He's still writing SF I see...
Now now, let's avoid the cliches. Good SF relies on reasonable and consistent extrapolation from known facts using known principles (with the odd bit of artistic licence such as FTL).
I think that he's using the historiological approach of the counterfactual, which similar to, but nonetheless distinct from hard SF, proposes an alternative to a known fact and extrapolates from that alteration. In this case, he's taking the assumption that Obama is evil incarnate with infinite powers and competence (the unifying characteristic of all conspiracy theorists is that they assume conspirators to be far more competent than history has shown anyone else to be). I expect further thought experiments from him based on the premise that Zeta Reticulians caused the explosion of the Hindenburg and the Mickey Mouse Club had access to time travel technology (suppressed by the Illuminati of course) which enabled them to cause the downfall of the Roman Empire.
He struck me as a forthright and capable chief executive.
I have a violin, but I seem to have lost it down the back of my sofa, probably because it’s so very, very small. I’m sure his salary will compensate for my loss. Nobody forced him at gunpoint to take on that job or to accept his paychecks or his responsibility.
The buck does stop with him on operational matters, though.
I'd like to add: now I know why David fucking Shearer knew why the roof-painting beneficiary was a bludger - it was just so easy to access his files!
And most of what he said was waffle not worthy of serious consideration.
My point is that he was prepared to move forward, however mistakenly. Not all theologians are young-earth creationists. Whatever you think of his theology, his paleontological work, particularly in the study of Homo erectus was well-respected.
And in your opinion I havent done that? I find that summary judgement ludicrous.
I am not suggesting that you have not done that, I am emphasising my point that people who have an alternative point of view might have done so too and to be honest, one should ask why first. This topic deserves to be discussed in its nuances, not in broad strokes.
You appear wave your hands in dismissal at any view you don’t like by usually targeting some incidental aspect or association aside from the main point. Maybe it’s simply the implied rule of the blog format that one responds in the briefest way, but your argument style looks shallow and sneering. UNfortunately the clipped form of the media does tend to enforce a kind of brusqueness that may be unintended.
DexterX has been recently bereaved. You don’t have to send flowers, but a dismissal of his argument in such trivialising terms as you did does not win friends and influence people.
Oh get off your high horse would you… Now a lecture on tact, Wow you really do take the cake.
Just a little less cattiness please? I honestly apologised to Lilith for a misunderstanding. I really think we can do without shows of taking offence.
I can only go by my personal experience,
A lot of cherry-picking and reiteration follows, mostly in the form of pointing and giggling. Other flaws include the argument of the excluded middle.
The claim that people are charitable only within their own religions is demonstrably false if you look worldwide. A friend of mine just spent six years running a charity for people with leprosy in Ethiopia. She didn’t care what faith they practised and din’t try to convert them.
I suggest you broaden your experience, rather than use that as an excuse for narrowing it. I’ve know a lot who do not act in the way that you describe at all.
Moreover, you are depersonalising them, making them one and the same with their institutions. There are no nuances, no appreciation of complexity in your apparent thinking and as a result, you are presenting hollow caricatures to stand for a whole range of people.
I’m sorry that you’ve met unpleasant and silly people, but making sweeping dismissals like “it’s a full on proper delusion” doesn’t show much of the open-mindedness I’d attribute to a liberal person.
In regarding ritual, hymn, liturgy and so forth, for many it is not insincere to go through the motions. Literal belief in the individual words is illogical in many cases, and misses the point. It is the sharing of voice and movement, to establish feeling and concentration, as a mantra frames meditation. If you sing a song, you do not believe the song, but you may want to feel and believe what the song means.
I was reading a while back a book by an anthropologist (Timothy Taylor The Buried Soul FYI) discussing death rituals in a variety of societies, and he looked at what had a couple of decades ago been a very fierce debate, with one side trying to deny completely the existence of institutionalised cannibalism and/or human sacrifice. Those doing the denial (“it only happened in extremes, was only done by crazed individuals, was a fringe activity at best”). In fact, the evidence rapidly accumulated that blew their case out of the water. Cannibalism is and was very widespread and fundamentally ingrained in many cultures for a variety of reasons and the same was true of human sacrifice.
First, they were motivated by the best intentions, but as the author noted, they were trying to strip away the savager” of ancient and extant cultures because cannibalism and/or human sacrifice were “savage”. Now they may be to us, some of whom are vegan, but the fault was that the past had to be rewritten, ostensibly to rehabilitate these people, but in effect, erasing their undesirable characteristics. The subtext, the author commented, was that they could be acceptable to us only on our terms and therefore we had to censor them or convince ourselves to ignore what we did not want to see in order to respect another culture.
Second, as for the consumption of the host, the ritual of saying “this is the blood and the body of christ”, first depends on the Aristotlean separation of form and substance, which is not a part of modern physics obviously, but makes perfect sense on its own terms. Second, it’s a cultural fossil that predates Christianity and is a sublimation of one of the practises for cannibalism, the sharing of the flesh of the illustrious departed among the whole community. As a symbolic activity, it’s no more delusional than the Stanislavsky Method.
Wow, so not all religious people are infinitely stupid sub-humans. Nice argument, for someone who just got done calling mine a straw-man.
You mistake a concluding summary for an argument.
But evolution itself is not what’s in dispute here, only some of the finer points of its mechanics.
Indeed. In fact, In some commentary I’ve found on that debate, I’ve seen some quite explicit eye-rolling about how things have moved on. Be that as it may, Wilson has been consistently civil and pointed always at the mathematics. His opponents have not.
My problem with sociobiology is that it’s almost always used in a facile way: so much supposed research takes some social norm and works backwards to try and justify it in evolutionary terms… This sort of self-serving nonsense gives social science a bad name
Agreed, absolutely. It’s like my frustration with economics – I’m certain that there’s a phenomenon there, and a theory to describe it, but all too often people leap in with facile postrationalisations. Stephen Jay Gould called a lot of Evo Psych “Just-So Stories”, i.e., tales made up to justify prejudices by what was little more than tautology. In a couple of centuries, we may just have a coherent theory… (actually, I hold less hope for economics).
Thanks Ben & Kracklite you have not enlightened me in the least, but thanks anyway.
You’re welcome. We can agree to disagree. As I find myself saying more often these days, “Ask me in a couple of centuries.”
And how one man lived his life means only something to him and those around him.
Consider “and those around him” if he doesn’t matter to you. It appears to have mattered to those people. Could you consider that?
My observation that religious partisanship makes bad people worse, but I cannot separate the religion from the goodness in good people that I know.
God as fashion consultant! Who knew.
I find that crass and a cheap shot.
It has more to do with an overtly non-anthropomorphic definition of divinity as they see it. What I call “chance” or “providence” they see as “immanent divinity” and they tend to anthropomorphise it in order to articulate their understanding – at least that’s my agnostic view.
I think that I’m probably right, but be that as it may, to get by, I don’t find it necessary to ridicule religious people.
we all know this god thing is a technophobe.
Only if you use a straw man, anthropomorphic caricature of “Old man in a sheet”, but modern theology is far beyond that. Teilhard de Chardin was even beyond anti-Darwinism over half a century ago, so your caricature of theology is irrelevant.
Are people with faith “acceptable targets” for ridicule? Lilith takes her reasoned approach to atheism and consequently her dignity seriously. It took her hard work and serious thought to arrive at her position and I respect her, her seriousness and her integrity for that.
Perhaps you might assume the same right applies to others? You prove my point about SOME self-declared atheists being dicks. If people are going to be sensitive about personal abuse, then perhaps it should be consistent?
Andin, DexterX just went to a funeral. Presumably it was the funeral of a friend or family member. Tact might possibly be appropriate? Maybe? Perhaps?
Which means local religion is a meaningless social clique where membership demands only that no one mention the emperor has no clothes, and even the church officials don’t actually believe in God as anything more than a large common mythological story you can cherry-pick to fill in a sermon.
Tussock, that’s a pretty good example of a straw man argument. Those aren’t the people I know. They’re not insincere, hypocrites, social climbers and cowards and neither are they idiots.
If you’re going to discuss faith, then figure out what faith is first. It’s not just a subscription to a very literal ideology or franchise. It is – as I see it (admittedly as an outsider) - a means of articulating one’s relationship with the cosmos.
I can’t say that I agree, but I try at least to assume that people who think differently from me are not always fools or swine.
extreme religious faith.
Just a note on that - not a criticism, kinda an adjustment or footnote. "Extreme" could be applied to one of the people I mention above who see the hand of God in literally everything, practise their faith arduously, but don't run aloud loudly condemning Godless Darwinism and always seek dialogue. This description fits several of my Christian and Muslim acquaintances and friends. They're people who are quite distinct in attitude and action from a fundamentalist authoritarian like the unlamented Jerry Falwell. The former has a strong belief that could be called "extreme" because it influences every aspect of their lives but it is qualitatively different at a fundamental level from other kinds that get called "extreme" as well. "Pathology" is perhaps useful in discussing dangerous or crooked people (as Falwell was the first and possibly the second and certainly was a hypocrite), but not useful or fair with people who are devout but not compulsively antisocial.
Except, aha, that it makes a lot of people very angry. :-)
Lilith, I think that ’d really enjoy getting drunk with you. I hope that that doesn’t seem sleazy.
And, FYI, this blogger may interest you. Athena Andreadis is a blogger, feminist and biologist, and as such, sceptic of evo psych.
You got quotes to back that up?
I’ll point to this. Pay attention to the comments. Several expert commentators point out that Dawkins is not only being excessively emotional, but being a bad scientist in doing so.
There’s also this as an indication of the nature of the fervour.
While not authored by Dawkins, this also in informative as an illustration of certain attitudes.
Now one can say that that is how science works (it’s a myth that it’s a gentleman’s game… except that there is a hell of a lot of ingrained sexism, so yes, it is a "gentleman’s" game)