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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Rebbeca Watson/Richard Dawkins drama (Page 10)

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Author Topic: The Rebbeca Watson/Richard Dawkins drama
Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
The point of the saying is this: our worldview is perfectly secure until we meet another person.

So, having your worldview called into question by other people is hell?

So...in this scenario Tom is calling people's worldview into questions, so Tom is hell?

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, Stone_Wolf, but you don't have a chance of getting into Rollerskate Pony Heaven if you're going to remain that ignorant of equine anatomy.

Can I get into regular human heaven please? I think rollerskate pony heaven might actually be one of my hells, not that I mind rollerskates or ponies, for eternity? How many times can you watch small horses on wheels collide before it looses it's appeal?
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shadowland
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
So, having your worldview called into question by other people is hell?

Think about Tom's quote in relation to the specific comment he was responding to.
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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
These discussions are so weird because often the religious people objecting to being called deluded understand that (conveniently) members of any other religion are deluded. They just have the right one.

Has anyone on this thread given you reason to think they believe this, or are you just projecting?
Plenty of people here without doubt believe that. Besides that 'these discussions' are not limited to this thead, or this Mormon-heavy community.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by shadowland:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
So, having your worldview called into question by other people is hell?

Think about Tom's quote in relation to the specific comment he was responding to.
Me asking him what the point was...doesn't shed any light for me. I would ask again...but I doubt it would help.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, Stone_Wolf, but you don't have a chance of getting into Rollerskate Pony Heaven if you're going to remain that ignorant of equine anatomy.

Can I get into regular human heaven please? I think rollerskate pony heaven might actually be one of my hells, not that I mind rollerskates or ponies, for eternity? How many times can you watch small horses on wheels collide before it looses it's appeal?
Sorry man. Rollerskate Pony Heaven is the only game in town. You don't want to go there, you end up in Rollerskate Pony Hell. Trust me. You do not want to end up there.
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TomDavidson
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Man, as often as I recommend people read Sartre, I'm going to get a reputation as some kind of Sartre fanboy -- even though I disagree with him almost as often as I agree. *laugh*
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
]Sorry man. Rollerskate Pony Heaven is the only game in town. You don't want to go there, you end up in Rollerskate Pony Hell. Trust me. You do not want to end up there.

How about I just keep living for now.
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mr_porteiro_head
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That's just another name for Rollerskate Pony Purgatory.
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Stone_Wolf_
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gas·kin (gskn)
n.
1. The part of the hind leg of a horse or related animal between the stifle and the hock.

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Bella Bee
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quote:
between the stifle and the hock.
If you don't know what a gaskin is, are you going to know what a stifle is?

That's like going 'Oh, a murglepugh - of course. You can find it between the umpledinger and the brizleflot.'

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Stone_Wolf_
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Stifle...the verbal order for silence.

Hock...to put up something valuable at a pawn shop.

Umpledinger...a sexual position involving an inverted twist.

Brizleflot...the sound that a bear turd makes as it plops to the ground.

Murglepugh...someone who's face is so ugly that it is physically painful to gaze upon them.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Asking them to be less religious is essentially the same thing.
I actually fundamentally disagree on this point. I would not be attempting to teach someone to believe something; I would be attempting to teach them how to think critically.
Which is an admirable skill to have. But very first, you have to convince them to let go of how they were believing and accept a new way. That's where most of the toes get stepped on.
No, you dont start by insisting that a religious person abandon their beliefs. That would be the thinking of a religious person. You start by engaging the person in a critical view of their surroundings and assumptions. Effective education allows the religious believer to dismiss his beliefs on his own, unless he feels the need to cling to them for some deeper purpose. Look at OSC, for example. He preserved his religious beliefs through his education by turning his critical view of the world on the academic establishment itself. All the while, framing the secular humanist, in varying degrees, as the hero in nearly all of his fiction. The weird thing about his writing is how hateful he is of religious zealotry, whether it is dressed up as academic snobbishness, or not.

Hmm. There's an interesting paper in there somewhere.

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Jim-Me
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
The other is saying the he thinks you're wrong, and you deserve to be punished for it.

No. The other is saying that they think that you're wrong, and that there will be consequences for it.
In point of fact, both groups are saying this. The consequences are different, but I submit that both groups would consider them dramatically important. One considers them world-changing, the other considers them eternal. Neither is small potatoes.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Agreed.
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Zotto!
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I feel that OSC's "Secular Humanist Revival Meeting" might be pertinent to this discussion:

http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival1.mp3
http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival2.mp3

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TomDavidson
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Ah, those tapes make me so sad.
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Zotto!
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Why?
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Teshi
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I don't really understand it.
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Mucus
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Huh.
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Teshi
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This may be stirring a hornet's nest, but would someone please explain the argument? I admit I didn't listen to the whole thing, but perhaps because I'm unfamiliar with the discussion in America, I didn't quite catch on.

EDIT: I read above and I think I understand.

[ July 30, 2011, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: Teshi ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Ah, those tapes make me so sad.

I totally disagree, I think they're representative of OSC at his prime. Back when he actually believed in separation of church and state, and disagreed with legislating morality. I realize you probably dislike them because he purports the U.S.'s identity as a secular state is, in the long run, beneficial for religious people as well as atheists. But as an atheist, can't you at least see that a "live and let live" policy is at least better than having a state sponsored religion?
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Strider
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It's possible they make Tom sad because it reminds him of how great OSC used to be. (I didn't listen to the mp3s)
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TomDavidson
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Strider's got the right of it, I'm afraid.
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scifibum
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It's so weird to hear the merciless mockery of Creation Science in that production and then remember that OSC completely missed that ID was a rebranding of the same stuff, to the point where he defended ID.
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Rakeesh
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Heh, that (the audio) for people who say people don't change.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
I feel that OSC's "Secular Humanist Revival Meeting" might be pertinent to this discussion:

http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival1.mp3
http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival2.mp3

It's so amazing that this is by a guy who is now on the board of one of america's most loathsome (and actually, legitimately, one of the dumbest) anti-gay special interest organizations, and has put so much sound and fury into a legacy which seems like a hateful Man on the Moon farce of the person in those recordings.
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Zotto!
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Sigh. I thought as much. The old "Card has fallen from his 80's grace" thing as usual.

Though I'm sure he's changed some of his views in the intervening years, there is simply no contradiction between Card's stance in that routine and his later writing. He has never defended ID as such, he was merely alarmed at the scientific danger posed when social forces seemed to discourage the questioning of axioms of evolutionary theory back between '06 and '08. For instance:

quote:
Let me make it clear from the start that I believe Intelligent Design is wrong and potentially dangerous - and shouldn't be taught in science classes as if it were a scientific theory, because it is not.
quote:
The problem with ID Theory is that they make an unwarranted intellectual leap. Just because the Darwinian model is inadequate or even contradicted by the evidence does not mean, imply, or even hint that the best alternative explanation of the evidence is that it was designed by an intelligent creator.

Even when you coyly insist that you don't necessarily refer to God, Darwinism and ID are not the only two conceivable choices, and the assumption of Intelligent Design is counterproductive and antiscientific.

quote:
Yes, there are problems with the Darwinian model. But those problems are questions. "Intelligent design" is an answer, and you have no evidence at all for that.

...

Intelligent design uses the evil "must" word: Well, if random mutation plus natural selection can't account for the existence of this complex system, then it must have been brought into existence by some intelligent designer

Why? Why must that be the only alternative?

Just because the Darwinian model seems to be inadequate at the molecular level does not imply in any way that the only other explanation is purposive causation.

There might be several or even many other hypotheses. To believe in Intelligent Design is still a leap of faith.

quote:
I was underinformed about one key point, which explains some of the hostility. I did not know that the phrase "intelligent design," which I think is a huge leap of faith anyway, has been adopted by the same old lying pinheads who created "creation science."

CS was and always has been dishonest about what actual science is, and it deliberately misrepresents evidence. I have been informed since writing my essay that the same old CS trash has been repackaged using "intelligent design" as a catchphrase. So the legitimate questions originally raised by the earliest IDers have been swamped by the deceptions of the Creation Science people.

This is an example of intellectual rigor. He proposed that even when it gives temporary ammunition to those we disagree with, science has to behave like science. It's not a defense of ID, it's a defense of going where the evidence leads. Perfectly compatible with the Revival Meeting, which explicitly states that we should expect current ideas to be refined in the future.

His intro to Future on Ice has a good bit explaining where he was coming from with the routine and what he hoped it accomplished:

http://bks8.books.google.co.cr/books?rview=1&hl=en&id=pUhIQlp6EAwC&dq=related%3AISBN0312608985&q=secular+humanist#v=snippet&q=secular%20humanist&f=false

[ July 30, 2011, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Zotto! ]

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scifibum
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Well, I stand corrected. I didn't know (or had forgotten) he had acknowledged the close link between Intelligent Design and Creation Science. Thanks for posting that.
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Zotto!
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Welks! [Smile]
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Olivet
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Thanks for that, Zotto. Unfortunately it doesn't change the stuff Samp linked to, which, legitimately or not, is likely to send him down in history as a hate-monger. [Frown]

I say this only because my experience of the world has shown me that nuance of argument does not often survive to be what people remember. Reasons behind his stance and distinctions between the sin and the sinner and whatnot will almost certainly be forgotten. Given that nearly 70% of the under 30 set are pro SSM, that giant ball of public opinion is already rolling downhill.

I believe that he will not be remembered as a man of reason, but as a kooky hatemonger. That belief causes me physical pain. (Not constantly, mind. When I think about it, I feel the wrongness of that sort of historical footnote, even though I largely disagree with his conclusions.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
I say this only because my experience of the world has shown me that nuance of argument does not often survive to be what people remember.

He's said things which ensure that there's not a lot of difference in interpretation even with nuance.

The grimy details of his essays on gays and gay marriage don't leave much to the imagination of history's perception of him.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
I feel that OSC's "Secular Humanist Revival Meeting" might be pertinent to this discussion:

http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival1.mp3
http://media.aofonline.org/SecularHumanistRevival2.mp3

It's so amazing that this is by a guy who is now on the board of one of america's most loathsome (and actually, legitimately, one of the dumbest) anti-gay special interest organizations, and has put so much sound and fury into a legacy which seems like a hateful Man on the Moon farce of the person in those recordings.
But don't you see? OSC can do all of these things for years and years, and all he has to do to diffuse criticism is to claim that he is not bigoted. That is all that is required.

Also he's a democrat. Because he says he is.

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Zotto!
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Card has given reasoned, anthropologically-sound, sociologically-aware critiques of the attempt to treat gay marriage as indistinguishable in kind and purpose from heterosexual marriage. He has also criticized particular actions of judges which, he believes, are just as dangerous, in the long run, to those who support their goals.

That some people do not agree with his reasoning (personally, I lean a bit more liberal than he on that issue, but then, I'm 25, so apparently that's just my zeitgeist speaking) hardly makes him a "hate-monger", and the constant attempt to portray "the grimy details" of his side of the argument as if anyone who propounds them is an irredeemable bigot who would incite a pogrom or oppose miscegenation is simply unjustified.

The only evidence I ever see given that Card has somehow forgotten or abandoned the skepticism and rationality of the time folks like Tom continually point to as his heyday is the fact that he does not reach the same conclusions as those who bemoan his "fall". Yet in 2010, for instance, he said:

quote:
"We [do not] benefit from "educating" our children in a one-party school system. Freedom cannot survive in a society that allows only people of one ideological stripe to determine what and how our children will be taught.

So a conservative takeover of the schools and universities would find me attacking them as vigorously as I am now fighting Leftist control of education. There is no room in a republic for a monopoly of thought."

He might come to different conclusions than some, when he asserts that there is currently a Leftist monopoly on education. He might be looking at different evidence, analyzing that evidence through a different chain of reasoning. What there is no evidence for is the idea that his worldview is reached without nuanced thinking.

While I'm sympathetic to your concerns, Olivet, I think Card is historian enough to realize that the biased portrayals recorded in history books are not the standard by which one should judge one's actions in life.

Anyone who reads Songmaster or Speaker for the Dead or Enchantment or Pathfinder will see that Card is so obviously not a "hate-monger" that the attempts to slander his reputation based on his politics should be dismissed as the partisan nonsense they are.

I think that while they might not be as publicly noticeable, the effects that books like those will have in the minds of readers will cause more good in the unnoticed flow of unrecorded history than the temporary wrangling over his essays which is based more on volume than reason.

But this is all, of course, wildly tangential. My purpose in posting was to refute the idea that religious believers are, by definition, deluded, which is as obviously false a claim as can be made. The most cursory glance at human history shows that many of the most intelligent people ever born were extremely devout.

There is no basis for concluding, in the charmingly patronizing words above, that religious people, by definition, have not "engag[ed] ... in a critical view of their surroundings and assumptions," or refused to partake of "effective education" in a desperate "need to cling to [religious views] for some deeper purpose."

If Card has "preserved his religious beliefs through his education," he's done so because, after examining his faith skeptically, he thinks it is true! There is no need to posit some perceived cognitive dissonance, which is more a function of an observer's inability to reconcile certain viewpoints existing in the same man.

If anything, the LDS religion - which propounds a doctrine of physical apotheosis which collapses the distance traditionally interposed between God and us Lowly Calvinism Creatures Predestined To Wormhood - is "humanism" par excellence.

When Card is critical of religious zealotry, it's certainly not in conflict with his religion; as one of many, many examples I could give, LDS President Stephen L. Richards once said:

quote:
"I fear dictatorial dogmatism, rigidity of procedure and intolerance ... Fanaticism and bigotry have been the deadly enemies of true religion in the long past. They have made it forbidding, shut it up in cold grey walls of monastery and nunnery, out of sunlight and fragrance of the growing world.

They have garbed it in black and then in white, when in truth it is neither black nor white, any more than life is black or white, for religion is life abundant, glowing life, with all its shades, colors and hues, as the children of men reflect in the patterns of their lives the radiance of the Holy Spirit in varying degrees."

We're all ignorant primates genetically programmed to suspect that it's the other guy who's stupid. But in a society supposedly based on logic, can't we get off this kick of thinking that any one group has a monopoly on rationality?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
he was merely alarmed at the scientific danger posed when social forces seemed to discourage the questioning of axioms of evolutionary theory back between '06 and '08

This is "merely" the perpetuation of a false narrative pressed by creationists to undermine the public perception of the scientific establishment, with the hope of legislating the teaching of religious doctrine.

Were ID movements actually "questioning" axioms of evolutionary theory, this would not be under discussion. That was not what was happening. What was happening was an organized attempt to violate the separation of church and state by convincing the public that science is a matter of opinion and that a scientific theory is equivalent to a religious belief.

That OSC bought into and perpetuated this wholly false and pernicious narrative, and even called the actions of the scientific and academic establishment dangerous to science is inexcusable, in light of his previous works.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
If Card has "preserved his religious beliefs through his education," he's done so because, after examining his faith skeptically, he thinks it is true! There is no need to posit some perceived cognitive dissonance, which is more a function of an observer's inability to reconcile certain viewpoints existing in the same man.

You have exactly as much authority to make claims about why he acts the way he does, and about the quality of his beliefs, as I do. That is either none, which you grant me, or as much as a reasonable analysis of his works allows, which you grant yourself. You don't get it both ways. Either I get to make reasonable conclusions, and so do you, or neither of us do.
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Zotto!
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I think my quotes show pretty conclusively that Card never "bought into" ID's central claim of an intervention of purposive causation in the first place. He called it "wrong", "potentially dangerous", "antiscientific", and something which should not be taught in science classes. I don't know how else he could have expressed disapproval of the movement.

Yes, he disagrees with some claims by those who, he believes, venerate Darwin's explanations to the degree that it interferes with legitimate questions. This does not mean he supports ID. It certainly isn't an "inexcusable" viewpoint just because you disagree with his reading of history.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Card has given reasoned, anthropologically-sound, sociologically-aware critiques of the attempt to treat gay marriage as indistinguishable in kind and purpose from heterosexual marriage.
Most of his available critiques in this area aren't actually anthropologically sound and advance the premise that allowing gay marriage would, in one way or another, bring about the downfall of our civilization.

If he has "anthropologically-sound" critiques, you'd better relay them here.

quote:
That some people do not agree with his reasoning (personally, I lean a bit more liberal than he on that issue, but then, I'm 25, so apparently that's just my zeitgeist speaking) hardly makes him a "hate-monger", and the constant attempt to portray "the grimy details" of his side of the argument as if anyone who propounds them is an irredeemable bigot who would incite a pogrom or oppose miscegenation is simply unjustified.
*cough*

um, what?

Also to note: I don't want to "portray" said details. They speak well enough for themselves, verbatim. I may want to share them, so that people understand in Card, they're dealing with a person who literally wants it to remain illegal for homosexuals to have sex with each other, and make a call that true defenders of (real, heterosexual) marriage should consider any government that allows homosexuals to marry as an enemy that they should act to destroy and overthrow.

I agree with you that Card has not advocated ID. The rest of this, not so much.

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Zotto!
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(Edit: this was addressed to Orincoro.) I was disagreeing with your interpretation because I didn't think there was a need to posit some of the things you did. I didn't say you weren't allowed to make reasonable conclusions. Sheesh.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Yes, he disagrees with some claims by those who, he believes, venerate Darwin's explanations to the degree that it interferes with legitimate questions. This does not mean he supports ID. It certainly isn't an "inexcusable" viewpoint just because you disagree with his reading of history.
I didn't say it was an inexcusable viewpoint. Please be more attentive to what I am saying.

It is inexcusable in light of his previous works, is what I said. This means, in case it was not clear, that it is a lapse in a system of though established through his previous work, which is inexcusable as a simple eccentricity that had not been previously expressed. Meaning: it is a substantial *change* in thinking.

You need to understand, I'm using this language very carefully, and I don't feel you're reading it with equal care.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
(Edit: this was addressed to Orincoro.) I was disagreeing with your interpretation because I didn't think there was a need to posit some of the things you did. I didn't say you weren't allowed to make reasonable conclusions. Sheesh.

Yes, this precisely what you implied. You are perhaps embarrassed to realize that you did- more, you are embarrassed to have me point this out to you, correctly. But that is what happened, in my view.

Telling me there's no need of my opinions, while you posit your own along much the same basis? Yeah. That sounds a lot like you telling me I'm not allowed to have an opinion because I'm not Mormon.

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Zotto!
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(Edit: this was to your previous post.) I am reading carefully, actually, but your statement appeared ambiguous. I apologize for misunderstanding. However, I disagree that it is a substantial change in thinking, for the lengthy reasons I've given above, which are about the best I can do to show you what I'm trying to get at.

(Edit in response to your last post: if I implied that, it certainly wasn't intentional, dude. I'm not "embarrassed" for something I didn't realize I even did. I'm honestly still not seeing it, actually, but if I came off as dismissive merely because you're not a Mormon, I do apologize.)

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Orincoro
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I know what you're trying to get at. I think you fall into the author trap of granting credibility where it not necessarily due. It is the same man. That does not lead me to give the benefit of the doubt that the man's views have not changed. You might as well credit Einstein with having *always* supported General Relativity over Special Relativity, even though he advocated the latter for many years, and the two theories are diametrically opposed.

Look, this happens quite a lot with authors and other creative people. They can be crushed under the weight of all their early accomplishments, and spend years and decades undermining it all in the pursuit of equally revolutionary and world-changing revelations. Newton spent the latter part of his life pursuing alchemy. Stravinsky spent his last ten years composing 12 tone music, and Bobby Fischer because a fascist. Happens all the time.

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Zotto!
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I am aware. I disagree in this case, and am disinclined to expend more energy on this if that big post above wasn't as flawlessly persuasive as I'd hoped.

(More importantly, I am hungry, so adieu for now, beautiful Hatrack.)

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Stone_Wolf_
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Heya Tom D...I'd like to invite you to attempt to turn me into an atheist. I'm not religious, so it should be easier...my views on god are more theories and not strongly held beliefs, so it should again be easier to convert me theoretically then someone in a community of like minded theologians.

I have to admit I am curious as to your idea that if I saw things clearly enough, I would abandon my belief that there is a higher power of some kind.

I'm basically a pantheist, or someone who believes that God is everything and everything is God.

If you don't wanna do it, that's okay...I just though you might enjoy trying.

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Strider
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Stone_Wolf, a good first step would be reflecting on the scientific usage of the word "theory" and the common every day usage which you used in your post. It's tangentially related, in that conflating the two uses leads to mistrust and a distorted perception of science, and that could lead to not allowing certain scientific facts to influence your belief system.

I have a follow up question to your post. If god is everything and everything is god, does removing god from the universe change anything about the universe? I think you need to be clear about what exactly you believe if you want Tom, or whoever, to be able to discuss things effectively.

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Hobbes
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Orincoro, you post as if you disagree with me, but your point seems to be the same: no need to comment on the truth or falsehood of anyone's beliefs when discussing religion with them, even if your goal is to radically change them. Certainly no need to insult them or their beliefs. Your opinion appears to be that you don't need to even discuss what the person believes to be successful. Which is fine I guess though I disagree that it would be very effective. For instance the above example in which the first response is to discuss their beliefs (presumably in attempt to understand how they understand their world).

I guess the theory is that if you can teach them to think "correctly" in general terms they will eventually abandon their religious beliefs, is that right? I suppose it may work in some cases but I find it unlikely that it would particularly effective to discuss the basis of a person's reality without talking about their religious beliefs (or lack there-of). All that being said, it's once again irrelevant to the point. Even if you're right, there's clearly no point in telling someone they're deluded, or that they have the equivalent of a drug problem or even just that they're wrong.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Orincoro
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Of course there's a point to telling someone they're wrong. But you have to have some degree of credibility with them if you expect to actually be believed. It just so happens that religious teachings insulate against the established credibility of rationalist teachers with taboos related to the devil, temptation and sin, and other anti-intellectual prejudices. Religious institutions and teachings are adaptive- they have been honed over thousands of years to survive serious challenges by instilling a fear of an aversion to intellectual curiosity in certain key areas of thinking. That's a natural result of the calcification of any system of thought, including my own. Yet I am capable of admitting this. The "you don't have all the answers" ploy has always amused me, because it's based on a religious presupposition that there exists a possible state in which all the answers are available.
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Teshi
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Stone_Wolf, just out of interest, does your deity modify the universe (itself, I suppose) to create some meaning/achieve some goal or is it mostly passive? The goal could involve sentient beings (e.g. humans and aliens) or not.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Strider: (I owe you a reply for your explanation of Tom's heroine comparison, thanks for going into detail) I use the word "theory" as my best guess/current thinking based on available evidence on a topic which I can not prove, but will modify slightly/quite a bit, or completely abandon as new evidence/ideas are gathered. Isn't that how science uses the word?

Does removing god from the universe change the universe...my belief is basically that every single molecule of the universe is god, taken as a whole, so if you removed god, you would be reverting to a pre big bang situation, nothing happening with no where for it to happen with no when for it to happen.

Teshi: My thinking is that Everything (my version of "God") is sentient on a level which is nearly incomprehensible to us, as if one of my liver cells would try to comprehend me. I do think that Everything does make decisions, but I see it more as a system builder then as a prayer answerer. As to your second question (good question) I imagine that if I were Everything, I would be lonely and unable by myself to learn anything. I would want to divide out small pieces of my sentience and make them separate from my Everything cognizance to go and experience things and learn and be entertainment. So when we die, we rejoin Everything, and loose our individualness, but also bring the lessons of our life to the "collective". If that makes any sense.

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