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Has Richard Dawkins lost it?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:11 pm    Post subject: four horsemen Reply with quote

Dafydd doesn't like to have Richard Dawkins spoken slightingly of. I'm thrilled by the literature and debates by the four horsemen of the - New Atheist - apocalypse too, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, Dawkins and the now deceased Christopher Hitchens - perhaps the horsewoman Ayaan Hirsi Ali will take his place.

It's like a trip to a massage parlour of the mind to listen to some of their discussions on the internet. They make your brain tingle all over. They say things you have often felt but could never have expressed so beautifully.

But that doesn't mean I have to agree with them about everything. Unfortunately, Dawkins does have an old fashioned and unenlightened attitude to disability, and he's not even aware of his own ignorance.

I've discussed the details earlier in this thread. I needn't repeat myself here.

On the other hand he is full of Socratic ignorance about the EU. He admitted he had neither the time nor the patience to do his 'due diligence' on Brexit.

He thought he was too ignorant to have a vote on the subject and the same went for his neighbours. He mentioned an old lady who voted for Brexit because she thought it would be 'nice to have a change.' Then somebody else said it would be nice to have a blue British passport instead of a burgundy coloured European one.

I agree the campaign was awful. Whether there should never ever be a plebiscite - I won't say that. Dawkins also thought the Scottish referendum should never even have happened. I don't agree as countries should have a right to self determination.

I think Dawkins was right in saying Cameron was a total idiot. He didn't want Brexit to win.

He could have demanded a two thirds majority. But he didn't even have the sense he was born with.

Maybe Dawkins is a bit hung up on aesthetics. He was asked if he didn't think it might be virtuous to destroy some species - what about the malaria bearing mosquito?

He began to apostrophise wistfully about the symmetrical beauty of mosquitos. He added that he wouldn't hesitate to swat an individual mosquito into eternal oblivion.

He was then asked if he would like to revive certain extinct species such as dinosaurs.He became animated and excited. ''Oh yes!'' he cried.

He would definitely bring the T Rex back to life if he could. But sadly, it wouldn't be possible. The DNA is too old and degraded.

It would be educational and fascinating in a shocking way - but God's blood, it would be cruel and irresponsible! The habitat these animals inhabited has gone.

What are they going to eat? Us?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:37 am    Post subject: case by case Reply with quote

Dafydd is right that whether euthanasia is right for a given patient should be decided on a case by case basis. But decided by whom?

By a narcissistic doctor drunk on power? By a neo-Nazi nurse who thinks certain categories of people are untermenschen?

I suggest not. Ideally, the patient will be able to make the decision without pressure from the hopeful beneficiaries of their will.

Unlike Dafydd, I don't think cutting their throat like a halal goat is the best way to achieve a good death. I would favour an overdose of a powerful pain killer, Tramadol or morphia. This is legal anyway under the doctrine of 'double effect.'

Do remember mercy killing is supposed to be a mercy to the patient, not to the other people on the ward who hate him. This is not something that should be done for other people's convenience.

I can hardly believe I've come to this, talking about euthanasia in quite approving terms. Maybe it shouldn't be encouraged or even legal in most circumstances. But we just have to accept that a good death is better than the bad death that British hospitals dish out now.

I'll just leave you with this thought. We've read in Dai's account that in at least one case, when a relative wasn't happy about a patient being left to die of thirst, the staff's reaction was to threaten to call the police.

As they have a duty of care, their habitual behaviour could reasonably be interpreted as murder. It is not manslaughter as there is pre-meditation.

But they're quite confident that the police would take their side. They were not at all afraid that the police would poke their noses into their activities, and ask awkward questions.

So what can a relative do in this situation? Precious little I suppose.

You could write to your MP or, in Wales, your AM. You could talk to a newspaper.

But even if that does bring much needed change in the long run, it's almost certainly going to be too late for the person you care about.
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Moritz



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He was then asked if he would like to revive certain extinct species such as dinosaurs.He became animated and excited. ''Oh yes!'' he cried.

He would definitely bring the T Rex back to life if he could. But sadly, it wouldn't be possible. The DNA is too old and degraded.

It would be educational and fascinating in a shocking way - but God's blood, it would be cruel and irresponsible! The habitat these animals inhabited has gone.

What are they going to eat? Us?

No. Tyrannosauri reges don't eat people, they eat pigs and cows same as people do, same as zoo animals do.

Jurassic Park asserts that Dinosaurs escape from Zoos. I assert that animals excaping from zoos is rare and newsworthy.

It's a MOVIE of course the Dinosaurs are going to excape. All zoo movies are about excapes. All prison movies are about excapes.

Name me ONE zoomovie that is a different genre: eg a comic opera where the zoo boss loves the lowly ticket collector?
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dai



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not so sure that dinosaurs have not escaped : this being The U-Knighted Kingdom they are running around all over the place - but of course they have only been revived by mixing their DNA with that of the existing species ... the problems are exactly the same as those in Jurassic Park where they are falling ill in the modern environment and predating on human beings in lieu of finding an appropriate niche within the political system : basically Democrats do not belong in the modern world and those who keep trying to revive these various obselete species can only cause general mayhem - especially once they point cameras at them them ...
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: dino Reply with quote

According to legal studies courses, youth courts formally known as juvenile courts have to be held in camera. Mysteriously, there must also be three magistrates on the bench, one of whom must be a man and one must be a woman.

So what is the third magistrate? We will never be permitted to know as these courts sit in secret.

But I suspect that the third magistrate is a dinosaur. After all, people often say our courts are being run by dinosaurs.
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dai



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:11 am    Post subject: terrible bird Reply with quote

It's risky posting a bit of facetiousness these days. Some idiot will take it literally, and the next thing you know, it's a conspiracy theory believed by 75% of the population.

There are grown up people in the west today who believe the world is run by shape shifting lizards. They are not all mad although it's unlikely that any of them are very bright.

I was just making a little jokette, but I've now found out that if dinosaurs aren't running everything, they are at least still with us. The wiki article refers to them in the present tense.

This is because birds are dinosaurs. We previously said that birds are descended from dinosaurs, but it's now felt that there was no cut off point. They never stopped being dinosaurs.
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Moritz



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Citizeness Saxe coburgh Gotha and her brood are Lizards, therefore they appoint their cousin dinosaurs to high office.

Birds stopped being dinosaurs when they stopped being huge and mihty tlc.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: su Reply with quote

The Windsors and their coterie are only dinosaurs in a strictly metaphorical sense. I'd like to think that birds are dinosaurs. Then we won't have to mourn the passing of the terrible lizards.

Even the Sun today said that about two patients in NHS hospitals are purposely allowed to die of hunger or thirst or both each day, in the UK. If this had happened to one person once, it would be a terrific scandal.

The person would become an iconic figure like Timothy Evans, the man on your conscience. But it appears that one man dead is a tragedy; 10, 000 men dead is a statistic.

Once you go into hospital as an inpatient, you forfeit not only your dignity but your human rights. We know that we all have a high risk that this will happen to us personally.

Why do we complacently put up with it? We should be rebelling.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:35 pm    Post subject: gnashing of teeth Reply with quote

I will never see eye to eye with Dawkins on everything but I'm beginning to sympathise with him. We have a tiny library in Abergavenny. A group meets there with some regularity to discuss quite loudly some rather dull books.

To my great surprise today, as I was using the same table for Welsh homework and letter writing they began to discuss Richard Dawkins' 'The God Delusion.' My ears wagged eagerly. I hoped the discussion would be of interest to me for once.

At one point I ventured a remark. The chairwoman or whoever she was asked me if I was a bona fide member of the group. When I admitted I wasn't, she said that they wanted no more remarks from me. Otherwise, they wouldn't get anywhere. And this although I said I'd read the book.

I took a deep breath, pinned an insouciant smile on my face and continued with my letter writing. Ages later someone said ''Scientology! Is that a real religion? I think it's an invented religion!''

''Well, if I was allowed to say anything'', I remarked in an undertone, ''I'd say that all religions are invented!''

''Er .. yes, thank you'', came the response in no generous spirit. Near the end, the chairwoman who had been so rejecting of me, was struggling to understand what Dawkins meant when he referenced feminism and consciousness raising although he had no great interest in the subject per se.

As she was really stuck, I explained that he was making an analogy, in this case with how children should not be labelled with their parents' religion. ''Er..yes, thank you; it's an analogy'', she conceded.

Shortly after I had been slapped down, people were discussing whether Lionel Blue had written any books and if they would make a good counterpoint to 'The God Delusion.' The question had arisen as to whether he had ever lost his faith.

I didn't dare say anything. But as the group was breaking up, and people were standing up, I said, ''If anyone is still interested, Lionel Blue lost his faith as a child because his prayers that Hitler and Mosley should be destroyed, went unanswered. But he regained it as an adult for emotional reasons.''

The chairwoman did make some comparatively gracious acknowledgement. Later while the members were still in the library, I remarked to someone on how amusing it was that people came to discuss Richard Dawkins' arrogance, then arrogantly disparaged me for making an inoffensive comment.

I spoke quietly but not inaudibly. After they had gone, I was a bit more forthcoming on the subject to a librarian who took their side. She said I couldn't just have joined the Welsh group in an ad hoc manner. I said ''But I did!''

I had wondered if you had to pay to join the reading group. If so, they might have had a case. But that was not it.

The librarian said that everyone had read the book in advance, and if anyone was allowed to join in, it would be a free for all. I said I had read it, and I hadn't intended to derail the conversation to have a cream bun fight or to discuss football.

Perhaps I should have taken it as an invitation rather than a challenge when asked if I had joined the group. But I had an awful fear that I would have to end up paying for a yearly subscription to discuss Biggles.

It may be that many would have thought it was I who was being the bumptious little prat with no manners. An analogy can be made with Dawkins himself.

People often assume he is arrogant when he doesn't mean to be. Someone in the group thought that he actually lacked confidence and that he had a mixture of diffidence and anguish in his manner.

Most of the group had been brought up to go to church three or four times on Sundays. Somebody said she would have been scared as a child to say she had doubts. It was not that she was frightened of angering the big man in the sky, but of angering the adults around her.

Somebody else said that if, as a child, someone in the Catholic tradition, pointed out an apparent illogicality in the received doctrine, they were not shamed or punished. But they were told, ''This is a holy mystery. You will understand when you go to Heaven.''

The chairwoman, with whom I had clashed, said that if you did have a very strong faith you would want to pass it on to your children. Otherwise, they might go off the rails.

I have to say this is one thing where I came to the same conclusion as Dawkins, before I even knew he existed. I've known parents to nag and badger and almost terrorise their children into going to church.

This has to be counterproductive. It also seems to me that if you have strong supernatural beliefs for which you have no evidence whatsoever, and for which there could never be any evidence, you have absolutely no right to present them to your children as fact.

It would be too oppressive if the state intervened to prevent your doing this. But if only it did happen, we could destroy the mind virus of religious indoctrination in one generation.

Remember the young guy in Afghanistan who was sentenced to death for looking up stuff about women's rights online? A good number of millennials agreed with the death sentence! This couldn't have happened of they hadn't been indoctrinated as kids.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: arrogance or what you will Reply with quote

I approached the Welsh reading group in Newport Library in the same diffident manner that I approached the class that was discussing 'The God Delusion' in Abergavenny Library today. So did some other people later.

They weren't sure they were up to being full members but were keen to try out a bit of conversational Welsh, and discuss how they were doing, to ask how other people found the learning experience and so on. It was with the opposite result to that I experienced today.

They and I were made welcome, given encouragement, invited to the group's Christmas dinner and much more. It was really touching.

But according to the librarian today, that was wrong. It was encouraging a free for all. Shouldn't it be free for all?

It's impossible to be objective about yourself. So I can't tell if it was I or the chairwoman who was being arrogant today or if both of us were.

I felt able to be a bit more objective when she read some quotes from Richard Dawkins and complained about how arrogant he was. I didn't think he was being arrogant at all, but speaking truth to power. Someone has to do it.

Even the dissident member of the group who thought he displayed a kind of agitated diffidence, was critical of him for this. She made it sound as if it was a symptom of a mental disorder.

Creationists and those who subscribe to Intelligent Design often complain about the arrogance of scientists. But it seems to me that it is creationists who are arrogant as they have no evidence to back up their world view at all.

I asked Dafydd what it had been like to be a fundamentalist Christian. ''Does it make you happy?'', I asked. ''It doesn't make you happy'', he replied, ''but it makes you very arrogant, and that's nearly as good.''

A national convention of scientists discussing their area of expertise is apparently the most diffident meeting there could be. Everyone is eager to defer to everyone else. They might begin a statement by saying, ''If this doesn't sound too ridiculous to you'', or ''I know you are much better informed but..''

Dawkins mentioned that he had a professor who believed that some biological feature was a myth and taught his students this. He attended a lecture which proved conclusively that it was a physical reality.

He shook the lecturer's hand and said, ''I want to thank you. I have been wrong all these years.'' Dawkins said they students clapped until their hands were raw.

Dawkins doesn't live up to his ideals in practice, not all the time. He has sounded off on Down's Syndrome and indeed on how colours are perceived in Welsh without knowing what he was talking about.

But he's only human. Who ever is consistent?

At least he aspires to consult reality humbly. Religionists, especially those who deny science, don't even try to do this.

They are just like balloons with the ends untied, flying crazily round a room.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:39 am    Post subject: abse Reply with quote

The woman running the reading group in Abergavenny Library naturally made an extremely bad impression on me. That's not to say she should be demonised.

Who can understand the complexities of other human souls, even after knowing them for much longer than that painful encounter? I was just given a tantalising morsel of what she really is, when she said emphatically that Leo Abse was not a nice man.

I was once in the presence of the late Danny Abse for a poetry reading, but I have never met his brother Leo. I have to say that what impression we had of his personality did not make me warm to him.

His attitude to women could be quite infuriating. His books, especially on Margaret Thatcher, were like self parody.

They showed that psycho babble has a lot to answer for. His more recent book in which he examined oral sex and masochism, sounds quite daunting.

You'd be wary of getting beyond the title. I've never managed it except with 'Wotan My Enemy'. It made me feel very said because of its blatant flaws.

But if this woman's problem with Abse was that he had brought about divorce reform and the decriminalising of homosexuality, it would indicate that she has a certain capacity for intolerance in general. It would not just have been my annoying presence that brought it out in her. I will never know what she meant by this decided statement.

Perhaps Abse was widely disliked by conservative religious people. A few years ago I came across a letter to the Western Mail online about this.

It seems to have been written by me but I had temporarily forgotten about it. I was amazed they had published it.

I had never expected this, but had written it in a splenetic five minutes. I had had no doubt it would be filed in the bin.

Paradoxically, if I had expected it to be published, I would never have sent it. I had just been letting off steam.

Here it is. Under the heading, 'Let's Ditch the Bible', chosen by the editor, I wrote - way back in 2008 - shortly after Abse's death:

'SIR - If as the Rev Geoff Waggett says (August 2Cool Leo Abse has helped to destroy Christian culture in this country, that is tremendous.

Couples who hate each other need not remain married.

Unless David and Jonathan or Naomi and Ruth were same sex couples, homosexuality is never tolerated in the Bible.

The Bible makes homosexuality a capital offence. On the other hand, the Old Testament advocates murder, rape and genocide.

Leo Abse did not favour abortion reform but the Bible incites God to inflict spontaneous abortions on the Israelites. God pressurises Abraham to kill his own son. The reader is expected to admire this.

A healthy society tolerates diversity.

The Bible impedes this. Leo Abse was a Jew.

It's a bit rich to criticise him for not shoring up Christianity in this country.

MARIANNE HANCOCK.'

Although I wrote this myself, I don't like it much. It's crisp, clear and concise, but it sounds a bit adolescent.

Richard Dawkins has a high rather boyish piping voice. I quite like the sound of it, and I don't read anything into it. But I'm aware that the new atheism has been seen as a symptom of arrested development.

Maybe I was stoking the flames with a 'yah-boo' letter. But I don't believe the criticism is accurate.

Just listen to a speech by Daniel Dennett online, then listen to Dawkins or Sam Harris in opposition to William Lane Craig. I don't think you'll get the impression it is the atheist speaker who has never grown up.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:43 pm    Post subject: When I hear the word culture. I reach for my gun Reply with quote

Perhaps the problem with the woman mentioned above was not just a clash of personalities. It may have been a case of culture shock.

Generally speaking, the Welsh classes for adults I have been attending, have been inclusive, welcoming and evangelical. The more the merrier is the attitude.

If anyone wanders up and takes a spontaneous interest, they are greeted with warmth. The idea is that we must save the dear mamiaith at all costs, and that means reaching out to people.

Unlike the book club, there is no attitude: 'Oh we must keep this one out or we'll be taken over by barbarians. We don't want to encourage this person. He's so spotty! He must have a low IQ.'

As I previously thought I was getting along quite well with the librarian I spoke to later, it made me very sad she took the side of the woman who, in my view, was so rude in treating me like an undesirable moron. It will make me feel uneasy when I see the librarian later.

I must give some credit to the rejecting mistress of ceremonies though. When I later stepped in to help her out when she got stuck in the text, she did say ''Oh yes, thank you!'' Perhap her attitude to my annoying presence had evolved.

It might have been better if I'd taken that as a small but significant victory, and not whinged to the librarian later. It was not an official complaint though.

The librarian seemed to think I had failed in common courtesy in not signing up as a member of the group before making a harmless comment. But they really do read some awful books.

I did plunge into the sickening and frankly disgusting masochism of reading the entire works of George Eliot as a young adult. But I've done with this literary slumming. I'm not interested in cardboard fictional detectives.

In any case the woman sounded so defensive and aggressive. It didn't sound like an invitation but a command to bugger off.

In fact even some of the Welsh groups don't always live up to their welcoming hype in practice. A lady from our Welsh reading group told me she found a woman who ran a more advanced group in the town to be very cold. I had myself nearly had a fight with the latter woman during a pub quiz which I won.

And then Nansi of Clwb Clonc was quite a bully. Why do I elicit so much defensiveness in other women who run local courses when I am not trying to be offensive?

I'd love to think it is because they are jealous of my sultry good looks. But it can't be that.

I seriously considered the following scenario if I saw the woman from the reading group again. I should approach her and say:

''I want to thank you. I've suffered for years from a degenerative illness. I've been in agony.

But when you treated me like an undesirable imbecile and humiliated me in public the other day, I was filled with so much anger. I felt the adrenalin surging through my body. I can still feel it.

It's a tremendous pain killer. I've been able to throw away my crutch and my tablets.

''I'm so grateful. I wish there was something I could do for you.

If I was the queen I would give you half my kingdom - no, all of it! - And the Isle of Man - and Tristan da Cunha - and my Faberge egg collection.''

A little voice told me 'No, don't say that. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit; it'll be very difficult to keep up with a straight face, and it'll embarrass innocent bystanders.'

The people in the group knew quite a lot about popular theology from an insider's point of view. They were obviously new to the works of the New Atheists.

Arguably, their understanding of 'The God Delusion' was a bit basic for that reason. But you have to start somewhere.

Well done that they tried at all. They were fairly generous although they were coming at it from the standpoint of religious believers, albeit ones with doubts. They were inclined to give it seven out of ten.

They did also criticise 'The God Delusion' for being repetitious and over long. I know this is what my son and his school friends think too.

I didn't get that impression. Is this what most people think?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:03 pm    Post subject: not an evil man Reply with quote

When 'The God Delusion' was first published, it made quite a sensation. It turned out to be the crest of a wave of New Atheist books, but at the time it was a one off. It is hard to credit now what a splash it made.

A public meeting was held to discuss it in Abergavenny. On this occasion, there was an open door policy. Everyone really was welcome.

I'd like to say that this enhanced the quality of the debate. But I'm not sure I can honestly say that.

The young minister of religion who chaired the meeting appeared to be a very nice person indeed. He obviously had an intellect too.

But even he hadn't gathered from the book that natural selection made a conscious designer obsolete in the natural world. He quoted Paley's evidences for God's existence with approval. This is the argument for creation on the analogy that a watch presupposes the existence of a watch maker.

Paley is still taught at university but it is on the philosophy not the science curriculum, and only as an historical curiosity . The young minister was also hurt that Dawkins made no more than an academic distinction between what my son calls the 'Big Three' [religions.]

Dawkins thinks that what they have in common is much more significant than their cosmetic differences. This guy probably suffered from scrupulosity about the theological differences between Wesleyan Methodists and Calvinistic Methodists.

Shortly before the meeting, a middle aged lady had kindly invited me into her home and done a survey for me. I gave her some literature about our organisation.

In turn she gave me some literature from her church. The contents can be judged from the heading on one page: 'Hell is real!'

Her husband came to the 'God Delusion' meeting. He had a wry but serious expression and tone of voice as he suggested that Dawkins was an evil man.

I'm happy to say that the minister agreed with me later when I said that that was a ridiculous thing to say. Dawkins might be brusque and impatient at times. But he was certainly not an evil man.

A young man with the light of fanaticism in his eyes said that he had once believed every word in 'Das Kapital'. He said he now believed every word in the Bible.

As he spoke, he brandished a Bible heavily annotated in his handwriting which he had open on his lap. He believed it all literally.

He never explained why he had gone from unquestioning Marxist ideology to fundamentalist Christianity. Nor did he see the need to offer rational explanations of what he believed.

Another young man came whom I had often seen around. He too was clutching a Bible. He too said that he believed in it literally, every word.

I was surprised. Nothing I had seen of him before had given me the impression that he was like that.

Somebody told me later that he'd say anything in order to fit in. He had cognitive difficulties and some Asperger like traits.

Does any of this indicate that the prickly lady in the library was right in thinking there has to be some quality control in who is allowed to discuss 'The God Delusion' in a public venue? Must there always be someone on the door, saying, ''They shall not pass''?

Of course not. People may look like nutters or imbeciles. Presumably, I do. But you can never be sure of it until they open their mouths.

It's probably a minority opinion that Dawkins is 'an evil man.' But we are always hearing about his 'arrogance.'

While he can be insensitive at times, I don't think he is exactly arrogant.

He is an exceptionally intelligent person who can't understand why other people are often stupid and irrational. The less brainy folk he has in mind, naturally take offence.

They say he is arrogant. In reality, he is honestly baffled.

He also can't understand why not everyone shares his passion for science for its own sake. He finds the subject so beautiful and fascinating, he feels incredibly frustrated that anyone should be cut off from the pure joy it gives him.

It may be that science is taught in a dry and uninspiring way in schools. Incidentally, some people honestly have no clue about what science entails.

Some people think it means plucking an idea out of the air and then tenaciously defending it at all costs, just for the sake of it. They aren't aware that science has any more claim to be taken seriously than astrology does.

Even in the absence of abysmal ignorance, it may be that spontaneous, impersonal scientific curiosity will only ever be a minority interest. Most people know as much about science and technology as they need for their professional and day to day life.

Maybe, Dawkins is getting a bit Aspergery in thinking people not only need to be given an opportunity to share his passions, but that they absolutely should share then. After all, it takes all sorts to make a world.

We don't have to turn ourselves into clones of Dawkins. But, with all his faults, he is a treasure.

I disagree with him about many things. I'd be happy if he educated himself about disability issues for a start.

But it's a delight to watch him in action. I don't have romantic feelings about him at all, but I could almost say how wonderful life is when he is in the world - or stimulating and amusing anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: a most ingenious paradox Reply with quote

Richard Dawkins has said that, paradoxically, legalised assisted dying could prolong life. People won't take their own lives at an earlier stage of a serious illness,out of fear.

If they know they will be given assistance when they really need it, they needn't top themselves in a pre-emptive strike, fearing they won't be able to do it later. This is an interesting point which had not occurred to me before. Perhaps, in a really civilized society, that is how things would be arranged.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What underlies that behaviour of having a solipsistic world view is a person striving for an internal emotional balance by using an ideology which has no outcome in Actions which lead to Sensations which lead to Emotions which remedy their distress ... thus they may jump from Marxism to Christianity to Mindfulness to Darwinism and so on as each ideology fails to make them feel better ... But the point is that this is our society's religious failure : we do not create viable ideologies nor transmit them enabling people to use them to heal their understandings and behaviors ... I hold that this is Dawkin's mistake : he does not observe religion scientifically in a detached way but comes to the matter with a persistent prejudice - that religion is defined by superstitious beliefs and science is not ... which is demonstrably untrue ... the most successful religions are clearly antagonistic to superstitious practices - and the origins of science itself are in religious beliefs and practices ... It does not matter if you prefer Newton's over Einstein's explanation of Gravity - provided that you do not compound it with ideas which lead to ineffectual actions.
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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
Posts: 1935

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:52 am    Post subject: jump Reply with quote

I don't think this guy had made much of a leap at all. He obviously thought he had, but whether he believes in the revealed word of God or the revealed word of Karl Marx is a relatively unimportant question.

In either case he's not thinking critically, He's not using his mind to its fullest extent. Who's to say if he needs certainty as an emotional crutch? Is it better to leave him to his own devices or invite him to take up the challenge of thinking for himself?

You could say certain beliefs in science such as the existence of ether are erroneous, and amount to superstitions. But it is generally science that finds itself out. At least in theory, science is supposed to be self correcting.

You can find religions like Quakerism or the most abstruse forms of Buddhism which may be free of superstition or relatively so. Others have a thick encrustation of superstition. It can be hard to tell the difference between religion and superstition.

To take an obvious example, the former dogma that a child will not be allowed into heaven if it has not been baptised, sounds very like a superstition to me. It invests an arbitrary ritual with cosmic significance.

It has been corrected. The Pope no longer thinks this. So religion can be self correcting sometimes.

But it is not for the same reason that science corrects itself. It happens when public opinion is so far ahead of religious dogma, that the religion has to make a concession or go under.

Incidentally, my adoptive parents were religious in a passive way. They were not interested in the subject and would probably have found a layman who wore his religion on his sleeve a bit weird. They would probably have thought he was crazy.

But they did become violently angry - and I do mean violently - if anyone said anything against religion. If you tried to reason with them by reminding them of the cruel doctrine mentioned above or of something ridiculous lie transubstantiation, they had an idiosyncratic response.

They would say, ''That's just a figure of speech.' They were heretics really.

They had convinced themselves that the nasty and crazy bits of religion weren't dogma that was supposed to be taken seriously. They thought they were some kind of meaningless word salad.

On one occasion I was trying to convince my adoptive mother that religion was not that great. I opened the Bible at random and found the bit about if a man lies with a man as with a woman, both parties shall be stoned to death.

I thought I had hit pay dirt. I brandished it as an example of the toxicity to be found in religion. My revered legal parent looked at it and said vaguely - not angrily - ''Oh well, they're committing sin, aren't they?''

She didn't think stoning people to death was anything to protest about, but did have a 'moral' objection to consensual sexual activity that didn't have any effect on anyone else. It sounds like something someone in Islamic State would say.

But this was the early 80s in Britain, and she was a very ordinary person, extremely intolerant, but not unusual in any way. I seem to remember she also said that religion was about being nice to each other!
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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
Posts: 1935

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:39 am    Post subject: mindfuness Reply with quote

I see Dai thinks mindfulness too one of those 'belief systems' that will not satisfy. I know mindfulness classes have been held in Abergavenny Library.

I'd been seriously thinking of going along, just to see what it is like. Alas, I forgot.

I think if I'd been bawled out in a mindfulness class and told to bugger off, because I had turned up spontaneously instead of applying in triplicate, it would actually have been quite useful. It would have shown the class exactly how much serenity and wisdom the enlightened tutor had.

Mindfulness has been just about destroyed in a hilarious adult ladybird book of that name. This is not to say it has no value at all.

But as with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I think it's right that its rationale is that it is not what happens to you that matters, but how you deal with it. Of course there may be some truth in this.

But to say that external events are of no importance is just untrue. The bland - well- arrogance with which this wisdom woo is vended is quite annoying. Sometimes, it is how you deal with it is important, and sometimes it isn't.

These 'philosophies', like self help books, may be genuinely helpful if you just use them as a supermarket, taking what works for you and leaving the rest. But to see it as a closed system which you must force yourself to conform to in every respect- no! That's awful. It's deceitful.

I can't now remember who said, 'Trust those who say they are looking for the truth. Distrust those who say they have found it.'

The easy answers to be found in the New Age and self help bazaar just can't help you when you really are in dire straits. As Dorothy Rowe says, psychologists too, often won't acknowledge the 'unbearable pain' of their clients. They give them some pabulum which is an insult to their intelligence.

Somebody put it to Dawkins that without the comfort of religion, life would be unbearable. Dawkins said impatiently that perhaps life just is unbearable. He may have added. ''So what?'', and that was definitely what his tone implied.

His dismissive and impatient manner was unfortunate. But he was right.

Life often is unbearable. I would add that seeking for quack remedies may make your predicament even worse. You will end up floundering in a morass of meaninglessness.


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dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

" Life often is unbearable. I would add that seeking for quack remedies may make your predicament even worse. You will end up floundering in a morass of meaninglessness." etc

I think that was what I was trying to convey in a way : but what I have in mind is that supermarket approach to religion ... I see the relationship between " Spirituality " and " Religion " as being that between having an experience and then comparing it to the experiences recounted by others - indeed contributing your own experiences and thoughts to the common treasury of culture by devising concepts and creating words to convey them ... but a person who continually shops around for religious identities which they change every week is neither engaging with their own experiences nor the experiences recounted by others ... in the first instance this means that they have no basis for any personal authority to pronounce about their lives - and in the second instance they are handing over their lives to be pronounced upon by those claiming an impersonal authority : they either submit to those claiming that they have impersonal religious authority who thus disclaim any personal responsibility for their actions - or they move on to the next religion or rather the next identity ...

... What you and I are doing here is a religious exercise : you are disclosing your personal experiences and how you feel about them - which is what I define as " Spirituality " - and I am drawing upon my own personal experiences and combining how I feel about them with how I feel about the ideas which you cite and responding with my own ideas ... but note that I am not claiming an impersonal authority : I am doing " Religion " not " Hierocracy " which is the abuse of religion in the pursuit of a private interest i.e. a form of " Ultraism " - placing you " Beyond the Boundary " so that I can treat you in an impersonal way i.e. covertly concealing my private interest ... perhaps claiming it even to be " The Public Interest." ... What is " De Res Publica " in such " Conversations with Wales' Republicans " is the creation of meaning(-ness ? ) because deciding what the meaning is inevitably leads to deciding what " The Good " is - The Morality ... but the problem with Religion in our deciding " The Ends " is that it does not define " The Means " - what " The Way " is - The Ethicality ... I think that the Secularist idea that Religion is a privileged and therefore private matter is disastrous : it means that those who have seized power over us are not required to disclose their motives - they refuse to submit to any public examination of their personal Morality and pretend to an impersonal authority which excuses them from any accountability to The Rule of Law.

Anyway : you have known me thirty years or more and would fall about laughing if I pretended to possess any kind of authority of any kind of sort !

Laughing


Last edited by dai on Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Moritz



Joined: 10 Mar 2014
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dai wrote:
1) What underlies that behaviour of having a solipsistic world view is a person striving for an internal emotional balance by using an ideology which has no outcome in Actions which lead to Sensations which lead to Emotions which remedy their distress ...
2) thus they may jump from Marxism to Christianity to Mindfulness to Darwinism and so on as each ideology fails to make them feel better ...
3) But the point is that this is our society's religious failure : we do not create viable ideologies nor transmit them enabling people to use them to heal their understandings and behaviors ...
4) I hold that this is Dawkin's mistake : he does not observe religion scientifically in a detached way
5) but comes to the matter with a persistent prejudice - that religion is defined by superstitious beliefs and science is not ... which is demonstrably untrue ...
6) the most successful religions are clearly antagonistic to superstitious practices - and the origins of science itself are in religious beliefs and practices ...
7) It does not matter if you prefer Newton's over Einstein's explanation of Gravity - provided that you do not compound it with ideas which lead to ineffectual actions.


2) Ideology that makes them feel better versus Ideology that is true. You say that Evolution and Daesh are just the same. You would say that wouldn't you? Evolution and Daesh are just different ideologies. It don't matter which of them is true. You are God-Emperor of the Post truth Society; you are Donald Trump and I claim my £5. Amen. It is known.

4) Dawkins is not detached. He hates all the pogroms and rapes that your holy Roman daesh has done. He rants that Genocide is Evil. You are right. Dawkins is too emotionally involved. To conduct a proper scientific experiment with double blind protocols, you don't want a biased guy like Dawkins.

[b]Dawkins says that Genocide is Evil. Devize an experiment to test this hypothesis.

Take 500 nations: genocide 100; do NOT genocide 100; let random stuff happen to 300. Measure the Good/Evil quotients of each event and do the statistical analysis.

Dawkins will refuse to conduct the experiment. Dai says Dawkins is a hypocrite. Dai believes that Daesh are super-dooper scientific because they will genocide everybody in the whole world because it is whimsical.

6) the most successful religion is DAISH[/b]
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