Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by francois, Jul 31, 2007.
LOL. I've never heard it put that way.
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Well, I can't hope to respond within an order of magnitude by word count, but the first thing I will note is that I did NOT say that people were idiots. I said the 'belief is idiotic'.
I'm targeting mainly those people who claim an otherwise rational viewpoint on virtually every other aspect of life, yet fail to inspect their "belief" with nearly the same application of logic and reason. This applies to many, many people. I do indeed have friends who believe and are not idiots. I also have many atheist friends who are not science oriented in any way.
How clever. I'll swing my world view over to your side because you can play with the definitions of words. Yay.
None of that justifies pontine tumors in children, or allows a god who need not have supplied them or could have prevented them in this short, inconsequential life the adjective "benevolent".
Understanding a religion is one thing. Giving a particular version of it a pass on its reasoning or rhetoric is unnecessary for that understanding.
This is one area where Dawkins provokes, apparently - he is clear about some of what doesn't get a pass: that theology and religious faith and belief are in this world - the short, inconsequential one.
That is the danger inherent in any instinct, once the species has moved into an environment for which the instinct did not evolve. Birds have an instinct to take flight instantly when they hear a loud noise, and every day hundreds of totally domestic pet birds fly out of windows because of a loud noise, and by the time they regain control over their wings they're completely lost. You have to understand the power of archetypes. They bypass reason because they are pre-programmed so deeply that they "feel" like truth. It is much more difficult to inspect a belief in a god than to inspect a belief in a president or a brand of detergent. In order to understand religion and deal with it, you have to understand the instinctive nature of archetypal motifs.
I know they didn't say that overtly but that is what happens the moment you invoke an economic system in which people are paid with no regard for their output. Socialism only works in tiny communities like hippie communes and Bulgaria, where everybody truly feels that everybody else is family, and you don't goldbrick on your family.
You need a refresher in Econ 101. An abrupt change from a growing economy to a stabilized one can be wrenching, but a steady state of constant production is quite feasible. The reason economies have historically provided growth is that there were always a lot of people who had not yet attained the maximum level of prosperity that their technology could provide, and as soon as they got close the engineers came up with a newer and more promising technology.
Now you need a course in 21st Century economics. Haven't you noticed that an increasing proportion of the western world's GDP is information rather than matter? 24-hour channels of music, news, sports, and other entertainment. Software that powers chat rooms and automates your vacuum cleaner. An exploding bandwidth in information transfer so I'm sitting here connected to some huge number of members who are signed on, and I can have my whole company on a video/audio conference call within five minutes. There are entire corporations that never handle physical substances except keyboards and cell phones. Unlike matter, information can be duplicated and shared almost infinitely and almost for free.
Excuse me but I'm the guy with the business degree and 45 years of working in a capitalist economy, and what you describe are the results of despotic governments and ignorant populations, not a capitalist economy. Capital is just another word for "surplus wealth," which is created by division of labor, economies of scale, and technology. Each of us routinely produces more economic value in a day than we consume, so we add to the collective surplus. We can invest that capital in the equity market, we can use it to start our own business, we can convert it into physical capital by moving out of our apartments and buying houses, or we can dissipate it on the frivolous consumption of a more expensive brand of beer or a more environment-hostile SUV. Capitalism requires a steady flow of consumers and poor people don't make very good consumers, because even though they spend all of their income they don't spend as much as wealthier people who are also saving and investing. Making workers poor is not a rational business strategy. It can succeed for a limited time in a place like America because when we took over this continent there had never been a civilization here before so its resources were untapped. You may have noticed that making workers poor did not work at all for the Chinese, with their resources drained by 4,000 years of civilization. You may have also noticed that no economic system makes workers as poor as communism.
The real wrench in the 21st century economy is something that you'll never see coming by thinking in this politically correct way. The corporate economy that is the engine of the "developed world" came about because during the Industrial Era huge quantities of captial were required for business projects. That is becoming less true as we enter the Information Age. All the railroads and steel mills are built, yet people have less need to travel because of the internet. We don't even need to keep chopping down the forests to build telephone poles because they've all got tiny radios in them nowadays. We don't even need to keep sucking up all the petroleum because we can work at home. Trust me, when you kids finally take over from my generation of dinosaur managers who can't figure out how to manage people they can't look at, you're going to do away with this notion of "going to work" every day. You will continue living your life with text messaging and chat rooms like you do today. Office buildings will be a thing of the past, as will traffic congestion and urban crowding, when you can live in Boise or Quito and work in London or Riga.
Without the need for huge concentrations of capital, the very concept of the corporation might fade away except for the infrastructural firms. People are already starting businesses in Uruguay with nothing but a PC and a FedEx account.
I think you might want to withdraw that question before somebody answers it. Why can old the guy see the future while you kids think it will always be the way it's been? Isn't that a reversal of roles? Or is it that I've lived through so much profound change and stunning progress that to me that is "the way it's been"?
You still don't get it. They believe that all the pain and tribulations of our fleeting life in this lowly plane of existence are tests of our faith. You're right that they'd have a hard time explaining the value of "testing" an infant who can't focus his eyes or roll over without help, much less contemplate good versus evil. But Christians are big on collectivism and the suffering of the community over the ills that God bestows on their helpless children is as big a part of their righteousness-testing as are hurricanes and Muslim terrorists--which are also part of God's inscrutable plan. Obviously you and I fail that test because we can't respect a real or imaginary being who makes children suffer. In fact we hate it so much that we've devised sciences that help us cure those children--and there are certain Christian cults like the ironically named "Christian Scientists" who think that artificial healing is a sin because dammit we are all supposed to suffer. Either way you and I are certainly going to Hell.
I'm not giving Christianity a pass on anything. I loathe Christianity and I only tolerate Christians because I'm surrounded by them and I don't have much choice. I liked America a lot better 40 years ago when it was the Christians who had to keep a low profile and we were in charge; when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, the Christians boycotted him, and nobody noticed--because it was true!
I simply believe that if we are to defeat religion--or just survive the current trendy backslide into monotheism--we need to understand what makes them tick. They really do believe all this stupid crap!
Not just a hard time - an impossible time. It contradicts itself, denies its own premises. Their faith depends on being cut loose from their reason, in that matter and others.
Hence the cutting loose of faith from reason. Hence the importance of establishing a hierarchy of mental faculties, with reason and rationality and so forth subservient to faith.
I was raised in this, Fraggle - I'm no stranger to the scene. I think this partly accounts for the odd hostility directed at people like Dawkins - they are not harmless, to someone whose pain is only increased by the establishment of reason as an equivalent, equal-status property of mind.
i am having a hard time figuring out what all this has to do with dawkins and hitchens representing athiesm.
nothing. Someone please inform avatar. There are infractions to be given in this thread for going off topic. Or am I the only one receiving infractions for going off topic on this forum?
All posts on wealth, communism and other stuff moved to new thread:
Crikey is this monster still alive!
..er can I have the final word.
Aren't you all being a bit careless referring to atheists as doing this or believing that? Please keep in mind that there is nothing that we have in common other than a non-belief in "spirits" or a "god." That is not much in common! It really makes no sense to generalize with us. I certainly don't! I hate to be lumped in, for example with the cursing and swearing hedonists that lampoon the "fundies" in the religious forums! This is in marked constrast to the manner of my webpage, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
Dawkins always manages to irritate everyone with his inane ranting....he claims Atheists are 'downtrodden'...(stop laughing).
<< Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including homosexuals, recent immigrants or Muslims. >>
.he even throws in the Jewish monopoly of US policy.
<< When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place." >>
It would certainly appear that way from the perspective of a significance junkie and myth monger.
What's to laugh at? We are downtrodden in important ways, especially now during the Religious Redneck Retard Revival. There is no way a professed atheist could attain an elected office with a constituency of more than two or three thousand people, and even that is unattainable in giant portions of America. An appointed office might be achievable if it were in an arcane specialty with little competition and the subject of religion could be avoided in the screening process. In other words, "closet atheists" can rise. Even in the corporate world, Religious Redneck Retards are everywhere. If one is a valued executive assistant or advisor, you'll never be a department head in many companies. If you dream of a profession or an avocation that involves working with children (teacher, Little League coach, etc.), you'd better be prepared to live in a major city or a small town that prides itself on being avant-garde.
Christians can walk around with religious symbols hanging from their necks and bumper stickers on their cars, they can have bibles on their desks, and they can give their lord a parenthetical thank-you in the middle of any conversation with anyone even under the most formal circumstances. Jews, Muslims and Sikhs are free to proclaim their religious identity with their clothing. We have to watch every word we say and avoid entire topics of conversation to avoid offending someone who has power over us, or resolutely relocate to a place like West Hollywood, which coincidentally is also a haven for gays and Jews.
If we have any dreams and any ambition, we end up choosing our places of residence, our professions, and our hobbies carefully if our opinions on religious matters are strong enough that we want to feel free to express them.
I'd say we're definitely better off than the Muslims and gays. Legal immigrants from Christian countries are probably more trusted than we are, if you just toss a dart at a map of America. As I say, in the major cities we can let our guard down.
He makes a fallacious leap of logic there. To the extent that America's Jews have any influence in politics, it is not generally the more religious among them. Jews who barely qualify as Reform and Jews who are completely secularized have the most influential voices, and they are not the ones who support Israel's theocratic and racist politics, nor are they the ones demanding a huge American footprint in the Middle East. Of course it's hard for any Jew anywhere not to feel a little fondness for Israel and they would not want to see it destroyed by a competing theocracy, but the same can be said for most American Christians.
Dawkin's' scientific fundamentalism demands that he paints his own kind as 'oppressed' - the typical modus operandi of any extremist theist - in order to gain support for his cause.
Note how disappointed he is in the article that nobody religious bothered to turn up to his conferences.
I wish he would just get over his self-inflated pomposity.
Actually, in Greece, where I live (appr. 97% Christian orthodox), atheists are very much oppressed.
Just recently, a very high ranked navy official (many medals, honors etc) was removed from his post when he declared he was an atheist. And that was demanded by a cabinet minister!
I can tell you many, many more examples to prove my point including myself. I am an atheist and I feel very much oppressed by Greek society.
And that's simply a fact, not a "trick" as you say to gain support.
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Its complete nonsense to compare yourself to oppressed minorities.
If you didn't go around shouting 'I AM AN ATHEIST!' at people how would anyone know or even care...not that they do anyway apart from in bizarre backwaters of Bible Belt country..and they're already backwards to begin with.
You don't have to shout. All you have to do is refuse to stifle yourself and give an honest reply to an expression of religious nonsense. All you have to do is say "I'm an atheist" when people ask you which church you attend. Or worse, have your children start talking innocently to their playmates.
Christians get to shout. Why can't we?
The Religious Redneck Retard Belt has expanded mightily over the past 25 years, and now encompasses a significant portion of the country. And it's a little odd to call Greece a bizarre backwater, regardless of its religious persuasion. Aristotle may be long gone, but it's hardly West Virginia.
Why do you assume things about me you have no idea about?
I have never shouted I am an atheist, but I shouldn't I be free to do so like fraggle says?
I am a minority here in Greece and I feel oppressed because:
-There are religious pictures in every classroom of every school
-The orthodox church always interferes with politics and governments
-If I talk about my religious ideas I will be criticized and treated differently from Christians
-I was baptized when I was only a few months old because "in case I die young we must be sure I will go to heaven"; how convenient..
Religion was forced upon me directly or indirectly my whole life and that is called oppression whether you agree or not.
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