach does make a difference. On the flipside, does anyone know or even heard of anyone who was once an atheist but now believes in intelligent design because of him?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 12, 2012, 16:17:00 pm
He is polite and he is extremely well spoken on his subject but he also comes accross as extremely smug in his absolute rightness which makes me not want to really get to know him. He is lacking in human warmth. I like my atheists less aloof and with better people skills. Carl Sagan and Sir David Attenborough spring instantly to mind and i'd happily sit down with either for a chat and a pint and some craic (if they were both alive). :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 12, 2012, 16:43:05 pm
I think you're confusing smugness and a lack of warmth with simply having to deal with the kinds of people who he puts himself in front of.

If you read what Sagan and Attenborough have written (Attenborough less so, who seems to be intent on being uncontroversial in general, but it's there) they have said things just as strident and "smug", perhaps even more so on occasion, than Dawkins.

From Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God

Quote"When you buy a used car, it is insufficient to remember that you badly need a car.  After all, it has to work.  It is insufficient to say that the used-car salesman is a friendly fellow. What you generally do is kick the tires, you look at the odometer, you open up the hood. If you do not feel yourself expert in automobile engines, you bring along a friend who is. And you do this for something as unimportant as an automobile.  But on issues of the transcendent, of ethics and morals, on the origin of the world, on the nature of human beings, on those issues should we not insist upon at least equally skeptical scrutiny?"


Plenty of other examples of militant atheism from Sagan here: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/guest-post-was-carl-sagan-a-militant-atheist/

Attenborough notes:
"I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

Maybe Sagan & Attenborough benefit from having a softer voice and sweeter tone, admittedly.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 13, 2012, 12:35:37 pm
Oh I know they are just as strong in their reasoning as Mr. Dawkins it's just that they come over as likeable people. Something that Mr. Dawkins does not. For me anyhow.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 16, 2012, 23:03:32 pm
New genus of fish named after Richard Dawkins:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/9402454/Sri-Lankans-name-new-type-of-fish-after-Richard-Dawkins.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/9402454/Sri-Lankans-name-new-type-of-fish-after-Richard-Dawkins.html)

QuoteLead researcher Rohan Pethiyagoda said the new genus, named Dawkinsia, comprises nine species that are found only in South Asia and are characterised by long filaments that trail from the dorsal fins of males.

"Richard Dawkins has through his writings helped us understand that the universe is far more beautiful and awe-inspiring than any religion has imagined," Pethiyagoda told AFP on Monday.


Indeed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 16, 2012, 23:09:04 pm
A whole genus as opposed to a single species. Cool tribute. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 16, 2012, 23:32:08 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on July 16, 2012, 23:09:04 pm
A whole genus as opposed to a single species. Cool tribute. :)


Ah, yes, thanks for that erratum.  Now corrected. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 13:44:30 pm
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/314703_450802338274116_2082558641_n.jpg)
Who is the lady on the RHS? Honest - I have no idea. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on July 20, 2012, 13:47:05 pm


Neither did I, but my daughter says its a Kardashian.  Whatever that is.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 13:55:04 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on July 20, 2012, 13:47:05 pm

Neither did I, but my daughter says its a Kardashian.  Whatever that is.

Wiki knows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Kardashian
Reality show "star", home made porn 'leak'... etc.  ::)
She earned $6 million in 2010  :o.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on July 20, 2012, 14:00:36 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 13:55:04 pm
Wiki knows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Kardashian
Reality show "star", home made porn 'leak'... etc.  ::)
She earned $6 million in 2010  :o.


She comes from a very wealthy family I think - prbably most of that money was earned through investment trusts
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 14:04:27 pm
Quote from: dom on July 20, 2012, 14:00:36 pm
She comes from a very wealthy family I think - prbably most of that money was earned through investment trusts

Nah - reading through the wiki stuff it's from the TV show about the family, and product spin offs.
Jeez - there's a whole world of shit out there I am blissfully unaware of.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on July 20, 2012, 14:23:50 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 13:44:30 pm
Who is the lady on the RHS? Honest - I have no idea. :)

Are you training to be a judge?  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 17:01:38 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on July 20, 2012, 14:23:50 pm
Are you training to be a judge?  ;)

Haha. It's like the Leveson enquiry: "Err, I have no recollection..."  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on July 20, 2012, 17:13:16 pm
I was thinking more of the "A popular beat combo m'lud" quote

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_beat_combo)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 20, 2012, 17:22:27 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on July 20, 2012, 17:13:16 pm
I was thinking more of the "A popular beat combo m'lud" quote

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_beat_combo)

Ah - I get it now.  :) it's all a bit out of touch not to know who the busty porn "reality" tarts on TV are? Ok - I can live with that.   ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on July 20, 2012, 21:11:50 pm
Quote from: Dixkot on July 20, 2012, 13:47:05 pm

Neither did I, but my daughter says its a Kardashian.  Whatever that is.


(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Ai3TT4Szc-A/SGYKPzpOKRI/AAAAAAAABc4/rWDBDPa8z8c/s400/kimcardassianplayboy.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 21, 2012, 15:55:03 pm
Quote from: Bisto on July 20, 2012, 21:11:50 pm
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Ai3TT4Szc-A/SGYKPzpOKRI/AAAAAAAABc4/rWDBDPa8z8c/s400/kimcardassianplayboy.jpg)


LOL. Inner Trekkie was piqued by that name eh Bisto. I confess I always think the same when I hear her name.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on July 26, 2012, 22:34:07 pm


(http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/531410_256019471180767_1084424348_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: ianb on July 26, 2012, 22:46:16 pm
I always liked the idea of the movie 'The Fly'.

I reckon (in fact the laws of probability insist!) that somewhere in the 'one of possible worlds' there's a fly with a human head and vice versa.

How cool would it be to buzz around all day like a blue arsed one eating shit for sustainance... oh I do that every day!

Hey... coooool!!!!!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 29, 2012, 00:52:44 am
So, the European Commission is set to investigate whether or not UK faith schools are breaking employment laws, could yield interesting results!

http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1084
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 29, 2012, 14:10:14 pm
Should be an open and shut case - they clearly are.

The fundamental concept of State-funded "faith" schools is both unfair and absurd.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 29, 2012, 16:27:57 pm
Yes but how often do we see what should be open and shut cases given exception due to religion?! I think this could go either way.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 30, 2012, 13:19:47 pm
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/483904_10151059626913936_1794806369_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 30, 2012, 14:25:38 pm
Woah. That's heavy. This Napkinism could be a real runner. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on July 31, 2012, 18:18:44 pm
FFS.  >:(  ::)

Comments made by Paxman in Dawkins Newsnight interview ruled "offensive". (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/31/jeremy-paxman-religious-comments-offensive-bbc-trust)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on July 31, 2012, 20:19:57 pm
Well to be fair not everyone who is a YEC type believer is "stupid", so it was a rather crass comment.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on July 31, 2012, 20:56:06 pm
The belief is certainly stupid (or ignorant, which could easily be rectified unless it becomes willful ignorance).

However, from the article I read, ONE person complained about the broadcast!

I remember watching it at the time, Paxman seemed to be squirming at having to try and play devil's advocate to what Dawkins was saying.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on July 31, 2012, 21:21:07 pm
What I cannot stand about this YEC lot (apart from the fact that they exist) is that they do not seem to have even the tiniest grasp of understanding of radio isotopes, their rates of decay or how the ratio of one isotope of an element to another in any given rock combined with the known half life of the element yields the age of the rock. I'm pretty rubbish at maths but even I can grasp how this works. If they are smart then they are just ignoring the plain as day evidence. If they are not well then can they please just f*ck off back to stupid land and leave education to people who wish to disseminate actual knowledge to the young of tomorrow about the real universe.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 01, 2012, 15:21:00 pm
Sam Harris has made his essay, Lying (previously only available as a cheap ebook) available for free this week. Grab it from here: http://www.samharris.org/images/uploads/LYING.pdf

I would really recommend it, it's certainly changed the way I think.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on August 01, 2012, 15:55:23 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on August 01, 2012, 15:21:00 pm
Sam Harris has made his essay, Lying (previously only available as a cheap ebook) available for free this week. Grab it from here: http://www.samharris.org/images/uploads/LYING.pdf

I would really recommend it, it's certainly changed the way I think.

Nice spot Chris. Cheers.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 01, 2012, 18:13:01 pm
It's a great little read, I should have reviewed it at the time but better late than never :) http://someothersuckersparade.blogspot.com/2012/08/lying.html
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 03, 2012, 12:54:09 pm
Humanist weddings outnumber Catholic weddings in Scotland (http://www.scotsman.com/news/figures-reveal-more-humanist-than-catholic-weddings-in-scotland-1-2447457?commentssort=1&commentspage=1)

And projected to outnumber Anglican ceremonies within 3 years...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 03, 2012, 13:17:02 pm
Sikh family visiting Olympics upset at having to follow the same rules as everyone else (http://www.itv.com/news/central/update/2012-08-02/sikh-family-denied-entry-to-olympic-event/)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Nïckslïkk2112 on August 03, 2012, 22:42:33 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on August 03, 2012, 13:17:02 pm
Sikh family visiting Olympics upset at having to follow the same rules as everyone else (http://www.itv.com/news/central/update/2012-08-02/sikh-family-denied-entry-to-olympic-event/)

Perhaps it should have been the Hide and Sikh...

I'll get me Turban.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 03, 2012, 22:53:10 pm
"It would never ever be used as an offensive weapon", I can't believe that's true, I'm sure someone over the course of history has used it as a weapon...

However, I do sympathise with their predicament because, according to that report, the official position was that they would be allowed into events with a kirpan.

So while I think everyone should have to play by the same rules (and therefore, if you aren't allowed in to the games with knives, kirpans should also be banned), given that they supposedly were allowed, I think they have a right to be aggrieved. So I think there are two separate issues here.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 04, 2012, 05:04:30 am
I agree, Q.  But of course it just shows the sort of unnecessary mess, confusion and beaurocracy that's inevitable once special exemptions, deferences and privileges are made for people of "faith" in particular.

One law for all.  It's not hard to figure out.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on August 04, 2012, 17:01:52 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on August 04, 2012, 05:04:30 am
One law for all.  It's not hard to figure out.


Yip simples.  I doubt a Scot in highland dress would have been permitted in with a Sgain Dhu.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on August 08, 2012, 11:21:10 am
Some interesting stuff in his about athletes/sports people and their faiths:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lhbqg/Leap_of_Faith/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 08, 2012, 13:30:34 pm
Global percentage of non-religious and atheists rising - poll (http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/08/number-of-atheists-around-the-world-is-rising)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Lynda on August 08, 2012, 16:34:04 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on August 01, 2012, 15:21:00 pm
Sam Harris has made his essay, Lying (previously only available as a cheap ebook) available for free this week. Grab it from here: http://www.samharris.org/images/uploads/LYING.pdf

I would really recommend it, it's certainly changed the way I think.


An interesting read Chris, I am often rather blunt in my honesty but I believe I can take it too!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on August 10, 2012, 10:54:05 am
Thought this was great. Perhaps we could organise to sponsor a TNMS atheists day at Old Trafford.

St Paul Saints hit home run for secular baseball

Faith groups frequently sponsor baseball games, so imagine our delight when Minnesota Atheists got the chance to play ball
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/09/stpaul-saints-hit-home-run-secular-baseball
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 10, 2012, 12:01:58 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on August 10, 2012, 10:54:05 am
Thought this was great. Perhaps we could organise to sponsor a TNMS atheists day at Old Trafford.


How about at The Shay?  It would double the attendance.

;)  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on August 12, 2012, 17:39:18 pm


(http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/424289_10151091753403936_1997049702_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Graham K on August 13, 2012, 04:32:59 am
On the other hand...

http://www.practikel.com/2012/01/27/christian-group-shows-up-to-chicago-gay-pride-holding-apologetic-signs/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 13, 2012, 04:51:18 am
The thing that always bugs me about "what Jesus said" is that common sense just goes out of the window. I can't remember an exact conversation from last week let alone years and years after the "fact", anything Jesus supposed said is basically what the people writing the bible wanted him to say. The fact is, no-one has the foggiest about what he actually said (and whatever he did say or even existed, he was not divine and had a worldview that is narrower than even the most ignorant people we know, through no other reason than his time in history).
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:07:28 am
The Jesus character as decribed (mutually cotradictorily) in holy books is a plagiarised myth and could not possibly have existed.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on August 13, 2012, 11:11:28 am
Quote from: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:07:28 am
The Jesus character as decribed (mutually cotradictorily) in holy books is a plagiarised myth and could not possibly have existed.

Well that ends that debate then  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:16:31 am
Quote from: dom on August 13, 2012, 11:11:28 am
Well that ends that debate then  ;)


Saves time.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on August 13, 2012, 11:19:08 am
Quote from: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:16:31 am
Saves time.  ;D


Well you know I wasn't sure and I thought about doing some research, but no need now - all sorted ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:41:00 am
Quote from: dom on August 13, 2012, 11:19:08 am
Well you know I wasn't sure and I thought about doing some research, but no need now - all sorted ;D


I wouldn't go that far! :o
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on August 13, 2012, 11:59:46 am
Quote from: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 11:07:28 am
The Jesus character as decribed (mutually cotradictorily) in holy books is a plagiarised myth and could not possibly have existed.

If historians took that attitude to all texts then no one could have possibly existed before 1600  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 13, 2012, 12:15:07 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on August 13, 2012, 11:59:46 am
If historians took that attitude to all texts then no one could have possibly existed before 1600  ::)


Not all texts make the extraordinary claims of the NT, though, do they?  The character as described in the NT performs at least one feat which is simply not possible.   There are no contemporary historical records describing this person - at all.  The story matches earlier mythologies to such a degree it can safely be described as plagiarised.  Ergo, it's fiction.  Not that the burden of proof is on me, mind.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on August 13, 2012, 12:59:02 pm
Well somebody somewhere started this rather successful Christianity cult and I reckon there probably was Jesus of Aramathea who stirred up some feeling back then worthy of writing a few stories about. It's just not possible in todays era of global media and recording for alledged mythical behaviour to go unchallenged. For all these people who have claimed to see ghosts for example there is not a single captive ghost in any exhibit anywhere in the world or a haunted house that stands up to repeated analysis as a conclusive example of a haunting. UFO reports also seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days ever since the ubiquity of decent digital camera in phone handsets. I wonder why that is? :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Nïckslïkk2112 on August 13, 2012, 13:43:34 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on August 13, 2012, 12:59:02 pm
For all these people who have claimed to see ghosts for example there is not a single captive ghost in any exhibit anywhere in the world

Well, duh! Ghosts can walk through walls.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on August 13, 2012, 14:43:32 pm
Not magnetically re-enforced ones according to Professor Egon. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on August 13, 2012, 14:49:09 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on August 13, 2012, 14:43:32 pm
Not magnetically re-enforced ones according to Professor Egon. :)


Ahh, that's how you stop the pesky blighters.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 13, 2012, 16:04:50 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on August 13, 2012, 12:59:02 pm
UFO reports also seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days ever since the ubiquity of decent digital camera in phone handsets. I wonder why that is? :)


Well that's not strictly true, UFO sightings are actually on the increase according to MUFON www.mufon.com/FAQs.html but the important thing to note is that UFO just means unidentified flying object, not an alien in a spacecraft :) (http://someothersuckersparade.blogspot.com/2011/09/ufos-and-alien-life.html)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on August 14, 2012, 13:35:52 pm
I meant UFO in the traditional sense of the words. Alien spacecraft. 8 megapixels upwards and autofocus doesn't leave much room for interpretation when it's no longer a fuzzzy shiny blob and is quite clearly a hubcap. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 14, 2012, 15:17:54 pm
Yes technology hasn't helped the crazy people :)

A few ways to fake your own UFO pictures!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Tu-28hyow&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on August 22, 2012, 13:37:55 pm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/20/todd-akin-christian-abortion-rape
Religion/Politics crossover here. WTF? You really do have to wonder about these so called intelligent people in American politics. The really scary thing though is how many people over there actually agree with this noxious shit.
EDIT: Been reading into this and it seems no abortion regardless is what the Republicans will be aiming for if they get in.  The republicans were not too happy with Akin's remarks, but not because they actually disagree with the principles behind it: more like his outspoken nuttery might be losing them votes. But they are all equally nutty.  Romney's running mate Paul Ryan is co-sponsor of the Sanctity of Life Act, which would provide that fertilized eggs "shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood". This act would introduce laws which would criminalise all abortion, as well as IVF and some forms of birth control.
>:(
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on August 23, 2012, 10:31:54 am
Richard Dawkins interview:
http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/playboy-interview-richard-dawkins
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on August 26, 2012, 19:25:43 pm
Awful!

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/more-islamic-lunacy-mentally-handicapped-girl-imprisoned-for-maybe-burning-a-page-of-the-quran-faces-death/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Lynda on August 27, 2012, 07:15:08 am
My daughter-in-law has been deeply involved in the York Mystery plays for very many months, she has had to research Jesus as she is Jewish.

http://www.yorkmysteryplays-2012.com/

Paul and I recently saw the play, an amazing production. The story does not fit comfortably with me, especially as I do not believe in Hell. To me we are all here for the life journey, there is no one to judge good/bad and we all pass to the same place regardless of our earthly deeds.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on August 27, 2012, 18:30:31 pm


Some recent news stories that shows religion up as for what it is.

Scotland (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-19383571)

Pakistan (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19391460)

Afganastan (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19388869)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on August 30, 2012, 13:24:46 pm
Conversely...

The 8 Best Countries To Be An Atheist (http://www.salon.com/2012/08/29/eight_of_the_best_countries_to_be_an_atheist/)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Red Star on September 02, 2012, 18:30:26 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on August 26, 2012, 19:25:43 pm
Awful!

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/more-islamic-lunacy-mentally-handicapped-girl-imprisoned-for-maybe-burning-a-page-of-the-quran-faces-death/


Hmm, a new twist has developed with this story with the Imam who accused her of this crime being arrested.

http://news.sky.com/story/979839/muslim-cleric-held-over-pakistan-blasphemy-case
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 02, 2012, 19:02:26 pm
Yes it just gets more strange by the day :(

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 04, 2012, 10:41:53 am
Lets hope these lot don't manage to get away with playing their man in the sky trump card.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19472438

Ms Eweida, a Pentecostal Christian from Twickenham, south-west London, was sent home by her employer British Airways in 2006 after refusing to remove a necklace with a cross
I thought she was told she couldn't wear the cross outside of her BA uniform. Keep it covered up and she was fine, but this was not good enough for the god squad brigade.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 04, 2012, 10:58:29 am
There are four cases of alleged "discrimination" being brought by these deluded faith-heads who want special exemptions to laws with which everyone else seems to have no trouble.  Their cases have been thoroughly scrutinised up to and including the highest court in English jurisprudence and have been rejected every time.

Ms Eweida is crying persecution because she believes that she was treated unfairly simply on account of her Christian beliefs because she was told to place an item of jewellery out of sight.  That this item happened to be a cross was completely incidental.  Therefore there are no grounds at all for her case.  Yet still she sees herself as some kind of martyr for pursuing it.  She is humiliating herself.

The other cases involve refusal to deal with homosexuals in a professional capacity on grounds of "conscience".  There is a simple test for this.  If refusal to deal with dark-skinned people on grounds of "conscience" is unacceptable, then the same holds for homosexuals.  It's that simple.

Hopefully common sense, as shown by the English courts, will prevail.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 04, 2012, 12:02:33 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on September 04, 2012, 10:58:29 am
Ms Eweida is crying persecution because she believes that she was treated unfairly simply on account of her Christian beliefs because she was told to place an item of jewellery out of sight.  That this item happened to be a cross was completely incidental.  Therefore there are no grounds at all for her case.  Yet still she sees herself as some kind of martyr for pursuing it.  She is humiliating herself.

Indeed. This has been in the news as she was told she could not wear a cross at work. Which is nonsense. Keep it out of sight. I'm sure her particular man in the sky (via his bible book) couldn't give a toss whether her jewellery is on show. Looks like the voices in her head are getting to her.

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 04, 2012, 15:22:25 pm
Yes the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. And worst of all, she was actually given 8.5k settlement to begin with...

This is a handy run down of events:

http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/view.m?id=15&gid=%2Fcommentisfree%2F2008%2Fjan%2F17%2Facrosstobear&cat=commentisfree#.UEWtWFzvufs.twitter
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Red Star on September 04, 2012, 17:16:48 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on September 04, 2012, 10:58:29 am
The other cases involve refusal to deal with homosexuals in a professional capacity on grounds of "conscience".  There is a simple test for this.  If refusal to deal with dark-skinned people on grounds of "conscience" is unacceptable, then the same holds for homosexuals.  It's that simple.


Well, I don't think the people in question would have any problem marrying dark skinned people or giving sex therapy advice to them. It must be a tad difficult for a heterosexual person to give sexual therapy advice to homosexuals and vice versa though I would have thought?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 04, 2012, 20:38:50 pm
Quote from: Red Star on September 04, 2012, 17:16:48 pm
Well, I don't think the people in question would have any problem marrying dark skinned people or giving sex therapy advice to them. It must be a tad difficult for a heterosexual person to give sexual therapy advice to homosexuals and vice versa though I would have thought?


That's a whole other discussion, as the cases are not based on discrimination due to lack of qualification, but in any case I don't think that's necessarily so, myself.  I mean, you can be knowledgeable on the effects of base-jumping without a parachute without having to practise it. ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 04, 2012, 22:56:25 pm
Dawkins interviewed by Jim al-Khalili on The Life Scientific. Podcast available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/tls
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 11, 2012, 17:34:04 pm
Rather well done (large table, if can't view, raw file here http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/guidetogod-1.png). Because apparently the monotheistic religions all worship the same god...

(http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/guidetogod-1.png)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: BaldiePete on September 11, 2012, 18:02:44 pm
Atheist happy-clappy gospel from folk-punk singer Frank Turner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbUCzUk84fE&feature=colike

I keep singing this (which is alarming since I am a shockingly bad singer).

Sample from the lyrics.

QuoteBrothers and sisters, have you heard the news?
The storm has lifted and there's nothing to lose,
So swap your confirmation for your dancing shoes,
Because there never was no God.

Step out of the darkness and onto the streets,
Forget about the fast, let's have a carnival feast,
Raise up your lowered head and hear the liberation beat,
Because there never was no God.

There is no God,
So clap your hands together,
There is no God,
No heaven and no hell.
But there is no God,
We're all in this together,
There is no God,
So ring that victory bell.

No cowering in the dark before these overbearing priests,
Not waiting until we die until we restitute the meek,
No blaming all our failings on imaginary beasts,
Because there never was no God.



Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 11, 2012, 23:54:13 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on September 11, 2012, 17:34:04 pm
Rather well done (large table, if can't view, raw file here http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/guidetogod-1.png). Because apparently the monotheistic religions all worship the same god...


And then there are, of course, the various mutually exclusive (and therefore mutually blasphemous) sects within all those - in fact, several thousand within Christianity alone. 

They're like bald folk fighting over a comb.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 12, 2012, 00:02:17 am
Should be an interesting watch tomorrow

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mqvmv
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 12, 2012, 00:28:05 am
Quote from: dom on September 12, 2012, 00:02:17 am
Should be an interesting watch tomorrow

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mqvmv


Nice spot, dom; didn't know about this, so thanks.  Should catch this. :)

Mr Sacks is a very eloquent orator.  He's terribly woolly-minded, however, and logic isn't his strong point. :/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 12, 2012, 11:04:39 am
Nicky Campbell's 9 am phone in this morning featured the usual 'logic' wrangling by bible followers over the term "bigot" regarding gay marriage. "Gay marriage is wrong because it says in the bible that being gay is a sin - therefore I am not a bigot." Hmmm....

EDIT:

bigot  -- n
A person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race.


So, that would mean that anyone who is intolerant of gay marriage is indeed a bigot?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 12, 2012, 11:07:49 am
Quote from: dom on September 12, 2012, 00:02:17 am
Should be an interesting watch tomorrow

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mqvmv

Cheers. Liking this Sky remote record facility  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 13, 2012, 14:42:26 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on September 12, 2012, 00:28:05 amMr Sacks is a very eloquent orator.  He's terribly woolly-minded, however, and logic isn't his strong point. :/


And last night's programme only offered more proof of this.

It struck me that the common ground between Sacks and his interviewees was plain common humanistic sense.  The fact he is a theist and the others aren't is incidental, which was the very opposite of his point.  And, as Richard Dawkins pointed out, his and Sacks' common goals in no way means Sacks' faith isn't based on fantasies, and there appeared a severe dissonance in Sacks' position when he couldn't bring himself to say that he believes stories in the Torah are factually true while it being pretty obvious he profoundly wishes and therefore presumes they were so.

Sacks' most egregious error in amongst his usual woolly special pleading and assertions-from-nowhere was of Judaism promoting enquiry and freedom of thought amongst children; this doesn't sit at all well with the unmentioned (or, at least, unbroadcast) elephant that was plainly in the room of ritual genital mutilation of infants born to religious parents.

Finally, Sacks' rather conceited claim of bringing Dawkins' to an "epiphany" is sheer nonsense; Dawkins has been saying for some time that allies with common goals can be found within religious organisations, so that was actually nothing new at all.

So, for all of Sacks' deepities (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Deepity), pretty much a case of "as you were" in the end, though very good television all the same.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 13, 2012, 15:19:21 pm
I felt that all the people he spoke to were far too soft on him, I have a feeling there was some heavy editing done on Sacks' behalf (the voice overs were nauseating).

Sacks wants to have his cake and eat it, he says a lot of fluffy words but they really don't mean anything, and he tends to ignore the fact that holy books make many claims that are completely incompatible with current scientific understanding.

There was also an hour-long debate that was on yesterday between the two, I saw parts of it but hopefully it will be available elsewhere. Shockingly, Sacks called Dawkins anti-semitic for simply calling the god of the old testament a bully.

I'm tired of these so-called sophisticated theologians who say a lot without saying anything.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 13, 2012, 15:49:46 pm
Interesting quote from the Dalai Lama on Facebook recently:

"All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether."

I agree in essence, although people always seem to forget that major religions don't just emphasis love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, quite the opposites can ALSO be found....
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 13, 2012, 16:47:46 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on September 13, 2012, 15:19:21 pm
... theologians who say a lot without saying anything.

Definition of a theologian, surely?  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 13, 2012, 17:40:53 pm
Theologians are to philosophy what alchemists are to chemistry.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 13, 2012, 21:53:15 pm
A theologian is akin to a blindfolded man in a pitch dark, windowless room at midnight looking for a black cat that isn't there.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 14, 2012, 12:42:30 pm
Sacks: RD is an anti-semite. :(
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/19563336
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 14, 2012, 12:49:45 pm
Bloody hell - one nonentity of a film on YouTube and we get various groups of Muslims kicking off murdering and destroying :(.
When will people learn: ignore it and it'll go away. Really, no one cares and the only people who win in this situation are the extremists in the west who are sitting back and laughing at the reaction. They are absolutely playing into the hands of the provocateurs.  Mohammed is very precious and all but, come on, why get so offended by some pathetic home movie? 
Mind you - I guess this insecurity is more deep seated and they are using this issue as an excuse to have a pop at the USA/ The West.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 14, 2012, 12:56:38 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 14, 2012, 12:42:30 pm
Sacks: RD is an anti-semite. :(
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/19563336


To be fair he did later back-pedal somewhat, but still further down the rabbi(t) hole Sacks goes.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 14, 2012, 13:07:12 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 14, 2012, 12:49:45 pm
Bloody hell - one nonentity of a film on YouTube and we get various groups of Muslims kicking off murdering and destroying :(


Just like with Rushdie's book, Theo Van Gogh's film, the Danish cartoons, and all the rest.

These backward theocratic Islamist pea-brains merely vindicate why their beliefs and actions are ridiculed and insulted.

They're despicable.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 14, 2012, 14:29:09 pm
Well - it's only a tiny minority in far away places, but they sure do go for it in giving their faith a bad name.
EDIT: Listening to a Muslim chap (from London, who is about to organise a protest outside the US embassy) on FiveLive insulting the prophet is the same as insulting your parents and anyone in the west would obviously do the same (ie go off rioting and kililing) if the shoe was on the other foot. Oh, and there is apparently a "Global war on Islam" and this film is a part of that. FFS  >:(
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 14, 2012, 15:40:12 pm
I seem to remember protesters outside screenings of "The Life of Brian". Normal people were inside laughing and frankly if there is a God and he was watching he'd laugh too. Especially the bit where the guy is jumping the queue at the crucifiction. Kills me every time that.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 14, 2012, 16:04:02 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on September 14, 2012, 13:07:12 pm
Just like with Rushdie's book, Theo Van Gogh's film, the Danish cartoons, and all the rest.

These backward theocratic Islamist pea-brains merely vindicate why their beliefs and actions are ridiculed and insulted.

They're despicable.


But it has nothing to do with religion... ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 15, 2012, 14:43:13 pm
I've just watched this film.  It's so badly made as to be beyond ridicule.  If most of these angry folk actually watched it, they wouldn't get angry; they'd piss their pants at the sheer, unchartered depths of crassness and ineptitude.  It makes the reasons for these violent protests look even more inane.  Someone was killed because of this?  An absolute tragedy.

I strongly recommend - nay, I implore you - to please don't watch it if you don't want an unlucky 13 minutes of your life utterly wasted.  I certainly won't again.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 15, 2012, 14:50:50 pm
Quote from: dom on September 12, 2012, 00:02:17 am
Should be an interesting watch tomorrow

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mqvmv


I got round to watching this and my overall view was - What was the point ?   Athiests base their lives on evidence on proof whearas the religious base them on belief and faith.  The twain is never going to meet and Sachs needs to realise this and get on with his life.  I suppose it was noble to try and find common ground but it was never going to happen, beyond saying yes we can be nice to each other.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 16, 2012, 14:30:53 pm
Yes. We have to be nice to religious people. It's not their fault that they are susceptible to fairy stories any more than someone with a disability is responsible for their predicament.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 16, 2012, 14:37:25 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on September 16, 2012, 14:30:53 pm
Yes. We have to be nice to religious people. It's not their fault that they are susceptible to fairy stories any more than someone with a disability is responsible for their predicament.


if by being nice you mean respecting people  who choose different guidelines to live their life i'd agree with you.  i fear you're being patronising and dismissive though  :(
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on September 16, 2012, 16:11:51 pm


(http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/165829_486967611328790_126179001_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 17, 2012, 23:33:17 pm
Quote from: dom on September 16, 2012, 14:37:25 pm
if by being nice you mean respecting people  who choose different guidelines to live their life i'd agree with you.  i fear you're being patronising and dismissive though  :(


Dismissive of relgion yes. Patronising the people who suffer from it no. I feel for their predicament but I have hope that reason will one day maybe free their children at the very least.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 14:05:17 pm
Yer man Jesus was married...?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19645273

Love this one:
Jim West, a professor and Baptist pastor in Tennessee, said: "A statement on a papyrus fragment isn't proof of anything. It's nothing more than a statement 'in thin air', without substantial context."
Er - that'll be just like the rest of the bible then.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 19, 2012, 14:07:31 pm
QuoteBut the announcement sparked scepticism from some theologians.


Oh, the irony.  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 14:15:30 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on September 19, 2012, 14:07:31 pm
Oh, the irony.  ::)

:) Theologians must really have issues with which stories they believe in. The unsubstantiated ones or.... the other unsubstantiated ones.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 19, 2012, 14:37:23 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 14:15:30 pm
:) Theologians must really have issues with which stories they believe in. The unsubstantiated ones or.... the other unsubstantiated ones.


They probably have a reference chart or committee dedicated to working out which fairy stories are more likely to be adopted into their canon or not and another to decide which current inviolate truths are "off message" for the times.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 19, 2012, 15:06:47 pm
You know, it must be great to be a theologian.  You just make up stuff about made up stuff.  Brilliant.

Though Dan Brown had it even cushier: in his very silly but bizarrely lucrative novel The Da Vinci Code, he made up stuff about made up stuff based on made up stuff, and still a lot of folk thought it based on "real" controversies.

You, erm, couldn't make it up.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 15:49:54 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on September 19, 2012, 14:37:23 pm
They probably have a reference chart or committee dedicated to working out which fairy stories are more likely to be adopted into their canon or not and another to decide which current inviolate truths are "off message" for the times.  ;D

Jesus being married though - how cool and trendy would that be? A message for our times - women embraced into the church... but only doing the washing, cooking and kids. Or they could make up some more about him being married to a bloke.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 19, 2012, 16:02:15 pm
In light of the recent riots and murders (and yet again I see constant reports not condemning the murders and riots but the stupid and rubbish movie in the first place)... this onion piece really nails it.

Be warned however, it's NSFW

http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image,29553/?ref=auto

Blurb here, click link to see image.

QuoteWASHINGTON--Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday. The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 19, 2012, 16:21:27 pm
So if it was actually proved that Jesus had a wife and a female disciple, would the catholic church allow priests to marry and end celibacy?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?_r=1
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 16:42:43 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on September 19, 2012, 16:21:27 pm
So if it was actually proved that Jesus had a wife and a female disciple, would the catholic church allow priests to marry and end celibacy?

(We are already doing this one - see above.)
Good question though. It's quite a new thing the celebacy for Catholic priests - so they can dedicate their lives to god. Allegedly. They could easy reverse that one regardless. Would have been interesting if the papyrus had confirmed Jesus had a boyfriend.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on September 19, 2012, 17:23:12 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 16:42:43 pm
Would have been interesting if the papyrus had confirmed Jesus had a boyfriend.

Weren't they just called disciples in those days  :-X
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 19, 2012, 18:25:57 pm
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/on-the-freedom-to-offend-an-imaginary-god
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 19, 2012, 22:28:23 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 19, 2012, 16:42:43 pm
(We are already doing this one - see above.)
Good question though. It's quite a new thing the celebacy for Catholic priests - so they can dedicate their lives to god. Allegedly. They could easy reverse that one regardless. Would have been interesting if the papyrus had confirmed Jesus had a boyfriend.


Even if it did the christian churches would disown it as describing some other Jesus (Brian perhaps? :) ) or the real turbo nutters would probably just call it a work of God / The Devil like all them gosh darned dineysore bones put there to challenge our faith / mislead us from the true path haymen.  ::)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 19, 2012, 22:49:25 pm
I've been feeling the absence of Christopher Hitchens' surgically astute observations during the imbecilic furore over the almost as imbecilic Innocence Of Muslims film.

However, there is this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLjfrMVmG6c) - Hitchens, bang on form, debating a babble-spouting Islamist apologist on CNN during the Motoons controversy.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 21, 2012, 22:12:56 pm
This is a good post by Jerry Coyne (his blog is well worth following)

What is Islamophobia? http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/what-is-islamophobia/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 22, 2012, 00:10:27 am
Whilst reading about the habits of the dangerous Austraian funnel web spider I came across this little gem.

"The venom of the male Sydney Funnel-web Spider is very toxic. This is because male spider venom contains a unique component called Robustoxin (d-Atracotoxin-Ar1) that severely and similarly affects the nervous systems of humans and monkeys, but not of other mammals (a difficulty for 'creation science' which believe in a special creation for humanity). The absence of this chemical from female Sydney Funnel-web Spider venom explains why bites by these females have not caused any deaths."

Re-enforces the fact that we are just one branch of the primate tree quite beautifully. Quite accidental that male funnel web spider venom is so toxic to us and our close relatives.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 22, 2012, 00:40:11 am
Dur!!! Dude, like, that spider is obviously totally Satan's fault! Why else would it only be effective against humans? Because we SIN!!!
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 22, 2012, 14:56:24 pm
Reverend Quartly in da house. Praise be! :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Dixkot on September 23, 2012, 20:11:18 pm


The good old Catholic Church are at it again.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-19691802
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 10:39:51 am
Lets all move to eastern Germany  :)

Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/22/atheism-east-germany-godless-place
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 24, 2012, 10:57:18 am
Quote from: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 10:39:51 am
Lets all move to eastern Germany  :)


After seeing the recent British Social Attitudes and YouGov surveys, there's no need.  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 10:59:22 am
And this was on the Today programme this morning

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2012/09/21/german-bishops-get-tough-on-catholics-opting-out-of-their-church-tax/

If you dont pay your taxes you are not allowed in  :P
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 24, 2012, 12:31:09 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 10:39:51 am
Lets all move to eastern Germany  :)

Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/22/atheism-east-germany-godless-place


And to think the Churches in Eastern Germany that were one of the principal instigators into the ending of communism there.  They had a very significant part to play, certainly.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 24, 2012, 13:01:44 pm
I remember taking a daytrip to Leipzig a few years after the wall came down when I was working in Paderborn, West Germany for a while. Dear goodness. What an absolute dump! Everything was grey. The streets were hopeless for modern vehicles and the people all walked around with their heads down. The hourly bong from the communist "struggle of the workers" edificed clock tower was possibly the most single depressing sound I have heard in my entire life. I really wouldn't be surprised if religion was instrumental in bringing down communism there. ANYTHING including even the pipe dreams of religions would be preferable to that miserable hopeless existence.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 24, 2012, 14:03:21 pm
Yes fair point, but regardless of the circumstances, it shows that the Church can play an important and beneficial role in society.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 24, 2012, 15:29:04 pm
Yes but in the same part of the world, the church played a huge role (this really can't be understated at all) in Hitler's rise to power. And that really just shows that religion is completely man-made and behaves exactly as you would expect it to, it merely reacted in an opportunist way to each situation.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 16:19:25 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on September 24, 2012, 15:29:04 pm
Yes but in the same part of the world, the church played a huge role (this really can't be understated at all) in Hitler's rise to power. And that really just shows that religion is completely man-made and behaves exactly as you would expect it to, it merely reacted in an opportunist way to each situation.

I think you need to justify that statement (including some references)  ::) Otherwise I will invoke Godwin's law  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 24, 2012, 16:36:55 pm
Quote from: dom on September 24, 2012, 14:03:21 pm
Yes fair point, but regardless of the circumstances, it shows that the Church can play an important and beneficial role in society.

It can indeed. But then things which are not the church can and do play a similar role, but without the associated brainwashing.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 24, 2012, 17:00:57 pm
Many things can play an important and beneficial role in society although in the case of organised religions I would say good done is largely by accident and probably more to do with the general goodwill of decent (if misled) people. The objective of religions after all is to obfuscate the truth of nature by providing easy answers to a complex universe for the masses who need a comfort blanket to deal with the cold uncaring nature of reality. Religious convictions also leave you bereft of analytical capacity when something conflicts with your chosen dogma. Like Robbie the robot in Forbidden planet when ordered to follow an order which conflicts with that which they have been given the faithful are incapable of action and locked in a feedback conflict. Not a wise place to be in a world full of conflicts revolving largely around or based upon religions I would think.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 17:05:23 pm
Quote from: Captain Ron on September 24, 2012, 17:00:57 pm
Many things can play an important and beneficial role in society although in the case of organised religions I would say good done is largely by accident and probably more to do with the general goodwill of decent (if misled) people. The objective of religions after all is to obfuscate the truth of nature by providing easy answers to a complex universe for the masses who need a comfort blanket to deal with the cold uncaring nature of reality. Religious convictions also leave you bereft of analytical capacity when something conflicts with your chosen dogma. Like Robbie the robot in Forbidden planet when ordered to follow an order which conflicts with that which they have been given the faithful are incapable of action and locked in a feedback conflict. Not a wise place to be in a world full of conflicts revolving largely around or based upon religions I would think.

So your with Marx there: Religion is the opium of the people.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 24, 2012, 17:12:12 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 16:19:25 pm
I think you need to justify that statement (including some references)  ::) Otherwise I will invoke Godwin's law  ;)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichskonkordat#Terms_of_the_concordat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_Nazi_Germany#Reichskonkordat

Quote"There is general agreement that the Concordat increased substantially the prestige of Hitler's regime around the world. As Cardinal Faulhaber put it in a sermon delivered in 1937: "At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with cool reserve and considerable suspicion, the Catholic Church, the greatest moral power on earth, through the Concordat expressed its confidence in the new German government. This was a deed of immeasurable significance for the reputation of the new government abroad."


As Christopher Hitchens said (http://www.mediaite.com/online/christopher-hitchens-final-interview-catholic-church-christian-charities-and-totalitarianism/):

Quote"f you're writing about the history of the 1930s and the rise of totalitarianism, you can take out the word 'fascist', if you want, for Italy, Portugal, Spain, Czechoslovakia and Austria and replace it with 'extreme-right Catholic party'.

    "Almost all of those regimes were in place with the help of the Vatican and with understandings from the Holy See. It's not denied. These understandings quite often persisted after the Second World War was over and extended to comparable regimes in Argentina and elsewhere."
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 24, 2012, 17:15:07 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on September 24, 2012, 17:05:23 pm
So your with Marx there: Religion is the opium of the people.


I think the fuller quote goes something like: Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Hitchens also has some interesting things to say about that quote, as apparently most people take it the wrong way, but I can't remember what he said now.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 24, 2012, 17:19:42 pm
Oh, here we go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNaHu8UnEt0
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 24, 2012, 17:26:42 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 24, 2012, 16:36:55 pm
It can indeed. But then things which are not the church can and do play a similar role, but without the associated brainwashing.


I think you'll be hard pressed to find a successful brainwashed-free society, unless there's a utopian anarchistic land somewhere, yet to be discovered.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 24, 2012, 18:20:41 pm
I suppose it depends what you mean by brainwashed. I like to think that i've done a good job of washing belief out of my brain and thought processes by judicious collection of evidence and expression of rationale and that it feels a lot tider and cleaner in there now. Make me watch 10 mins of Stormont "debate" on the NI channel though and it all fall apart! ;D I find I can be surprisingly emotive and irrational all of a sudden so I obviously have plenty of work still to do yet on the reconciliation and sense of justice front but that's probably just symptomatic of trying to enter into reasoned debate with people in a country where religion pervades every malicious or bigotted motive.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 25, 2012, 11:36:48 am
Quote from: dom on September 24, 2012, 17:26:42 pm
I think you'll be hard pressed to find a successful brainwashed-free society, unless there's a utopian anarchistic land somewhere, yet to be discovered.

Ok - brainwashed in the sense of Catholicism for instance where society revolves round complete fear of a supernatural being.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on September 25, 2012, 11:50:52 am
Quote from: Andy42g on September 25, 2012, 11:36:48 am
Ok - brainwashed in the sense of Catholicism for instance where society revolves round complete fear of a supernatural being.


Now you're talking  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on September 25, 2012, 16:27:16 pm
Philosopher submits hoax theology paper - gets accepted. (http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/09/atheist-philospher-pulls-soakl-style.html)

Not that any evidence is needed that theology isn't even a subject worthy of study at all.  But here's an excerpt from "The Paradoxes of Darwinian Disorder. Towards an Ontological Reaffirmation of Order and Transcendence":

Quote"In the Darwinian perspective, order is not immanent in reality, but it is a self-affirming aspect of reality in so far as it is experienced by situated subjects. However, it is not so much reality that is self-affirming, but the creative order structuring reality which manifests itself to us. Being-whole, as opposed to being-one, underwrites our fundamental sense of locatedness and particularity in the universe. The valuation of order qua meaningful order, rather than order-in-itself, has been thoroughly objectified in the Darwinian worldview. This process of de-contextualization and reification of meaning has ultimately led to the establishment of 'dis-order' rather than 'this-order'. As a result, Darwinian materialism confronts us with an eradication of meaning from the phenomenological experience of reality."


And some folk devote their entire professional lives to this sort of gibberish.  :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 25, 2012, 16:32:01 pm
Brilliant! I came here to post the same thing (but different source: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/a-sokal-style-hoax-by-an-anti-religious-philosopher-2/)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 26, 2012, 10:06:06 am
If anyone you meet argues for ID, here's the easy rebuttal in one example: the laryngeal nerve.
http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/22/the-laryngeal-nerve-of-the-gir/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on September 26, 2012, 12:21:28 pm
Quote from: Andy42g on September 26, 2012, 10:06:06 am
If anyone you meet argues for ID, here's the easy rebuttal in one example: the laryngeal nerve.
http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/22/the-laryngeal-nerve-of-the-gir/


Playing devil's advocate (irony coincidental) here as I'm not a creationist but did you read the comments section in which it is argued that Dawkins (conveniently) isolates only one branch of the nerve bundle which in fact serves other parts of the body?  The analogy he makes between the wiring (so to speak) and the, on the face of it, illogical design of cars with forward mounted engines is an interesting one.  As with all things a full understanding of the entire context gives us grounds for certainty; I haven't watched the video but assume that Dawkins decides not to present this other evidence?  If so he fails to really nail the ID argument with this video.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 26, 2012, 13:42:58 pm
Quote from: Bisto on September 26, 2012, 12:21:28 pm
Playing devil's advocate (irony coincidental) here as I'm not a creationist but did you read the comments section in which it is argued that Dawkins (conveniently) isolates only one branch of the nerve bundle which in fact serves other parts of the body?  The analogy he makes between the wiring (so to speak) and the, on the face of it, illogical design of cars with forward mounted engines is an interesting one.  As with all things a full understanding of the entire context gives us grounds for certainty; I haven't watched the video but assume that Dawkins decides not to present this other evidence?  If so he fails to really nail the ID argument with this video.

I think the point is it wraps round the heart and then u-turns and doubles back up the neck, which it does in other mammals, such as us. Looking back at our ancestors (ie fish) there wasn't a neck so the nerve was a short direct link, which happened to be under the heart. The longer the neck, the further the diversion, and with evolution of course there's no sudden rewiring possible. The nerve has other functions - evolved along the way up and down the neck. Yes - there are "could have" arguments a plenty at  creation.com, but then there's also a good explanation there about how the great flood worked, how a snake talks and where Noah's son's wife came from.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on September 26, 2012, 13:57:59 pm
Youre preaching to the choir (sorry) its just I find that  this kind of debunking is usually more convincing when the opposing "evidence" or argument is addressed and dismantled.  Painstaking  process I know and , yes, there is always a get out clause-endless loop with creationists , I just feel we need to really present the evidence fully for the hard of thinking
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on September 26, 2012, 14:22:22 pm
Quote from: Bisto on September 26, 2012, 13:57:59 pm
Youre preaching to the choir (sorry) its just I find that  this kind of debunking is usually more convincing when the opposing "evidence" or argument is addressed and dismantled.  Painstaking  process I know and , yes, there is always a get out clause-endless loop with creationists , I just feel we need to really present the evidence fully for the hard of thinking

:) Creationists HAVE to find something to contradict the evidence, however tenuous.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on September 26, 2012, 15:53:48 pm
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/priest-bans-yoga-from-church-hall-because-its-not-compatible-with-catholic-faith-8179826.html
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on September 26, 2012, 17:10:35 pm
Dear goodness. These people are clinically mad. I mean just look at this paragraph. In particular the last two sentences.

"On one hand we say to our parishioners 'be strong in your faith', and on the other hand there's this other religious belief that's not part of our faith. It's not compatible. We are not saying that yoga is bad or wrong."

So they are not saying yoga is bad or wrong but it is incompatable?! Implying that lots of not bad or wrong things are incompatable with Catholicism. Can you imagine the sermons with this logic? lmao. "Go forth and do no bad or wrong oh faithful sheeple but do check for compatability if you find you are enjoying your not bad or wrong thing." ;D

"In a further statement the diocese said: "The Catholic Church cannot permit activities which have their origins in non-Christian religions to take place on Church premises." About time too! Let's get all those heathen christmas trees out of the chapels and churches and have a good old fashioned burnin'.  ::)

In fairness to the yoga instructor she did try to communicate with these self-conflicted lunatics in a way that they would understand and find compatable with their needs. "I offered to go down and show them the moves and, literally, the shutters came down." That probably would've worked... if she was a young boy.  :P


Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 01, 2012, 18:33:07 pm
Nice article.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/29/my-take-im-spiritual-not-religious-is-a-cop-out/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on October 02, 2012, 12:14:27 pm
Why Richard Dawkins' humanists remind me of a religion
New atheists may repudiate faith but their schismatic squabbles and adulation of figures such as Dawkins sound familiar
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/oct/02/richard-dawkins-humanists-religion-atheists

I think the title of this thread rather supports this article's central argument  :P
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 02, 2012, 12:16:54 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on October 02, 2012, 12:14:27 pm
Why Richard Dawkins' humanists remind me of a religion
New atheists may repudiate faith but their schismatic squabbles and adulation of figures such as Dawkins sound familiar
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/oct/02/richard-dawkins-humanists-religion-atheists
I think the title of this thread rather supports this article's central argument  :P


::) There's no such thing as "new atheists".
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 02, 2012, 12:21:00 pm
Ajmtimesthree
2 October 2012 9:04AM
Michael Ruse's lack of understanding of the atheist mindset should preclude him from having a public forum to spout his nonsense. He's making such a tired old argument, which has been handled thousands of times on CiF and elsewhere. This piece boils down, once again, to nothing more than a personal attack on Richard Dawkins for entirely self interested and egotistical reasons. Guardian....why is this allowed? why can't we have pieces on this subject which actually display some degree of intellectual rigour?
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 02, 2012, 13:45:59 pm
QuoteHumanism in its most virulent form tries to make science into a religion.


Good grief - gargantuan fail with the very first sentence.  And it doesn't improve from there on in.

It's just another Andrew Brown-esque click-bait article based on a shoddy and feeble ad hominen tu quoque gambit in lieu of a coherent argument.

Seems to have struck a nerve with his success, this Dawkins chap, and Ruse seems merely envious.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 02, 2012, 15:10:52 pm
It's a desperate attempt to scream nothing more than "you're just as bad as we are!", and it fails on all counts.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 02, 2012, 15:49:21 pm
Yeah - but we are nowhere near as bad as ... them.  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on October 02, 2012, 16:09:20 pm
Atheism per se is obviously not a religion but I do understand how some feel that highly vocal and public atheists do come accross as if they were espousing it as a religion. Of course this doesn't stand up to logical analysis but then again you have to realise that the vast majority of people are not big on logical analysis and tend to just go with the vagaries of "looks like a duck, quacks like a duck ergo it's a duck". Leading people to reason like the way David Attenborough does is great. People like Dawkins just tend to wind Joe Average up.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 02, 2012, 20:54:46 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on October 02, 2012, 12:14:27 pm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/oct/02/richard-dawkins-humanists-religion-atheists


A suitable take-down from Jerry Coyne.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/michael-ruses-disses-atheism-again-whines-about-his-mistreatment-and-makes-mistakes/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Topper on October 02, 2012, 22:19:47 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on October 02, 2012, 20:54:46 pm
A suitable take-down from Jerry Coyne.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/michael-ruses-disses-atheism-again-whines-about-his-mistreatment-and-makes-mistakes/


That Guardian article seems to have pushed quite a few people's buttons Chris. Judging from the message board on the link you posted. This debate isn't really for me. I am not religious. Don't care how other people live their life. Just laughing at that message board. Some people seemed...Upset. Peace bro.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on October 02, 2012, 23:51:28 pm
Quote from: Topper on October 02, 2012, 22:19:47 pm
That Guardian article seems to have pushed quite a few people's buttons Chris. Judging from the message board on the link you posted. This debate isn't really for me. I am not religious. Don't care how other people live their life. Just laughing at that message board. Some people seemed...Upset. Peace bro.

the faithful being righteously indignant?  :P
How dare he have a different point of view - splitter  :o
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 03, 2012, 00:07:56 am
Quote from: Topper on October 02, 2012, 22:19:47 pmJust laughing at that message board. Some people seemed...Upset. Peace bro.


Like I stated: click-bait.   :-\
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 03, 2012, 00:11:05 am
Quote from: pdw1 on October 02, 2012, 23:51:28 pm
How dare he have a different point of view - splitter  :o


Different is okay, per se - arrant nonsense like Ruse's to back it up isn't.  :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 03, 2012, 00:21:10 am
He can say what he wants, of course, but in doing so does little other than show he doesn't know what he is talking about :)

I'm not sure there's anything more boring than those that fall in the "I'm an atheist but...(long and incoherent rant about atheists)" camp. I'd rather read some bigoted opinion by a theist who thinks I'm going to hell, at least they have reasons to think the way they do, Ruse just fabricates nonsense.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 03, 2012, 09:49:36 am
Quote from: Topper on October 02, 2012, 22:19:47 pm
That Guardian article seems to have pushed quite a few people's buttons Chris.

They always do  - CIF Belief comments turn into a pitched battle between the usual suspects. It's fun to join in from time to time.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 03, 2012, 16:16:20 pm
Some may remember the controversy around the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland that was infiltrated by creationist propaganda, well it looks like the exhibit was amended again. This time the science is unambiguous :)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19814284
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on October 03, 2012, 18:14:42 pm
It wuz dat bigass McCool dude innit bruv
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 05, 2012, 15:28:42 pm
Heard the one about the blasphemous pineapple? (http://richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/10/4/university-atheist-society-ordered-out-of-freshers-fair-for-displaying-blasphemous-pineapple-called-mohammed)  ::)

FFS.

>:(  :-\ or, alternatively  ;D  :D

I'm not sure which.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 05, 2012, 16:31:09 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on October 05, 2012, 15:28:42 pm
Heard the one about the blasphemous pineapple? (http://richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/10/4/university-atheist-society-ordered-out-of-freshers-fair-for-displaying-blasphemous-pineapple-called-mohammed)  ::)

Wow - so that's what he looks like.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: BaldiePete on October 07, 2012, 00:48:28 am
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v308/BaldiePete/sciencereligion.jpg)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 08, 2012, 21:49:44 pm
A letter written by Einstein is going up for auction soon, bidding starts at $3 MILLION dollars. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/einstein-letter-calling-biblical-stories-pretty-childish-to-be-auctioned-on-ebay/263334/

Anyway, next time someone claims Einstein was a believer, perhaps this letter will help:

Quote
The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on October 09, 2012, 13:51:32 pm
Quote from: BaldiePete on October 07, 2012, 00:48:28 am
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v308/BaldiePete/sciencereligion.jpg)


LOL! Reminds me of the classic Father Ted episode "Speed 3". Dougal is trapped on a milkfloat wired to explode if it falls below 5mph by rogue milkman Pat Mustard and Father Ted and other priests hold a mobile mass beside the trundelling milkfloat of doom. After divine intervention isn't forthcoming they watch The Towering Inferno for inspiration and when they realise it is completely irrelevant to the problem at hand they then discuss the possibility of any benefit in holding another mass.  ;D
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Topper on October 09, 2012, 19:13:21 pm
Quote from: Chris Quartly on October 08, 2012, 21:49:44 pm


Anyway, next time someone claims Einstein was a believer, perhaps this letter will help:


Why would you care the next time someone claims Einstein was a believer? You're too cool for all this nonsense Chris. Keep on trucking. :)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on October 11, 2012, 13:45:44 pm
Rational people care because certain insidious types keep trying to adjust history and hijack or undermine respected scientists and relabel them to suit their own ends. The classic being the accusation from militant Christians that Charles Darwin recanted his position on evolution on his deathbed which is just bollocks.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 16, 2012, 13:23:25 pm
The occasional but regular deluded feckwit (this time from Ireland) blaming disability (of a grandchild) on abortion because they cannot deal with their guilt. Well, given the "sin" was not hers but that of her daughter it does seem a bit strange, but there you go these catholic faith heads are entirely racked by guilt - guilt entirely brought on by their faith that is...
http://www.humanistlife.org.uk/2012/10/disability-should-not-be-seen-as-a-punishment-for-abortion-or-anything-else/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 19, 2012, 10:57:27 am
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/18/christian-gay-couple-ordered-pay-damages
Man in the sky followers lose again when it comes to prejudice. Good.
And it's caused Nick Griffin to show his true colours... again.  :(
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 19, 2012, 11:38:23 am
Quote from: Andy42g on October 19, 2012, 10:57:27 am
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/18/christian-gay-couple-ordered-pay-damages
Man in the sky followers lose again when it comes to prejudice. Good.


They just don't get it, do they?  It may be their "home" and they may have their "convictions", but the moment you use your private property for business purposes then you are engaging with the State and are therefore subject to its laws.  Of course, they arrogantly think the laws of their invisible magic friend should supercede them, in which case anything goes, and folk could claim a religion they invented last week forbids them from granting their services to black people.  Fortunately in the rational world there are safeguards against such poisonous inanities.   

QuoteAnd it's caused Nick Griffin to show his true colours... again.  :(


Another proud homophobe, proud bigot, proud racist, proud xenophobe and proud Christian.  All that's missing is the white sack cloth and jack boots.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on October 19, 2012, 13:09:24 pm
Im pretty sure he has those as well and probably a Gestapo Officers uniform and a monocle
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 19, 2012, 14:00:08 pm
How about this for a counterpoint - Peter Tatchell defends anti-gay marriage Christian who has taken employer to court after demotion for expressing views via Facebook (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/tatchell-backs-man-who-opposed-gay-marriage-8217347.html).

This makes my blood boil as well.  This person has every right to hold those views and freely express them outside of his professional life.  It comes down to the old quote often attributed to Voltaire about profoundly disagreeing with views but equally as profoundly defending the right to express them.

Nothing should be specially closed off from expression and scrutiny in the arena of discourse.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 19, 2012, 14:03:57 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on October 19, 2012, 14:00:08 pm
How about this for a counterpoint - Peter Tatchell defends anti-gay marriage Christian who has taken employer to court after demotion for expressing views via Facebook (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/tatchell-backs-man-who-opposed-gay-marriage-8217347.html).

This makes my blood boil as well.  This person has every right to hold those views and freely express them outside of his professional life.  It comes down the the old quote often attributed to Voltaire about profoundly disagreeing with views but equally as profoundly defending the right to express them.

Nothing should be specially closed off from expression and scrutiny in the arena of discourse.

Absolutely. A fine move by Peter Tatchell all round - that's going to confuse the bigots.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 26, 2012, 09:30:32 am
Creationist Road trip from BBC 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oju_lpqa6Ug
Watched this last night from the telly. Interesting stuff.  The big guy is like some charismatic cult leader, and he gains one confused follower.
His comment about "but where are the creationist geologists?" made me laugh out loud.
The girl who says she can't not believe it all her entire faith would fail and that's too scary about sums it up.
The Tea Party lot....  :o
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 29, 2012, 23:49:18 pm
Quelle surprise - Hurricane Sandy is all the gays' fault, says Christian fruitloop. (http://now.msn.com/john-mcternan-blames-hurricane-sandy-on-gay-people-as-well-as-obama-and-romney)

Who's the bigot?  ::)

Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on October 30, 2012, 13:30:49 pm
Quote from: Matt2112 on October 29, 2012, 23:49:18 pm
Quelle surprise - Hurricane Sandy is all the gays' fault, says Christian fruitloop. (http://now.msn.com/john-mcternan-blames-hurricane-sandy-on-gay-people-as-well-as-obama-and-romney)

Who's the bigot?  ::)

There's always going to be one (or two) Christian fuitloop types blaming the gays. I'm sure the others all just blame it on their not praying enough.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: döm on October 30, 2012, 18:28:15 pm
Anyone catch his programme last night looking at how to give life meaning when religion doesn't provide that for you - interesting, thought-provoking stuff
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on October 30, 2012, 18:48:42 pm
I've watched the first two parts but haven't seen the third yet.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: pdw1 on October 31, 2012, 12:16:07 pm
Psychic powers? rubbish.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on October 31, 2012, 13:17:13 pm
Quote from: pdw1 on October 31, 2012, 12:16:07 pm
Psychic powers? rubbish.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664


Yep.  :)  We should start a James Randi thread...  ;)
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on October 31, 2012, 14:21:26 pm
Whilst I don't think there is any solid evidence for biologically based psychic powers I can envisage a future where man and machine merge to give us abilities that today would fit that description. Google's idea of net connected augmented reality sunglasses is a definite step in that direction.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andrew_Haldane on October 31, 2012, 14:46:19 pm
Oh ffs!

http://m.metalhammer.co.uk/news/polish-supreme-rules-that-behemoth-frontman-nergal-committed-a-crime-by-tearing-up-a-bible-on-stage/
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Chris Quartly on November 01, 2012, 01:22:33 am
Presumably the "psychics" knew the parameters of the test before they agreed to do it... it would have been easy to turn those supposed smug attitudes around, by demonstrating psychic abilities...
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on November 01, 2012, 11:32:34 am
Quote from: AlexJ on November 01, 2012, 00:22:26 am
I read that article and whilst I have equal contempt for all parties quoted, I tend to agree with Ms Putt in that this experiment proves nothing.


Well, Ms Putt has actually unintentionally homed in on the exact point that it "proves nothing" - as the burden of proof is on the "psychic" claimant.

QuoteIt is a prime example of the worst type of smug quack skeptic science IMO.


They're skeptics, not cynics.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  James Randi has for years offered $1m to anyone demonstrating such abilities - would that these "psychic" charlatans put their money where their mouth is.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Matt2112 on November 01, 2012, 11:34:26 am
Quote from: AlexJ on November 01, 2012, 00:17:08 am
Was there ever any suggestion that psychic powers as claimed by the people concerned in this article was a religious experience? Just wondering why you chose to post this in this thread..... :-\


Richard Dawkins' foundation is for "Reason & Science".  That would cover all fantastical claims that are found wanting under scrutiny.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Captain Ron on November 01, 2012, 13:26:18 pm
As an interesting aside whilst I do not see any real evidence for psychic abilities I do not rule out the possibility that certain individuals may be able to use their brains passively in some strange fashion to sense something electromagnetic in their surroundings. The brain is after all an electrical device that generates a small but measurable electromagnetic field and maybe even radio waves. It's not beyond the realms of reason and study that something biological could be going on to give some people an undocumented sense of some sort and this may be more sensitive in some individuals than others. Long way from a force choke though, if anything at all. Interesting to think about though. Throw in quantum twinning and you may also have an interesting possibility for long distance interaction.
Title: Re: The Richard Dawkins Thread 2
Post by: Andy42g on November 01, 2012, 13:35:35 pm
Quote from: AlexJ on November 01, 2012, 00:22:26 am
I read that article and whilst I have equal contempt for all parties quoted, I tend to agree with Ms Putt in that this experiment proves nothing. It is a prime example of the worst type of smug quack skeptic science IMO.

:o These people are fleecing money out of others with claims that they can read minds etc.  It's all a sham - and this scientific test goes a long way to prove it. Of course Ms Putt is going to say it proves nothing. Just like when the religious make some fantastical claim which is proved to be bollocks, and they then say "well, it's god and he's beyond science." If she's claimed to be psychic and sat through an experiment and it shows she's not psychic what does she do? Admit she's a fraud (even to herself - she's maybe convinced herself she can actually read minds) and pack in her lucrative "career" or shrug off the criticism and carry on regardless because there's always someone ignorant/desperate/naive enough out there to be taken in? Religion has taken the latter approach for centuries