I don’t agree with what Dawkins retweeted. This website with its platitudes did not make me see a reason to become more accepting when dealing with irrational bigots. The only parts that spoke to me were the point that if you can’t correctly explain someone else’s argument and have it accepted, then you don’t understand it enough to refute it. Active listening is a problem in our society. Of course, theists are bad listeners and very impatient so you will not usually get that far.
The other line I liked from the comments is that “Perfection is the enemy of the good” -Volataire. I take it to mean that we must choose our allies and work for small changes if we are to be progressive, rather than being ideologically pure isolationists/special snowflakes. It’s true I don’t agree with Sam Harris on certain things, while he is clear minded and has insights in others and shouldn’t be shunned simply because he doesn’t fit into a familiar box idealize.
So if I agree with that, then what is the problem you ask? I’ll tell you. Reddit and others tell you to attack ideas and not people. So It’s okay to attack Christianity or Islam but not Christians or Muslims. I question why not?
The two are interwoven. If you are a Christian you subscribe to Christianity.
You will potentially act in ways that hurt me. If an skeptical atheist hears a voice and sees visions telling him to go to an abortion clinic and blow up some doctors, he will dismiss it and get psychiatric help. A Christian might too, but he could potentially think It’s the voice of God. That alone makes Christians a threat. And generally Christians are predictable, irrational bigots, and are relatively lame to hang out with. I feel justified in disliking Christians and attacking them along with Christianity. The only argument that might stay me is that attacking groups of people and/or individuals can sometimes be ineffective or counter-productive.
Moreover. I do not respect their underlying epistemology enough to even respect a difference of opinion as I might with someone who looked at the same set of facts I did, and came to another opinion of politics. That’s just finding a difference of view when there is a margin of doubt. But with Christians their underlying facts are definitely wrong. And if I attack Christianity you will still feel insulted that I don’t respect your core values, and react as though I attacked you personally. Why keep up the pretext of not attacking them? For civility? As Hitchens quipped, “Civility is overrated.”
I personally think I would have been happier if I were gay. Allow me to explain: atheists are significantly more likely to be men, and gays are significantly more likely to be atheists. Therefore I believe it would be easier to find people I agree with if I were gay.
I hope former US president Jimmy Carter leaves religion altogether. He has renounced Baptist church on the grounds its sexist, and he is generally a good man with a better moral compass than most presidents, just a lousy president. Him and Regan both did the country a disservice by wearing their religion on their sleeves, for different parties.
(He wrote it on July 29, 2009)
“Jimmy was always a humanist. He was selfless and honest and did what he thought was truly right. He just wrongfully attributed those characteristics to his religion.
Its more of a great example of how if you are not a corporate mouthpiece that the powers that be will do everything in their ability to destroy your presidency.
Carter is an example of why we get lying scumbags in office. Honest politicians become hated. He is an example of one of of the best ex-presidents we ever had.
He was too honest. He couldn’t look the American people in the face and lie.” As far as I can tell, that seems fairly accurate. Americans prefer pretty lies to uncomfortable truths – that’s why they elected an actor instead. His reputation abroad was much better than his domestic one, too.”
Carter also offered insight about whether an atheist could become a president:
Being an Atheist makes funerals with burials especially tedious. There’s an unbelievable amount of mysticism and ritual, and I realized that I don’t think our culture is as emotionally mature as the Pirahã tribe who don’t believe in an afterlife, and just calmly think “Well, death sucks, but it happens.” Their Amazonian tribe buries their dead without any ceremonies, and without a coffins.In our culture we have days of viewings, we beat our chests to show our grief, pray, sing, recite poems, write melancholic speeches called eulogies, and pay priests hundreds of dollars to preach at a funeral and sometimes talk about someone they probably haven’t even met. We make food and take photos, we look at pictures of the dead, put on suits, have pallbearers wear gloves, and drop flowers on the grave, we greet dozens of people and send cards with condolences, and if they’re Catholic or it’s a military funeral there’s even more pomp to keep you from doing anything else on that Sunday. And it’s not even over yet because anyone who pays four times more for burial rather than cremation is going to come back to the grave again.
Anyway, I was asked to recite a death poem at a funeral for Christians. What should I have done? I was seriously tempted to just troll them and quote Euphrates, or use a Japanese death poem:
So in ten years the conservatives have moved from denying climate change to denying most of it is caused by human activity, retrenching their position to where they’ll be safer.
Scott Adams is one of the “deniers.*” (You might remember Scott as the famous artist of the “Dilbert” comic who turned into a Trump fan.) He acts like he is sharing his neutral observations, while he tilts everything against his target. Recently he criticized “Bill Nye: the Science Guy,” just like the Fox News program he linked to.
It’s acutely painful to watch this decline in clear thinking, because I have read a couple of good books by Scott Adams from when he wasn’t a wingnut, and I don’t know what happened to him. He’s getting old though, and may have developed brain cancer. Either his brain has fried, or (as a result of his hand injury that has made it harder to draw,) he plans to switch to blogging about politics to the Trump zealots on his new social media platforms for an eventual monetary return. If you want clear proof that his remaining core fanbase don’t understand how to do accurate research (they’re simply hopeless idiots and probably the lazy kind), just read the comments.
Then fairly read his article, and watch the video of Bill Nye annihilating the Fox News anchorman, and think about how for every single allegation Scott Adams he falls flat. Bill Nye was put in an inferior position on a talk show, with a guy who tries to steer the conversation, force him to answer scripted trick questions in a short time slot, without giving Bill Nye to develop his arguments or present his side.
Nevertheless, Scott Adams says Bill Nye developed cognitive dissonance when his position failed him, and refused to answer a precise question because he didn’t know — which according to Scott shows that Bill Nye is just another believer “on faith.” (Scott Adams you’ve said you’re an atheist, so you should have awareness from having encountered this fallacy before. Theists and reality deniers love to say “You can’t know *anything* for sure, and anything less than 100% confidence leaves room for me. Therefore even if though am not an expert in what you are talking about, you should take my position seriously as though my position has an equal chance of being true.”
It is shows Scott Adams hasn’t thought it through when he expects Bill Nye to answer the trick question with a precise answer, (and treats any abscence of an answer as proof that Bill Nye is wrong.) Had he took the bait and answered, Bill Nye’s credibility would still have been attacked even if he had pulled a number out of thin air and said 70% or 90%, rather than what he said — “If you want a number, global warming is 100% accelerated by human activity.” The precise number is a technicality when Bill Nye is plainly arguing that most of the warming is caused by humans, and that he believes the rate is hazardous.
This is confirmed when the host keeps interrupting him before he can make any good points. Of course I don’t think Bill Nye is a good debater, and he isn’t good at quick one line retorts, but he is a good presenter or lecturer.
When you look past his clumsy retorts and look at the content of his arguments when he has time to do them, he always makes better points than the less developed minds he’s pitted against who make unscientific arguments like,
>”If global warming is caused by CO2,
>and CO2 causes global warming
>and if there were volcanos on the moon,
then why is the moon cold?”
It’s superb irony how Scott Adams calls Bill Nye deluded. (Of course Scott Adams is really rich but he is still an opportunist who usually ends every post with shilling one ofhis products. Which makes one wonder if he tries to create controversial posts to shill for his company, but is a shady technique he seems to have learned from reading Donald Trump.)
Tl;dr: Bill Nye is great, Scott Adams is an idiot, and my farts prove Global Warming is caused by humans.
*”Climate Change deniers” don’t like the word anymore because it is too objective about their relationship to the position. They instead prefer to be called “Climate Change Skeptics” even though skepticism does not mean denying overwhelming sound evidence, and as “unskeptics,” or “pseudo-skeptics” they diminish the gravity of the word. Conservatives have done a good job at moving the word choice since we can’t even “Global Warming” anymore without them cherry picking exceptions (usually of freak weather like tornados or cold spells which we wouldn’t have if not for the messed up weather we cause,) so we now have to say “Climate Change” to prevent those objections, which sounds really ambiguous. It makes it sound like scientists aren’t sure about Climate Change, like it could even be getting colder, and in effect it is a minor victory by technicality for the less educated side–the more obstinate side. I won’t pretend to be neutral about the question of global warming on my blog when they’re clearly wrong, and scientists rightfully want the public to recognize it to be a closed question we’ve debated and solved, so that we can “get the move on” to our other problems.
Granting that all men are entitled to their opinions, doesn’t mean that men are entitled to their own set of facts. The climate change crowd are the skeptics, they are the scientists.
The conservative estimates scientists publish erring on the safe side to avoid being wrong are alarming enough, but what is more alarming is the succeses of the propaganda campaign by anti-intellectual forces in America, and of the fossil fuel companies–who as the richest companies on Earth have reason and money to finance disinformation experts as easily as they hire lawyers. Oddly, the other side refuses to believe that paid liars could exist, or somehow believe the green companies are hiring more paid liars even though those companies are not nearly as prevalent, profitable, or unconcerned about “the tragedy of the commons.”
It amuses me that people believe a blue collar carpenter had deep stuff to tell the world. He was probably illiterate like Mohamed too.
Here is the cumulation of Jesus’s best advice: “I’ve been a carpenter my whole life. Don’t build yer house on sand, build it on a foundation on bedrock.’ (Later that turned into a proverb about how to lead your life.) To be fair President Abe Lincoln was raised by a carpenter, but then he avidly read books and went to law school and became a great speechwriter, which you don’t hear about with Jesus. We know Jesus was a rough alcoholic prone to angry outbursts too. You don’t hear about him being tutored or mentored when he visited the synagogues either.
Buddha was the son of an aristocrat, who then ran away and wandered alone while thinking and meditating for a few years. Point is he was probably sufficiently educated in childhood about the classics to have a lot more nuanced understanding about how human society operates.
A couple of handyman visited my house the other day and they were rough and spoke in slurred voices about how Obama’s wife looks like a Transvestite and how Trump is gonna fix them dems gud. It does not take much brains to cut and nail a few boards together, just really simple arithmetic -and learning by trial and error – no critical thinking required, it’s all practical stuff. 2000 years ago before there were universities, the flunkies and Mexicans Sears hires to service my house could have been Jesus. Christians who look up to Jesus should seek therapy from their local carpenters, locksmiths, plumbers, farmers, car mechanics, and the guy who fixes your cellphone when you crack the screen.
So one day Jesus decided he was fucking tired of carrying boards and climbing onto roofs to labor in the sun, and being ripped off by taxman and scoundrels who don’t even pay him. He would rather travel Israel like a prophet, entertained by locals while drinking and giving speeches as a guest. And so Christianity began when Joe Smith quit his day job and started lecturing about what he had thought about while sanding planks for his whole life.
My life is shit. I’M GONNA MOVE AWAY AND BE A TEACHER.
I’m tired of doing work and not being paid to the agreement by those fucking greedy Pharisees, while they get paid generously for light work and they can tell all the chicks who is their daddy. I could do that job too. And while I’m at it I’m gonna tell the world that everyone should pay their handymen what is due or they’ll be sent to hell. I’ll say it’s harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to get through the head of a needle, and jab my finger at the Pharisees and tell them to eat shit.
What are the highest power levels conceivable? I know Haruhi can effortlessly reshape or restart the universe unconsciously to her will, and also pull in beings from other universes. The only stronger deity I can think of would be able to do the same to all universes in a multiverse.
So many Christians refuse to engage with a person’s arguments seriously on their own grounds without saying, “Mark Twain was agnostic and he railed against God because he became bitter when his daughter died.” Or, “Your kid turned atheist? He is just rebelling and he will pass through that phase.”
You hear it in politics too. “You’re a socialist? That’s because you’re young and brainwashed by the prevalent liberal education at universities nowadays. You wouldn’t think that way if you held a job for 20 years and saw the government stealing the money you worked for. I bet you’re on welfare and want more benefits without working.”
It is annoying to have to defend your character whenever you throw out any kind of statement. When they do this it is reductionist, if not outright incorrect to focus on another person’s psychology or life circumstances, and make that the dominant factor for understanding their views. Many of us can absorb facts and coolly come to conclusions analytically. I guess they mainly jump to conclusions on emotion and in response to events their life, and when dealing with others they imagine others must have come to conclusions by the same processes? Example:
“Something bad happened to him/someone in the family died? Well it’s no wonder he turned atheist, and let’s forget about what he is saying because that is the real reason. How pitiful.”
They like labels, and you can’t defend “child rape suspects” on any issue around those people without the nagging implication that you yourself must be a rapist! If they could run the government freely they’d have you tick a label for every little form you do.
What do you think of dialectical thinking? I have heard atheists say it is not logical, but I feel they are dismissively missing the point . (The idea that considering recursive opposites yield a new truth can sound like the fallacy of the middle, and a lot of atheists on the right are prejudiced against Marx or Hegel. I think they’re misapplying the method. )
The thinking of Hegel or Marx is a recursive fractal. Every new thought doesn’t just build off the old ones, but it contains them too, as you reach for total knowledge.
Supposing it’s false, it’s still a promising way of brainstorming insight. Hitchens also mentioned he considers dialectical marxism valid, but few of his followers care.
Moving on to Hitchens, here are some good Hitchslaps.