Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Day and the Morality of Invasion


Today is a day of remembrance of tragic glories past. It is increasingly also a day of moral ambiguity.
When I first celebrated ANZAC Day as a little boy, it was a moment to pause to glorify war, encounter moving rituals and to skate over anything other than ancestor worship. The ANZAC Day veterans, liberally sprinkled with amputees, were acclaimed for a day and their invasion of Turkey deemed valiant. 
Then Vietnam killed the moment. ANZAC Day went into seemingly terminal decline.  It was poorly attended and militarism in general seen for the tragic folly it inevitably is.  And so it flew under most Australians’ radar through the seventies and eighties.
I next bumped into ANZAC Day was travelling to Gallipoli as my wife and I bummed around the world.  Then Australians visited Gallipoli in tiny numbers. We only went because her grandfather had a military post named after him and the family wanted to see what if anything was there.  Well there was a mighty edifice (SEE PHOTO BELOW) notwithstanding that the family’s name was misspelt and the Post was combined with Courtney’s Post.  Indeed my grandfather lived under the Ottoman Empire (which he detested) and it is foreseeable that if he had not made his way into Australia, he would have been taking pot shots at Beth’s grandfather.  Oh, the ironies of life.
It was there I first confronted the notion that the Australians were invaders. The locals were generous and welcoming but made it clear that their ancestors were attacked and died in far greater numbers. It was the first time I even contemplated this perspective and I felt repentant accordingly.
I returned and befriended Resit, a lovely Turkish boy. He was charming about Gallipoli and we agreed it was a tragic mistake and talked more about our circumcision experiences (BTW his was positive and mine was nothing as at 8 days, I “know nothing”).
And so we come to today and ANZAC Day is a very different place.  The mojo has returned. Back packers flood the Peninsula.  ANZAC Day is huge and the celebration has morphed through the religious ritual of football to form a central and inspiring day in the calendar.  Our multiculturalism informs us of the fact that there were good people on the other side and both Turks and Ozzies celebrate a long lost fiasco without acrimony. The Turkish community has a sub branch of the RSL!
ANZAC Day though is changing too in the Islamic world.  It is being argued in some quarters that it is part of the centuries old Christian Crusade against Muslims.  Remember that the Turks were led by Ataturk, the first President in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.  The man was secular, his world view Western and his mantra was patriotic not religious. At the time of the invasion, he was representing the Ottoman Empire and that Empire was aligned with the Christian Austro Hungarian Empire and the equally Christian Germany.  Sides were chosen by various Empires on the basis of geopolitical advantage not belief.  Those Empires that lost were broken up. It was a battle of Empires at play and faith was irrelevant. 
Any attempt by modern Islam to diminish the role of the secular Ataturk flies in the face of the facts. Any attempt by the Islamic world to portray the Turkey as the latest iteration of the Crusades is misleading. The local Turks were innocent victims but their faith had nought to do with it. 
Whilst the Gallipoli locals were victims, the Ottoman Empire was no innocent. Just ask the survivors of the Pontian Greek Genocide of (1914-1923) or the Armenian Genocide of the same era. One cannot easily portray the Ottoman Caliphate as yet another innocent victim of the Crusading West.
And in Australia, the marginal Hizb ut Tahrir group condemns the invasion as an anti Islamic invasion of the Ottoman Caliphate. They are roundly condemned by the Turkish Sub Branch of the RSL who rightly say that soldiers died representing their communities. 
In my life, ANZAC Day has constantly evolved. 
Who could have guessed that simple message of the moral rightness of blind patriotism I received as child would evolve so much over time. Now layers imposed by immigration and cultural warfare battle anew to capture the hearts and minds.  The moral equation changes with each revision.  The ANZACs were once strong strapping heroes possessing great moral grandeur. Then, in the seventies they became the morally flawed representatives of militarism and imperialism. Now in the twenty first century in Australia they represent another sporting contest that we must celebrate.  And in some pockets of the Islamic world, they are incorrectly portrayed as evil Crusaders.
 ANZAC Day will never stand still and its moral equation never avoid being hijacked by those who want to profit by revising history.  Lest we forget the real tragedy - Dueling Empires imposed suffering and death upon their expendable boys.

What is your view? Is ANZAC Day

  • a sacred secular moment?
  • a tired old anachronism?
  • a Christian Crusading moment of triumphalism over Islam?
  • an annual rite when the rituals of the military are mooshed together with the rituals of footy?
Over to you and to inspire you is a picture of the misspelt Steel's Post named after my grandfather in law Tom Steel. 

148 comments:

  1. Hmm... surprisingly tough subject this one - I will have to give it some thought.

    I will say wrt the "Crusader" thing that maybe Muslims might consider that they are holding on to this thing a bit longer than is sensible. It has been some centuries now.

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    1. The Crusades were very grim for the Semites - Muslims and Jews. When I was growing up I was torn between two versions - heroic (Richard the Lionhearted and Crusader Rabbit) and the murderous - millions of Jews killed en route by rapacious thugs. The latter is clearly the most apposite characterisation. So ethnic groups hang on to their massacres and atrocities for centuries. This seems to be a pattern.
      Thanks again Robin.
      Dick

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  2. Speaking of Austrians v Ottomans

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kar%C3%A1nsebes

    Now there's a battle that deserves its own day of remembrance.

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  3. There seems to be a fine line here.

    On the one hand, if we are going to honour anybody at all then we should honour those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us.

    On the other hand while remembering that this represents the best of human nature, the circumstances that necessitated their sacrifice represent the worst of human nature.

    It seems to be easy to confuse these two things.

    On the one hand conservative pundits tell us that we must not say that Gallipoli was stupid and pointless or else we insult the memory of those who died there.

    On the other hand there were left wingers who shouted insults and threw urine at returning Vietnam vets, as though it was their fault.

    So Anzac Day is, to me, giving proper remembrance and honour to those who were prepared to defend the country while remembering that we should do everything that is possible to avoid such bloodshed in the future.

    Mostly I think that is how everybody sees the day.

    But there does appear to be that theme of glorification creeeping back in.

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  4. The premise of Anzac Day is that war makes a nation. But this is a myth. Gallipoli didn’t make today’s Australia any more than Iraq will make tomorrow’s Australia. Rather it was the slow, patient efforts of our citizens to bring about social justice, equal opportunity, sexual and racial equality, decent working conditions (and secularism, of course) that made today’s Australia. If we are to exalt anything it should be our civilian achievements, not our military ones.

    If we are to set aside a day for remembering the people who have died in the service of our country, and I think we should, then it ought to be a day for contemplating, not a day for celebrating bloody dramas like Gallipoli. And it shouldn’t include just the military services but also civilian ones like the police and fire services.

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    1. "And it shouldn’t include just the military services but also civilian ones like the police and fire services."

      If I'm not mistaken the Tassie fire service was represented for the first time this year.

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    2. If the premise of Anzac day is that war makes a nation then we should abandon the observance immediately.

      But I question whether this is the case.

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    3. Question the premise all you like, Robin. But there’s evidence of it in the speeches. Yesterday, in Townsville, the PM said that to her the day is all about ‘our history and what’s forged and shaped us’. And Colin McCusker, in Perth, said Gallipoli was ‘the actual birth of our nation’. No mention anywhere, so far as I could see, of the slow, patient nation-building by civilians that actually made Australia what it is today.

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    4. Out of everything that was said that day you are taking two quotes out of context (in McCusker's case leaving out the rest of his sentence to change what he says) and then saying that this is the premise of the day.

      And, no Gillard didn't say that yesterday at Townsville, she said it last year at Gallipoli. Couldn't you find something in her speech yesterday to support your premise?

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    5. Robin:

      Actually, Ms Gillard did say that yesterday, and she did say it in Townsville. Maybe it’s time for you to upgrade your browser. In any case, what difference does it make where and when she said it? Even if she’d said it on the moon, it wouldn’t alter the fact that she thinks Gallipoli shaped the nation.

      As for McCusker, if you didn’t like his quote, then how about the bloke who was with him, a certain Wing Commander Turner, who said exactly the same thing, but added ‘[Gallipoli was t]he beginning of a uniquely Australian culture that fundamentally shaped the identity of an emerging nation’?

      There, you now have more evidence that people think Gallipoli made Australia than you’ll ever get for the idea that god made the universe. Given that you believe the latter, you should have no trouble accepting the former.

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    6. As far as I know, this is what she said yesterday:

      http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/anzac-day-address

      Fpr the other quote it looks to me like McCusker didn't say it at all, but Wing Commander Turner.

      He also said lots of other things.

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    7. "There, you now have more evidence that people think Gallipoli made Australia than you’ll ever get for the idea that god made the universe."

      So in other words you think the fact that the PM once said that the day was, for her, about our history and what has forged us and a Wing Commander said that some historians said that our national identity began on that day and leaving aside whatever else they said and all the things that other people have said ...

      ... is sufficient evidence for the proposition that the premise of Anzac Day is that war makes a nation?

      That is your standard of evidence?

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    8. Here is a conclusion more in keeping with the evidence:

      "there are some people who think that this particular battle was one of the factors that forged our national identity"

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    9. In particular the fact that certain people think something about a day does not make that the premise of the day.

      Also, a particular battle is not war in general.

      Finally, Anzac Day was gazetted in 1916 according to various sources.

      So when is the first reference you can find to the idea that our national identity was forged in that battle?

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    10. The whole notion of an event making a nation seems to me a bit simplistic. Whilst great and cataclysmic events may be influential, the forging of the nation is a multi headed beast. I would argue that what Oz stands for is democracy and multiculturalism. So Al Grassby's brave stand on the latter is just as important as WW1 to my mind. Now we have place where Turks and Greeks happily coexist in a nation that has invaded both countries (Turkey in WW1 and Greece in WWII). We do not celebrate our victory in the promotion of tolerance enough. And I would argue that that has forged this nation more than war service endured a century ago. Dick

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    11. Robin: There are some people who think that this particular battle was one of the factors that forged our national identity.

      What’s your take on the fact that our government plans to spend $108 million to celebrate the centenary of Gallipoli (see Anzac Centenary website) and, as far as I know, no money to celebrate anything else? Do you reckon the people who made that decision fit your description above?

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    12. Dick wrote: "The whole notion of an event making a nation seems to me a bit simplistic"

      Yes, and I don't think that anybody is saying that.

      Rather, the historians that Wing Commander Turner is referring to say that up until that time most Australians had more or less thought of themselves as British, but that the Gallipoli disaster marked a time when Australians began to think of being Australian as a separate identity.

      I am pretty sure that those historians would have no disagreement with anything you say.

      To me our identity is still being shaped. For one thing I look forward to an Australia where my kids might aspire to be the head of state of their own country.

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    13. Terry, Yes. I have looked at the website and can see nothing inconsistent with my description.

      I can't see anything on the website about "celebrating" and the purpose of the centenary appears to be to honour those who have served our country and who have died for our country throughout it's history.

      Incidentally, are you really saying that the Australian Government has never spent any money recognising any other contribution to the Austrlian nation? Do I really have to go out and find counter examples? Did you look really hard?

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    14. Terry, but that said, I would add my whole-hearted agreement to your statement :

      "Rather it was the slow, patient efforts of our citizens to bring about social justice, equal opportunity, sexual and racial equality, decent working conditions (and secularism, of course) that made today’s Australia. If we are to exalt anything it should be our civilian achievements, not our military ones."

      I think that was very well put.

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    15. MalcolmS9:24 AM

      Robin: "I look forward to an Australia where my kids might aspire to be the head of state of their own country"

      I think you'll find that's the case right now.

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    16. Robin: I think that was very well put.

      Ta, mate. But I can't take the credit, at least not all of it. I was paraphrasing something a I read in book review a while ago. Can't remember who wrote the review or whose book it was, though.

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    17. "Robin: "I look forward to an Australia where my kids might aspire to be the head of state of their own country"

      I think you'll find that's the case right now."

      An Australian will find it very difficult to become head of state of Australia seeing it's the Windsors that can only be our head of state.

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    18. MalcolmS10:55 PM

      The process of becoming head of state is available to all. Just enact a referendum and change the constitution. It would just happen to be contrary to the last *actual* referendum. After all, we do not happen to have a dictatorship - only the rule of law.

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    19. "Just enact a referendum and change the constitution."

      Like it's as easy as that.

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    20. MalcolmS4:42 PM

      I didn't claim it was "easy."

      Only that it's in accordance with the law.

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  5. "Now in the twenty first century in Australia they represent another sporting contest that we must celebrate."

    No they don't and no we mustn't. Today the ANZAC idea represents the folly of war, ties that bind and acts of bravery and bastardry.

    Is ANZAC Day

    a sacred secular moment?
    If not it should be.

    a tired old anachronism?
    To some it might be but it has managed to stay relevant as we still send troops overseas and have diversity to overcome.

    a Christian Crusading moment of triumphalism over Islam?
    Hardly, especially as the 'Christian' side lost.

    an annual rite when the rituals of the military are mooshed together with the rituals of footy?
    That situation is more so now that footy has become so commercialised, the ANZAC day match used to be a bit more sombre but money rules Aussie Rules these days.


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    1. Thanks Stranger - all good points. Dick

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  6. "On the other hand while remembering that this represents the best of human nature, the circumstances that necessitated their sacrifice represent the worst of human nature."

    Australia was not under attack and was never going to be under attack in WWI.

    "On the one hand conservative pundits tell us that we must not say that Gallipoli was stupid and pointless or else we insult the memory of those who died there."

    Saying it was anything else insults the memory of those that died there.

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    1. Saying that the Gallipoli landing (and indeed the entire war) was stupid and pointless is simply to state the truth of the matter and has nothing to do with the regard in which we hold the members of the armed forces.

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    2. Agree Robin. Dick

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    3. Martin C7:57 AM

      Stranger, I think you are missing a subtle point here. I think Australians DID go to war thinking their country was at risk of attack, not because Australia was, but because BRITAIN was. There is ample evidence that Australians at the time thought of themselves as displaced British, notwithstanding the events of Jan 1, 1901. That idea really only became a minority one in the 50s or 60s, as an influx of immigrants from non-British backgrounds cut the apron strings (mostly).

      One of the ways that it is correct to see Gallipoli as forging our national identity was that it was a war in which the other soldiers - enemy and friend - saw us as Australians not British ... and that might have gone some way to bringing us to the same realisation.

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    4. "I think Australians DID go to war thinking their country was at risk of attack, not because Australia was, but because BRITAIN was."

      I don't disagree with that Martin, but it's a poor excuse, and doesn't mean we were under attack, perceptions are not reality.

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  7. Anonymous12:19 AM

    Hi Dick, Love your piece. We need to move on as a nation, as Trotsky warned us "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Time to find other things to focus on, rather than looking to the past so deeply and with more attachment year after year.

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    1. Thanks very much Anon.

      One of the really interesting things about Australia is the lack of flags. I ride a bike and am obsessed about wind direction. Sor I know where every flag is located in my vicinity. There are virtually none except on Town Halls and schools. This is uplifting for patriotism can be so destructive. I love that quote you used.
      Dick

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  8. Anzac Day for me was the day before, when, as a school child we all went to the nursing homes and sang and spoke to the elderly residents, a salutary lesson for school children, one that many today would learn more from then we ever did, simply because we had our parent/parents on call much more than children do today.

    Anzac Day today is now a day when lots of people go to cemeteries where the local catholic church/school hands out disposable lights and song sheets and in return receive accolades, whatever happened to humble (uh oh ! the latest incarnation in the Vatican mustn't have been heard here in the colonies)

    It's a day that pays scant attention to the massive failure of the British government (followed by the American experiences)and Australia's losses, it's a day rapidly becoming a festival, after the commensurate/obligatory 4:28AM to 9AM visit to a shrine 1 day (sometimes 2 counting 11/11/11) then it's off to either watch the parade or more of the usual pursuits Aussies are famous for.

    It's the RSL (sub branch, read pokie empire) setting up sound systems and big screen TVs at war grave cemeteries and then advertising the fact that there will be breakfast served at the "club".

    Anzac Day just becomes a non event day for me where I keep my own counsel and trust that any soldier who has fought for my freedom understands that I revere him/her for what they have done, and if he/she has paid the ultimate price my gratitude is inestimable.

    Best to paraphrase Ataturk :

    Your sons and daughters now lie in my bosom and are in peace.

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    1. The Ataturk phrase is beautiful and I think of it as a lovely consoling sentiment. However, the godless in me makes me want to take the words "in peace" out and replace them with something less consoling and more confronting as the poor old non believer cannot believe in notions of a peaceful after life. Sad but true.
      Dick

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  9. Thought provoking piece Dick. I understand why the families of those who fought in, Gallipoli or any war, may want to visit the place, or attend a dawn service, but for the rest.....
    One woman in an Age article was quoted as saying "It just seems like an important thing to do." She fails to say why.
    Another quote "it's a wonderful occasion - a very Melbourne thing to do, that so many people would stream in here at such an hour with such goodwill." Again I wonder why.
    An uncle of my husband was in Changi during WW2. He returned a broken shell, and never recovered. We have friends who are Vietnam Vets. They too carry their scars. The thing they all have in common is a refusal to speak of their experiences.
    I often think of the young men and women in Afghanistan and other war torn countries. Death isn't the worst thing that can happen to a soldier.
    I'm angered by those who journey to Gallipoli and treat the experience as an excuse for a piss up.
    I'm also annoyed by those who walk the Kokoda Trail, as if walking this trail in any way compares with what those who fought there endured. I understand the money raised helps the locals. It's the attitude of some who complete the walk that annoys me.
    I once sat through a business diner with a group of men who had recently completed the trek. They were constantly verbally high-fiving each other for their wonderful achievement. When I brought the discussion around to those who died on that track, one charmer told me I was a sour downer, my response 'better a sour downer than a sad wanker'.
    It isn't just those in the military who suffer and die during war. My driver and his family had to leave Bosnia 20 years ago. The war there divided families and neighbours. Many of his friends died. They had to leave everything they owned. He tells me a little of what it was like, none of it pleasant.
    More and more, Anzac Day, seems to me to be becoming a celebration of war. War is not good, it is not noble. It's a terrible thing that causes unimaginable suffering and death. A country is not built on war, it's built on living together in acceptance of our fellow citizens.
    I wonder how many of those who observe Anzac Day are in favour of detention centres for refugees.
    For some time they have been advertising luxurious cruises and other upmarket junkets to Gallipoli for the Anzac centenary. Does this sound like grateful remembrance or a party?

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  10. Robin: Incidentally, are you really saying that the Australian Government has never spent any money recognising any other contribution to the Australian nation? Do I really have to go out and find counter examples?

    I’m saying (a) $108 million is far too much to spend on military statues, monuments and re-enactments (this is the sort of crap you expect from North Korea, not Australia); and (b) we don’t spend anywhere near this amount of money celebrating any of the civilian contributions to Australia’s identity (show me an example if you believe otherwise).

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    1. On consideration I would have to agree.

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    2. Please don't do that again. In this movie theists are not suppposed to be reasonable.

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    3. MalcolmS7:13 AM

      Terry: ".. theists are not suppposed to be reasonable"

      That's historically incorrect. Philosophers such as Aquinas and the Thomists and scientists such as Galileo and Newton were all committed theists. Their discoveries in the natural world speak for themselves. They were all far more "reasonable" than secular, sceptical, materialists such as yourself. In fact there is no comparison.

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    4. I'm sorry, Mal, my comment was obviously too subtle for you. You see, I was paying Robin a compliment by joking that if he continues to be reasonable he'll spoil the fun of arguing with him. Get it?

      By the way, stick to objectivism and leave the science stuff to people who know what they're talking about. Newton was the last man on Earth you'd want to hold up as an example of reasonableness. And I doubt Galileo would be happy to hear that his theism was the source of his scientific achievements, although if he knew an objectivist had made the claim he might let it go.

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    5. Terry, your response to Robin, gave me a lovely chortle.
      These are the ways theists, atheists and all those in between, build a sense of camaraderie in their differences. We don't have to agree, (there'd be no blog if we did) but there is often common ground to be found in the way we conduct our debates. It's one of the things I enjoy on Dick's blog. Although if I'm to be truthful, I do often laugh at the witty barbs too.

      Robin, I rarely agree with you, but I admire the manner in which you comment.

      Malcolm, have you had a humourectomy?

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    6. Thanks Tricia, I also admire your style and have gotten a good deal of sense and even wisdom from them.

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    7. MalcolmS9:58 PM

      Terry: ".. stick to objectivism and leave the science stuff to people who know what they're talking about"

      I'll back my science/philosophy qualifications over yours any day sweetheart.

      "Newton was the last man on Earth you'd want to hold up as an example of reasonableness"

      Once again you are quite wrong. His laws of motion and gravity are some of the most superb examples of observational and inductive thinking in the history of science. He even had to develop a new branch of mathematics [calculus] to deal with the newly discovered elliptical motion of planets which he appeared to do with effortless ease. I don't think he is bettered by any scientist.

      "I doubt Galileo would be happy to hear that his theism was the source of his scientific achievements"

      His theism was NOT the source of his scientific achievements and I did not claim that it was. Please try to keep your mind in focus.

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    8. RalphH5:50 AM

      MalcolmS9:58 PM, being reasonable/reasonableness and reasoning/the ability to effectively use inductive thinking are not necessarily the same thing. By all accounts Isaac Newton more than passed muster on both. His scientific and intellectual achievements more than made up for his dabbling in alchemy.

      I believe both Newton and Galileo both happily gave credit to God for their inspiration despite (particularly in Galileo's case) the backwardness of some of their contemporaries. Here's a little history of Galileo - http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/galileo_and_god.htm .

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    9. MalcolmS8:22 AM

      RalphH: "I believe both Newton and Galileo both happily gave credit to God for their inspiration despite (particularly in Galileo's case) the backwardness of some of their contemporaries"

      If true they were wrong to do so but understandable given the age in which they lived. It in no way diminishes their magnificent secular achievements.

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    10. Sweetheart? Aw, Mal, that’s nice. But I hope you’re not flirting, mate. You do know I’m a boy, right? And I’m not that kind of boy.

      Well blow me down, you have a science qualification? There’s a surprise. Funny, though, you don’t act like a scientist. Scientists usually know something about science. And they’re more sceptical than you are, and more curious, and comfortable with uncertainty, and, dare I say it, Mal, more objective. I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me what your qualification is?

      As for Newton being a reasonable man, Leibnitz, Hook and Chaloner (go on, off to Wikipedia with you) might disagree with you there.

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    11. MalcolmS11:52 PM

      Terry: "You do know I’m a boy, right?"

      Yes, I suspected you weren't an adult :)

      "Scientists usually know something about science. And they’re more sceptical than you are, and more curious, and comfortable with uncertainty, and, dare I say it, Mal, more objective"

      Actually, scepticism and science are mutually exclusive. Scepticism is the position that knowledge is impossible or, at least, uncertain. On the other hand science is systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation. The uncertain is what the scientist makes certain. Certainty is forever closed to the sceptic. When you understand that you'll be part way to objectivity Terry.

      "I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me what your qualification is?"

      I don't intend telling you about any of them.

      "As for Newton being a reasonable man, Leibnitz, Hook and Chaloner (go on, off to Wikipedia with you) might disagree with you there"

      Newton's discoveries came from the observation of nature, scientific method and the process of induction which is correct methodologically and was why he was so successful. That was how he was able to integrate such variants as the tides, planetary motion and apples falling off trees into one principle[law]. He was a great epistemologist of science. On the other hand Leibnitz used the method of the scholastics. He started with arbitrary alleged "axioms" and deduced his conclusions totally free from any observations of nature. In other words he just made stuff up. If you want to see this process in action then I suggest you read his theory of "windowless monads." Compared to Newton there is no way he could be described as "reasonable."

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    12. Leibniz was also the co discoverer of Calculus and invented a calculation machine the principle of which was used up to the 20th century.

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    13. No, Mal, science is not about certainty. At its core is a deep awareness that we have natural biases and that these give rise to faulty ideas. There’s no hope of ever saying we are there, that we have solved a problem completely. Everything is open to revision, everything uncertain. There’s a continuous effort to find fresh ways of looking at things, of challenging common sense, which we know to be unreliable.

      You think too much of observations and measurements. These are not what moves science forward. Data merely confirms or disconfirms theories. What’s more important is what the theories tell us about the world. The 43 degree shift in Mercury’s perihelion forms part of the data confirming general relativity. But the great advance comes from the counterintuitive way the theory gives us of looking at space and time.

      Why do you think science clashes with religion? Well, I’ll tell you why. Science is grounded in uncertainty, it can’t abide the kind of thinking that pretends to know all the answers, and that is precisely the kind of thinking that characterises religion (and objectivism, too).

      I don’t know where you got your scientific qualification (you do have one, right?) from, but if I were you I’d ask for my money back.

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    14. MalcolmS4:46 PM

      Terry: "No, Mal, science is not about certainty. At its core is a deep awareness that we have natural biases and that these give rise to faulty ideas"

      Are you certain of that? Given your premises, how could you know?

      "You think too much of observations and measurements. These are not what moves science forward"

      They are the emirical data from which all scientific principles are induced. Not that you could know of course.

      "Why do you think science clashes with religion?"

      Are you certain of that? Given your premises, how could you know? Why isn't that one of your "natural biases" or a "faulty idea"?

      "Science is grounded in uncertainty, it can’t abide the kind of thinking that pretends to know all the answers"

      Would you care to reveal the name of the science which "pretends to know all the answers"? Or are you, as usual, just making stuff up?

      At the core of your fantasy, the whole basis of your shabby secret, is the fact that scepticism is self-refuting. If you claim that knowledge and certainty are unattainable, then, that includes your assertions! Having granted to yourself the cognitive status of a plank of wood, then, why don't you act accordingly? You should henceforth simply refrain from speaking, like the sceptic Cratylus in the ancient world, and stop wasting everyone's time. There's a good boy.

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    15. I'll let these fools reply for me:

      Feynman: I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.

      Carlo Rovelli: A good scientist is never 'certain'. Lack of certainty is precisely what makes conclusions more reliable than the conclusions of those who are certain: because the good scientist will be ready to shift to a different point of view if better elements of evidence, or novel arguments emerge. Therefore certainty is not only something of no use, but is in fact damaging, if we value reliability.

      Neil Gershenfeld: The most common misunderstanding about science is that scientists seek and find truth. They don't – they make and test models.

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS6:24 PM

      Terry: "I'll let these fools reply for me"

      Don't bother. You're a big enough fool on your own.

      I note that you have not attempted an answer to my objection.

      Delete
    17. My favourite was Carl Sagan's comment which went something like 'Absolute Truth we leave to priests and politicians'

      Delete
    18. Your objection, Mal, is not an objection, or at least not an objection to anything I’ve said. Because you know so little science, and only so much philosophy, you’ve confused philosophical scepticism with sceptical enquiry. And I’ve said enough about sceptical enquiry for you to grasp its meaning. Although with your science qualification (you do have one, right?) I’d have thought you could get there on your own.

      Delete
    19. Terry quoted: "Neil Gershenfeld: The most common misunderstanding about science is that scientists seek and find truth. They don't – they make and test models."

      But, Terry, it cannot have escaped your notice that the subtitle of Richard Dawkins' latest book is "How We Know What's Really True".

      So obviously Dawkins shares this misunderstanding that scientists seek and find truth.

      Delete
    20. Talking of whom, I note that the World's Gweatest Thinker and the New Charles Darwin are doing a tour to promote their film which seems to be based on the irritating and irrational atheist tactic of claiming that they own science.

      Delete
    21. Featuring the work of such renowned scientists as Ricky Gervais, Woody Allen and Cameron Diaz.

      Delete
    22. I would lay a bet that this business of "pretending to know the answers" is more a feature of the thinking of the proponents of the new atheism than it is for the average believer in God.

      I would bet that the average believer in God is more open to doubt and questioning than the "Worlds' Top Thinker" and the "New Charles Darwin".

      Delete
    23. Robin:

      I don’t think the title of a man’s book is enough for you to reach any conclusions about his attitude to uncertainty in science. To do that you need to read his scientific work. I have done that and I’m confident Dawkins would agree with everything I’ve said. Which explains why he says there’s probably no god rather than simply there is no god.

      I don’t know why he chose that title. Perhaps he felt that the subtleties of uncertainty theory would be lost on children, its target audience. In any case, the title doesn’t detract from the book’s message which is that science, where ideas are continually being refreshed, is better than any system of thought which is based on an immutable dogma, as is religion and objectivism.

      I note that you are fond of generalising. I thought we'd established that this is a bad thing. This time you say that atheists claim to own science. Perhaps some do. But I doubt they are in the majority. And even those might just be looking upon science as an ally in what they perceive, with justification, to be a struggle against the tyranny of religion.

      Delete
    24. Robin: I would lay a bet that this business of "pretending to know the answers" is more a feature of the thinking of the proponents of the new atheism than it is for the average believer in God.

      Well, are you just going to let that opinion hang there, or are you going to attach something worth reading to it?

      Delete
    25. 8x
      the irritating and irrational atheist tactic of claiming that they own science.
      x8

      Silly ol' me. I thought he was a irritating and irrational scientist claiming that he owns atheism.

      Still, I bow to your superior judgement.After all a person who "believes that the dead come back to life and fly away to never never land obviously has a far better grip on whats "really going on" than I will ever have ;)

      Delete
    26. MalcolmS1:40 AM

      Terry: "Robin: I don’t think the title of a man’s book is enough for you to reach any conclusions about his attitude to uncertainty in science"

      According to your stated position "uncertainty" is the leitmotif of *all* knowledge. So who are you to criticise Robin for that position? Or any other position? You have made a claim for knowledge to which, given your premises, you are not entitled. Like Cratylus, and all sceptics, you should simply remain silent.

      Delete
    27. MalcolmS1:44 AM

      Terry: "Robin: I’m confident Dawkins would agree with everything I’ve said. Which explains why he says there’s probably no god rather than simply there is no god"

      According to that statement Dawkins is an agnostic - not an atheist. Since you claim you and he are in agreement , then, so are you an agnostic. You are unravelling Terry. You remind me of the TV program where Pell demolished Dawkins simply because Dawkins oozed the uncertainty of scepticism. That's also the reason why Robin is untroubled by your "arguments."

      Delete
    28. MalcolmS1:48 AM

      Terry: ".. science, where ideas are continually being refreshed, is better than any system of thought which is based on an immutable dogma, as is religion and objectivism"

      Please name one "immutable dogma" which exists in Objectivism.

      Delete
    29. MalcolmS1:55 AM

      Terry: "Robin: I note that you are fond of generalising. I thought we'd established that this is a bad thing"

      So, generalisations are a bad thing???

      But that's a generalisation. Another contradiction Terry!

      I warned you to keep your mouth shut :)

      Delete
    30. Zed wrote: "After all a person who "believes that the dead come back to life ..."

      Whatever gave you the impression that I think that the dead come back to life???

      Delete
    31. Terry wrote: "Well, are you just going to let that opinion hang there, or are you going to attach something worth reading to it?"

      You will notice that it was in response to an opinion of your own.

      You were perfectly happy to let it hang there without attaching something worth reading to it.

      So why do you hold my response to a higher standard?

      Delete
    32. Terry wrote: "I note that you are fond of generalising."

      No, I don't generalise any more than most people, yourself included.

      You have just been making a few hefty generalisations about the nature of religious thinking.

      Why don't you think it is a bad thing when you do it?

      Delete
    33. Terry wrote: "I don’t know why he chose that title."

      Well here is a thought.

      Maybe he called it "How We Know What's Really True" because he intended to convey that it was a book about how we know what is really true.

      Delete
    34. Terry wrote: "Which explains why he says there’s probably no god rather than simply there is no god."

      No, you are thinking of that bus campaign.

      Dawkins says that there is "almost certainly no God".

      Having "almost" certainty about a metaphysical claim seems to suggest that he is far from having "a deep awareness that we have natural biases and that these give rise to faulty ideas".

      Delete
    35. 8x
      Whatever gave you the impression that I think that the dead come back to life???
      x8

      Whatever gave you the impression you were the only person capable of expressing himself through the medium of bumptious gooble-gobble? ;)

      Delete
    36. I am happy to concede that you have the complete mastery of that medium.

      Delete
    37. I love the way my opening piece quickly becomes irrelevant to the conversation. Keep conversing!!!!

      Dick

      Delete
    38. I love the way my opening piece quickly becomes irrelevant to the conversation. Keep conversing!!!!

      Dick

      Delete
    39. Whatever it happens to be

      Delete
    40. Mal: Please name one "immutable dogma" which exists in Objectivism.

      Faith in reason.

      Mal: According to that statement Dawkins is an agnostic - not an atheist. Since you claim you and he are in agreement, then, so are you an agnostic.

      Yes, we’re both agnostic. So what?

      Mal: According to your stated position "uncertainty" is the leitmotif of *all* knowledge. So who are you to criticise Robin for that position? Or any other position?

      People like me who believe that it is better to remain open-minded about everything have every right to criticise people like you who are convinced you have found the truth.

      By the way, Mal, if you’re going to reply to this try saying something new, will ya? You’re getting duller by the post.

      Mal: So, generalisations are a bad thing??? But that's a generalisation. Another contradiction Terry!

      Correct, and I said the same thing when I quoted Twain.

      What’s with this particular snipe, Mal? Does Peikoff not have anything to say about generalisations that you can quote?

      Delete
    41. Robin: You were perfectly happy to let it hang there without attaching something worth reading to it.

      Yes, you’re right. Man, I hate bald opinions. I’ll have to go flagellate myself.

      Robin: Having "almost" certainty about a metaphysical claim seems to suggest that he is far from having "a deep awareness that we have natural biases and that these give rise to faulty ideas”.

      I think your obvious dislike of Dawkins might be getting in the way of reason. Dawkins's use of the word ‘almost’ suggests that he isn’t certain, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the word at all. In any case, you know that he is an eminent biologist and as such that he is fully aware of the neurobiological and other evidence for the unreliability of our senses.

      Delete
    42. Terry, the evidence is that you don't hate bald opinion.

      In fact there is nothing wrong with a bald opinion just so long as it becomes a starting point in a process of critical thinking.

      The worst thing is an unexamined bald opinion.

      Terry wrote: "... your obvious dislike of Dawkins ..."

      Why do you think I dislike Dawkins?

      Terry wrote "Dawkins's use of the word ‘almost’ suggests that he isn’t certain"

      As I said, it suggests that he is almost certain.

      Terry wrote: "he is fully aware of the neurobiological and other evidence for the unreliability of our senses"

      I am not sure what the unreliability of our senses has to do with the case.

      His argument in this case is a purely metaphysical one.

      I know a lot of religious people and when I question them they often entertain doubts. Some are almost certain, many less so.

      So on one hand you have Richard Dawkins who is "almost" certain about this metaphysical claim.

      And on the other hand we have believers who are almost or somewhat certain about the opposite metaphysical claim.

      So explain the distinction between Dawkins "almost" metaphysical certainty and a believers "almost" metaphysical certainty.

      Delete
    43. Incidentally Terry, as you don't like philosophical thinking, presumably you reject the basis of Dawkins' almost certainty about the non-existence of God?

      Delete
    44. Incidentally, here is my breakdown of the people listed as those interviewed in "The Unbelievers" (not including Dawkins and Krauss):

      1 Activist
      1 Animator
      1 Musician
      1 Philosopher
      1 Science writer
      1 Special effects designer
      2 Actor
      2 Film director
      2 Magician
      2 Novelist
      2 Scientist
      7 Comedian

      In fact there is only one scientist there who can said to have made a significant contribution to science (as opposed to the communication of science).

      Delete
    45. I wonder if among them are any who would appreciate the irony of using the cult of personality to spread the message that we should only use science and reason.

      Or to put it another way, appealing to people's non-rational instincts to tell them that they should pay no heed to their non-rational instincts.

      Delete
    46. Robin: Why do you think I dislike Dawkins?

      This is an odd question to ask someone who doesn’t know anything about you, but since I’m not one to hold back an opinion ...

      I put your dislike of Dawkins down to not being able to see things from his perspective. How could you? You’re not an evolutionary biologist, and you’re not paid to spread the news about evolution across the globe. You’ve therefore never come into contact with the kinds of religious bigots he’s had to deal with. And you have no idea how lucky you are.

      I, on the other hand, have been an evolutionary biologist, and I have experienced what Dawkins has, although on a smaller scale, of course. And before you try and tell me that not all religious people are bigots, which is true, let me tell you that the bigotry runs much further along the religious spectrum than religious apologists would have you believe. It’s not just the fundamentalists that are doing it, you know.

      There, that’s my opinion. What do you put your dislike down to? His accent?

      Delete
    47. Terry wrote: "This is an odd question ..."

      No, that is just an odd misreading of my question on your part.

      I would have to insert two commas and alter the grammar of the main clause for my question to mean what you think it means.

      I was not asking you to roam even further into the realms of unsupported conjecture.

      You appear to believe that I dislike Richard Dawkins.

      I was asking upon what you based this belief.

      Delete
    48. But nonetheless, do tell of your experiences with religious bigots.

      Delete
    49. Robin:

      I was pulling your leg. I’d have thought that was obvious. Why would I have wasted my time giving you an answer you can get for yourself simply by reading your posts?

      Seriously, you want me to recount my experiences with religious bigots? You can’t imagine what those might have been?

      Delete
    50. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    51. Terry,

      The fact is that I don't dislike Dawkins so I am still in the dark as to how you could have come to that conclusion.

      I don't speak of him in tones of hushed reverence - that is not to say that I dislike him.

      Terry wrote: "Seriously, you want me to recount my experiences with religious bigots? You can’t imagine what those might have been?"

      No, that is why I asked.

      Delete
    52. Terry, let me be more specific. You say:

      "You’ve therefore never come into contact with the kinds of religious bigots he’s had to deal with. And you have no idea how lucky you are. "

      Now I have been spat at by bigots, had bottles thrown at my head by bigots, a good friend of mine was hospitalised by bigots and yet another arrested by bigoted police.

      So if you and Dawkins have had to face some sort of bigot in his self-appointed quest, the like of whom I am lucky not to have dealt with ... then naturally I am curious to know the details.

      Delete
    53. Robin: So explain the distinction between Dawkins "almost" metaphysical certainty and a believers "almost" metaphysical certainty.

      As is so often the case with you, I really don’t know what you’re trying to get at here. The answer seems so obvious. There’s clearly no difference between not being absolutely certain there’s a god and not being absolutely certain there isn’t a god.

      But this is not the argument. The argument is about being absolutely certain that there’s a god, and then giving that god a name and intentions, and then acting on all that. This is fantasy and we’d all be better off without it.

      Delete
    54. MalcolmS8:20 AM

      Terry: ""Mal: Please name one "immutable dogma" which exists in Objectivism"

      Faith in reason"

      Rand's position on reason is that it is man's only means of knowledge and his means of survival. Her thesis is systematically and logically developed and one of the most profound works in epistemology. Even if you disagree with its substance it is not presented as an article of faith or asserted as dogma but rationally argued. So your position collapses.

      Delete
    55. MalcolmS8:22 AM

      Terry: ""Mal: So, generalisations are a bad thing??? But that's a generalisation. Another contradiction Terry!"
      Correct, and I said the same thing when I quoted Twain"

      Yes, you did, so you've learned nothing. The point is, that when your argument endorses a contradiction, your argument is false. One of the major laws of logic - also a generalisation - so, once again, you're up that famous creek without a paddle.

      Delete
    56. MalcolmS8:25 AM

      Terry: "Dawkins's use of the word ‘almost’ suggests that he isn’t certain, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the word at all. In any case, you know that he is an eminent biologist and as such that he is fully aware of the neurobiological and other evidence for the unreliability of our senses"

      If it was true that the senses are unreliable, then, the science of biology, or any other science for that matter, would not exist or be possible. Nor would he be "eminent" or have any awareness of "evidence." He would be as non-cognitive as a plank of wood or any other sceptic.

      Delete
    57. Mal: Even if you disagree with its substance it is not presented as an article of faith or asserted as dogma but rationally argued.

      What this says is that you use reason to establish your faith in reason. That’s not possible unless you accept your capacity to reason as an article of faith. The only way to maintain your position is for you to bury your head in the sand, as you do, and ignore all the scientific evidence against your faith.

      Mal: If it was true that the senses are unreliable, then, the science of biology, or any other science for that matter, would not exist or be possible.

      Yet the sciences do exist. You must therefore be wrong.

      Delete
    58. 8x
      If it was true that the senses are unreliable, then, the science of biology, or any other science for that matter, would not exist or be possible.
      x8

      Twaddle.

      I know that my senses are unreliable and I can confirm this through the use of my senses.

      Now while I'm sure that in reply you can provide reams of 2500 year old gooble-gobble written by a man who had never heard of or imagined,let alone even worn a pair of pants, which "invalidates" this simple reality, the fact of the matter is that your gooble-gobble is patently and obviously false.

      It is the 20th century you know. Do try and keep up dear boy ;)

      Delete
    59. 8x
      Rand's position on reason is that it is man's only means of knowledge
      x8

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57575828/seven-time-lottery-winner-shares-secret-to-winning-powerball/


      8x
      ...and his means of survival.
      x8

      http://www.oddee.com/item_95629.aspx


      lolly lolly loltime...

      Delete
    60. RalphH5:45 PM

      Terry6:04 AM: “The argument is about being absolutely certain that there’s a god, and then giving that god a name and intentions, and then acting on all that. This is fantasy and we’d all be better off without it.”

      I couldn't disagree more Terry. Fantasy is believing that there is no God/no source of being or existing. We can argue as much as you like about the nature of God but the only alternative to believing that there is a source of being (and existing) is to say there is NO source i.e. that things just exist and just happen out of nothing/nowhere. IMO, that is fantasy.

      As to naming, a name expresses quality. God's name was revealed to the Israelites as I AM (Moses at the burning bush – Exodus 3:14) i.e a self-existent being/entity – a quality that does not/cannot exist within Nature which is defined by time and space - a dimension of creation and change.

      As to intentions, only an intelligent being (which would have intentions amongst other mental capacities) could reveal such things which incidentally agree perfectly with common sense. Common sense should not be confused with the fallacies of the senses as you seem to do. Although people may mistakenly espouse some things as common sense, I suggest that it takes common sense to recognise a rational explanation as rational.

      Delete
    61. Terry: "But this is not the argument. The argument is about being absolutely certain that there’s a god, and then giving that god a name and intentions, and then acting on all that. This is fantasy and we’d all be better off without it. "

      As I said before, from my experience the majority of believers don't have that absolute certainty.

      And if there were ever to be properly conducted survey about this my prediction is, based on conversations with believers and non believers, that the level of certainty about their metaphysical beliefs would be a great deal higher among atheists than it would among theists.

      Certainly in terms of the stridency with which they proclaim their beliefs the so-called "New Atheists" are at least on par with the American Christian right.

      Now you may not see potential danger in the metaphysical certainties or "almost" certainties of the atheists.

      I am not so sure.

      Delete
    62. Maybe this is one reason I am not so sure:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Militant_Atheists

      John Lennox has also written a lot about his experiences of talking to people within the former communist bloc.

      Delete
    63. 8x
      the only alternative to believing that there is a source of being (and existing) is to say there is NO source
      x8

      Nonsense

      Where do you get this twaddle?
      Oh right. Since I dont know where your silliness comes from it must not exist. Therefore you are a genius.

      Gottit.
      Game set and match to Relfie then

      Delete
    64. Well buddy, I'll see your league of militant atheists and raise you a cult of the supreme being + a Lords resistance army AND a Taiping rebellion

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_the_Supreme_Being

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord's_Resistance_Army

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion

      Three of a kind. Can you beat that?

      Delete
    65. Yes, four of a kind:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Militant_Atheists

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_the_Supreme_Being

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord's_Resistance_Army

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion

      Delete
    66. Five of a kind:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_Reason

      Delete
    67. Zed to Mal: Twaddle

      Succinctly put, brother Zed. And on the money, too

      Delete
    68. 8x
      Five of a kind:
      x8

      Play cards much?

      Delete
    69. Robin: As I said before, from my experience the majority of believers don't have that absolute certainty.

      Does that include the billions of believers that live in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and so on?

      Delete
    70. Ralph: Common sense should not be confused with the fallacies of the senses as you seem to do. Although people may mistakenly espouse some things as common sense, I suggest that it takes common sense to recognise a rational explanation as rational.

      Against all the odds, Mal has made a convert.

      Delete
    71. So let me clarify Terry - you are asking me if I have spoken to billions of people, yes?

      Delete
    72. On the other hand, if you are asking this question with respect to the next paragraph in my post:

      "And if there were ever to be properly conducted survey about this my prediction is, based on conversations with believers and non believers, that the level of certainty about their metaphysical beliefs would be a great deal higher among atheists than it would among theists."

      I would say, yes, if this survey included all those places you mention then I would still predict that the level of certainty of the average believer is not so high as the level of certainty of the average atheist.

      Delete
    73. MalcolmS8:30 AM

      Terry: "What this says is that you use reason to establish your faith in reason. That’s not possible unless you accept your capacity to reason as an article of faith"

      As usual you are quite wrong. Faith is *never* the source of knowledge. What you conveniently ignore is the fact that your [faculty of] reason has the capacity to study itself. The process by which it can do this is what we call introspection - it can actually observe its processes taking place. Without this capacity the sciences of epistemology or psychology would not be possible. Also, the laws of logic could never have been discovered.

      Delete
    74. MalcolmS8:33 AM

      Terry: ""Mal: If it was true that the senses are unreliable, then, the science of biology, or any other science for that matter, would not exist or be possible"

      Yet the sciences do exist. You must therefore be wrong"

      No, your original premise is wrong. The senses are reliable. In fact, what you perceive via your senses cannot be otherwise.

      Delete
    75. MalcolmS8:36 AM

      zed: "I know that my senses are unreliable and I can confirm this through the use of my senses"

      The endorsement of such a contradiction makes it both false and unworthy of further comment.

      Delete
    76. 8x
      The endorsement of such a contradiction makes it both false and unworthy of further comment.
      x8

      So: Like everyone else you have "Broken senses", but UNLIKE everyone else there is zero evidence at all that in Malworld there exists any awareness of "compensatory faculties"
      eg
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22130779
      http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~rosenblu/book/SeeWhatImSayingBook2/SeeWhatImSayingBook/Blog.html

      Questions:
      When you need to go pee pee at night does your mommy still have to switch the light on for you? Y/N

      And do you ever run in abject terror from those "freaks" who wear glasses?
      Cos we can fix that one you know
      Use your "sixth sense" ie: Just shake your head.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestibular_system

      (actually now I come to think of it, in Malworld you probably don't even need to do that: Just shake your mind instead) ;)


      Idealogues roflmao

      Delete
    77. Mal: (1) The senses are reliable.

      There’s the old article of faith again. I suppose if you say it often enough someone will eventually believe you out of boredom.

      And (2) What you conveniently ignore is the fact that your [faculty of] reason has the capacity to study itself.

      It’s not a fact, Mal. It’s a delusion.

      Delete
    78. Robin: So let me clarify Terry - you are asking me if I have spoken to billions of people, yes?

      How am I supposed to take you seriously when you ask stupid questions like this?

      Delete
    79. "The senses are reliable. In fact, what you perceive via your senses cannot be otherwise."

      Auditory and visual hallucinations, short/long sightedness, colour blindness, deafness to certain frequencies, olfactory degradation, synesthesia, tinnitis. When we focus on a task we can fail to see (or hear) things in our line of vision. It's long been known that eye-witness accounts aren't all that reliable. When you look at train tracks going off into the distance do they really meet at a point or is that just an illusion?

      Delete
    80. MalcolmS9:58 PM

      Terry: "Mal: ... There’s the old article of faith again"

      You cannot possibly know that if your senses are invalid. In fact you couldn't even know that you are reading the screen in front of you if your senses are invalid. Or that there *is* a screen in front of you! That your senses are valid is axiomatic from the moment a healthy newborn can focus its eyes. All knowledge *originates* from the evidence of the senses - you cannot get beneath it.

      Delete
    81. MalcolmS10:00 PM

      Terry: "It’s not a fact, Mal. It’s a delusion"

      ... a delusion which is all yours.

      Delete
    82. MalcolmS10:06 PM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "When you look at train tracks going off into the distance do they really meet at a point or is that just an illusion?"

      Fallacy of false alternative. It is not an illusion AND they don't meet at a point. What you see when you look at train tracks going off into the distance cannot be otherwise given the nature of reality and your senses. "Illusions" are what magicians do! You are confusing illusion with *perspective.*

      If you conclude that the tracks meet at a distance then that is an error of your thinking[reasoning] mind - not your senses.

      Delete
    83. Terry wrote: "How am I supposed to take you seriously when you ask stupid questions like this?"

      How am I supposed to take you seriously when you fail to realise that this is a light-hearted response to your own stupid question?

      Apparently you take yourself seriously after asking me if "from my experience" referred to billions of people.

      And yet you say you cannot take me seriously if I make fun of your question.

      Curious.

      Delete
    84. "It is not an illusion AND they don't meet at a point."

      It is an illusion because they don't meet at a point.

      " What you see when you look at train tracks going off into the distance cannot be otherwise given the nature of reality and your senses. "

      So you agree our senses are unreliable in telling us about reality.

      "If you conclude that the tracks meet at a distance then that is an error of your thinking[reasoning] mind - not your senses."

      If I have not encountered train tracks before where would the error be in thinking they did meet in the distance?

      I see you couldn't address any of the other examples.

      Delete
    85. Zed wrote: "Play cards much?"

      Now and then. Why do you ask?

      Delete
    86. MalcolmS4:37 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "It is an illusion because they[train tracks] don't meet at a point"

      How do you know that if your senses are invalid?? :)

      "If I have not encountered train tracks before where would the error be in thinking they did meet in the distance?"

      There is no error if a child has not thought about the matter. But, then, nor is there an illusion. The error consists, with people such as yourself, in arriving at adulthood and still believing the crap you have always had rammed down your throat.

      "I see you couldn't address any of the other examples"

      They are easily addressed[and dismissed]. But I'll wait until you get the easy example dopey. If you are so incompetent there is no point in going further.

      But here's a teaser: the origins of hallucinations are not examples of the senses malfunctioning. Their cognitive/neurological causes are much more complex.

      Delete
    87. "How do you know that if your senses are invalid?? :)"

      I didn't say they were invalid, I said they were unreliable. You need to brush up on your reading comprehension.

      " But, then, nor is there an illusion."

      Yes there is an illusion, the tracks do not meet.

      "They are easily addressed[and dismissed].'

      Go on then. You still haven't managed to dismiss the train tracks.

      " the origins of hallucinations are not examples of the senses malfunctioning."

      I didn't say they were, boy you are dumb.

      Delete
    88. MalcolmS7:52 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "When you look at train tracks going off into the distance do they really meet at a point or is that just an illusion?"

      When you observe a friend on the distant horizon and he appears the size of an ant, even though you know he is 6 feet tall when standing next to you, is that an illusion? Or a contradiction? Or evidence for the senses being unreliable/invalid?

      When you observe a new Moon rising and it appears the size of a 10 cent piece when you know that the diameter of the Moon is 3474 km, is that an illusion? Or a contradiction? Or evidence for the senses being unreliable/invalid?

      Answer to all questions: NO!

      The further the distance away the smaller the distance between the train tracks HAS TO appear. The further the distance away the smaller the man HAS TO appear. The further the distance away the Moon is the smaller it HAS TO appear. In all cases the sense perception had to be as observed. It could not be otherwise. If it had been otherwise you would have witnessed a miracle folks - not sense perception.

      Delete
    89. 8x
      the origins of hallucinations are not examples of the senses malfunctioning.
      x8

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_system
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_deprivation#Negative_effects
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_shadow_illusion


      Question:
      Exactly what constitutes a "sense" in Malworld?
      My bet is it's something that "isn't really there". lol ;)

      Delete
    90. Stranger wrote: "When you look at train tracks going off into the distance do they really meet at a point or is that just an illusion?"

      The obvious answer is that it is only an illusion if you see this and believe that they do actually meet.

      Clearly it is not an illusion if you understand that the don't meet.

      If I take a picture with a camera then the image will obviously include perspective. That is not unreliability, that is just physics.

      In fact if the camera created an image in which the tracks did not meet then clearly the camera would be unreliable.

      If I then look at the image and see the tracks meeting as expected then in what way have my senses deceived me?

      If you were to say, instead, that sense data is capable of being misinterepreted then - yes of course.

      It is clearly not possible for us to collect and represent all the information of our environment and we would not expect to.

      Delete
    91. 8x
      Clearly it is not an illusion if you understand that the don't meet.
      x8

      Whaaat the??
      do you understand the meaning of understand?

      Allow me to assist with this sentence.

      Ahem:

      Clearly it **is** an illusion if you ***are required to cognitively compensate for your immediate sensory input in order to*** understand that they don't meet.

      I can help with some more if you would like...

      Delete
    92. MalcolmS11:00 PM

      zedinhisbigloonyhead[to Robin]: "Clearly it **is** an illusion if you ***are required to cognitively compensate for your immediate sensory input in order to*** understand that they don't meet"

      There is nothing to "compensate" for! It is what's called ***thinking.*** I recommend it for your immediate consideration.

      Delete
    93. MalcolmS11:03 PM

      zedinhisbigloonyhead: "Exactly what constitutes a "sense" in Malworld?"

      It refers to the information received by our sense organs: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch - our only contact with the external world. The senses are usually contrasted with the conceptual/abstract/thinking part of consciousness.

      Surprised you didn't know that.

      Delete
    94. Mal: The senses are usually contrasted with the conceptual/abstract/thinking part of consciousness.

      In your little underground movement, maybe. But not in the informed world.

      Delete
    95. MalcolmS11:56 PM

      Yes Terry, in the informed world. But not in your irrational world.

      Delete

    96. ?? "Exactly what constitutes a "sense" in Malworld?" ??

      !! "It refers to the information received by our sense organs" !!

      Well then,I must send a stern note to my eyeball to be more attentive from now on

      !*! Surprised you didn't know that. !*!

      Sorry ol' chap, but as you may have gathered, I'm not a local

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayatana
      I would guess that theres a good pie shop there though ;)
      http://bitly.com/YyXCTa

      Delete
    97. " The senses are usually contrasted with the conceptual/abstract/thinking part of consciousness."

      No they aren't. The input from our senses is processed well before our consciousness becomes aware of what our senses detect.

      Not surprised you didn't know that.

      Delete
    98. MalcolmS7:50 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: ""The senses are usually contrasted with the conceptual/abstract/thinking part of consciousness." No they aren't"

      LOL. You appear not to know the meaning of "contrasted." Tell me it ain't so.

      "The input from our senses is processed well before our consciousness becomes aware of what our senses detect"

      LOL So we are conscious before we are conscious?! Your name change didn't improve your intelligence.

      Delete
    99. zed:
      8x
      Exactly what constitutes a "sense" in Malworld?
      My bet is it's something that "isnt really there". lol ;)
      x8


      MallyWally:
      8x
      There is nothing to "compensate" for! It is what's called ***thinking.*** ...
      x8

      Billy the magic cat:
      8x
      The endorsement of such a contradiction makes it both false and unworthy of further comment.
      x8



      Oh how we laughed!

      Delete
  11. Newton was a deist, not a theist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, he was very much a Theist.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS10:40 PM

      Newton was born into an Anglican family. He was certainly a theist and a theologian although he rejected the immortal soul, a personal devil and literal demons. He refused viaticum before his death. He is said to have disputed the existence of the Trinity. Some biographers claimed that he was a deist heavily influenced by Christianity. Remember he lived at a time when the threat of severe punishment operated if he had been open about his religious beliefs so possibly kept much to himself. He dabbled in the occult and alchemy[chemistry was not yet a science].

      One of his cutest beliefs was that space and time were "the sense organs of God" :)

      PS He was still a great scientist!

      Delete
  12. Dick, for the love of god get a date as well as time stamp for the posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will try. Am out of the office at the moment. Dick

      Delete
    2. Probably a good idea if you don't want the blog inundated by theists.
      We all know how enthusiastic they can be about inaccurate chronology.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous1:15 AM

    Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello.
    One of my comments appears to have vanished
    I'll repost it as a reply to this one

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MallyWally

      "HAS TO"
      "HAS TO"
      "HAS TO"


      From "The Forest People"

      http://archive.org/stream/forestpeople00turn/forestpeople00turn_djvu.txt


      8x
      When I told Kenge that the insects were buffalo, he roared with
      laughter and told me not to tell such stupid lies. When Henri, who
      was thoroughly puzzled, told him the same thing and explained
      that visitors to the park had to have a guide with them at all times
      because there were so many dangerous animals, Kenge still did not
      believe, but he strained his eyes to see more clearly and asked what
      kind of buffalo were so small. I told him they were sometimes nearly
      twice the size of a forest buffalo, and he shrugged his shoulders and
      said we would not be standing out there in the open if they were.
      I tried telling him they were possibly as far away as from Epulu to
      the village of Kopu, beyond Eboyo. He began scraping the mud off
      his arms and legs, no longer interested in such fantasies.

      The road led on down to within about half a mile of where the
      herd was grazing, and as we got closer, the "insects" must have
      seemed to get bigger and bigger. Kenge, who was now sitting on the
      outside, kept his face glued to the window, which nothing would
      make him lower. I even had to raise mine to keep him happy. I was
      never able to discover just what he thought was happening — whether
      he thought that the insects were changing into buffalo, or that they
      were miniature buffalo growing rapidly as we approached. His only
      comment was that they were not real buffalo, and he was not going
      to get out of the car again until we left the park.
      x8


      Hay guyz!

      Did you know you can make the big "HAS TO" into a normal size "has to" just by sitting further away from the screen?

      Triez it. Really worx!

      Delete

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