Thursday, March 13, 2014

CHRIS O’DOWD AND HIS OFFENSIVE AGAINST FAITH



One of my favourite actors has just weighed in on the godless side of things.  In a trenchant and let me add plausible attack, Chris O’Dowd, star of Bridesmaids and more importantly The IT Crowd warns that the religions will soon be as despised as racism. 
He contends that “religious doctrine is halting human progress.  It is a weird cult".  He continues in the same vein, “For most of my life, I've been, 'Hey, I'm not into it, but I respect your right to believe whatever you want'. But as time goes on, weirdly, I'm growing less liberal. I'm more like, 'No, religion is ruining the world, you need to stop!'”

I knew why I loved that man.  Just as his career is skyrocketing in the States, O’Dowd risks losing his lustre in the religious parts of the USA, by proclaiming his undying atheism.  He is so gutsy.  And just to make sure that everyone knows he is serious, he opines, “And you know, now America can't have a president that doesn't say he believes in God. So we're fucked! Like, they fucked everything!
"You wanna go and live in your weird cult and talk about a man who lives in a cloud, you do that, but don't (believe it). I mean, you really think that Barack Obama believes in God? No way!" http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/actor-chris-odowd-says-religion-is-unacceptable-20140308-34ded.html#ixzz2vnUaYcE2
What do we think of this?  We know what Christians would argue.  They would say several things such as Terry Eagleton said of Richard Dawkins.  Let looks at the possible criticisms. 

The first is “how can you criticize faith if you know nothing of theology?”  I assume that Chris, despite his first name, is as ignorant of theology as I am.  However, as I regard theology as a huge human constructed edifice on the shabby foundations of faith.  To be sure, I and, I imagine Chris O’Dowd, do not understand theology but we can look at the foundations of faith in God and form a view.  I think that is fine.  One doesn’t need the propaganda of either atheist or believer to form a view on God.  You can form a view on God without a thorough understanding of His texts for it is an empirical view.  Either your life experience and learning persuades you of the presence of God or not.  One doesn’t need a deep understanding of theology.  That stuff comes after the first view is formed in the affirmative.  So I say Chris is safe from condemnation if indeed he is, as I hope he is, ignorant of theology.

The second criticism of Chris and other New Atheists is that God is so transcendent that He does not need our love or belief.  He is so ethereal that he does not provide evidence because He does not need to.  Well, that may or may not be true but it is an argument that does not shoot Chris the messenger because it is an assertion devoid of evidence.  It is typical of the mindset of the faithful that such an argument is proffered and believed.  I look at that argument and think it is merely the meandering logic of a person who believes stuff that is manifestly made up.  Others, however, will be persuaded by that argument.  Such is the variety of humanity.  My view is that the talk of a God who does not care to reveal himself is merely self serving and therefore unconvincing.

The third potential criticism has more power.  Chris and the New Atheists may be accused of attacking straw men.  There are vast numbers of innocuous, indeed wonderful believers who are not the mad fundamentalists of our godless imagining.  Whilst there are awful rat bags and nut bags amongst the various religions, there are so many normal, lovely people that we need to avoid stereotyping all religious folk as evil.  It is simply not the case.  Faith is not all bad.  Some parts are uplifting.  We need to acknowledge this and not slag off the whole segment of the community immersed in faith.  There lies a future for atheism as a minority fringe movement.

Finally, a related criticism would be that such adversarial positions like those of Chris and his deceased namesake Chris Hitchins are unhelpful.  My response is that the New Atheists have given strength to both sides.  Atheism is now a movement with a sense of morale.  Just a decade ago, it was a disparate group of people writing boring books for each other.  Chris O’Dowd and others have made atheism so sexy.  They have been aided by the sexual abuse scandal, the continuing religious wars and the utterly nasty weirdoes thrown up by the various faiths.  But New Atheists have also given great power to the faiths.  They love bagging the doctrinaire disciples of New Atheism.  We have to be careful not to be so sure of ourselves that we display hubris.  New Atheism is a big target.  Paradoxically the have pumped up the spokespersons of the churches and put God back into the front pages.  It can be a bit self defeating.

What is your view?

Is Chris O’Dowd your hero?

Is he creating straw men by making rednecks and homophobes the representatives of all faith?

Is he polarizing the world setting up a battle that gives strength to the promoters of faiths?

Over to you guys…

132 comments:

  1. MalcolmS6:12 AM

    "The first is “how can you criticize faith if you know nothing of theology?”"

    Theological knowledge is not required to criticise faith. The religious claim is that faith is a means of knowledge. So knowledge of epistemology is required to criticise faith. That demonstrates that reason is the antidote to faith.

    Remember, also, that many New Atheists go by faith and so is not only a religious problem. Following the post-Kantian trend many modern sceptics do not regard reason as a means to knowledge. They are in as parlous a state as the religious. I don't know if O’Dowd is in that category.

    "The second criticism of Chris and other New Atheists is that God is so transcendent that He does not need our love or belief. He is so ethereal that he does not provide evidence because He does not need to"

    If that was so, then, how could they know it? That position can be dismissed out of hand and without further discussion.

    "The third potential criticism has more power. Chris and the New Atheists may be accused of attacking straw men"

    Theists can be accused of worshiping a straw man.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Dick,

    You list possible criticisms and then argue against them in a strange effort (to my eyes) to rationalise your support of an unreasonable point of view. Is it just that gut human reaction to defend those of the same tribe?

    You nearly got to the critical question in your 3rd created argument but still missed the point. Chris O'Dowd made a hugely subjective, irrational statement about the impact of religion on our world. Talk about straw men!

    I think I would simply respond with "On what basis would you support your view that religious doctrine is halting human progress?"

    This opinion of his was totally unsubstantiated - unless one of the godless here would like to give it a shot.

    Until they do, the rest of Chris' statement is just the diatribe of a hateful bigot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:05 AM

      "On what basis would you support your view that religious doctrine is halting human progress?"

      Religion need not "halt" human progress but it certainly reduces it. *Reason* is man's means of survival. Human progress is predicated on reason whereas religion is predicated on faith.

      Western civilisation was born in ancient pagan Athens [not Jerusalem]. Prior to that "thinkers" were witch doctors or the local equivalent. The philosophers of Athens were the first thinkers to systematise thinking - it was, in effect, where Westerners first went to school. Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum were the West's first universities.

      Historically this era did not last and was followed by the Christian dark and middle ages - a period which lasted over a thousand years. The Greek universities were compulsorily closed by Christian authorities and chronic stagnation ensued. Virtually no human progress occurred during this period. Chronic starvation, plagues and famines dramatically reduced living standards and average life expectancy fell to 20 or so years from birth. There is little point doing anything about it if you believe that it's all God's Will and that life is a "veil of tears" which Christian doctrine says are left behind only when one leaves the world and enters heaven!

      It wasn't until the 13th century AD that banned Greek philosophy once again started to infiltrate into the West from Arab sources where it had been [partially] preserved. This was the impetus for the Renaissance[rebirth of reason] and, eventually, the 'age of reason, 'the 'age of science,' the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution. After over a millennium of Christian stagnation pagan reason had, once again, liberated human beings from ignorance and human progress was back in vogue.

      BTW Anonymous, religion is not the only destroyer of reason. Modern secular authoritarian states such as the USSR did the same thing. In order to function reason requires political freedom. You cannot force a mind to think!

      Delete
    2. The philosophers of Athens were the first thinkers to systematise thinking - it was, in effect, where Westerners first went to school.

      A primary school for the western mind ... except without all the pedophiles

      Oh wait...
      http://bitly.com/1nq9i6E

      Oops .. my bad

      So THATS why they never wore pants!!

      Delete
    3. Prior to that "thinkers" were witch doctors or the local equivalent.

      This of course is exactly where silly ideas like Harry Potter Capitalism come from. Modern Witch Doctors

      How is your ol' chum Big Juju anyway?

      Delete
    4. Historically this era did not last...

      With good reason. It was an unsustainable fantasy that inevitably collapsed in the face of the same ever changing reality we live in

      And you think a return to the muddyheaded simplemindedness of this time is a good thing?

      lol

      You should get a job.
      See if you can do just one useful constructive thing in the world before you die

      Go on tossrag... I dares ya!

      Delete
    5. Dear Anon, Good points. I do sometimes play at both sides. It is interesting that you see O'Dowd as a bigot. That supports my contention that atheism must be less adversarial in certain contexts. I think we should be very angry about say Pakistani blasphemy laws that are used against Christians and atheists. But we need to be more nuanced on other occasions. Thanks again.
      Dick

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS10:29 PM

      magicsausagetosser: "... except without all the pedophiles ... So THATS why they never wore pants!!"

      FYI pederasty in the ancient world was common to many cultures. In Athens the physical dimension ranged from full chastity [where the adult "lover" was no more than a mentor] to sexual intercourse [which often consisted of intercrural sex]. Remember, also, that the girls of this age had already been married off to older men. Pederasty was considered proper only as a transitory stage on the way to manhood.

      The existence of pederasty in no way detracts from the massive intellectual achievements of the Greek philosophers.

      Plato's writings condemn sexual intercourse with the boys one loved while valuing the self-disciplined lover who abstained from consummating the relationship. He was the same with regard to women and this is still known today as 'Platonic love.' Plato's view of sex [also his otherworldly view of *Forms*] was influential on the coming Christianity. All the founding father theologians of the Church were neo-Platonists.

      Perhaps you would prefer the J/C tradition where such behaviour is punishable by death and still is today in some cultures.

      Modern indolents and perverts such as yourself really should refrain from your ignorant comments.

      Delete
    7. Well well well. Expert commentary on Marx AND pedophilia.

      No wonder you don't have time to work.

      Congratulations tossy, Thats a life well spent.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS5:14 AM

      magicsausagetosser: "Well[sic] well[sic] well. Expert commentary on Marx AND pedophilia... Thats[sic] a life well spent"

      Yeah... thanks for that.

      About time you got one right :)

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS5:16 AM

      magicsausagetosser: "No wonder you don't have time to work"

      Oh... I have heaps of time to work.

      It's just that I can afford not to :)

      Delete
  3. Anonymous: On what basis would you support your view that religious doctrine is halting human progress?

    For the same reason a capitalist thinks communist doctrine halts progress. I don’t accept religious doctrine. I think it is based on a myth. There is no clear evidence for god. And naturally I’m not happy to see doctrines based on a myth stuffed down the throats of children and the poor. No good can and does come from that, only bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:52 PM

      "I’m not happy to see doctrines based on a myth stuffed down the throats of children and the poor"

      How about the rich? Is that OK?

      Delete
    2. Mal[sic]: How about the rich? Is that OK?

      The rich can afford real opiates. They don’t need the religious substitute.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:30 PM

      It is the rich who often fund religion.

      My point is that your concern for "the poor" and your hatred of "the rich" is a premise in our culture which originates from religion.

      And you hadn't even noticed.

      Hook, line and sinker... :)

      Delete
    4. Mal[sic]: My point is that your concern for "the poor" and your hatred of "the rich" is a premise in our culture which originates from religion.

      I think you need to go easy on the juice, old fart. I don’t hate the rich. And I don’t know or give a toss about the origin of the premise. All I’m saying is that religion preys on the weak. They’re easier to manipulate than the rich.

      Objectivists, by the way, do the same thing. They prey on the young. Apart from you, I’ve never met an objectivist who is more than 18 years old.

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS10:39 PM

      "All I’m saying is that religion preys on the weak. They’re easier to manipulate than the rich"

      Another false premise you got from religion.

      Religion also preys on the rich. Without them religion would vanish from the face of the Earth.

      Furthermore, "the poor" are not set in stone! They change! In a rational culture the poor can become rich. Such was the history of capitalism. Even Marx didn't get that.

      I'm betting you were poor at birth! Did religion prey on you or did your stupidity just come naturally?

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS10:43 PM

      "Objectivists, by the way, do the same thing. They prey on the young"

      They do no such thing. In fact they hold reason as an epistemological absolute thereby granting opponents the means to refute their position. Something which you continually fail to do.

      "I’ve never met an objectivist who is more than 18 years old"

      I've met hundreds. You have never met an Objectivist. Period. You would not recognise one if you fell over him.

      Delete
    7. In a rational culture the poor can become rich.

      lol.

      Question:
      Ever heard of "surplus"?

      Check your economics son. That's where real wealth actually comes from - And always has.
      If you spent more time involved in the real economy, and less time boning (up on) Marx you'd have known that.

      Of course it's quite unsurprising to me that you didn't.
      But then I have no illusions about the real fundamentals of the nobjectivist idiotology.

      Delete
    8. You have never met an Objectivist.[sic - lol] Period. You would not recognise one if you fell over him.

      Hint for nobjectivist spotters:
      He's the obnoxious one who's whining that the world owes him a living because ... "magical pseudo-capitalistic blather is rational - So there".

      Delete
    9. Mal[sic]: You would not recognise one if you fell over him.

      The fact that he was sitting on his arse would be a clue.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS7:48 PM

      Terry: "The fact that he was sitting on his arse would be a clue"

      So, where do you sit?

      On your knackers? :)

      Delete
    11. bigbird4:08 AM

      Terry, why don't you apply your scientific training to the question of whether religion is halting progress rather than just rely on your own personal biases?

      Like, produce some *evidence* ...

      Delete
    12. Bigbird: ... why don't you apply your scientific training to the question of whether religion is halting progress rather than just rely on your own personal biases? Like, produce some *evidence* ...

      I’ve never bothered to look for evidence. I don’t think I need it. My experience with religion is enough to convince me that it is on the whole a bad thing for humanity.

      But what has that got to do with my point? I wasn’t supporting the claim that religion halts progress, even though I think that’s true. I was only stating the bleeding obvious fact that an atheist believes religion halts progress precisely because he is an atheist. If you believe the Christian myth is just that, then you’re not going to think the teaching of this myth to the children of the world is a progressive act, are you?

      Anyway, since when are you big on evidence?

      Delete
  4. I would point out that the statement about Hitchens being adversarial is not necessarily true. He was a good friend of Francis Collins and spoke of their friendship and Collins' help warmly as well as highly praising Collins' scientific achievements.

    So while Hitchens was an effective voice against religion, but effective and critical does not necessarily equate to adversarial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:18 PM

      New Atheist Sam Harris had a different take on Francis Collins than Hitchens.

      http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-strange-case-of-francis-collins

      Delete
  5. Dick: Is he polarizing the world setting up a battle that gives strength to the promoters of faiths?

    What would you rather he does? Sits back and says nothing? He may or may not strengthen the resolve of those frightened by strident atheism. But that’s not as important as the chance that he may also strike a chord in lots of people who might otherwise not have given any thought to the problem of religion. In any case, frightened men don’t usually put up a good fight. They’ll make buffoons of themselves as they usually do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Terry,

      This is the fundamental question - when does stridency work and when does it get you into trouble? No simple answer.
      Thanks again,
      Dick

      Delete
    2. Dick: No simple answer.

      There never is. But that’s no reason to not take sides. I think strident criticism is essential. People don’t take notice of anything else.

      Take the case of religious indoctrination being called child abuse. You might not agree that it is. But can you be sure about that? Surely it’s something that needs thinking about? After all, children, we know, are vulnerable.

      But here’s the problem. The Pope’s never going to raise it as a possibility. Nor will any of his flock raise it. And so it’s left to the strident atheist to do it.

      That’s how things progress in free and liberal societies. It was through strident criticism that the fight against apartheid and slavery got going. If left to the politicians and slave owners nothing would have happened. And it was through strident atheism that the fight against religious tyranny got going. The priests and imams have been putting up a good fight. But I believe that atheism will eventually triumph. Though by then the Sun may have swallowed up the Earth.

      Delete
  6. RalphH 15/036:22 AM

    “One of my favourite actors has just weighed in on the godless side of things.” (CHRIS O’DOWD AND HIS OFFENSIVE AGAINST FAITH - Posted by Dick Gross at 4:17 AM - THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014)


    Give us a break Dick. The guy’s a comedian, not a thinker. If you’re right in your speculation that he knows nothing of theology then there is no basis for taking any notice of his ignorant comments whatsoever.

    How can O’Dowd’s “I respect your right to believe whatever you want” become debased into, “… religion is ruining the world, you need to stop! (it)”, without any attempt being made to study it and find out what it really is?

    The answer can only be, ‘by making a superficial judgement based on people/personalities that one disagrees with’ and by having faith in other atheists who peddle anti-religious propaganda..

    “In a trenchant and let me add plausible attack, Chris O’Dowd, star of Bridesmaids and more importantly The IT Crowd warns that the religions will soon be as despised as racism.”

    What a silly statement. It does no more than display the man’s ignorance. Many religions span multiple races. Genuine religion teaches love, tolerance and the integration of all people. To judge religion on the basis of people who preach and practice false religious ideas is foolish and dishonest.

    “He contends that “religious doctrine is halting human progress. It is a weird cult". “

    “Religious doctrine” as a whole cannot be termed “a cult”. A cult is a particular statement of religious doctrine, usually false or heretical. Some false religious doctrines have been and are detrimental to “human progress”. Many/true ones have and always will propel it forward and enhance the human condition and humanity.

    “Just as his career is skyrocketing in the States, O’Dowd risks losing his lustre in the religious parts of the USA, by proclaiming his undying atheism. He is so gutsy.”

    What’s “gutsy” about declaring oneself an atheist? If there were confirmed opposition to and discrimination against atheists and atheism was a worthwhile world-view to hold, it might be considered “gutsy” but neither situation is the case.

    “And just to make sure that everyone knows he is serious, he opines, “And you know, now America can't have a president that doesn't say he believes in God. So we're fucked! Like, they fucked everything!”

    One would expect someone demonstrating that one is “serious” to resort to reasoned argument and example but not here. All we get is a ridiculously false statement and foul/emotive/childish language, the recourse of many modern 'comedians' who have lost, (or never found), the art of comedy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:17 AM

      I agree with that last paragraph Ralph.

      O'Dowd is no hero of mine and appears not to advance argument for anything at all!

      He is a typical modern "progressive" emotionalist.

      [I bet he can't even define *man* :) ]

      Delete
    2. The guy’s a comedian, not a thinker. If you’re right in your speculation that he knows nothing of theology then there is no basis for taking any notice of his ignorant comments whatsoever.

      Take a chill pill Relfie. We know you prefer a magic show to a stand up act, but try to be reasonable.
      It is possible to combine both

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHYnahPkJI8
      See?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_PJbIBnl1w
      See?

      Also recommended. See if you can find one of those skits about cattle on mercury ...

      They're hilarious!

      Delete
  7. Ralph: What’s “gutsy” about declaring oneself an atheist?

    You see, Ralph, it’s like going to your mate’s house during Passover and pulling out a ham sandwich. Only in America the problem is not Jews, but nut jobs like you who think god created humans in one go sometime in the last 10,000 years. They make up 46% of the population. Trying to tell people who are that far gone that there’s not a lot between them and the gorilla in the local zoo is, well, gutsy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 16/148:42 AM

      “You see, Ralph, it’s like going to your mate’s house during Passover and pulling out a ham sandwich. Only in America the problem is not Jews, but nut jobs like you who think god created humans in one go sometime in the last 10,000 years. They make up 46% of the population..” (Terry4:47 PM)

      Terry, let’s take me out of the equation for starters. I’ve never thought that way. And I don’t believe that 46% of the US thinks that way either. The non-religious in the US were just under 20% in 2012. That knocks it down to 80%. Only 50% of this number are Protestants and only a fraction of these are fundamentalists who deny the findings of science. I’d be greatly surprised if 10% rather than “46%” think that way.

      All religious people believe that God created/creates humans along with everything else but only a small percentage of these believe in an exclusively literalistic interpretation of the Genesis creation story. Those who do are the exception rather than the rule.

      Light on the first day but no sun/light sources until the fourth day is a dead give away that the GOE story is not a literal account but has to do with the awakening and formation of the inner levels of the mind.

      I’m quite ready to let fundamentalists know that a literal interpretation is an illogical way to interpret divine revelation and think of God. The difference with an atheist is that they construct a straw-man concept of God from this knowledge, most believe and say, “All religious people think in this illogical fashion - God’s a crock - throw Him out.”

      It’s fashionable to knock God in today’s Western civilisation so, IMO, many like O’Dowd who want to show off how witty and smart they are, jump on the band-wagon without any real thought as to the truth or implications of their inane spouting just for the sake of popularity with the fans. 

      “Trying to tell people who are that far gone that there’s not a lot between them and the gorilla in the local zoo is, well, gutsy”

      Or it could just be your religious/spiritual naivety linked to a sense of superiority. When you can get “the gorilla in the local zoo” to contribute to this blog in his own defence, drive his own car, watch and appreciate an episode of ‘The IT Crowd’ and do jury duty, I’ll believe “that there’s not a lot between them" (humans and gorillas). Until then, you’re kidding yourself, the similarities are extremely superficial.

      Incidentally seriously Orthodox Jews don’t eat pig meat any time, it’s not just an exclusion for Passover.

      Delete
    2. Ralph:

      1. Of course you don’t believe that 46% of Americans are so bonkers as to think god created man in the last 10,000 years. That would make you bonkers by association, wouldn’t it? But that is what Gallup found in a 2012 survey. Here it is: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx. I hope it makes you squirm.

      I therefore stand by what I said. America is swamped by religious fools. And it takes guts to stand up there and say you’re an atheist.

      2. As for you, don’t kid yourself. You’re no different to any of the 46%. You may not agree on the timing of the event. But you do agree that god created man. And that makes you a member of the primitive tribe.

      3. Fashion does not explain modern atheism. Atheism has always been there. It just hasn’t been as confident. That's because scientists have found stuff out about the world that makes religious claims look absurd (your imbecilic claim about rationality not having evolved being an example). And this information is finding its way to the public. And, quoting Og, as the veil of ignorance falls, the reaction is anger.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS5:07 PM

      RalphH: "Light on the first day but no sun/light sources until the fourth day is a dead give away that the GOE story is not a literal account but has to do with the awakening and formation of the inner levels of the mind"

      Really Ralph?

      Isn't "the awakening and formation of the inner levels of the mind" only your literal account of the GOE story?

      Why would an All-perfect God, who would not deceive us, not give us a literal revelation?

      Delete
    4. RalphH 19/039:54 AM

      “1. Of course you don’t believe that 46% of Americans are so bonkers as to think god created man in the last 10,000 years. That would make you bonkers by association, wouldn’t it? But that is what Gallup found in a 2012 survey. Here it is: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx. I hope it makes you squirm.” (Terry4:09 PM)

      I suggest ‘Gallop’ take another look and do it better next time.

      From the web site you quoted, “Results are based on telephone interviews conducted May 3-6, 2012 with a random sample of –1,024—adults, aged 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.”

      As if any realistic figures could be gleaned from such a small sample. Haven’t these people got anything better to do with their time?

      “I therefore stand by what I said. America is swamped by religious fools. And it takes guts to stand up there and say you’re an atheist.”

      There are religious fools and non-religious fools - the non-religious are not any less afflicted with that ailment.

      “2. As for you, don’t kid yourself. You’re no different to any of the 46%. You may not agree on the timing of the event. But you do agree that god created man. And that makes you a member of the primitive tribe.”

      We have in agreement a stated belief in God and in God as the Creator but that’s about where it ends - because the God of literalism is not particularly pleasant and is limited by the literalism imposed on him.

      “3. Fashion does not explain modern atheism.”

      Not entirely, but it does explain why a lot of shallow thinking people become engrossed in it.

      “Atheism has always been there. It just hasn’t been as confident.”

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that Terry. What about the people spoken of as the Nephilim and Anakites of the OT? (Genesis 6:4)

      “That's because scientists have found stuff out about the world that makes religious claims look absurd (your imbecilic claim about rationality not having evolved being an example).”

      That’s funny, I believe the opposite, the more we understand about science, the more we understand about the operation of God. I believe in a world of purpose and determination and that, I also believe, is what science is increasingly revealing.

      “And this information is finding its way to the public. And, quoting Og, as the veil of ignorance falls, the reaction is anger.”

      So, who’s angry? and what are they angry about? Religion (genuine religion) teaches peace, not anger.

      Delete
    5. Ralph:

      It wouldn’t matter if Gallup had included the whole world in its survey. You still wouldn’t accept it. You’re not interested in anything that contradicts your beliefs.

      I get that. Confirmation bias afflicts us all. But some of us are lucky to know that. And we at least try to avoid it. We might look to Gallup’s reputation and wonder if maybe they are right, and from there begin to ask questions.

      But you didn’t do that. You instinctively sided with the fruitcakes and ignored Gallup. You put the tribe before reason. Another instinctive affliction that some of us at least try to avoid.

      But I’m wasting my time here, aren’t I? You’re just going to let all of this through to keeper.

      Delete
    6. RalphH 19/0312:52 AM

      Ralph:

      “It wouldn’t matter if Gallup had included the whole world in its survey. You still wouldn’t accept it. You’re not interested in anything that contradicts your beliefs.” (Terry6:13 PM)

      It would matter if they “included the whole world” Terry because the poll was for America (I assume it means USA). They wouldn’t need to poll every American but really 1024 out of a population of well over 300 million. Come on! I’d be skeptical whatever the question was about.

      “……… You instinctively sided with the fruitcakes and ignored Gallup. You put the tribe before reason. Another instinctive affliction that some of us at least try to avoid.”

      I didn’t “side() with the fruitcakes”, I questioned that there are so many fruitcakes. Gallup’s claim that 78% believe that God is involved in creation in some way is reasonable and believable. It tallies with approx 20% atheists.

      What I am credulous about is the claim that 46% believe that creation occurred within the last 10,000 years. I don’t see how a skewed poll, where 1024 speak for over 300million, could be considered an adjunct to ‘reason’.

      Delete
    7. Ralph: I don’t see how a skewed poll, where 1024 speak for over 300million, could be considered an adjunct to ‘reason’.

      Yes, I know you don’t ‘see’. And yet you dismiss. Which is why I’m having a go at you. It doesn’t enter your head that the reason you don’t see is you don’t understand statistics.

      If you did understand, you’d know that the size of the population being sampled doesn’t matter. And you’d know that for a single question to which you expect half the population to answer yes, only 10 randomly chosen people is enough to give you a result in which you can have very high statistical confidence.

      For the kind of question asked in the Gallup survey, a sample of 1,024 is enough to give you 95% confidence that the answer you got is very close to the answer you would have got if you asked the entire population. All you have to do to confirm this is get onto Google and do some research.

      Put your head in the sand. But it’s not going to make this ugly fact go away: Nearly half of America would get the same score in a science exam as the monkeys in Taronga Zoo, and they can thank god for that.

      Delete
    8. RalphH 20/039:11 AM

      “Ralph: *I don’t see how a skewed poll, where 1024 speak for over 300million, could be considered an adjunct to ‘reason’.*

      Yes, I know you don’t ‘see’. And yet you dismiss. Which is why I’m having a go at you. It doesn’t enter your head that the reason you don’t see is you don’t understand statistics.” (Terry3:07 AM)

      Ever heard of this book Terry?
      http://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/158
      http://plus.maths.org/content/how-lie-statistics-0

      Talking about ‘lack of understanding’, have you ever considered that many people don’t believe in God because they don’t understand religion?

      “If you did understand, you’d know that the size of the population being sampled doesn’t matter. And you’d know that for a single question to which you expect half the population to answer yes, only 10 randomly chosen people is enough to give you a result in which you can have very high statistical confidence.”

      So you’re asking me to have blind faith in something that doesn’t make sense? Sorry - I don’t do blind faith - in science, statistics or anything else.

      “For the kind of question asked in the Gallup survey, a sample of 1,024 is enough to give you 95% confidence that the answer you got is very close to the answer you would have got if you asked the entire population. All you have to do to confirm this is get onto Google and do some research. Put your head in the sand. But it’s not going to make this ugly fact go away:”

      Call it putting my head in the sand if you like, I just don’t believe it.

      “Nearly half of America would get the same score in a science exam as the monkeys in Taronga Zoo, and they can thank god for that.”

      I don’t think your restatement helps your cause. Ridiculous suggestion - on both counts.

      Delete
    9. Ralph:

      You’re quite right to point out that statistics can be misleading. But that doesn’t mean you ignore them altogether. They are one of the most powerful aids to understand that we possess.

      What you're saying to me, and this is what I have thought all along, is that if there is any information out there that contradicts what you believe to be true, then let it stay out there, you don’t want to know it.

      I get that. It’s not easy to turn your back on something you’ve held dear for so long. Maybe it’s impossible.

      Delete
    10. Ralph: Talking about ‘lack of understanding’, have you ever considered that many people don’t believe in God because they don’t understand religion?

      I think you’ve got that the wrong way round. You are the one who doesn’t understand religion. You’re too steeped in it. To see it for what it really is you have to escape it, as I did. And when you do that you’ll drop god like a hot coal.

      But you’re never going to do that, are you?

      You’ve made Mal’s error. You think that because you’ve studied theology, and liked it, then it must be true. But to really get to the truth, insofar as that’s possible, it’s the objections to your beliefs you need to study, not the endorsements. You need to ask more questions, and give fewer answers.

      But you’re not really interested in that, are you?

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS4:42 PM

      Terry: "You’ve made Mal’s error. You think that because you’ve studied theology, and liked it, then it must be true"

      Another falsehood which you won't correct.

      Delete
    12. You think that because you've studied objectivity, and liked it, then it must be true.

      There, corrected it.

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS6:29 AM

      Terry: "You’re[Ralph] quite right to point out that statistics can be misleading. But that doesn’t mean you ignore them altogether"

      Why not? What part of statistics do you ignore? What part of statistics don't you ignore?

      "They are one of the most powerful aids to understand that we possess"

      How do they do that?

      Delete
    14. Mal[sic]:

      In your case, I think it'd be best to ignore statistics altogether. Because you don't know anything about them you're too easy to fool.

      As for how statistics help us understand things, well, you'd have to know something about statistics in order to understand the answer.

      I have to say, your limited understanding of the world outside of objectivity has become a conversational stumbling block. Perhaps we should start talking about cheap wine. I drank a bit of that in my university days. I think I can remember enough to hold a conversation with you.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS5:33 AM

      Terry: "As for how statistics help us understand things, well, you'd have to know something about statistics in order to understand the answer"

      Actually, you need know how we understand things before judging statistics.

      Is that the reason for your wilful‎ evasion?

      Yes, thought so!

      Delete
  8. Og up5:27 PM

    Atheism is a broad church (resist the urge to play semantics Ralph), to those that despair at the political theist demanding a deity be written in laws and constitutions resulting in state financial support and without paying tax.
    When the veil of indoctrination falls for many "new" atheists anger is the first reaction, the enormity of the problem despairing. I tend to shrug of the militancy, the reality of our existence is taking an arduous path, too slowly for some, but in total it's momentum is forward.
    Humans enjoy ritual (A theme you often return to, Dick), religions have preyed on this and have framed them with delusions, no matter, I can enjoy the ritual without the message, so you will find me throwing dyes at Diwali all laughing, hip thrusting and hand gestures, water fights in Thailand, food halls of the Sikhs, spinning the prayer wheels in Himalayan stupas and watch sunsets in contemplative peace. I'm reclaiming ritual as an ancestral right.
    A world without religion? nah, that's for future generations to decide or evolve. In the meantime these shock-jocks serve us, for better or worse, by keeping atheism in the public eye.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mal[sic]: He is a typical modern "progressive" emotionalist. I bet he can't even define *man*.

    I heard Bill Bryson being interviewed the other day. He said the difference between American and English humour is that the American’s don’t get irony and nuance. I’m wondering, are you American?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:51 PM

      I'm wondering, are you a refugee from Upper Volta? :)

      Delete
  10. Mal[sic]:

    What is your problem with people from Upper Volta? Or is it refugees in general you don't like?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:16 PM

      What is your problem with Americans?

      Or, is it high achievers you despise?

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS7:36 PM

      BTW dropkick

      My position on immigration is that it should be free. The principle of individual rights implies that a human being should be free to live in any country on Earth! We should accept all "boat people"[except criminals, security risks and major health risks] initially on visa and, later, as a citizen.

      Of course that implies that we were a free country and had abolished state welfare!

      Don't say it's impractical. It was exactly the situation in capitalist, 19th century America and resulted in the most massive increase in living standards of any country ever.

      Scared of competing with ten thousand Upper Voltans dopey? :)

      Delete
    3. Mal[sic]:

      No problem with Americans. Just passing on Bryson's views about differences in humour. Thought they might help you understand some of your many shortcomings.

      If you're a high achiever, then what's a low achiever? How much lower do you get than sitting on a wrinkly arse arguing with a religious fruit cake all day about Aristotle's definitions?

      If you feel so strongly about immigration then get off the fucking computer and go do soemthing about it. No good talking to me. I can't help you.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS11:17 PM

      Terry: "How much lower do you get than sitting on a wrinkly arse arguing with a religious fruit cake all day about Aristotle's definitions?"

      If you think that's all I do "all day" then you are more seriously deluded than I thought.

      I can bat off a reply to Ralph in the blink of an eye.

      Even more rapidly with your garbage. Get over yourself.

      Delete
    5. Mal[sic]: I can bat off a reply to Ralph in the blink of an eye.

      Well, of course you can. You’re a parrot. Not for you the considered response. Better to blurt out the first thing that comes into your head. And since you’ve only read the one book, the first thing is always objectivist twaddle (ideal for parrots).

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS5:00 PM

      There are 5 falsehoods in your last post...

      ...and you know what they are!

      There! In the bat of an eye!

      Now, we're out to lunch... with Objectivists... mmmm oysters and tiger prawns.

      Get it? :)

      Delete
    7. Yes, you're out to lunch. I got that a long time ago.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS11:58 PM

      Back now... McLaren Vale Footbolt Shiraz... mmmm

      Bats eyes... sigh...

      You still haven't corrected the falsehoods I see...

      ...easy peasy.

      Delete
    9. Back now... McLaren Vale Footbolt Shiraz... mmmm

      pfft... boring!

      I just shagged a Princess...

      - And her girlfriend...

      - In a Moon Rocket!!

      Tomorrow I'm going fishing.

      I win
      lol

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS1:31 AM

      ...and they were still frogs :)

      Delete
    11. Mal[sic]:

      We need to talk. Remember that stuff I was saying about irony? Well, rich people don’t drink The Footbolt. It’s a twenty buck wine. You need to take sodium bicarbonate with it. If you wanted to make us think you were rich you should have said The Laird or Run Rig or something like that. Now we think you’re a bogan who only thinks he’s rich.

      I’d have thought someone with so big an infatuation with Aristotle would know more about irony. You don’t have an American ancestors, do you?

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS7:09 PM

      Terry: "rich people don’t drink The Footbolt"

      Hook, line and sinker :)

      When have I claimed to be rich?

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS7:12 PM

      BTW dropkick

      You really have to get out of the habit of making stuff up! You have become a serial offender and are now out-Ralphing Ralph! I would not dream of speculating on your financial state - nor do I care! Nor do I speculate on your ancestry - or care. The only thing of interest to me in engaging others online is their ideas! All of which leads inexorably to the observation that you are a living, breathing example of the fact that you can't buy class!

      Delete
    14. Mal[sic]: ... example of the fact that you can't buy class!

      Not on your money, you can’t. If you want a better drop than The Footbolt you’re going to have to give up a life of leisure and start putting in a day’s work here and there. There must be somebody somewhere who’s willing to pay for a translation of Aristotle into Russian.

      How’s the indigestion, anyway?

      Oh, and since you like engaging in them, how’s this for an idea? There are certain people of such extraordinary talent that they should be permitted unlimited license to work their will in the world. Do you like it?

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS9:23 PM

      Strangely enough there's another 5 falsehoods in that post and you have not yet resolved the original 5! Please make all corrections before mixing with the grown-ups or asking further questions. Wouldn't want to start from any false premises would we? With all your making stuff up Ralph will be green with envy.

      BTW, dropkick, good to see you recognised your name :)

      Delete
    16. Mal[sic]: BTW, dropkick, good to see you recognised your name :)

      Why? Have you been struggling to remember yours? Maybe you should cut back on the wine.

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS5:16 AM

      Terry: "Maybe you should cut back on the wine"

      You have given no evidence for that suggestion.

      But so what?

      As you told bigbird: "I’ve never bothered to look for evidence. I don’t think I need it" [8:29 PM]

      LOL Yep, coming through loud and clear! :)

      Delete
  11. bigbird12:46 PM

    Hmm, not much has changed since I was last here ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What did you expect to find? A bible class?

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS7:15 PM

      Not much has changed in Haiti either.

      Delete
    3. Og up2:45 AM

      Hello Bigbird, you deluded fuck

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS6:14 AM

      That's not necessary Og!

      Delete
    5. Mal[sic]: That's not necessary Og!

      That's a bit rich coming from you.

      Delete
    6. Malcolm9:17 PM

      It's not language I use - or find especially descriptive rock ape.

      Delete
  12. MalcolmS8:46 PM

    Bill Gates on God, in a Rolling Stone interview:

    Interviewer: "Do you believe in God?"

    Gates: "I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know"

    http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/bill-gates-the-rolling-stone-interview-20140313

    How can someone so intelligent come to that final sentence?

    How can it make sense "to believe in God" when "exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know"?!

    How to account for his idea that belief in God “makes sense” when, by his own admission, it has no practical value?!

    That is really weird!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 19/034:40 AM

      “How can someone so intelligent come to that final sentence?” (MalcolmS8:46 PM)

      Maybe, Malcolm, because he really is intelligent and not, unlike Richard Dawkins, also prejudiced.

      “How can it make sense "to believe in God" when "exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know”?!”

      It makes sense to me. According to Bill Gates it’s because of the amazing “mystery and beauty of the world” for which “there's no scientific explanation"

      “How to account for his idea that belief in God “makes sense” when, by his own admission, it has no practical value?!”

      He doesn’t say “it has no practical value” only that he doesn’t know what that practical value might be. IOW, he is humble enough to admit his ignorance. He has an open mind. There’s nothing weird about that.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS5:52 AM

      RalphH: "Maybe, Malcolm, because he[Gates] really is intelligent and not, unlike Richard Dawkins, also prejudiced"

      You have given no evidence that he is less "prejudiced" than Dawkins - or you - or me.

      "It makes sense to me. According to Bill Gates it’s because of the amazing “mystery and beauty of the world” for which “there's no scientific explanation"

      Of course there is! Philosophy and science "explain" many things. Positing a God explains nothing - it's just an example of making stuff up. How does positing a God explain the fact that we require oxygen for life and plants require carbon dioxide?? Only science does that. How does positing a God explain why one painting inspires and another invokes disgust?? Only the philosophy of art[aesthetics] can do that.

      “He doesn’t say “it has no practical value” only that he doesn’t know what that practical value might be"

      What's the difference? Whether something is practical depends upon what it is you want to practise. His claim is that belief in God gives no such advice!!

      "IOW, he is humble enough to admit his ignorance. He has an open mind"

      Yet in his secular life he is not "humble" but exhibits the opposite - *pride* in his achievements!! Nor is he "ignorant." Why would he take a position on God based on ignorance? He does not exhibit an "open mind" - his mind is closed to the irrational!!

      That's weird.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS6:08 AM

      BTW Ralph

      It has not escaped my attention that you have yet to answer my questions @ 5:07 PM above.

      Getting forgetful in your old age?

      Or is it because "the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about."

      Including even God's "explanation" :)

      Delete
    4. RalphH 20/039:26 AM

      “BTW Ralph

      It has not escaped my attention that you have yet to answer my questions @ 5:07 PM above.” (MalcolmS6:08 AM)

      You’re way too attentive Malcolm. I did start working on that one and got distracted.

      “Getting forgetful in your old age?”

      Steady up with the “old age” thing. I still have a way to go for that label.

      “Or is it because "the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about."

      Including even God's "explanation" :)”

      “God’s explanation” does not come under the classification of “scientific explanation” so it’s additional, not “included”. The God explanation (as I understand it) makes sense and that’s good enough for me.

      Delete
    5. I’m surprised by what Gates said. I’d have thought he knew enough about the Universe to know that a godly explanation is not necessary. But maybe he’s not that well versed in the natural sciences. In which case it’s understandable that the Universe would appear to him to be too complex to have arisen without the help from some god.

      I also think it’s fair to say that whether you believe in god or random chance makes no difference to the way you live your life. When do you ever give any thought to the origin of the Universe other than when you’re watching Nat Geo or reading a book about it?

      Now, if Gates had said that belief in a ‘particular’ god makes no difference, then I’d have said he’s most definitely wrong about that. Because once you move from the ‘possibility’ of ‘some’ god, to the ‘certainty’ of a ‘particular’ god, and from there to the claim that you ‘know’ something about this god, then you’ve moved from theism to religion, and that is very much a life-changer.

      If and when that religion afflicts you, reverse-evolution kicks in. You start to slide back down the evolutionary scale from H sapiens to H erectus and beyond. And, unlike normal evolution, it happens very quickly, taking just one generation for you to arrive at your pre-human destination. (I’m guessing, Ralph, that you shave several times a day, and comb your back.)

      Delete
    6. Mal[sic]: Positing a God explains nothing - it's just an example of making stuff up.

      No, it’s speculation. You and I might not agree with it, and we might think we have good reasons, but we can’t disprove it. And in such a situation speculation is reasonable, even necessary. The more people speculate, the more chances we have of arriving at an explanation.

      Anyway, who are you to talk? Pretty much everything you believe is based on the speculations of a Russian novelist.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS5:57 PM

      RalphH: "The God explanation (as I understand it) makes sense and that’s good enough for me"

      Yet still you have not "explained" - as distict from the philosophers and scientists.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS6:16 PM

      Terry: ""Positing a God explains nothing - it's just an example of making stuff up" No, it’s speculation"

      As I said, it "explains nothing."

      Please try to pay attention.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS6:20 PM

      Terry: "Pretty much everything you believe is based on the speculations of a Russian novelist"

      Actually it's based on the *discoveries* of the greatest modern philosopher in the Aristotelian tradition. How do I know? Because I have gone to the trouble of studying what she actually says.

      As distinct from the retarded rock ape who opined to bigbird: "I’ve never bothered to look for evidence. I don’t think I need it" [8:29 PM]

      Coming through loud and clear!

      Delete
    10. Mal-function: Actually it's based on the *discoveries* of the greatest modern philosopher in the Aristotelian tradition. How do I know? Because I have gone to the trouble of studying what she actually says.

      I shouldn’t have to tell you this, old codger. But just because you’ve studied something doesn’t make it true. All it says about the subject is that you liked it. And that’s not a great endorsement.

      You should also know by now that philosophers don’t discover things. Few of them even discover things that have already been discovered. They’re too busy inspecting their alimentary canals from the discharge end.

      If you want discovery (which you don’t, but assuming you do) then (a) read the scientists, and (b) ask more questions and make fewer assertions.

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS9:10 PM

      All of which can be properly ignored coming from a sceptic who asserts: " "I’ve never bothered to look for evidence. I don’t think I need it" [8:29 PM]

      In fact you would not even know that Aristotle *discovered* the laws of logic which you require in order to make valid claims.

      No "evidence" or method and you are reduced to babbling oh retarded rock ape.

      Delete
    12. Mal-function: In fact you would not even know that Aristotle *discovered* the laws of logic which you require in order to make valid claims.

      No he didn’t discover them. He thought of them. And they are not laws, they are tools. And there is every chance that they could one day be superseded by better tools that someone else will think of.

      I have to say this, mate: other than the various religious fruitcakes I’ve met in my life, you’re the most ideologically-hamstrung individual I’ve encountered. In all this time we’ve been sparring, I don’t recall you offering up one original thought. Pretty much everything you say seems to have a guiding hand. FFS give it a break. Let’s kick the can round a bit. Fuck Aristotle. He’s dead.

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS10:08 PM

      Terry: "No he didn’t discover them. He thought of them"

      Once again from an evidence free zone rock ape!

      FYI Aristotle was first to grasp that our means of knowledge was fallible, not automatic and required a specific *method* in order to result in knowledge.

      His was a series of complicated *inductive* discoveries which resulted in what became known as the 'laws of logic.'

      Rock apes have discovered no laws - it's a human capacity. All laws are discovered by an inductive process. All laws require discovery. The laws of logic are no exception.

      Delete
    14. Mal[sic]: Aristotle, Aristotle, Aristotle ...

      Just can't help yourself, you boring old fart. I'll bet you don't get a lot of dinner invitations.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS4:56 PM

      Terry: "I'll bet you don't get a lot of dinner invitations"

      Another bet you lost and won't pay.

      Another falsehood you won't correct.

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS4:58 PM

      BTW dropkick

      Won't be at the computer for a while.

      We're off to a barbeque - one of the invitations we never get :)

      Why don't you go take a nap :)

      Delete
    17. Mal[sic]: We're off to a barbeque ...

      Just remember, you’ve already been out drinking once this week, so take it easy, and try not to piss anyone off.

      Delete
    18. RalphH 21/036:58 PM

      “I’m surprised by what Gates said. I’d have thought he knew enough about the Universe to know that a godly explanation is not necessary. But maybe he’s not that well versed in the natural sciences. ......” (Terry3:21 PM)

      Terry, I always laugh when I hear the ‘God is not necessary’ story. To me it’s the magical explanation of ‘things just happen’ or ‘Nature self-produces out of nothing’. Both of these things are impossible. In the world around us, there is always causation (of some sort) for everything and Nature (of itself) is just a dead thing - it has no life or being unless acted on from something outside of or prior to itself.

      People (like Bill Gates) who have not built a speculative, scientific/intellectual (based solely on the senses) exclusion of this something beyond Nature, intuitively recognise that it is there (in some shape of form that is superior to the limited time and space constructs of Nature).

      Scientific discoveries about Nature can only fill in the natural/of Nature part of the picture and even these are in danger of being misinterpreted of the main causation is denied. It is merely a truncated incomplete picture.

      “I also think it’s fair to say that whether you believe in god or random chance makes no difference to the way you live your life. When do you ever give any thought to the origin of the Universe other than when you’re watching Nat Geo or reading a book about it?”

      Even though one may not be consciously thinking about it all the time, it makes a quantum difference to the way one lives one’s life. Without God the ultimate focus and responsibility is on and to oneself (or subjective). “Am I happy?” “Am I getting what I want and what I think is my due?” With God the focus becomes objective. “How do I fit into this greater whole?” “What’s my purpose and use in it - to make it function effectively and maximise the happiness and fulfilment of all involved?”

      “Now, if Gates had said that belief in a ‘particular’ god makes no difference, then I’d have said he’s most definitely wrong about that. Because once you move from the ‘possibility’ of ‘some’ god, to the ‘certainty’ of a ‘particular’ god, and from there to the claim that you ‘know’ something about this god, then you’ve moved from theism to religion, and that is very much a life-changer.”

      I don’t see how you could have “a particular god” (other than a false notion of one). That suggests more than one God and that’s impossible. There can be many different concepts, view points or understandings of God but there can be only one source of everything. I don’t understand your juxtaposition of “theism” and “religion”.

      “If and when that religion afflicts you, reverse-evolution kicks in. You start to slide back down the evolutionary scale from H sapiens to H erectus and beyond. And, unlike normal evolution, it happens very quickly, taking just one generation for you to arrive at your pre-human destination. (I’m guessing, Ralph, that you shave several times a day, and comb your back.)”

      “Reverse-evolution”? Now there’s a clanger if ever I heard one.

      To put a twist on the Shirley MacLaine quote from the movie ‘Steel Magnolias’, ‘I haven’t shaved for over 40 years.’ I’ve evolved a thing called a beard and I don’t need anyone to scratch my back either.

      Delete
    19. Ralph: In the world around us, there is always causation (of some sort) for everything ...

      If it’s true that there is ‘always’ causation ‘for everything’, then what caused god? And what caused the thing that caused god? And what caused that god? And where does all the causing end?

      Ralph: I don’t understand your juxtaposition of “theism” and “religion”.

      Then let me dumb the point down for you. There are people who believe in yetis. We’ll call them ‘theists’. Biologists think they’re misguided because the evidence for yetis is weak. But then there’s no evidence to show that they don’t exist. And so we have to accept the possibility, no matter how small, that the theists could be right.

      Then there are people who both believe in yetis and claim to know where the yetis live, how they reproduce, what they think, and what they look like. These are ‘religious’ people. And they’re barking mad to think they know so much about something no one knows exists?

      The difference between theism, then, and religion, is that theism is a reasonable, though not recommended, position to hold, while religion is the domain of people suffering delusions occasioned by childhood abuse.

      Ralph: I haven’t shaved for over 40 years.

      Go immediately to the nearest university’s biology department and ask to see the resident primatologist. You could be a yeti. And if you are, then as your discoverer I get to name you: Homo terrentius.

      Delete
    20. Ralph: Without God the ultimate focus and responsibility is on and to oneself (or subjective).

      You might need a crutch to help you act like a decent human being. But I don’t. Nor does anyone I know. And I know a lot of atheists.

      The rest of us are decent by nature. Our species evolved a social way of life. We’re packed with genes that direct us to co-operate with members of our group. Golf, god and good beer are just excuses for us to hang around having fun in clubs, churches and bars. Although churches can be scary, too.

      We’re so decent that some among us (saints, they are) will invite nasty old curmudgeons like your mate Mal to barbeques (though not dinner, because at a table he can trap you with endless waffle about Aristotle).

      Thinking about it, this is further evidence that you’re a yeti. Perhaps yetis are a branch of primates that did not evolve a social way of life, and are not decent to each other, which would explain (a) why they’re so hard to find (that is, you all live alone), and (b) why you all need a crutch like god to make you treat each other nicely.

      Quick, get to that primatologist. I’ve never had a species named after me.

      Delete
    21. MalcolmS8:11 AM

      Terry: "There are people who believe in yetis.... Biologists think they’re misguided because the evidence for yetis is weak. But then there’s no evidence to show that they don’t exist"

      That's a common position taken by sceptics [rarely by the religious].

      So tell me old suck. What is the "weak evidence" for the existence of yetis? What would you regard as evidence for the nonexistence of yetis?

      Delete
    22. MalcolmS8:15 AM

      Terry: "We’re packed with genes that direct us to co-operate with members of our group"

      That's the sort of deterministic junk you trot out when you ignore the introspective evidence. Who we "co-operate with" depends on our values, purposes and goals.

      None of which are determined by our genes but are volitional or chosen.

      Delete
    23. RalphH 22/039:10 AM

      “If it’s true that there is ‘always’ causation ‘for everything’, then what caused god? And what caused the thing that caused god? And what caused that god? And where does all the causing end?” (Terry8:29 PM)

      Terry, you missed the part where I said, “In the world around us, …” i.e. the world of Nature /the natural world. God is not in or of that world so causation does not apply to (Him). God is not of time and space but of eternity.

      There are three things that complete any sequence - end, cause and effect. The world of Nature is the world of effects, the world of the spirit is the world of causes and the end is the purpose for the sake of which the thing (or whatever) exists. Aristotle (Malcolm’s mate) calls the end ‘the final cause’ but it is of an entirely different nature from the intermediary causes.

      The purpose of something does not have a cause. It is the beginning or source - the reason that causation exists i.e. to fulfil that end/purpose. All ends/all purposes have their beginning in God. God is that uncaused level (of existence) from which all else comes forth as causes and effects. To ask, “What caused the uncaused, i.e. God, is a fallacious question.

      “Ralph: *I don’t understand your juxtaposition of “theism” and “religion”.*

      “Then let me dumb the point down for you. There are people who believe in yetis. We’ll call them ‘theists’.

      I’m afraid i found your ‘dumbing down’ was a bit too dumb. There is no relationship between theists and yetis, even by an imagined analogy.

      dictionary.com defines theism thus:-
      1. the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism ).
      2. belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism ).

      and religion:-
      1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

      IOW, theism is a belief in God and religion is a set of beliefs based on that primary belief. The two obviously go together. The is no problem where there is a true idea of God and an honesty and integrity in understanding and implementing that knowledge. However there can be a false idea of God and a misconstrued set of beliefs that flow from that which can mess things up.

      Delete
    24. RalphH 22/039:37 AM

      Ralph: Without God the ultimate focus and responsibility is on and to oneself (or subjective).

      “You might need a crutch to help you act like a decent human being. But I don’t. Nor does anyone I know. And I know a lot of atheists.

      The rest of us are decent by nature. Our species evolved a social way of life. We’re packed with genes that direct us to co-operate with members of our group. ....” (Terry8:59 PM)

      I agree with Malcolm on this one Terry. If you’re being ‘directed’ by your genes, you’re not acting like a human being but like a robot. A human is a being of rationality and free-will that (unless suffering from some psychological impediment) first understands the implications of proposed action and then freely chooses to act on that knowledge.

      Acting from one’s understanding of God’s laws is not ‘needing’ or ‘using’ a “crutch”. It’s merely an admission that there is knowledge greater and wiser that what one can dream up for oneself which may well be tainted by selfishness and ulterior motive.

      “We’re so decent that some among us (saints, they are) will invite nasty old curmudgeons like your mate Mal to barbeques (though not dinner, because at a table he can trap you with endless waffle about Aristotle).”

      I have a feeling that “Mal” would decline such an invitation. Aristotle may be boring at times but robots would be even more so.

      Delete
    25. Mal[sic]: None of which are determined by our genes but are volitional or chosen.

      My first reaction to this was laughter. But that has changed to pity. It’s sad to know that you are going to leave this world no wiser about human nature (among many other subjects) than when you entered it. For your ignorance on the subject is so great there’s not enough time left for you to make up.

      Ah, well, there’s always your wine to console you, I suppose. Was the drop at the barbeque any better than The Footbolt?

      Delete
    26. Ralph: God is not of time and space but of eternity.

      OK, I get it. I know what’s going on here. You and Mal have got a Dumb and Dumber thing going, right? You’re trying out-stupid each other. Well, I reckon the score’s about even with respect to content. But you win because not only are you stupid, but long-winded, too.

      Delete
    27. MalcolmS7:32 PM

      Terry: ""Mal[sic]: None of which are determined by our genes but are volitional or chosen"

      My first reaction to this was laughter"

      Yes, as a cognitive dysfunctional, neutered by your sceptic, 'progressive' education, you are incapable of anything else. You have swallowed the propaganda stuffed down your throat and have never contemplated better alternatives.

      Same with my questions re yetis[8:11 AM] which you are also incapable of answering.

      You are reduced to the lack of scholarship of the medieval mystic[and Ralph] who asserted: "To those who understand no explanation is necessary, to those who don't no explanation is possible."

      Either way you don't explain.

      Delete
    28. MalcolmS7:34 PM

      RalphH: "I have a feeling that “Mal” would decline such an invitation. Aristotle may be boring at times but robots would be even more so"

      You are spot on Ralph!

      You're getting to know me a little too well :)

      Delete
    29. Mal[sic]: What would you regard as evidence for the nonexistence of yetis?

      Sorry, old fart, I missed this one. Evidence for the non-existence of yetis would be searching every nook and cranny on the planet and not finding a yeti or any sign of a yeti.

      Why? Do you think you’ve found something? Are you sure? It’s not that cheap wine talking, is it?

      Delete
    30. MalcolmS9:58 PM

      Terry: "Evidence for the non-existence of yetis would be searching every nook and cranny on the planet and not finding a yeti or any sign of a yeti"

      You have just described the nonexistence of any evidence whatsoever.

      The absence of evidence is not evidence!

      There is no such thing as evidence for the nonexistence of yetis. In the same way that there is no such thing as evidence for the nonexistence of God. Yet Ralph asks for evidence for the nonexistence of God all the time. You "believe" the same with yetis.

      Interesting that the religious and sceptics have so much in common isn't it? :)

      Delete
    31. MalcolmS10:00 PM

      BTW old suck

      I won't mention you also failed to answer my question: "What is the "weak evidence" for the existence of yetis?" Your lack of scholarship is starting to bore me.

      Delete
  13. MalcolmS9:01 PM

    Has it been found?

    http://media.theage.com.au/news/national-news/mh370-have-we-found-it-5278048.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mal[hic]: Either way you don't explain.

    Come, come, old fart. You don’t want me to explain. You just want me to put up targets for you to argue at. There’s nothing I or anyone else, yetis included, could say to you that would move you one nanometre from your present beliefs.

    Even if you were interested, you wouldn't understand. You don't have the right operating system. You're on MS-DOS. Aristotelian logic. Good for a static world. But woefully insufficient for a changing world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:12 PM

      LOL Actually the problem of *change* versus *static world* was initiated with Heraclitus versus Parmenides in the ancient world and was resolved by Aristotle!

      He was superb at answering sceptics also!

      You think you are so modern yet your ideas are ancient!

      Not surprised you didn't know that :)

      Delete
    2. Mal[hic]: The absence of evidence is not evidence!

      Don’t be such a klutz. If I search the entire cupboard for milk and I don’t find any I have evidence that there’s no milk in the cupboard. Yeesh! How do you get through a day?

      Mal[hic]: What is the "weak evidence" for the existence of yetis.

      I dunno. Footprints. Grainy photos. Scats with bits of objectivist in them. Jesus! Don’t you ever the magazines at the doctors’?

      Mal[hic]: Actually the problem of *change* versus *static world* was initiated with Heraclitus versus Parmenides in the ancient world and was resolved by Aristotle!

      That one appears to have flown your head, old timer. Did you have another good lunch? Just let it go. Too hard. It’s more a kind of thing us engineering/science guys understand.

      By the way, I heard Aristotle thought men had more teeth than women. Apparently he got this idea from horses. I wonder why he just didn’t look inside his wife’s mouth. You know, like check the cupboard for milk?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS12:31 AM

      Terry: "If I search the entire cupboard for milk and I don’t find any I have evidence that there’s no milk in the cupboard"

      Fallacy of equivocation.

      You already have evidence that milk exists and what it is and, therefore, that there is none in the cupboard.

      Yetis[or God] are a different proposition. Searching the cupboard is hardly "searching every nook and cranny on the planet and not finding a yeti or any sign of a yeti."

      That you commit such an obvious fallacy eloquently demonstrates your lack of scholarship.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS12:34 AM

      Terry: ""What is the "weak evidence" for the existence of yetis" I dunno... Don’t you ever[hic] the magazines at the doctors’?"

      As I said - you haven't a clue. Have you been drinking?

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS12:37 AM

      Terry: ""What is the "weak evidence" for the existence of yetis" ..Footprints. Grainy photos..."

      What would they consist of if there is no such thing as a yeti? You see, old suck, knowledge comes from identifying a specific entity/entities and naming it yeti - not the other way around. Only that way could you know what a yeti's footprint or grainy photo would look like! You can't just make stuff up and then go looking for it!

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS12:40 AM

      Terry: "Aristotle thought men had more teeth than women. Apparently he got this idea from horses. I wonder why he just didn’t look inside his wife’s mouth"

      He probably did! You see, old suck, it was a correct observation regarding the women of his day! As for horses he was an expert in comparative anatomy.

      Aristotle did make errors but his solution to the change/static world issue was not one of them.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS12:42 AM

      Terry: ".."the problem of *change* versus *static world*.." That one appears to have flown[hic] your head... Just let it go. Too hard. It’s more a kind of thing us engineering/science guys understand"

      LOL No, the change/static world issue is primarily an issue for philosophy upon which science depends for its specific examples.

      FYI, old suck, science does not consist of spending your days "falsifying" propositions as you have suggested in the past. Have you been drinking?

      Delete
    8. Mal[hic]:

      Scholarship? Ha, ha, ha. Is that what you are, old soak, a scholar? Is that what they call you round the barbecue when you drop the names of Heraclitus and Parmenides, and the law of identity, and the all those fallacies? Do they all crowd round to hear the scholar speak?

      What a jerk you are. Education is not a memory contest. It is supposed to teach you how to think, not regurgitate. And that means going past the ‘either/or’ thinking that led Aristotle to believe feathers and lead fell at the same rate, to the ‘both/and’ thinking that enabled Galileo to correct him 1,500 years later.

      You can be thankful that Niels Bohr and company weren’t ‘scholars’. If they were we wouldn’t be having all this fun insulting each other by way of quantum electrons.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS7:47 PM

      Terry: "What a jerk you are"

      Fallacy of ad hominem...

      ...and the refutations are deafening by their silence :)

      BTW old suck - did you know Galileo was an Aristotelian?

      And that he agreed that a feather and lead fell at the same rate - in the absence of friction.

      ROFL

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS8:41 PM

      Terry: "I heard Aristotle thought men had more teeth than women. Apparently he got this idea from horses. I wonder why he just didn’t look inside his wife’s mouth"

      Why would he bother if he had access to talking horses?

      ROFL

      Ooh... my aching sides... I'm too old for this amount of excitement... gotta take a nap! While I'm away, old suck, why don't you just sit quietly and wait for your genes to tell you what to say next. I can hardly wait... :)

      Delete
  15. Anonymous6:22 AM

    So. I come back to Dick's page after awhile and hooray! New post! 120 posts I see - excellent! Can't wait! Until I start reading the comments. Malcom, Terry, Ralph, TDSoBtMc, Og: I've variously enjoyed/been infuriated by all your comments in the past. This blog had wit, spice, insight and sharing of thoughts. It is now a wank-fest between you guys, variously restating something that you have said many times over ad nauseum, or directing cheap and witless shots at each other. You seem to have become so accustomed to this that Bigbird returns briefly, with a fairly innocent comment, to cop many vicious personal attacks in a row ending with: "Hello Bigbird, you deluded fuck".

    I've been following this blog for years. You guys are stealing Dick's blog. None of the regulars return anymore, and why would they contribute when faced with the responses they are likely to get from you. Read this comment stream from the top all the way through if you doubt me, and then have a big think.

    We are all adults. We are here to be enlightened, entertained and infuriated, in turn. Have a think if you guys are contributing to that. For my part, I am bored by all of your posts, and repulsed by the venom that you show to each other.

    I'm looking forward to Dick's next blog, and hope that some of the other regulars might take part in the discussion also.

    KatieM (not the Kate who contributes much more regularly than me :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are here to be enlightened, entertained and infuriated...

      Well you sound infuriated, so ... Check 1
      Just got enlightened a little bit? yep ... Check 2

      Two out of three aint bad. Whats yer problem?

      Delete
    2. RalphH 02/049:37 AM

      “So. I come back to Dick's page after awhile and hooray! New post! 120 posts I see - excellent! Can't wait! Until I start reading the comments. Malcom, Terry, Ralph, TDSoBtMc, Og: I've variously enjoyed/been infuriated by all your comments in the past. This blog had wit, spice, insight and sharing of thoughts. It is now a wank-fest between you guys, variously restating something that you have said many times over ad nauseum, or directing cheap and witless shots at each other.” (Anonymous6:22 AM/KatieM)

      I didn’t understand “wank-fest” KatieM. I plugged it into dictionary.com and it suggested wonkiest as an alternative.

      That said, I’m not sure how I fit into the grouping you have made above. I’m a theist (like Bigbird) and argue against foolishness, name-calling and vulgarity. Maybe I’m guilty of “restating something that (I) have said many times over” but that’s hardly a problem if it’s something sensible and it fits into the discussion.

      If you want to lift the tone of the blog, I suggest that you contribute useful, sensible comments (including constructive criticism as above) and, as much as possible, ignore the “cheap and witless shots” that some make at each other.

      Delete
    3. Ralph:

      If you don’t know what a wank-fest is, which is pretty hard to believe, why don’t you just Google the word, numb nuts?

      The lady is trying to tell you that she thinks we get excited about trifling things. And to press her point she’s chosen the charming metaphor of a group of people engaged in a festival of masturbating, with you among them.

      You might want to ask her why she thinks that little drop of venom contains any more wit than the venom we spit.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS4:28 AM

      Terry: "Ralph: If you don’t know what a wank-fest is, which is pretty hard to believe, why don’t you just Google the word, numb nuts[sic]?"

      Er... I note you didn't have to :)

      Delete
    5. I note you didn't have to

      Isn't that like how you have never ever needed to google nobjockey?

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS6:54 PM

      "Isn't that like how you have never ever needed to google nobjockey?"

      I do not go to any of your links. Period.

      Remedial kindy's just not my scene :)

      But feel free to google magicsausagetosser as a class project anytime.

      Delete
    7. Remedial kindy's just not my scene :)

      Thats right sweety.
      You wait til mommy says it's ok to play with the big children.

      Ok honey? Can you do that for the grown ups? They're all depending on you now!

      Ok baby?
      lol roflmao

      Delete
    8. I do not go to any of your links. Period.

      Good boy!! Who's a good good boy then?

      Mommy's boy is so clever!! Yes he is!!!

      roflmaoooooooo

      Delete
  16. Katie M

    I get what you’re saying. But, to be fair, I don’t come here to entertain and enlighten you. I’m doing my own thing. So is everyone else. And if what’s going down is boring and repulsing you, I’m sorry, but you don’t have to read it.

    You also shouldn’t complain that no one else is participating when you don’t participate yourself. If you’re not willing to entertain and enlighten then why should anyone else be willing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:18 PM

      Well done Terry.

      I knew that one day you would get one right!

      But, heh, why don't you take the credit?

      Don't give it all to your genes :)

      Delete
    2. Though you don't realise it, you're actually pretty "genetic" yourself mALLy

      Quite the XXY ;) lol

      Delete

Followers