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arosar
26-10-2009, 09:13 PM
Feel free to create a whole new thread for this, if you like.

In today's SMH:


For Hitchens and co, religion does little good and secularism hardly any evil. Never mind that tyrants devoid of religion such as Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot perpetrated the worst atrocities in history. As H. Allen Orr, professor of biology at the University of Rochester, observed, the 20th century was an experiment in secularism that produced secular evil, responsible for the unprecedented murder of more than 100 million.

In Celebrity atheists expose their hypocrisy (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/contributors/celebrity-atheists-expose-their-hypocrisy-20091026-hevx.html).

Adamski
26-10-2009, 09:18 PM
Feel free to create a whole new thread for this, if you like.

In today's SMH:



In Celebrity atheists expose their hypocrisy (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/contributors/celebrity-atheists-expose-their-hypocrisy-20091026-hevx.html).What Orr said is true. Secularism is a failed 20th century experiment. And it led to the death of many people.

antichrist
26-10-2009, 09:20 PM
Feel free to create a whole new thread for this, if you like.

In today's SMH:



In Celebrity atheists expose their hypocrisy (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/contributors/celebrity-atheists-expose-their-hypocrisy-20091026-hevx.html).

Dictators don't like competition even if it is only a figment of the brain. They know that the churches are the only opposing rallying point against them so they must cut them off at the knees and neck. They are the only rallying points coz the churches have destroyed all earlier pre-Christian rallying points. By breaking copyright on their feast days etc. And burning such pagans at the stake etc.

arosar
26-10-2009, 09:26 PM
What Orr said is true. Secularism is a failed 20th century experiment. And it led to the death of many people.

I really couldn't give a stuff mate. Youse all are equally guilty as far I'm concerned. The main thing is, there must be balance. We can't have youse bloody religionist bastards ruling the roost and the same goes for those fkn secularists.

There must be balance. All this argumentation is bullsh*t.

AR

Rincewind
26-10-2009, 09:40 PM
In Celebrity atheists expose their hypocrisy (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/contributors/celebrity-atheists-expose-their-hypocrisy-20091026-hevx.html).

Theists should be embarrassed by that piece.

Adamski
26-10-2009, 10:32 PM
Theists should be embarrassed by that piece.Actually, it strikes me as a pretty good article.

Kevin Bonham
27-10-2009, 12:12 AM
The author writes:


After all, calling other peoples' belief a delusion is not exactly respectful.

Indeed not, but given that a large part of popular theism's response to atheism has long been that atheists are not merely wrong but so deludedly wrong that they will be sent to Hell for not "choosing" different beliefs, I really think any theistic apologist sooking about disrespectful responses needs to get the plank out of his own side's eyes first. There is little if anything about popular theism's traditional response to atheism that merits respect and although the Dawkos and so on do engage in overkill and overgeneralisation in response, they do so with more than a little provocation.

The author also writes:


As H. Allen Orr, professor of biology at the University of Rochester, observed, the 20th century was an experiment in secularism that produced secular evil, responsible for the unprecedented murder of more than 100 million.

And the significance of a prof of biology "observing" this is?

This isn't even an argument from authority; it's an argument from authority in an irrelevant field, oh look, he's a prof of something so it must be true. :rolleyes:

As I have previously noted, the quoted style of argument is just a correlation-causation fallacy. Some of the mass-murdering tyrants mentioned were secularists (Hitler is debatable to say the least) but it was not their secularism that caused them to engage in unprecedented murder, but rather their extreme fascism or communism. These extremisms are not natural consequences of secularism, but they may depend on illiberal anti-religiosity to crush all opposition to their rule (without illiberal oppression of opposition, such extremisms tend to collapse.)

Comparing death tallies between genocidal maniacs across the ages is also meaningless unless one considers, for instance, the extent to which modern weaponary and transport systems have made killing lots of people quickly so much easier if that is your inclination. The author even half-realises this but seems too dim to realise his argument is eating its own tail. His expression "the terrors unleashed by science and technology" is a deeply unfortunate one, because science does not create terrors by itself - rather, the terrors only come to fruition where there is the will to use them.

Indeed, the author's simplistic rant about nuclear weapons shows that we are dealing with a scientophobe. Nukes are indeed WMDs but they may also be remarkably effective deterrents against exactly the sort of conventional global warfare that killed so many in WWI and WWII and thus it's at least arguable that if managed carefully they save a lot more lives than they take. The author's attempt to link the nukes-and-other-nasties rant in to the point "that fanatics can be found in both religion and atheism" is just a howler of a non sequitur and the same point could have been made with a lot less accompanying bulldust.

Another sign that the author is a graduate of the C+C fallacy factory comes with this:


How can anyone argue that not a single human benefit has resulted from religious faith? There are millions who every day selflessly dedicate their lives to helping others all in the name of religious belief.

And there are many who do the same in the name of non-religious beliefs too. Stating that people invoke religion to justify their generosity does not prove the latter depends on the former.

The Einstein stuff is more hackneyed twaddle. We do know Einstein was a bright cookie but just because he was a brilliant physicist doesn't mean his religious or political beliefs were immune to delusion. So again this is an argument from irrelevant authority.

He then goes on to quote Hawking and fails to indicate the context of Hawking's use of "God". This is either clueless or intellectually dishonest since if he explained what Hawking means by "God" it would actually be fundamentally inconvenient to his case.

Here's some more:


Dr Owen Anderson, professor of philosophy at Arizona State University, says the problem with the argument promoted by Hitchens and Dawkins when he asks: "Can all reality be explained as atoms in motion? Is belief in something besides atoms mere superstition?"

Dr Anderson's understanding of physics as reducible to "atoms" is grievously out of date.

and more:


Tina Beatie in her book The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War of Religion maintains that atheists are engaged in religious belief themselves because naturalists as authors such as Dawkins and Hitchens use their own beliefs to invest their life with meaning. Ironic, isn't it?

No, Alanis. :hand: Use of a belief to invest a life with meaning is not a defensible definition of religion; it is way too broad.

OK, I'm only halfway through and that's just some of the many holes I could knock in what I have already read. The article may well make good points about the shortcomings of Dawko et al's characterisations of Christianity but it is so awash with fallacies, lame pop-apologist cliches and twaddle that I reckon reading to the end would be throwing good time after bad. I give what I've read so far, oh, about 2/10.

Capablanca-Fan
27-10-2009, 07:58 AM
Atheism as a Stealth Religion (http://scienceblogs.com/evolution/2009/10/atheism_as_a_stealth_religion.php)
Erin Johnson
8 Oct 2009


I am an evolutionist who studies all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world, as I relate in my book Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives. In addition to my academic research, I manage a number of programs and websites for expanding evolution beyond the biological sciences in higher education(EvoS), public policy formulation (The Evolution Institute), community based research (Binghamton Neighborhood Project) and the study of religion (Evolutionary Religious Studies).

In today's polarized world, the conflict between atheism and religion is shaping up to be the fight of the century. In this corner, the new atheists, flexing their muscles with books such as God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. In that corner, the religious fundamentalists, who are responsible for 9/11, the Christian takeover of America, polluting the minds of their children, and numberless other atrocities. It's science and reason against dogmatism and blind faith, making it obvious who the enlightened liberal should root for.

Well, not quite. The truly enlightened liberal should experience a twinge of doubt about the very blackness and whiteness of it. Let me show you how a bit of evolutionary thinking can paint a more interesting picture in shades of gray. The new atheists hate religion for causing between-group conflict and especially for its wanton disregard of the canons of rational thought. Yet, both of these problems extend far more widely than religion. ...

This evolutionist presumably doesn't accept theistic religious claims, but points out that leading atheopathic attacks on theistic religion singles it out for problems hardly unique even to the worst examples. The author points out that some versions of atheism function a lot like religious fundamentalism, e.g. Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Likewise “the new atheism of our day … has all the hallmarks of a stealth religion, including a polarized belief system that represents everything as good, good, good or bad, bad, bad ("how religion poisons everything"), the unquestioned authority of its leaders, and even the portrayal of bad ideas as like demons (parasitic memes) that need to be cast out ("breaking the spell").”

Also, Thomas Sowell points out the dangers of another secularist "religion", Marxism (http://www.amazon.com/Marxism-Philosophy-Economics-Thomas-Sowell/dp/0688064264/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_cart_1):


The supreme irony of Marxism was that a fundamentally humane and egalitarian creed was so dominated by a bookish perspective that it became blind to facts and deaf to humanity and freedom. Yet the moral vision and the intellectual aura of Marxism continued to disarm critics, quiet doubters, and put opponents on the moral defensive. It has provided both intellectual and moral insulation for those who wield power in its name. Some of the most distinguished names in Western civilization — George Bernard Shaw, Jean-Paul Sartre, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, among others — have become apologists for brutal dictatorships ruling in the name of Marx and committing atrocities that they would never countenance under any other label. People who could never be corrupted by money or power may nevertheless be blinded by a vision. In this context, there are grim implications to Engels’ claim that Marx’s name and work “will endure through the ages.”

Igor_Goldenberg
27-10-2009, 12:31 PM
I really couldn't give a stuff mate. Youse all are equally guilty as far I'm concerned. The main thing is, there must be balance. We can't have youse bloody religionist bastards ruling the roost and the same goes for those fkn secularists.


I'd like to second it.

1. I don't like fanatics, neither religious nor anti-religious.
2. I don't like pompous idiots pretending they are morally or intellectually superior because of their believes or lack thereof.
3. I don't like religious or anti-religious zealots.
4. I am wary and suspicious of proselytes (religious or anti-religious).
5. I hate hypocrites.
6. I respect people having their beliefs as long as they don't behave like one of the groups above. (and don't deprave others of their believes).
7. I reserve the right to share or reject any beliefs (or lack thereof).
8. I am not going to apologise for having or not having certain beliefs and don't expect others.

Basil
27-10-2009, 12:35 PM
2. I don't like pompous idiots pretending they are morally or intellectually superior because of their believes or lack thereof.
Oh! :uhoh:

:D

arosar
27-10-2009, 01:57 PM
Indeed, the author's simplistic rant about nuclear weapons shows that we are dealing with a scientophobe. Nukes are indeed WMDs but they may also be remarkably effective deterrents against exactly the sort of conventional global warfare that killed so many in WWI and WWII and thus it's at least arguable that if managed carefully they save a lot more lives than they take.

Right, exactly.

Why Obama Should Learn to Love the Bomb (http://www.newsweek.com/id/214248).

AR

antichrist
27-10-2009, 06:40 PM
2. I don't like pompous idiots pretending they are morally or intellectually superior because of their believes or lack thereof.

A/C
surely Igor you would prefer to spend your time with a raving atheist rather than a raving believer. Atheists are more fun and irreverant. Just compare funny/happy me to sadsacks Jono, Snail King etc - with them if you don't believe you burn in hell!

Kevin Bonham
28-10-2009, 12:49 AM
I don't mind the Johnson article in general. I don't agree with his use of supernaturalism as the sole demarcating criteria for "religion" proper, firstly because shared ritual is a significant dimension (some supernaturalists are not religious) and secondly because some eastern religions (esp Confucianism) are not really supernaturalist.

I also think it is important to note that while Objectivism is much like many religious cults - and more like fringe cults than mainstream ones - in its internal sociology and in its condemnation of all alternatives as evil and immoral, it doesn't practice or especially endorse violent attempts to destroy opposing viewpoints, such as are common among militant religious fundamentalisms.

Capablanca-Fan
28-10-2009, 12:32 PM
Right, exactly.

Why Obama Should Learn to Love the Bomb (http://www.newsweek.com/id/214248).
A classic example to support Sowell's "constrained vision": people are flawed but usually respond to incentives. The trouble is, Obama epitomizes the "unconstrained vision", where all will be well with the right people in charge, and who are good at sweet-talking aggressors out of aggression. Hence he doesn't recognize the role of nuclear deterrence in preventing all-out war between nuclear powers.

arosar
28-10-2009, 03:10 PM
Hitchens on What he's learned from debating religious people around the world (http://www.slate.com/id/2233586/).


I haven't yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a "script" that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven't been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell's old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven't yet agreed on the terms.

AR

Capablanca-Fan
28-10-2009, 03:41 PM
I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven't been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell's old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven't yet agreed on the terms.
Cf. Clarence Darrow:

‘I don’t know as I was ever in a community in my life where my religious ideas differed as widely from the great mass as I have found them since I have been in Tennesee. Yet I came here a perfect stranger and I can say what I have said before that I have not found upon any body’s part—any citizen here in this town or outside the slightest discourtesy. I have been treated better, kindlier and more hospitably than I fancied would have been the case in the north’ (Scopes trial transcript, pp. 225–226, 1925).

And Camille Paglia:

“For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. The nut cases on the right are on the uneducated fringe, but on the left they sport Ivy League degrees. I'm not kidding — there are some real fruitcakes out there, and some of them are writing for major magazines. It's a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Conservatives these days are more geared to facts than emotions, and as individuals they seem to have a more ethical, perhaps sports-based sense of fair play.”

antichrist
29-10-2009, 05:24 PM
Cf. Clarence Darrow:

]‘I don’t know as I was ever in a community in my life where my religious ideas differed as widely from the great mass as I have found them since I have been in Tennesee. Yet I came here a perfect stranger and I can say what I have said before that I have not found upon any body’s part—any citizen here in this town or outside the slightest discourtesy. I have been treated better, kindlier and more hospitably than I fancied would have been the case in the north’ (Scopes trial transcript, pp. 225–226, 1925).
[/B]And Camille Paglia:

“For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. The nut cases on the right are on the uneducated fringe, but on the left they sport Ivy League degrees. I'm not kidding — there are some real fruitcakes out there, and some of them are writing for major magazines. It's a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Conservatives these days are more geared to facts than emotions, and as individuals they seem to have a more ethical, perhaps sports-based sense of fair play.”

They had a vested interest. The trial was deliberately put on there to put them on the may and bring business in. Not like at Byron Bay here we are trying to get rid of the masses and touros - have you got any good pest control?

Capablanca-Fan
29-10-2009, 05:27 PM
They had a vested interest. The trial was deliberately put on there to put them on the may and bring business in.
Agreed; it was not the Inherit the Wind (http://creation.com/inherit-the-wind-an-historical-analysis) distortion of persecuting poor little teachers who taught evolution, but a publicity stunt.

antichrist
29-10-2009, 05:40 PM
Agreed; it was not the Inherit the Wind (http://creation.com/inherit-the-wind-an-historical-analysis) distortion of persecuting poor little teachers who taught evolution, but a publicity stunt.

It was both and no reasons why it cant be both. Just as Jesus was supposed to be Jesus and man and as well God was the Father of Jesus and Jesus himself - I wonder what term they call that - coz it sort of means that Jesus (in a previous life as God) was screwing his mum Mary. Bring it on - make the Mormons and Muslims many wives appear as saints.