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Author Topic:   Why does Richard Dawkins sing Christmas carols?
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 125 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 256 of 301 (443458)
12-25-2007 6:48 AM
Reply to: Message 231 by Silent H
12-23-2007 4:19 PM


Re: On the Hypocrisy of Dawkins and his supporters...
Hi Silent H,
You say;
Silent H writes:
While educated people might be able to get that distinction, kids might not. And for believers, there is no distinction. They can't know what is going on in your head.
But the more important point, which would go against Dawkins, is that if this kind of reduction is possible, why can't moderates do this with regard to extremism and extremist elements of their own religion?
Kids aren't going to become theists unless they are actively encouraged in that direction. A song isn't going to do it. As for believers, I don't much care what other people think is going on in my head. I don't really sing carols in public, and certainly not in church, so it's a moot point. I think it is enough to avoid singing carols in an overtly religious setting, such as a church.
The problem with believers tempering their faith with reason, is that it still leaves the central plank of unreason intact, namely faith without evidence. This is Dawkins main bugbear, because this is where moderates hold common cause with extremists. This is what Dawkins believes to be the most dangerous idea in religion, and I agree. Faith-based reasoning is useless at best, and dangerous at worst. No matter how rational you are, if you believe in God, you are promoting this dangerous idea, in a direct way, which cannot be compared to carol singing.
Silent H writes:
And aren't moderates proving they aren't spiritually impoverished by eliminating some of the more extremist portions/meanings of their holy texts?
I would say yes, after all, some of those nasty Bible stories are hardly culturally uplifting, but with the faith-based reasoning thing still intact, even the most benign religion is promoting unreason, a bad business, whilst we are in the midst of a climate disaster that makes public understanding of science an urgent necessity. I would level the same accusation at new age tomfoolery such as homoeopathy and crystal healing. Faith-based reasoning has had its day, and whilst it may once have served a purpose, it has now become a dangerous hindrance.
If all this still seems hypocritical to you, then I probably can't say much more to persuade you, except that if if I must be a hypocrite in order to enjoy the work of William Blake, then I would prefer to be a hypocrite, than lose out on all that beauty.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 231 by Silent H, posted 12-23-2007 4:19 PM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 267 by Silent H, posted 12-25-2007 9:37 PM Granny Magda has replied

Rrhain
Member (Idle past 94 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 257 of 301 (443463)
12-25-2007 7:17 AM
Reply to: Message 241 by Hyroglyphx
12-24-2007 1:33 AM


Re: My two cents
Nemesis Juggernaut writes:
quote:
Gay people do exist. So do people who get off by eating feces. Wouldn't call either normalcy though.
And you wonder why people think you're a bigot.
Do not feed the trolls, people.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

This message is a reply to:
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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 94 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 258 of 301 (443464)
12-25-2007 7:22 AM
Reply to: Message 252 by Hyroglyphx
12-24-2007 9:44 PM


Re: My two cents
Nemesis Juggernaut writes:
quote:
I had to pick some obviously vile to say that while it exists, it doesn't somehow mean that its existence is inherently good.
And you wonder why people think you're a bigot?
Do not feed the trolls, people.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 252 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-24-2007 9:44 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9006
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 259 of 301 (443493)
12-25-2007 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 252 by Hyroglyphx
12-24-2007 9:44 PM


Civil Society
I mean, you can't just do away with thousands of years of people being weirded-out by homosexuality in one episode of Ellen.
Understood. My Mum can't make the adjustment and my daughter has stopped discussing it with her.
So we wait for all that to die out. With luck we maintain a civil and open society and you will slowly lose the battles and then the war.
With even more luck your religious beliefs will be dragged down with the ugliness that they are attached to. A shame to loose the good things as well but maybe all that will be left is the Christian cults that have dropped the hate.

This message is a reply to:
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Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 260 of 301 (443501)
12-25-2007 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 254 by Archer Opteryx
12-25-2007 3:57 AM


Re: Sinister thoughts
Archer writes:
Hey. Michelle Kuan is a genius.
Sure--I just wanted (like Mod, I think) to illustrate the arbitrariness of declarations of "obviously vile."
quote:
Skating away, skating away, skating away
on the thin ice of the new day."
--Jethro Tull
Heathen's Greetings, Archer: skate into beauty all around you.

Real things always push back.
-William James
Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------

This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Archer Opteryx, posted 12-25-2007 3:57 AM Archer Opteryx has replied

Replies to this message:
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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4015 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 261 of 301 (443520)
12-25-2007 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by Modulous
12-22-2007 12:53 PM


Ah, the old 'it's so obvious a claim it requires no support' chestnut. As long as we are clear on that I think we can leave that avenue alone.
no, bub. do you think he's just randomly spouting off for no reason or do you think he has a purpose? clearly, he has a purpose. he wants to demonstrate the superiority of atheistic thought. he wants to demonstrate that the religious are flawed, stupid, and/or evil. he wants to demonstrate that he's smarter or that his "reasoning" is "less prone to error". he wants to leave a legacy associated with his name. this is his agenda. that means, it is his purpose ion doing what he's doing. unless you want to propose and defend that he's insane and is randomly saying these things and making these tv shows and writing these books for no reason, then be quiet. he has an agenda. if you really must insist that an agenda inherently must be secret or must be insidious, that's your problem.
I am suggesting that you are demanding that I engage in circular logic which I point out is silly. Your demand is that I prove my philosophy using a methodology borne out from said philosophy is clearly ridiculous. Since I am refusing to engage in circular logic, it seems odd that you would state that I am engaging in circular logic.
except that you refuse to admit that because in order to demonstrate your claim requires bad science. but you keep repeating this claim. and you claim that all your reasoning is based on evidence and proof. if you can't prove it by good science, stop claiming it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 219 by Modulous, posted 12-22-2007 12:53 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3685 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 262 of 301 (443533)
12-25-2007 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 260 by Omnivorous
12-25-2007 12:18 PM


Re: Sinister thoughts
Omni: Sure--I just wanted (like Mod, I think) to illustrate the arbitrariness of declarations of "obviously vile."
Understood. I guess I just supported your argument.
Except we all know that telemarketing really is vile. That's not opinion. That's Absolute Truth.
Heathen's Greetings back at ya, Apricot Eyes. And to everyone on every branch in your tree.
______
Edited by Archer Opterix, : messing around.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 260 by Omnivorous, posted 12-25-2007 12:18 PM Omnivorous has not replied

Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 263 of 301 (443552)
12-25-2007 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 261 by macaroniandcheese
12-25-2007 2:51 PM


Merry Christmas!
no, bub.
Then why, when asked for support, did you simply reply that it was obvious?
do you think he's just randomly spouting off for no reason or do you think he has a purpose? clearly, he has a purpose.
Well that is clear. I didn't say he did not have some reason or agenda.
he wants to demonstrate the superiority of atheistic thought. he wants to demonstrate that the religious are flawed, stupid, and/or evil. he wants to demonstrate that he's smarter or that his "reasoning" is "less prone to error". he wants to leave a legacy associated with his name.
Yes, you already stated what the agenda is - though this is slightly different version. It was support for this agenda I was looking for. Your response was basically that his agenda was obvious. I took this to mean that you weren't going to give evidence that he has this agenda because it was obvious. Since it is essentially off topic it might be best to say "I do have support" or "I don't have support - it's just obvious" and we can look to discussing it further in a future thread.
except that you refuse to admit that because in order to demonstrate your claim requires bad science. but you keep repeating this claim. and you claim that all your reasoning is based on evidence and proof. if you can't prove it by good science, stop claiming it.
I will continue to claim it I'm afraid; I continue also to state that I will happily support it.
Your request was simply meaningless, not requiring 'bad science'. Science is a good methodology for engaging in rational empiricism. Rational empiricism is a philosophical style of reasoning. Science cannot be used to support any given philosophy. I will however, be happy, to give a philosophical argument for why rational empiricism (well, rational empiricism is not necessarily the correct name, but I trust you'll follow my meaning) results in, to shorten the claim for brevity, less errors.

This message is a reply to:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 3378 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 264 of 301 (443579)
12-25-2007 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 253 by Omnivorous
12-24-2007 10:04 PM


Re: Sinister thoughts
I noticed something while at my family christmas party last night. My 6 year old niece was eating with her left hand when her mom scolded her and forced her to hold the fork with her right hand. I had to bite my tongue to not say anything. Seems to me like left-handedness is still viewed as somehow wrong by many people.

Owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have occasionally used the academic jargon generator to produce phrases that even I don't fully understand. The jargons are not meant to offend anyone or to insult anyone's intelligence!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 253 by Omnivorous, posted 12-24-2007 10:04 PM Omnivorous has replied

Replies to this message:
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Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 265 of 301 (443584)
12-25-2007 8:20 PM
Reply to: Message 264 by Taz
12-25-2007 7:38 PM


Re: Sinister thoughts
Taz writes:
I noticed something while at my family christmas party last night. My 6 year old niece was eating with her left hand when her mom scolded her and forced her to hold the fork with her right hand. I had to bite my tongue to not say anything. Seems to me like left-handedness is still viewed as somehow wrong by many people.
Definitely. Nuns are still slapping left-handed knuckles with rulers; parents are still trying to make their left-handed kids "normal" with diverse forms of punishment and reward.
And kids all over the world are still being smacked in the mouth for innocently noting that the emperor has no clothes.
We learn to betray the truth near the cradle.

Real things always push back.
-William James
Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------

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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5906 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 266 of 301 (443587)
12-25-2007 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Modulous
12-24-2007 4:16 AM


Atheists for Jesus?
First, from another post of yours with the following quote by Dawkins...
I think we owe Jesus the honour of separating his genuinely original and radical ethics from the supernatural nonsense which he inevitably espoused as a man of his time. And perhaps the oxymoronic impact of 'Atheists for Jesus' might be just what is needed to kick start the meme of super niceness in a post-Christian society...
I think a reborn Jesus would wear the T-shirt. It has become a commonplace that, were he to return today, he would be appalled at what is being done in his name, by Christians ranging from the Catholic Church to the fundamentalist Religious Right. Less obviously but still plausibly, in the light of modern scientific knowledge I think he would see through supernaturalist obscurantism. But of course, modesty would compel him to turn his T-shirt around: Jesus for Atheists. -- Richard Dawkins
That is a perfect example of Dawkins rambling into Xian apologetics, for which I have no understanding. I hope that was a joke, and by that I mean everything in it. Jesus's teachings were neither original nor radical (except radical to fundamentalist Jews). To say otherwise is to be counterfactual. If he was the kind of guy that would have seen through supernatural obscurantism, then he wouldn't have said what he said in those days. People of that time were not all religious zealots, and Jesus would almost assuredly have heard of the philosophies of Democritus, Epictetus, and Epicurus... if he couldn't have come up with them himself. Beyond that, the guy declared himself the son of God. That takes more than a little "delusion" and inability to see past the supernatural.
Moving beyond his invocation of factual inaccuracies to hype Jesus, for some unknown reason, he depicts the morality of Jesus as nice... even if his metaphysics is bent... well how could that be? And if that could be, doesn't that start undercutting his own premises. I mean if he can see the guy as nice, then so can moderates.
The whole thing reads as a holier than thou statement, with Dawkins pulling Jesus into his own corner, which is the hallmark of evangelism. Why on earth would an atheist do that, or even be interested in doing that? On the flip side why would theists take that as any sort of message they should renounce theism?
They can pick out what is unethical from what is ethical, that's largely Dawkins' point. That's why religious texts can be said not to be sources of morality, but an old tool used to justify moral positions. Dawkins on the other hand is decrying a culture where not only believing certain propositions without any evidence is considered virtuous, but that the stronger you believe the harder to believe things the more you should be looked up to.
I happen to agree that faith is not a virtue, and that the more faith you engage in the more you should be looked up to. That said, faith is not bankrupt as a practice, especially in morality.
As Dawkins acknowledges, religious people can make ethical decisions, and cherry pick from their texts to support their choices. He even acknowledges that many believe Jesus would be upset by some extremist aspects and history of his church (though one must assume he means based on their cherry-picked version of Jesus). This does not make the Bible less a source for morals, it only contextualizes what kind of a source it is. It is not the ONLY source, and it is not of a singular interpretation.
The fact is everyone cherry-picks quotes which support their own ethical decisions. Even if Xians tend to pull from a singular source, with many different quotes taken many different ways, than someone choosing from many different sources taken many different ways. Atheists do the exact same things Xians do in that regard.
Given Dawkins belief, where then comes fundamentalism or extremism? It cannot be from religious faith itself, if the religious are a spectrum, all cherry-picking support and coming to different conclusions.
It would seem to be analogous as what I have set out before, the militant nihilist that finds sanction in quotes by atheists for violence, in fact perhaps more appropriate are Social Darwinists who pulled quotes from biological sciences for justification. If Dawkins can see through that argument against him, how can he not see through his own argument against the moderate religious?
His point on children is that adults shouldn't
a) indoctrinate them into one faith (rather: we should teach them about many faiths and teach them that many more exist, and allow the children to make up their own mind in their own time.)
b) label them as belonging to one faith before they can reasonably be said to have made any considered choice in the matter.
If an adult can label them self of a certain culture just because they exist in a society where there exists a predominate culture, then I see no problem calling a child intimately ensconced in a Xian family as Xian. I guess we could just call the tykes "culturally Xian" and that would be fine?
On his criticism in general, while I understand the concept that a child is not truly yet anything, but one will see what they grow in to, I see no problem with calling a child by what their family is currently teaching them. And why must they get a broad education? Who says, based on what evidence? That is purely his own moralizing. And I don't believe he maintains that position at all. Does he believe his kids should be exposed to anything and everything under the sun, so that they can then choose?
This is so obviously a ploy to get at other people's kids, much like the fundies want... equal time for his thoughts.
So basically what you are saying is that passionate public criticism of a social issue and the championing of an alternative is the same as evangelism. If that is it, why the silly story about jealousy of priests and retaining the semblance of the church?
I gave the story because it is funny, workable as a metaphor, and as far as I can tell partly true. The man needs to break free from his Xian past, be comfortable as an atheist without dragging around all that baggage, including worrying about the state of their minds (which is essentially like worrying about their souls).
He does not simply engage in passionate public criticism. He is discussing the imperative for getting people to change their views, and the problems if they don't. In a religious context that is evangelism. Hell, he even has his born again atheist shtick.
I am still wading through the 16-20 hours or so of Beyond Belief 2007. As soon as I get time I will be watching them.
Damn YOU!!!! Heheheh, I just finished '06, now I've got '07?
at least this shows that they have a sense of humour, and aren't dark and evil humourless bastards.
I agree the other titles are worse. Removing humourless from that description doesn't improve them much.
Why not something positive from this guy... or any of them? If you watched BB '06, didn't you find the people who spent less time worrying about the threat of religious people, and more time discussing the excitement of science more interesting?
On the one had you say that Dawkins should not engage in rituals with Christian origins, and on the other you say he needs to play the game tactically or with political savvy.
You miss my point. If he is going to excoriate them, then he shouldn't engage in their rituals. If his intent is to address them so as to convince them of something, then he should be savvy enough to know not to excoriate them.
On the horsemen video, I agreed in part with all of them. Unfortunately their general negativity and worry about theologic issues just did not represent my position as an atheist... or non believer. Frankly I do like Harris's ideas, stated elsewhere, that we shouldn't identify with that name. I am not my lack of belief in gods, Xians are not their lack of belief in Zeus. I am my positive belief in reason and evidence.
Then again his moralizing stance, and arguments on morality are so bogus... but that's another topic.

h
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." - Robert E. Howard

This message is a reply to:
 Message 244 by Modulous, posted 12-24-2007 4:16 AM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by Modulous, posted 12-26-2007 8:24 AM Silent H has replied

Silent H
Member (Idle past 5906 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 267 of 301 (443588)
12-25-2007 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 256 by Granny Magda
12-25-2007 6:48 AM


Re: On the Hypocrisy of Dawkins and his supporters...
Kids aren't going to become theists unless they are actively encouraged in that direction.
Well that isn't factually true. Plenty of people have become religious from a nonreligious background, just as irreligious people have come from religious backgrounds. Indeed I have a friend whose entire family is essentially atheist, but whose child (though encouraged to be scientific and liberally educated) has become completely fundamentalist.
Your point is correct that singing a song is not going to tip the scales by itself. But that's not all there is in the world. Growing up on such songs can very well light the spark of interest in that way of thinking, perhaps they even have an epiphany during such singing. That's hard to change. And there will always be other people to introduce the rest of the teachings.
This is Dawkins main bugbear, because this is where moderates hold common cause with extremists. This is what Dawkins believes to be the most dangerous idea in religion, and I agree.
Okay I disagree with that position, though I understand what you are saying.
While moderates and extremists share faith-based reasoning, is that the causative element for moderates turning into extremists? Is it the true catalyst for such a move? I've seen no evidence from anyone on that score... just conjecture. And it inconsistent with Dawkins own claims about their cherry-picking. If all of them are cherry-picking, then a moderate cannot be persuaded by religion alone to accept the extremist basket. It takes something else.
And this gets to the downgrading of faith-based reasoning. The fact is that much of our reasoning, especially moral reasoning, involves some level of faith (premises accepted without evidence). I can agree with criticizing the over use of faith, the promotion of it as superior in any and all aspects of life. But I cannot accept the criticism of it in totality.
Xians often criticize atheists, or trust in scientific reasoning, as being the basis of Social Darwinism, which led to some amounts of extremism. The fact is Social Darwinists did share scientific reasoning with atheists and scientists... was that the cause or catalyst for what they did? Did that make atheists and scientists empowerers of Social Darwinists? No. The SD types cherry picked scientific findings to support moral conclusions, which were not necessary or logically connected. This is not really different than extremists who scrounge to find what they want to excuse their actions, and dismiss the passages which would deny them.
Faith-based reasoning has had its day, and whilst it may once have served a purpose, it has now become a dangerous hindrance.
You will get no moral statements from reason and evidence. So your concern for the climate is faith based, if you are making statements of what we ought to do, not reason based. If you have problems with people that say we should do nothing, then there is a conflict of faiths, not reason.
If you mean just on factual evidence, so what we can discuss as likely occurring then I'd agree to a large degree with what you said. Scientific reasoning has been the best tool we've found for investigating natural phenomena. Faith based investigations have been wastes of time. But that only overrules faith in discussions of physics, not metaphysics.
I see no problem with people having faith, or faith based reasoning. The question would be of extent and place of application.

h
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." - Robert E. Howard

This message is a reply to:
 Message 256 by Granny Magda, posted 12-25-2007 6:48 AM Granny Magda has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 269 by Granny Magda, posted 12-26-2007 1:09 PM Silent H has replied

Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 268 of 301 (443641)
12-26-2007 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 266 by Silent H
12-25-2007 9:15 PM


That is a perfect example of Dawkins rambling into Xian apologetics, for which I have no understanding.
I hardly see saying that Jesus was a nice character/person is Christian apologetics unless it ends with 'therefore he was God'.
Jesus's teachings were neither original nor radical (except radical to fundamentalist Jews).
Exactly, it was radical for the time and the place.
If he was the kind of guy that would have seen through supernatural obscurantism, then he wouldn't have said what he said in those days.
I think Dawkins would concede that he'd be religious had he existed in a different time or place.
People of that time were not all religious zealots, and Jesus would almost assuredly have heard of the philosophies of Democritus, Epictetus, and Epicurus... if he couldn't have come up with them himself.
I'd be surprised if he knew the philosophies of the Greeks. Of course, the Greeks that essentially created his character had heard of those philosophies...
I hope that was a joke, and by that I mean everything in it.
It certainly looks somewhat tongue in cheek, but the purpose is explicitly laid out: Memegeneering.
Moving beyond his invocation of factual inaccuracies to hype Jesus, for some unknown reason, he depicts the morality of Jesus as nice... even if his metaphysics is bent... well how could that be? And if that could be, doesn't that start undercutting his own premises. I mean if he can see the guy as nice, then so can moderates.
Moderates can be nice. You can be nice even with a strange concept of metaphysics, Dawkins doesn't say anything to contradict that. Personally, I'm more with Hitchens on this issue: the New Testament is far more ghastly than the Old.
The whole thing reads as a holier than thou statement, with Dawkins pulling Jesus into his own corner, which is the hallmark of evangelism.
That is not the hallmark of evangelism, silly. Evangelism is spreading the Gospel of Christ/proselytising. Dawkins is showing again that he is all for taking the icons and heroes of the most prevalent religions and co-opting them for a post-religious future. Calling that evangelism is just clouding things up.
On the flip side why would theists take that as any sort of message they should renounce theism?
It's not meant to say 'renounce theism'. It is meant to say 'atheists are all about being nice and moral, we just don't believe gods are involved.'.
As Dawkins acknowledges, religious people can make ethical decisions, and cherry pick from their texts to support their choices.
Quite: some people are capable of putting awkward moral obligations or facts to one side because they contradict the evidence or general morality of the time.
He even acknowledges that many believe Jesus would be upset by some extremist aspects and history of his church (though one must assume he means based on their cherry-picked version of Jesus). This does not make the Bible less a source for morals, it only contextualizes what kind of a source it is. It is not the ONLY source, and it is not of a singular interpretation
Well, Dawkins says these things to people who insist that the Bible is the ONLY source of moral guidance, and that without it they would rape their neighbours and kill their children.
The fact is everyone cherry-picks quotes which support their own ethical decisions. Even if Xians tend to pull from a singular source, with many different quotes taken many different ways, than someone choosing from many different sources taken many different ways. Atheists do the exact same things Xians do in that regard.
Dawkins is not criticising the practice of pulling moral ideas from one source per se. He is criticising the idea that the Bible is meant to be the Divine moral guidance, and yet people ignore bits of God's morality when it suits them which is kind of contradictory to their own point.
Moderates take what they want, ignore the rest and try and make it gel with modern morality. This is not faith-based moral reasoning - this is culture-based moral reasoning that often thinks it is faith-based. However - because they think it is faith-based they say that you really must believe this stuff is true otherwise you'll be immoral. The more you believe it, the more moral you are, seemingly. And thus: thousands if not millions of people die in Africa from AIDS because the the most faithful moderates think they must really believe that every sperm is sacred - and that this ignorance of disease transmission must be enforced on those people.
Given Dawkins belief, where then comes fundamentalism or extremism? It cannot be from religious faith itself, if the religious are a spectrum, all cherry-picking support and coming to different conclusions.
I thought I had covered this. In an environment of faithful, all telling each other to really believe and where people are seen as good people because he 'really believes', a certain fraction of those people will want to be part of the 'really believes', and the easiest way to 'prove' that you 'really believe' is by giving lots of obvious signals to the other primates to show you really believe.
Signals like really taking the 'soul conjoins with the body at conception' idea literally, and persecuting people that don't believe that loudly and proudly.
If an adult can label them self of a certain culture just because they exist in a society where there exists a predominate culture, then I see no problem calling a child intimately ensconced in a Xian family as Xian. I guess we could just call the tykes "culturally Xian" and that would be fine?
Nah, I think it would just be better to not label kids with anything and let them decide what they are for themselves. If they want to consider themselves culturally Christian - so be it.
On his criticism in general, while I understand the concept that a child is not truly yet anything, but one will see what they grow in to, I see no problem with calling a child by what their family is currently teaching them. And why must they get a broad education? Who says, based on what evidence? That is purely his own moralizing.
About 10 years ago he gave a talk about this that lasted about an hour - I can't find it on the old web now but it was called 'education versus indoctrination' or similar. You can look into it there. Once again, probably off topic to delve into the subject here.
Does he believe his kids should be exposed to anything and everything under the sun, so that they can then choose?
No, he doesn't even think that every single religion should be taught. Just some of the more common archetypes, with reference to the fact that there is more out there. If the child wants to go out and find this 'more' then let them.
He does not simply engage in passionate public criticism. He is discussing the imperative for getting people to change their views, and the problems if they don't.
You mean he champions an alternative...like I said. Here's the thing - I don't think it is good use of words to say that for example decrying slavery and championing an alternative of cheap labour or somesuch is evangelism. Sure, in a religious context that might considered evangeilsm, but it is a secular context so why use the word? It's just unnecessary.
Damn YOU!!!! Heheheh, I just finished '06, now I've got '07?
Sorry. If it's any consolation the tone is much more conciliatory this year.
Why not something positive from this guy... or any of them? If you watched BB '06, didn't you find the people who spent less time worrying about the threat of religious people, and more time discussing the excitement of science more interesting?
Yep. Dawkins has spent 40 years championing the beauty of science. He's spent only a small amount of that time discussing the comparative ugliness of religion.
If he is going to excoriate them, then he shouldn't engage in their rituals.
Yet doing exactly that, as the Christians adequately proved, is the best way to change the way things are done. That Christianity turned out to be a wonderful mutagen for memes, shouldn't mean that those that excoriate Christianity should not try and mutate memes/culture themselves.
Frankly I do like Harris's ideas, stated elsewhere, that we shouldn't identify with that name. I am not my lack of belief in gods, Xians are not their lack of belief in Zeus. I am my positive belief in reason and evidence.
I agree that now things have reached the point where atheists are able to say 'Hi I'm an atheist', a little easier than they used to be able to - that we can now start talking about positive identifications. Humanism seems a good direction to go in.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by Silent H, posted 12-25-2007 9:15 PM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 271 by Silent H, posted 12-26-2007 6:00 PM Modulous has replied

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 125 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 269 of 301 (443698)
12-26-2007 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 267 by Silent H
12-25-2007 9:37 PM


Re: On the Hypocrisy of Dawkins and his supporters...
Hi H,
Silent H writes:
Granny writes:
Kids aren't going to become theists unless they are actively encouraged in that direction.
Well that isn't factually true. Plenty of people have become religious from a nonreligious background, just as irreligious people have come from religious backgrounds. Indeed I have a friend whose entire family is essentially atheist, but whose child (though encouraged to be scientific and liberally educated) has become completely fundamentalist.
Well no, because the kid in your example didn't invent Christianity for himself. Someone lead him toward it, just not necessarily his parents. It was presumably a church, proselytiser or book, etc. I never said that kids won't become theists if their parents are not theists, rather that someone has to encourage a child in that direction before he will embrace theism. They won't come up with it independently.
Silent H writes:
Your point is correct that singing a song is not going to tip the scales by itself. But that's not all there is in the world.
That's what we are discussing though. Remember, I'm talking about engaging in carol singing on it's own, divorced from other religious baggage, not in a church setting.
Silent H writes:
there will always be other people to introduce the rest of the teachings.
As I point out above.
Silent H writes:
While moderates and extremists share faith-based reasoning, is that the causative element for moderates turning into extremists? Is it the true catalyst for such a move? I've seen no evidence from anyone on that score... just conjecture.
H, I never said it was. The forces that make religious people (and others) turn to extremism are usually secular, ie. the social situation in which they live, and the associated politics. My argument is that it is hard to see how a person could kill in the name of his god, if he does not indulge in the faith-based reasoning that allows him to believe in that god in the first place. Faith is the prerequisite for religious extremism. When a terrorist blows himself up in the name of Allah, the catalyst may have been secular, but the act is committed in the name of religion. We have to take them at their word.
You mention social Darwinism, but those idiots didn't act in the name of atheism. It may have influenced their thinking, but it was not essential for social Darwinist thinking, as evidenced by the appalling social Darwinism involved in the Hindu caste system.
You also mention cherry-picking, but that only really matters if you are going to claim that your source is a "holy" book, and you then go to pick and choose from it, deciding which bit is really holy, and which is to be ignored. Both moderates and extremists are equally guilty of cherry picking. Atheists cherry pick too, but since we make no special claims about the source material, we are as free to pick and choose from the holy books as we are to cherry pick from secular philosophy, or Alice in Wonderland for that matter.
Silent H writes:
And this gets to the downgrading of faith-based reasoning. The fact is that much of our reasoning, especially moral reasoning, involves some level of faith (premises accepted without evidence). I can agree with criticizing the over use of faith, the promotion of it as superior in any and all aspects of life. But I cannot accept the criticism of it in totality.
It's not my intent to criticise the use of faith in every judgement, just objective ones. The point you make about faith in moral reasoning is correct, but you miss the point. Morals are subjective. They do not exist outside of our minds.
God, real or not, is objective. He either exists or he doesn't. "Does god exist?" is an objective question. Faith is fine in subjective matters, such as morals or aesthetics, since there could be no evidence. The problem starts when people base objective beliefs on faith alone, when evidence would serve then better. Like it or not, the existence of god is an objective claim.
Silent H writes:
So your concern for the climate is faith based, if you are making statements of what we ought to do, not reason based.
Yeah sure, I am making the subjective judgement, that if we were to maim the Earth's environment, it would be a bad thing. That is a subjective judgement, if not a very controversial one. If we accept this subjective judgement as true, then we must turn to asking what to do about it.
"Is human activity causing climate change" is an objective question.
If people accept the evidence, and then say that we should do nothing, then they are entitled to their opinion. What concerns me is that people do not engage with the evidence and then council inaction. The evidence that human activity is driving climate change is very strong. My worry is that people are using faith to answer the question, instead of evidence.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 267 by Silent H, posted 12-25-2007 9:37 PM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 272 by Silent H, posted 12-26-2007 6:18 PM Granny Magda has replied

Hyroglyphx
Inactive Member


Message 270 of 301 (443722)
12-26-2007 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 253 by Omnivorous
12-24-2007 10:04 PM


Re: Sinister thoughts
The Christian church aided in the persecution of left-handed peoples for millennia.
I think perhaps you are confusing being left-handed with the "lefthand path," which is an idiom for satanic practices.
Sounds like an excellent analogy to homosexuality to me, much better than behaviors that are clearly destructive to oneself or others, or acts that are manifestly pathologies.
Well, you know what they say about opinions...

“First dentistry was painless, then bicycles were chainless, and carriages were horseless, and many laws enforceless. Next cookery was fireless, telegraphy was wireless, cigars were nicotineless, and coffee caffeineless. Soon oranges were seedless, the putting green was weedless, the college boy was hatless, the proper diet -- fatless. New motor roads are dustless, the latest steel is rustless, our tennis courts are sodless, our new religion -- Godless” -Arthur Guiterman

This message is a reply to:
 Message 253 by Omnivorous, posted 12-24-2007 10:04 PM Omnivorous has not replied

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