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Old 30th June 2022, 08:15 AM   #121
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Good point, actually, shuttit.
:-) I do not get that response very often.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Not sure how exactly to address what you say. Thinking this through, my tentative answer would be: I'm not a football "fan". I don't really grok the fan concept at all. But I don't think regular football fans condone the behavior of the hooligans. I do drink occasionally and moderately, and I most certainly don't condone drunks that go around making a nuisance of themselves and worse. I'd be happy for them to be locked away or whatever, absolutely, with no sympathy for them because they're fellow worshippers of Bacchus, absolutely not!
Sure, but sometimes the football hooligans take over. If you are talking at the societal level, then they are the ones who decide who gets locked away.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
So how does that translate to the religion thing?

Do moderate Christians unequivocally denounce the dribbling crazies that insist that no one --- not just they themselves, which is their business, and therefore perfectly fine, but not even others --- should be allowed to abort? They don't always, no. Plus, do Churches, and whichever kind of Panjandrum wields authority in churches of specific denominations, roundly condemn and maybe excommunicate these crazies? No they don't, or hardly ever. Christians score far far worse than regular sane football fans and moderate drinkers on that one.
Is disliking abortion a position only held by "dribbling crazies" within Christianity? It seems pretty much the normal, mainstream position within Catholicism and a good amount of Protestantism. Whether it should be banned or not may vary around a bit, but that it is a moral evil does not seem controversial. Why would they condemn it? There certainly are excommunications, although not common.... Nancy Pelosi's bishop is denying her mass at the moment.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Do moderate Muslims unequivocally and publically denounce their cross-eyed fanatical brethren that go around killing cartoonists for instance? They very rarely do. The expressions of disagreement from moderates, even when it is forthcoming, is rarely very public --- no doubt because they're afraid of getting killed themselves? Nor do the clerics, the "mainstream, moderate" clerics excommunicate these crazies, do they? Not even for something as heinous as actually killing cartoonists? Nope, they don't. Muslims score far far far worse than even Christians, and Christians score far far far worse than football fans and moderate drinkers.
Some "moderate" Muslims do stand up... but the majority of the Muslim world is profoundly illiberal. It always has significant costs to go up against the dominant ideology of the regime you live in or amongst. My work is all over pride flags and diversity workshops at the moment. I'm not going to get my head chopped off if I answer their questions truthfully, but the costs are enough that I'm certainly not going to do it. This has nothing specifically to do with religion. It is just how ideologies function.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
So yeah, thanks for pointing out that the Petri Dish Effect isn't limited to the religions --- I mean that, it hadn't occured to me, and I'm glad you pointed that out --- but no, it does not take anything away from that particular criticism of religion.
The criticism of religion seems to be really a criticism of ideologies. The liberal West has ideologies that are not tolerant of people who disagree with them and have laws, procedures and so on to punish people who disagree with them.

I'm also not at all sure that the Petri dish thing is correct here. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world are not moderate, from the perspective of liberals. Regarding abortion as a moral evil is mainstream in much of Christianity. Both of those things have been true since Islam and Christianity started. Blowing yourself up, or bombing an abortion centre may be the petri dish, but having conservative views on abortion certainly isn't. Progressive liberal ideas are much more like the Petri dish analogy. Pretty much every one of them was held by a relatively small number of people, and has exploded out from there.

Ideas can grow in any ideology. All ideologies are petri dishes. All societies have ideologies. This isn't specific to religion.

Last edited by shuttlt; 30th June 2022 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 10:16 AM   #122
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
And don't forget what people who think that there's a War on the West are capable of. The vast majority of them don't do much, they just occasionally mention that Islam is the bad religion and the Quran worse than the Bible. (And yet some of them claim to be atheists and still concern themselves with these subtle religious distinctions.)

Clearly every idea can admit of both moderation and an unbecoming extremism. So what? I mean, look at the utter horror some of the Karl Marx fetishists have wreaked on the world, right?

You seem to miss the whole point of this Petri Dish thing.

Fascism itself can admit of moderate and relatively harmless adherents, I suppose. As can, indeed, racism. But it is because we have seen up and close the utter horrors that fascism and Nazism can visit on the world, that even moderate adherents of those ideologies find themselves on the back foot. Likewise racists: racism itself has been rendered exactly the opposite of respectable today. Likewise, if communism had taken a different turn than it did, and ended up doing far more harm to the world than it did, then no doubt nominal moderate Marx-apologists like you would be called on to clearly dencounce the more extremist actions of other Marxists.

Likewise, if moderate Mo-fetishists were to clearly and unequivally denounce the cartoonist-killers and the suicide bombers, and if the relatively sane imams and sheikhs and what-have-you, their Church leader equivalents, were to clearly denounce these extremists, and maybe excommunicate them, then sure, that would send out a very differnt message. And we're asking this of the Mo-fetishists precisely because so many of the terrorists are Muslims. If Wiccan weirdos were given to going on murderous rampages like this, or Buddhist monks and Buddhist laypersons, then sure, we'd ask the same of them as well; but as it happens they don't, so we don't criticize them as we criticize the Mo-types.


Quote:
And then there are the more malevolent cases in the anti-Muslim petri dish: Anders Behring Breivik (Wiki).

Do the more moderate anti-Muslims unequivocally and publically denounce their cross-eyed fanatical brethren that go around killing Social Democrats at a youth camp, for instance? Some of them do, but in general they don't seem to feel that they should be blamed for the actions of more ... let's call them energetic inhabitants of the anti-Muslim petri dish.
What about you, Chanakya? Do you feel that you should be blamed for what Anders Breivik did? Should Dawkins be blamed? Should Murray?

ETA:

dann, you've made some good points in this thread, but I'm afraid your monomania is getting the better of you, and your posts are now starting to sound decidedly unbalanced.

I hadn't even known who this Anders Brevik guy is. I looked him up, and apparently he's a "Norwegian far-right domestic terrorist". What on earth has he to do with me? I'm not Norwegian, never even been to Norway. I'm not right-wing, never ever voted right in my life. If anything it is you --- you, dann, far more than I --- who should answer for Andrei Breivik, because he belongs to very roughly your geography, and also he's apparently religious-apologist of a kind, in as much as he apparently, according to Wiki, practices a religion called "Odinism", whatever the hell that is. (Qualification: I don't really know if Odinism is a mock religion like Church of Satan and Pastafarianism. If it is, then that last won't apply.)

Sorry, no offense intended, dann. As far as the above, I mean. But take it easy, and don't get personal, okay? And I'll ask you to refrain from talking utter bilge, like linking me with right wing filth.

Let me make this clear once and for all. I don't particularly oppose Islam. I hold that all religions are nonsensical, all of them. But in as much as it is the Muslims who invoke their religion to commit murder and mayhem in the world at large, to the extent I blame them. Those of them who actually do that, primarily, naturally; but also, to an extent, those of them who indirectly facilitate their extremism. Likewise the Christian extremists, as well, but less so than the Islamic extremists, simply because so far at least, and in our time, they're less ...murderous. Likewise the Buddhists, because although even they apparently get up to no good in some parts of the world, but by and large they're peacable folks.

I suggest you go cool off a bit. Should you get back to talking utter unbalanced nonsense like this, I'm not going to respond any further.



eta: I'm not ******* anti-Muslim, get that through your thick head. I've many very good Muslim friends; and I've actually spent some time reading up on and not quite practicing diligently but acquanting myself with some of the techniques of Sufi practice. Just because that sort of thing interests me. But I don't keep my eyes blinkered when crazies invoking Allah go on killing sprees to force their crazy Mo-fetish taboos on the rest of us, and when crazies invoking Christ go about trying to force their own abortion taboos on the rest of us. They keep their taboos to themselves, and don't eat pigs, or eat only pigs and nothing else, I don't mind in the least what they do about their personal private observances.

Last edited by Chanakya; 30th June 2022 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 10:24 AM   #123
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
You seem to miss the whole point of this Petri Dish thing.

Fascism itself can admit of moderate and relatively harmless adherents, I suppose. As can, indeed, racism. But it is because we have seen up and close the utter horrors that fascism and Nazism can visit on the world, that even moderate adherents of those ideologies find themselves on the back foot. Likewise racists: racism itself has been rendered exactly the opposite of respectable today. Likewise, if communism had taken a different turn than it did, and ended up doing far more harm to the world than it did, then no doubt nominal moderate Marx-apologists like you would be called on to clearly dencounce the more extremist actions of other Marxists.
What about your ideology? Could that not have an extreme form?
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Old 30th June 2022, 10:25 AM   #124
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
What about your ideology? Could that not have an extreme form?

For instance?
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Old 30th June 2022, 10:40 AM   #125
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
For instance?
That's where it get's tricky. A fascist might well not think all sorts of aspects of fascist ideology as extreme, yet they would horrify you. Meanwhile they would look at modern America (or wherever you're from) and think it was appallingly degenerate. If you define your ideology's assumptions as the place we define extremism from, then, well... two can play that game.

There is also the tendency we have discussed before to take a pair of scissors and retroactively define your ideology around all the people and events you want to own and exclude the ones you don't. If we are talking about the evils of religion, then we need to compare that to non-religion... so we include the evils of Communism. There are plenty of religious sects that have never done anything obviously wicked, after all.... and we are lumping all religions together, so let's do the same for non-religion.

Finally, let's suppose you are a progressive liberal. People have been murdered by progressive extremists.

Last edited by shuttlt; 30th June 2022 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 10:41 AM   #126
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
...Is disliking abortion a position only held by "dribbling crazies" within Christianity? It seems pretty much the normal, mainstream position within Catholicism and a good amount of Protestantism. Whether it should be banned or not may vary around a bit, but that it is a moral evil does not seem controversial. Why would they condemn it? There certainly are excommunications, although not common.... Nancy Pelosi's bishop is denying her mass at the moment...

Have snipped the rest of your post, only so as to focus on the part I'm responding to. Have read and acknowledge the rest of yours posts as well, absolutely.

That "abortion is a moral evil" is not just controversial, it is utterly nonsensical. What is a moral evil is taking away from women the agency of their own bodies.

Are you arguing that most Christians actually are against abortion? If you're doing that, then you're actually painting all Christians as extemists, I hope you realize that.

There's nothing wrong with the Muslims themselves venerating their Prophet, and being extremely respectful of his person, and never ever drawing pictures of him. I mean, it's their business. But what's inuspporable is how they try to force the rest of us also to kowtow to their pet taboos.

Likewise, should Christians not want to abort, that is their business. No reasonable person could possibly object to their private observance of that taboo. But to force everyone else, who does not subscribe to that faith --- which is what making abortions illegal amounts to --- don't you see how utterly insufferable and insupportable that is? If the majority of Christians want that, then the majority of Christians are extremists.


Quote:
...the majority of the Muslim world is profoundly illiberal ...

Unfortunately that's true.

I hadn't said it myself, though, but the argument you raise, above, ends up saying the same about Christians as well, though.


Quote:
...Ideas can grow in any ideology. All ideologies are petri dishes. All societies have ideologies. This isn't specific to religion.

That's true, like I said. But those that turn murderous and oppressive, end up being seen as toxic. Like Nazism. Like racism. Like Muslims killing others for not revering their Prophet. Like Christians forcing others to abide by their pet superstitions about abortion.

Agreed, any ideology that gets out of hand, needs to be reined in. I'd say that goes for godless communism as well, in a hypothetical where that got out of hand in the past, or that might get out hand even in the future, sure.

I'm not sure where's the issue in this. Religion is not the only toxic thing there is in the world. But it is indeed toxic, and to that extent it needs to be reined in. And that apart, its articles of faith are nonsensical, so on rational grounds as well one rejects them. I suppose that sums up both the atheistic argument as well as the anti-theistic argument. I don't see what the issue is.
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Old 30th June 2022, 11:02 AM   #127
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
What about your ideology? Could that not have an extreme form?

Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
That's where it get's tricky. A fascist might well not think all sorts of aspects of fascist ideology as extreme, yet they would horrify you. Meanwhile they would look at modern America (or wherever you're from) and think it was appallingly degenerate. If you define your ideology's assumptions as the place we define extremism from, then, well... two can play that game.

There is also the tendency we have discussed before to take a pair of scissors and retroactively define your ideology around all the people and events you want to own and exclude the ones you don't. If we are talking about the evils of religion, then we need to compare that to non-religion... so we include the evils of Communism. There are plenty of religious sects that have never done anything obviously wicked, after all.... and we are lumping all religions together, so let's do the same for non-religion.

Finally, let's suppose you are a progressive liberal. People have been murdered by progressive extremists.

I don't see quite why or how, but we seem to have got down to discussing personal things now. But what the hell, I'll clearly address what you're asking.

Me, I'm not sure I have any ideology as such at all! I used to be nominally religious, but I'm not any more. I'm very definitely not right-wing. I don't identify with everything the left identifies with, but I generally tend to vote ...let's just say, not-right.

But yeah, for instance, should the Muslims go killing people for making fun of their prophet, then I'm very much against that. If Christians try to force others to abide by their own abortion fetishes, then I'm very much against that. You could say that opposition to being put on by others, that might qualify as my ideology.

Can someone holding my kind of position descend to extemism? I don't know, theoretically everything is possible. If hypothetically someone flipped their lid and went on the rampage killing Christians who insist on banning abortions, then absolutely, I'd condemn that extemism in the strongest possible terms, and make it very clear that I don't identify with or condone that kind of extremism. Should the Muslims do as much --- including their religious leaders excommunicating the murderers --- then one would ask no more of them. Should Christians agree to let non-Christians out of ambit of their proposed abortion laws, well then I wouldn't mind either --- although even then there might be the question of individual Christian women wanting to abort and not being able to because they're Christian, but let's let that compication aside for now.

In short, if someone of "my ideology", whatever that might be, were hypothetically to go exteme, and either start killing people, or else to try to force others to do reasonable things that they don't want, well then I'd oppose that in the strongest terms, and make very very clear that I don't identify with or condone that kind of thing. I'd make sure not to offer any kind of support, whether moral or material, to any such person.

I mean, it isn't as if one is insisting that Christians should necessarily abort, right? One is merely objecting to their insisting even those who don't believe in the abortion taboo, should have to abide by their abortion taboo, that one objects to. Much like one isn't insisting that Muslims draw pictures of their Prophet, one is merely objecting to their insisting that the rest of us who don't subscribe to their taboos also must refrain from drawing pics of Mo.

Tried to address your rather personal question as closely and fairly as I could, shuttit.

End of this sidebar, as far as I am concerned, after this post.




eta:
Quote:
If we are talking about the evils of religion, then we need to compare that to non-religion... so we include the evils of Communism. There are plenty of religious sects that have never done anything obviously wicked, after all.... and we are lumping all religions together, so let's do the same for non-religion.

Ah, trying to channel our friend TD, I see.

As you say, there are plenty of religious sects that haven't done anything obviously wicked. Unlike Muslims, who force others to kowtow to their Mo taboos; and unlike Chrisitans, who're these days trying their best to force others to abide by their abortion fetish. Those peacable religions that peacably go about their own way, privately observing whatever superstions they follow: well, while one may object on rational grounds to any irrationalities they believe in, but no reasonable person can possibly object to their privately and peacefully leading their lives however they want, as long as they don't try to force their own superstions and taboos down the throat of the rest of us.

You're wrong, communism has nothing to do with atheism; just like Christianity has nothing to do with Nazism, even though Germany during the Nazi era was Christian. But absolutely, when anti-theistic govenments in the Soviet Union of the past and also in China today, go all out killing Christian priests in the former case and Uighur Muslims in the latter case, then in that specific instance, absolutely, to the extent that these are attacks on people of faith, attacks by people that are anti-theist, and attacks made nominally by invoking anti-theism, absolutely, atheists do need to condemn them in no uncertain terms and make fully clear that they don't support them in any way.



etaa:
Quote:
If you define your ideology's assumptions as the place we define extremism from

Of course I don't. That was in reaction to dann's crazy attempt to try to link me with some right-wing murderer. His weird reasoning seems to be, I've criticized one aspect of Islam here, and that weirdo apparently was anti-Islam, therefore he's trying to link me with that creep, despite the fact that I've nothing at all in common with him. So I was, in response, pointing out to dann that should one desperately go looking for commonalities like this with that Norwegian murderer, then he probably has more in common with him than I, in terms of his being a de facto apologist for religion, as he's argued, in this case, as well as in terms of the geography.

Of course I don't actually mean that. dann has nothing to do with that creep. And nor do I. But it's dann who raised that particular issue, that odious and frankly unbalanced comparison/equivalence; and I don't take kindly to being lumped in, without any kind of rhyme or reason, with murderous right wing filth like that.


Anyhoo. Like I said, this sidebar is now over, as far as I am concerned.

Last edited by Chanakya; 30th June 2022 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 11:06 AM   #128
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Have snipped the rest of your post, only so as to focus on the part I'm responding to. Have read and acknowledge the rest of yours posts as well, absolutely.

That "abortion is a moral evil" is not just controversial, it is utterly nonsensical. What is a moral evil is taking away from women the agency of their own bodies.
This is only true from within your ideology, just as their view is true within theirs. There is no "rational" ideology free answer to such things.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Are you arguing that most Christians actually are against abortion? If you're doing that, then you're actually painting all Christians as extemists, I hope you realize that.
If you paint your ideology as the neutral, ideology free centre.... then everybody with a different ideology to you is going to be an extremist in some sense.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
There's nothing wrong with the Muslims themselves venerating their Prophet, and being extremely respectful of his person, and never ever drawing pictures of him. I mean, it's their business. But what's inuspporable is how they try to force the rest of us also to kowtow to their pet taboos.
That's the view from within a particular strand of liberalism.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Likewise, should Christians not want to abort, that is their business. No reasonable person could possibly object to their private observance of that taboo. But to force everyone else, who does not subscribe to that faith --- which is what making abortions illegal amounts to --- don't you see how utterly insufferable and insupportable that is? If the majority of Christians want that, then the majority of Christians are extremists.
This is just an articulation of liberal ideology. People have committed acts of violence, and even killed in the name of liberalism.

To reframe your statement about extremism the way it comes across to me.....
Quote:
Other ideologies have aspects to them that profoundly disagree with my ideology. I'm going to call those aspects of their ideology "extreme". Some people in those ideologies take those "extreme" aspects of their ideology very seriously, those people are "extremists". No part of my ideology disagrees with my ideology, so no part of it is extreme, and by definition, my ideology has no extremists.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Unfortunately that's true.

I hadn't said it myself, though, but the argument you raise, above, ends up saying the same about Christians as well, though.
All non-liberal ideologies are going to be illiberal.... otherwise what is the point of them?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That's true, like I said. But those that turn murderous and oppressive, end up being seen as toxic. Like Nazism. Like racism. Like Muslims killing others for not revering their Prophet. Like Christians forcing others to abide by their pet superstitions about abortion.

Agreed, any ideology that gets out of hand, needs to be reined in. I'd say that goes for godless communism as well, in a hypothetical where that got out of hand in the past, or that might get out hand even in the future, sure.

I'm not sure where's the issue in this. Religion is not the only toxic thing there is in the world. But it is indeed toxic, and to that extent it needs to be reined in. And that apart, its articles of faith are nonsensical, so on rational grounds as well one rejects them. I suppose that sums up both the atheistic argument as well as the anti-theistic argument. I don't see what the issue is.
Tom Sowell has three questions he says you should always ask liberals when they propose something. 1. Compared to what? 2. At what cost? 3. What hard evidence do you have? Let's go with the first question. You are taking the totality of religion.... and saying it is toxic. Compared to what? All human societies, and ideologies are toxic in some form, in some place, in some context, by somebody's definition of toxic if they are going to have any power or influence in the world. So, if you are going to look at "religion" and say that it is toxic.... compared to what? We've already agreed that some non-religious ideologies are toxic to you as well.... so what are you saying that religion is toxic compared to? One of the reasons for Sowell's question is that often the comparison is to a perfect ideal in somebody's head, like maybe "the absence of religion" in the abstract.

Last edited by shuttlt; 30th June 2022 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 01:07 PM   #129
dann
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I hadn't even known who this Anders Brevik guy is. I looked him up, and apparently he's a "Norwegian far-right domestic terrorist". What on earth has he to do with me? I'm not Norwegian, never even been to Norway. I'm not right-wing, never ever voted right in my life.

I didn't know that the Petri dish was a question of geography and not of ideology. You demand that Muslims distance themselves from people who commit terror in the name of Allah. They do! Yet you accuse them of not doing it, and you come up with things they should have done but couldn't: It's difficult to excommunicate the crazies when the crazies have already been killed, isn't it?

I never accused you (or even Dawkins) of being a fascist, but you would like Muslims to take responsibility for 'their' crazies, yet you won't take responsibility for the outlier in the petri dish of people who consider Islam to be a particular problem.

I think that many Muslims thought, 'What on earth has he to do with me?' after Bin Laden orchestrated 9/11 and all Muslims (and Sikhs!) were suddenly held accountable, somehow. But that attitude to somebody that they didn't feel any responsibility for was wrong in their case, according to you.

You seemed to be on the track to actually understanding something, but your latest post is completely unhinged.

Consider this imaginary Muslim:
Quote:
I hadn't even known who this Bin Laden guy is. I looked him up, and apparently he's a Saudi Arabian "founder of the Pan-Islamic militant organization al-Qaeda". What on earth has he to do with me? I'm not Saudi Arabian, I live in Indonesia and have never even been to Saudi Arabia. I'm not a terrorist, never ever supported terorism in my life.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 30th June 2022 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 30th June 2022, 01:14 PM   #130
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I don't see quite why or how, but we seem to have got down to discussing personal things now.
If you are going to describe other people's beliefs as toxic and extremist, shouldn't your beliefs be in play?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Me, I'm not sure I have any ideology as such at all! I used to be nominally religious, but I'm not any more. I'm very definitely not right-wing. I don't identify with everything the left identifies with, but I generally tend to vote ...let's just say, not-right.
Of course you have an ideology. Nobody sits their rationally interpreting the world based on pure empiricism. Paleo-conservatism is an ideology, progressive liberalism is an ideology. If your ideas about the world form any kind of coherent system, you have an ideology.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But yeah, for instance, should the Muslims go killing people for making fun of their prophet, then I'm very much against that. If Christians try to force others to abide by their own abortion fetishes, then I'm very much against that. You could say that opposition to being put on by others, that might qualify as my ideology.
It sounds pretty squarely like a part of liberal ideology.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Can someone holding my kind of position descend to extemism? I don't know, theoretically everything is possible. If hypothetically someone flipped their lid and went on the rampage killing Christians who insist on banning abortions, then absolutely, I'd condemn that extemism in the strongest possible terms, and make it very clear that I don't identify with or condone that kind of extremism. Should the Muslims do as much --- including their religious leaders excommunicating the murderers --- then one would ask no more of them. Should Christians agree to let non-Christians out of ambit of their proposed abortion laws, well then I wouldn't mind either --- although even then there might be the question of individual Christian women wanting to abort and not being able to because they're Christian, but let's let that compication aside for now.
How about you denounce the extremists that support abortion? It is very easy to denounce the extremism that, while it may have cultural cover, doesn't have cultural power. It is quite another to stand against the extremism that is supported by the culture and ideology you are a part of. Maybe you could stand against trans-activism? You want people from illiberal ideologies to reject the parts of their ideologies and the people who follow those parts, that are "extreme" by progressive liberal standards. Do you reject the parts of your ideology and the people who are committed to them that seem extreme to people outside your ideology?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
In short, if someone of "my ideology", whatever that might be, were hypothetically to go exteme, and either start killing people, or else to try to force others to do reasonable things that they don't want, well then I'd oppose that in the strongest terms, and make very very clear that I don't identify with or condone that kind of thing. I'd make sure not to offer any kind of support, whether moral or material, to any such person.
Progressive liberalism is being pushed globally pretty constantly. NGOs, media, multinational companies and so on are pushed by US industry and the US military. Wars are fought, at least notionally, to save people from living under other ideologies and replace it with liberalism. Liberalism is the ideology of the merchants, and then turned into the ideology of the managers.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I mean, it isn't as if one is insisting that Christians should necessarily abort, right? One is merely objecting to their insisting even those who don't believe in the abortion taboo, should have to abide by their abortion taboo, that one objects to. Much like one isn't insisting that Muslims draw pictures of their Prophet, one is merely objecting to their insisting that the rest of us who don't subscribe to their taboos also must refrain from drawing pics of Mo.
The thing is that many non-liberal ways of living can only function in high trust, relatively homogenous communities with shared beliefs. It's all very well saying liberalism is tolerant of other peoples ways of living, but what it isn't tolerant of is illiberal communities. A few get grandfathered in, like the Amish.... but look at the reaction to the change to abortion law.... you aren't prepared to tolerate illiberalism like that in a state, even if the majority of the people in the state want it. Everywhere has to live under your conception of a good system even if the majority of the people you are forcing it on don't want to.

Tried to address your rather personal question as closely and fairly as I could, shuttit.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Ah, trying to channel our friend TD, I see.
You pretty much laid out the other side of the case, so I thought I'd give the response.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
As you say, there are plenty of religious sects that haven't done anything obviously wicked. Unlike Muslims, who force others to kowtow to their Mo taboos; and unlike Chrisitans, who're these days trying their best to force others to abide by their abortion fetish. Those peacable religions that peacably go about their own way, privately observing whatever superstions they follow: well, while one may object on rational grounds to any irrationalities they believe in, but no reasonable person can possibly object to their privately and peacefully leading their lives however they want, as long as they don't try to force their own superstions and taboos down the throat of the rest of us.
Again, progressive liberalism is forced on people, in wars and politically at the state level.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
You're wrong, communism has nothing to do with atheism; just like Christianity has nothing to do with Nazism, even though German during the Nazi era was Christian.
In the same way that notionally religious wars were actually about power? Are religious societies more or less oppressive than secular ones? The immediate reaction is to make all the secular ones that have been oppressive not count. You are comparing the actual history of religions, to what?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But absolutely, when anti-theistic govenments in the Soviet Union of the past and also in China today, go all out killing Christian priests in the former case and Uighur Muslims in the latter case, then in that specific instance, absolutely, to the extent that these are attacks on people of faith, attacks by people that are anti-theist, and attacks made nominally by invoking anti-theism, absolutely, atheists do need to condemn them in no uncertain terms and make fully clear that they don't support them in any way.
OK, so now we are only counting violence that secular states commit that is specifically anti-theist? Secular states on average might have been far more violent and repressive than religious states, but because only the specifically anti-theist violence gets counted against the the secular states.... then religion is bad? Without a religious ideology, something else needs to fill the void. You are saying that we should get rid of religion because it is bad, but only some tiny subset of the violence and repression that those replacement systems have brought should count on the other side of the scales?

Anti-theism is not the opposite of religion. Religions are whole systems of morality and practice. If you want to compare apples with apples, then you should only count the brutality and violence that religious states have committed against atheists. That seems like a very narrow way to judge religion though, since so few people who lived under it would have been effected by it.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Anyhoo. Like I said, this sidebar is now over, as far as I am concerned.
OK. I kind of feel that makes it impossible to actually argue the other side of this case.
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Old 30th June 2022, 04:03 PM   #131
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Another thread turned into a liberalism vs political "realist" debate.

If the nationalists, fascists, socialists and anarchists hate liberalism so much what's the alternative? We need a plan. It can't just be a rant against politically correct liberalism.
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Old 30th June 2022, 04:30 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Another thread turned into a liberalism vs political "realist" debate.

If the nationalists, fascists, socialists and anarchists hate liberalism so much what's the alternative? We need a plan.
It tends to be progressive liberalism that realists oppose rather than liberalism in general. There have been plenty of realist liberals. I am not a liberal.

That said, why would there be a plan? If liberalism or America is in terminal decline, then there will be a period of chaos out of which will come something new. The outcome of such things is never what people plan. Some new group of elites will emerge to rule us. If it is not in decline, there is no point worrying about what will replace it.

That's not what I'm talking about though. My argument is that liberalism is just one ideology amongst many. For all I know, liberalism will last a thousand years.

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Old Yesterday, 01:48 AM   #133
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So this has gone around and around, but I see nothing to address the real question: so why TF does it even matter?

People who cite Richard Dawkins on the topic of atheism (cf the thread title) aren't going "he's right about God because of his views on Muhammad cartoons", are they? Seriously, is anyone actually doing an argument from cartoons?

Not that even that would be relevant. Even then the question would be if he's right about what he's saying, and if it does connect in some valid way to the conclusion about God existing or not.

But generic "oh, he's just awful about <insert irrelevant other stuff>" isn't even up to that standard. Like, so what? How does that affect whether he's right or wrong on the topic of atheism? A lot of people are awful but right on a topic. And wrong on some other topic. So?

So this whole thread is... what? An extended case of textbook ad-hominem circumstantial? People ran out of ideas of actually relevant stuff to argue, so let's do 4 solid pages of irrelevant tangent instead?
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Old Yesterday, 02:05 AM   #134
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Also, if someone's opinion about cartoon actually matters, forget Dawkins. Here's MY argumentum ad anime against theodicy: surely an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god (doesn't even need omnipresence or omniscience for this one) would give people random hair colours -- as in literally, take 3 random numbers between 0 and 255, make it an RGB triplet -- so those of us who aren't good with faces would have a better clue to identify people. If a Japanese artist can figure that one out, surely a benevolent god can too, right?
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Old Yesterday, 08:45 AM   #135
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Sorry, HansMustermann, but this thread was never about whether or not there is a god, so why try to derail it? It was about Dawkins as a representative of atheism. You have the right to find the question an irrelevant tangent to the debate about atheism or religion that you would prefer, but you are free to start a thread of your own choice about it.

I wrote (and quoted) this about what I have against Dawkins:

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not sure "less than a model atheist" is very clear. I was expecting something pertaining to cracks so to speak in his no-god beliefs.

Dawkins has for a long time drawn the ire of some people who prefer atheists not be too outspoken. I don't find him too outspoken at all. I think he's exactly right speaking his mind about god beliefs being nonsensical. I don't buy Gould's non-overlapping magisteria. It's hypocritical, IMO.

Anyway, that's my understanding of the objections to Dawkin's POV. Given I'm not one of those people, I may have it wrong about what their objections are.

Dawkins has also drawn the ire of some people who have got nothing at all against atheists being 'outspoken', but who have got much against racists and eugenicists speaking their mind while telling people to suspend their skepticism.
Here's a guy who has been following Dawkins much closer than I have. (The 'Four Horsemen' really didn't age well!)

Quote:
As a movement, New Atheism owed more to 9/11 than to any particular intellectual breakthrough. The attacks on the Twin Towers pivoted the world away from the Cold War against godless communism and into a new order where the West’s enemies could be denounced for their faith rather than their disbelief. Handily, New Atheism separated old-style Freethought from any social critique, producing an atheism that could lend its ‘progressive’ – even radical – colouration to Islamophobia and liberal imperialism.
(...)
It’s an example of a trait embedded deeply within the New Atheist DNA (as it were): a tendency to regard the masses as ignorant fools who need the guidance of their philosophical superiors. Where an older, Marxist-derived atheism explained religion as a product of alienating social conditions, Dawkins and co. attributed it to the gullibility of the populace. The elitism in that perspective informed their political orientation, allowing them to embrace a liberal interventionism in which enlightened Westerners dragged the ‘backward peoples’ into modernity by their hair.
What happened to Richard Dawkins? (Overland, Feb 8, 2020)

'People are religious because they're stoooopid. Me know is no god!'
Paraphrasing every other contribution to the Religion and Philosophy forum.

You may not have noticed where Dawkins' brand of Atheism came from or how he has changed, or maybe you are fine with it. You may not have noticed the change in other atheists who have gone from arguing against religion to arguing against the bad religion. And again, maybe you have noticed, and you're fine with the change.

I personality don't subscribe to the Islam-bad-Christianity-better idea of atheism. When I distinguish between believers, and it is possible to do so, of course, it has more to do with the degree of religiosity. I have some religious friends. Some Christians, a few Muslims, and a few Cuban Santeros. The Christians are not the Westboro kind or anything similar. The Muslims are not the Sharia kind or anything similar. And I won't bother you with distinctions that can be made between different kinds of Santería.

In conversations with any of them, religion hardly ever comes up. If it does, it is usually because I have a question. It is never a question meant to prove to them that their religion sucks. Why would it be? I know that they believe in something transcending reality. They know that I don't.

Looking at the religions themselves, however, I have noticed one quite apparent difference between Santería and the the Abrahamic religions: Santeros don't feel threatened by the fact that some people don't share their beliefs. And they are usually curious about those other beliefs. And I am not saying that all Muslims and Christians bow down to the jealous demands of their god. The ones that I befriend don't. But it seems to be a trait that their religions share. I don't have much experience with people from any other non-Abrahamic religions than Santería.

The elitism of the Dawkins kind of atheism reminds me of the fanaticism of the Westboro Baptists or the Sharia-preaching Muslims. And I get the impression that those guys feel as threatened by everyday relaxed Christians and Muslims as all fanatics do by anybody who doesn't share their view of the world.

As I have mentioned so many times before that I almost feel tired at the thought of doing it again: I am bored out of my skull by fanatical atheists. When I meet new people, it really isn't the first thing that crosses my mind: 'I wonder if he/she is a good Atheist, observing all the rites. Somebody I can bond with and with whom I can share the most important activity in the world: feeling superior to people who believe in gods.'

So Dawkins isn't somebody I would like to sit down with and have a beer. He is a ******* bore. I can see why those of you who grew up in communities with oppressive religious beliefs may think differently, may not be relaxed about religion, and may think of Dawkins as some kind of atheist savior from religious oppression, but since you managed to find your way out of there, I can assure you that there are more interesting questions than atheism. Fanaticism, for instance. Racism. Nationalism.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old Yesterday, 09:39 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Sorry, HansMustermann, but this thread was never about whether or not there is a god, so why try to derail it? It was about Dawkins as a representative of atheism. You have the right to find the question an irrelevant tangent to the debate about atheism or religion that you would prefer, but you are free to start a thread of your own choice about it.
"But it's the topic" doesn't make an extended ad hominem circumstantial fallacy anything else than just that fallacy. Atheism doesn't need nor have a representative. It doesn't hinge on some Pope Of Athe being infallible or anything. Nor does it have anything to do with any of the fluff you've written there. It doesn't mean you're left or right wing (e.g., since your mentions Marxism, Hitchens was a self-confessed one), it doesn't mean you're racist or not, it doesn't mean you're a nice person or not, it doesn't mean you're elitist or not, and no it doesn't even mean being able to hold a conversation at the pub. It doesn't mean you're anything else than not believing in god.

Hell, it doesn't even include having a sane reason why not. I would be just as much an atheist, if my reason were that my cat telepathically told me to be an atheist. Or it could be just like in that insane troll logic cartoon because "Money equals power. Power equals camel. Camel equals five celery sticks. FIVE!" Is still as irrelevant to being an atheist, and thus irrelevant to anyone else's being an atheist. I still wouldn't be a 'representative' of any other atheist than myself.

That's what makes it just a genetic fallacy.

To reuse that analogy, harping about whether someone is too big a meanie as a 'representative of atheism' is just as much a nonsense topic as harping about how someone is too bad at reversi to be a 'representative of stamp collectors.'

Quite literally: so what?
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Old Yesterday, 10:27 AM   #137
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Quote:
Where an older, Marxist-derived atheism explained religion as a product of alienating social conditions, Dawkins and co. attributed it to the gullibility of the populace.

dann, you're making the mistake of imagining that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. Both statements are correct. Religion is indeed sometimes the product of alienating social conditions --- sometimes, not always. And religion is indeed a funciton of the gullibility of the populace --- this, always, regardess of whether it happens also, in some instances, to be the product of alienating social conditions.

In other words, Marx's explanation applies some of the time, not all of the time. And when it applies, even then it still does not negate the gullibility explanation. While Dawkins's gullibility argument is always valid --- except, in some cases, it may be unmindful of the larger social basis that facilitates and/or exacerbates that gullibility, and to that extent a less than fully complete discussion about the hows and wherefores of theism.
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Old Yesterday, 10:35 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Also, if someone's opinion about cartoon actually matters, forget Dawkins. Here's MY argumentum ad anime against theodicy: surely an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god (doesn't even need omnipresence or omniscience for this one) would give people random hair colours -- as in literally, take 3 random numbers between 0 and 255, make it an RGB triplet -- so those of us who aren't good with faces would have a better clue to identify people. If a Japanese artist can figure that one out, surely a benevolent god can too, right?

Argumentum ad anime, good one!


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
"But it's the topic" doesn't make an extended ad hominem circumstantial fallacy anything else than just that fallacy. Atheism doesn't need nor have a representative. It doesn't hinge on some Pope Of Athe being infallible or anything. Nor does it have anything to do with any of the fluff you've written there. It doesn't mean you're left or right wing (e.g., since your mentions Marxism, Hitchens was a self-confessed one), it doesn't mean you're racist or not, it doesn't mean you're a nice person or not, it doesn't mean you're elitist or not, and no it doesn't even mean being able to hold a conversation at the pub. It doesn't mean you're anything else than not believing in god.

Hell, it doesn't even include having a sane reason why not. I would be just as much an atheist, if my reason were that my cat telepathically told me to be an atheist. Or it could be just like in that insane troll logic cartoon because "Money equals power. Power equals camel. Camel equals five celery sticks. FIVE!" Is still as irrelevant to being an atheist, and thus irrelevant to anyone else's being an atheist. I still wouldn't be a 'representative' of any other atheist than myself.

That's what makes it just a genetic fallacy.

To reuse that analogy, harping about whether someone is too big a meanie as a 'representative of atheism' is just as much a nonsense topic as harping about how someone is too bad at reversi to be a 'representative of stamp collectors.'

Quite literally: so what?

Ha ha, true. We tend to assume that theism is irrational and atheism is rational, but absolutely, the route to atheism need not necessarily be via reason. It may simply, for instance, be the unthinking default of someone raised atheistic, for instance, raised without any thoughts of religion and theos ever filling their minds. Someone who is innocent of any arguments in defense of atheism, is in no way disqualified from being fully an atheist nevertheless.
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM   #139
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Hell, it doesn't even have to be that reasonable. There are a ton of teenagers who go atheist or even profess to be satanists or witches or whatever just to piss off their devout parents. That's the whole reason.

Not to mention that technically you can be an atheist AND religious. E.g. some variants of Buddhism would technically qualify, in that they don't actually involve believing in any particular God.

I would argue that Shinto is also kinda, sorta in that direction, in that they don't actually have anything that would qualify as our conception of a God. (Well... not until fairly recently, since some did take more Christian-like views in the meantime.) They have a continuum of spirits, that include Amaterasu as the spirit of the Sun as the most powerful one, but also the spirit of my late grandma, or that of my late cat, or even the spirit of a meadow. There is no border that makes some of those be gods and others not. And indeed the VAST majority of shrines in Japan are not dedicated directly to a major deity like the Sun, but stuff like the spirit of a local river or literally some fox who was friendly to some peasant 200 years ago. The only barrier to entry so to speak, is whether other people use it or not. Otherwise, if I were to make a shrine to my first cat, it would be every bit as good as the Golden Temple in Kyoto. (Ok, bad comparison, since that one is a Buddhist temple not a Shinto one, but you get the general gist.)
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Old Yesterday, 02:33 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Another thread turned into a liberalism vs political "realist" debate.

If the nationalists, fascists, socialists and anarchists hate liberalism so much what's the alternative? We need a plan. It can't just be a rant against politically correct liberalism.
I believe it is not only possible but preferable to be a non-ideological capitalist economist. That is, there is room for descriptive economics that does not start with maximizing shareholder interest in dogmatic fashion. One instance of dogma can be found looking at what is normally said to pertain between government deficits and trade deficits, ie, that the former cause the latter. It is often stated as dogma. Yet, if we observe the off-shoring and outsourcing that started in earnest in the 80s and culminated by 2000, we can see it drives a concommitant rise in government deficits, a) given resistance to raising taxes and b) the fact that to avoid a recession, the aggregate demand from now-missing blue collar salaries must be replaced with government spending. It would help to flesh out and deal with the intellectual horror and spaghetti that is the conflation of the "free" in "free markets" with political freedom as well, if only to take a step back from the Orwellian.

Be that all that as it may, and to the point, there is often a measureable need to boost flagging aggregate demand in the form of anemic consumer spending. This is often accomplished in the form of debt, and indeed, one can see that recent recessions coincided with consumer debt levels reaching or passing sustainability. If we stand back and think like plumbers, observing the flows and deposits in the economic system (a growing but small trend), we can see there are more ways, and more stable ways, to route those same flows without creating debt choke points. Namely, you tax the highest tier tank and create income and/or income supplements and the equivalent. No need to moralize or speak of social justice; this is to run the economy as a system in ways that are more manageable. Yes, goverment spending is a key part of aggregate demand, and is no sin, rather, it plays a key role, especially when investment, trade, or total personal income cannot keep pace with requisite growth and employment targets. Further, if the flow rate is increased, even when taxed, equal or greater total net income is possible.

TL;DR. Drop Calvinism and return economics to the science it was meant to be. Systems require systems thinking and systemic solutions. No room for insisting there be some flows to prove moral points of dubious value (idea of all paying tax, no matter income level); that is not good management, it's bad plumbing.

ETA: Since the above is now drifting off topic, I'll add that Dawkins is, well, the past, so his form of atheism is fine by me, or not, but I don't care much.
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Old Yesterday, 03:17 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Another thread turned into a liberalism vs political "realist" debate.

If the nationalists, fascists, socialists and anarchists hate liberalism so much what's the alternative? We need a plan. It can't just be a rant against politically correct liberalism.
There are plenty of criticisms, predictions, and remedies out there. Much of it going back to the 19th century. Have you done much reading from these different political schools?
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Old Yesterday, 11:03 PM   #142
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Ah yes, much in the same way as you have an alternative to General Relativity if you go back to Newton
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Old Today, 01:23 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Ah yes, much in the same way as you have an alternative to General Relativity if you go back to Newton
Yeah, politics doesn't really advance in the way physics does. This is a classic pathology of thought where the scientific materialism and idea of progress from hard sciences are mapped on to fields where that is inappropriate giving people a deluded sense of certainty. There are criticisms of democracy that go back 2300 years that still have merit today.
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Old Today, 01:29 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Yeah, politics doesn't really advance in the way physics does. This is a classic pathology of thought where the scientific materialism and idea of progress from hard sciences are mapped on to fields where that is inappropriate giving people a deluded sense of certainty. There are criticisms of democracy that go back 2300 years that still have merit today.
Which are - given what "democracy" was back then?
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Old Today, 01:50 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Which are - given what "democracy" was back then?
Not really, Darat. It's kind of like the quote from Alfred North Whitehead - "All of Western philosophy is but a footnote to Plato." You still see the same criticism coming back in more modern presentation in the work of people like Hoppe. The same is broadly true of criticisms of other aspects of liberalism. It's a kind of scientism, to see these areas as experiencing rational progress and being rationally perfectible by approaching some kind of Fukuyama final truth in the way that Physics does.
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Old Today, 03:24 AM   #146
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Anarcho-capitalism is theory without observation, as are most ideologies that are created from postulates conforming to rationalization of self-interest using frontal denial of reality, specifically, that the most salient aspect of physical reality is that it is best seen in the form of its various systems, wherein the constituent elements and their behavior are the objects of scrutiny.

In other words, when you climb the pyramid of accumulated knowledge to conduct your affairs while pretending you are on a flat, empty landscape independent of influence and past causality, you create a false notion of reality in service of self-interest. Pure abstract reasoning without models tethered to real systems. A pure waste of time intellectually, but of interest politically as it supports greater wealth and power for its supporters.
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Old Today, 03:30 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Yeah, politics doesn't really advance in the way physics does. This is a classic pathology of thought where the scientific materialism and idea of progress from hard sciences are mapped on to fields where that is inappropriate giving people a deluded sense of certainty. There are criticisms of democracy that go back 2300 years that still have merit today.
Politics is however informed by such sciences as economics, sociology, etc.

I mean, just to take economics, and one guy that generally even conservatives can palate, we know since Adam Smith that a bunch of medieval ideas like price-fixing in a famine were an awful idea and only made the problem worse. Or why political/philosophical ideas like Confucianism making merchants the lowest class because "they don't produce anything" are dumb and counter-productive.

Hell, even other sciences. E.g., medicine. Now we know why the medieval idea of putting punitive taxes on soap was dumb.

Hell, even stuff like making beer or bread. Technically the German purity laws -- you know, political ideas -- for example forbade yeast in making beer. Literally. Or we know that mixed grain bread actually isn't that bad an idea, regardless of what some bronze age retard thought needed to be put into The Law. (No, literally, that's what Torah means.)

Hell, even in philosophy and politics alone, since the ancients we discovered stuff like the difference between legal and loyal. (Seriously, both come from the same word. Loyalty to the king and whatever he decreed was all the legality.) Or the whole point of Socrates (see, Euthypro) was the difference between pious and lawful. Previously they literally didn't have any other concept for being a good member of society than piety.

Hell, we even have history and archaeology to inform us how things really went in reality in various societies, as opposed to the imagination of some privileged ancient philosopher navel-gazing. Like that it never went the way Plato thought when you replace democracy with some despot you think is enlightened.

That is essentially a science too, since we verify the predictions that such politicians and philosophers made.


TL;DR: the notion that you can take philosophy or politics alone as something abstract, where you can just take some arbitrary point in time as equally valid, while ignoring the sciences that informed it, AND the empiric validation of the predictions it made, AND the changes in the world that it applied to, is just incredibly stupid.
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Old Today, 04:42 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Not really, Darat. It's kind of like the quote from Alfred North Whitehead - "All of Western philosophy is but a footnote to Plato." You still see the same criticism coming back in more modern presentation in the work of people like Hoppe. The same is broadly true of criticisms of other aspects of liberalism. It's a kind of scientism, to see these areas as experiencing rational progress and being rationally perfectible by approaching some kind of Fukuyama final truth in the way that Physics does.
You do know that doesn't answer the question I asked?
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Old Today, 05:00 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You do know that doesn't answer the question I asked?
Maybe not, but it has loads of 'isms in it and name checks four philosophers so it must be intemelectual and right. So that's you told.
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Old Today, 05:18 AM   #150
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Politics is however informed by such sciences as economics, sociology, etc.

I mean, just to take economics, and one guy that generally even conservatives can palate, we know since Adam Smith that a bunch of medieval ideas like price-fixing in a famine were an awful idea and only made the problem worse. Or why political/philosophical ideas like Confucianism making merchants the lowest class because "they don't produce anything" are dumb and counter-productive.
Sure. You certainly get consensuses forming in those fields. Equally, where does that ultimately go? You have schools of economics that disagree absolutely on basic things. How much do MMT and Austrian Economics actually agree at a basic level? Did FDR save the economy in the 30s, or turn a run of the mill economic downturn into The Great Depression? These aren't answerable questions. Economics just isn't understandable in the manner of Physics. It's like if Physics still have Aristotelian, and Newtonian schools that produced radically different predictions to our Physics, but somehow couldn't be disproved. Progress means something very different in that environment.

As to Confucius, I am not particularly familiar with him, but I rather suspect your assumptions about what a good society looks like would be very different from his and to assess the merits of the opinion you attribute to him, one would have to unpack a lot of his philosophy.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Hell, even other sciences. E.g., medicine. Now we know why the medieval idea of putting punitive taxes on soap was dumb.
Indeed, but medicine is, by and large, something that can notionally be tested. It's not physics, but neither is it sociology. The problem it is attacking is fundamentally far more solvable than the cases I am talking about.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Hell, even stuff like making beer or bread. Technically the German purity laws -- you know, political ideas -- for example forbade yeast in making beer. Literally. Or we know that mixed grain bread actually isn't that bad an idea, regardless of what some bronze age retard thought needed to be put into The Law. (No, literally, that's what Torah means.)
Yes, these are rather trivial problems about discrete physical processes where pretty much the whole question can be put to a test. This is the exact point I was making, people take the success on easy questions like whether some particular food production technique is safe, and assume that we can just keep growing the questions we can answer like that to resolve all our social problems, or tell us whether FDR's actions to fix the economy in the 30s were a good idea. Only a narrow set of problems are confidently answerable in that way.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Hell, even in philosophy and politics alone, since the ancients we discovered stuff like the difference between legal and loyal. (Seriously, both come from the same word. Loyalty to the king and whatever he decreed was all the legality.) Or the whole point of Socrates (see, Euthypro) was the difference between pious and lawful. Previously they literally didn't have any other concept for being a good member of society than piety.
That is a change in cultural assumptions, not an advance in knowledge. That's like calling the "privilege + power" definition of racism an advance in knowledge. Also, Socrates is wildly unrepresentative of the Hellenic society that went before him, or even the wider Hellenic society of his own time. It's like representing the last 2000 years of Western Society by Foucault. I think also, you will find that there are still relatively modern thinkers making arguments about legality that are not so different to the ones you reference here. Such ideas generally aren't disproved, and rarely in a way that they can't be updated and revived. It is more that they fall in and out of fashion.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Hell, we even have history and archaeology to inform us how things really went in reality in various societies, as opposed to the imagination of some privileged ancient philosopher navel-gazing. Like that it never went the way Plato thought when you replace democracy with some despot you think is enlightened.
Sure, but again.... you don't get certainty and final answers from these subjects, at least not about the things we really care about and want to use to justify action. Is the 1619 Project vision of American history "correct"? We can have good confidence about small mundane details. You are never going to be able to resolve the question of the meaning of the Civil War in the way some Physics question can be resolved.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That is essentially a science too, since we verify the predictions that such politicians and philosophers made.
History is not a science like Physics. Even when you call something a science, that doesn't make it certain, see the replication crisis in the social sciences. You've got the issues with social science being noticed by the guys who invented Critical Theory 100 years ago. Horkheimer writes about how traditional theories may give you concrete knowledge but are only good for answering trivial questions. Hence critical theory does away with the concern about discovering concrete truth.

I mean, what would Physics be like if only half it's results could be replicated? We are talking about a very different kind of "truth". In what sense are these fields actually capable of giving us any kind of certainty on the kinds of questions we want them to answer?

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
TL;DR: the notion that you can take philosophy or politics alone as something abstract, where you can just take some arbitrary point in time as equally valid, while ignoring the sciences that informed it, is just incredibly stupid.
Most of the important questions that divide us in politics are not the kinds of things that science can answer with any kind of certainty. Society is too complicated for us ever to be able to isolate the variables to test our theories under real conditions.

Scientism is how you end up being ruled by a priest class who are experts in things that can not be known with any certainty.
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Old Today, 05:53 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Ha ha, true. We tend to assume that theism is irrational and atheism is rational, but absolutely, the route to atheism need not necessarily be via reason. It may simply, for instance, be the unthinking default of someone raised atheistic, for instance, raised without any thoughts of religion and theos ever filling their minds. Someone who is innocent of any arguments in defense of atheism, is in no way disqualified from being fully an atheist nevertheless.

Once again, you seem to forget that people in dire circumstances make up gods whenever they feel a need for them. Or they resort to one of the many gods already in existence.
That you can imagine billions of ways to religion or atheism, new or old (and in a way they are all new because each and every person believes in their own interpretation of the idea), is uninteresting if you are trying to find out what actually makes people believe - or not.

I am not surprised that you are attracted to the tabula rasa idea because many atheists believe in the sin of the fathers when it comes to religion: 'If only people didn't raise their children religiously, there would be no religion.'

They tend to forget that Carat's Harry Potter deity is still available to them along with any other they can come up with:
Quote:
Carat, 11
Carat was really thirsty and also dreamt of water
"I was hoping that Harry Potter would come.
"I remembered that he had a cloak that made him invisible and he would come and wrap me in it, and we'd be invisible and we'd escape."
Beslan survivors: one year on (BBC, Sep 1, 2005)
Laima, on the other hand, resorted to the deity she had already been told about, maybe even believing that thou shalt have no other gods before me, so Harry Potter would be out of the question. But since it was in the (kind of) atheist USSR, I guess it's also possible that she was 'raised without any thoughts of religion' and only knew enough about it to recognize the cross she found on the floor. It seems to have worked more like a talisman than the symbols of a deity:
Quote:
Laima, 9
Laima draws pictures of the siege
Nine-year-old Laima draws pictures of what she saw when she was held hostage.
"I found a little cross on the gym's floor. I kept it on me for all of the three days. It (!) helped me to survive."

Reality matters! Even when you are trying to explain religion ... or atheism. Being gullible doesn't have much to do with it. As I have said before:
Originally Posted by dann View Post
And isn't turning religion into a "nonissue" preferable to the aggressive attacks on the security blankets of some poor people? Would it not be better to fight with these people against inhuman living conditions instead of ridiculing their 'opium'?

And I really don't see the difference between atheists and believers as one of more or less gullibility. This conceit is the one thing I hate about atheists.
So you have discovered that there is no god. Big deal. Good for you. But don't you think it's about time to move on from this self-gratulatory stance? There's a whole world out there for you to discover, and for the most part it doesn't give a **** about your alleged lack of gullibility.

When you make up the idea of "the unthinking default of someone raised atheistic, for instance, raised without any thoughts of religion and theos ever filling their minds. Someone who is innocent of any arguments in defense of atheism," you forget about the circumstances necessary to make this idyl a reality.
People, even children, don't stop thinking about the world just because adults tell them stories about a god, repeatedly. They can make up gods on their own if they need them. And they can reject them, which is so much easier when they don't need them. People aren't forced to continue to believe the stories they were told by their parents, and unless they have a reason to do so, they will leave them behind along with all the other rubbish they were told. If they don't need those stories, they give up on them. Some of them by an act of will, others just forget them.

For some, it may require a certain amount of courage to be open about it. I remember how one of my friends said to me when we were about 7: "You know that they're full of it when they talk about God, don't you? There is no God."

I was shocked to hear him say so! Not so much that there was no god. I guess I had more or less come to the same conclusion, never having seen him around even though he was supposed to be [i]everywhere.[i] But that one of my friends, another child, dared to say it out loud! I never mentioned it to any adults for another 9-10 years. And we would probably never have mentioned it in school. I know I never did.
Even though I wasn't raised in a religion at home, I knew enough to never question it openly to anybody.

By the way, the reverse thing seems to happen, too: I'm a committed atheist, but my child has become religious (The Independent, Mar 13, 2017)
(Has anybody watched The Americans? )
Committed! Wow! I guess I am uncommitted atheist, then.
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Old Today, 07:44 AM   #152
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Coming back to the Dawkins should do some more research on things that he writes about department.

When it comes to God Delusion, perhaps the worst part is the "Love Thy Neighbour" chapter that is based on and largely follows John Hartung's article "Love Thy Neighbor : The Evolution of In-Group Morality" in Skeptic in 3:4, 1995. Dawkins recommends the paper several times in the chapter.

In the article Hartung argues that "Love Thy Neighbour" commandment was specifically intended to mean only Jews in both Old and New Testament and that the texts instruct Jews to enslave and genocide all other groups for world domination. To support his argument Hartung includes a lot of quotes from Torah, New Testament and Talmund to demonstrate that the law and civil norms applied only towards the in-group, the Jews, and not to the out-group, everyone else.

The quotations are real. The Torah and Talmud quotes exist and they are precisely the ones that have been used for hundreds of years to justify persecution and murder of Jews by antisemites.

Hartung includes those quotes but he leaves out every single place where Jews were ordered to treat out-group members well. In addition to "Love thy Neighbour" there is also "And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt" (Deut.10:19) and many other verses like that. You don't do omissions like that if you don't have an agenda. When called on it Hartung claimed that all those places were actually referring only to those out-group members who had been accepted as guests by the in-group members.

I'm willing to give Dawkins the benefit of doubt and assume that he was not aware of the antisemitic tradition of Hartung's argument. It is easy to believe that he just missed it. He just saw a scientist use a few key words of evolutionary biology in an anti-theist article and jumped right in. I'm not willing to extend the same courtesy to Hartung. He must have known what he was doing.

A further reason to doubt Hartung's sincerity is that his list of sources includes Kevin MacDonald, who at the time was an evolutionary psychologist who thought that antisemitism is a justified reaction against Jewish quest for dominance. Hartung apparently wrote a positive review on MacDonald's first book, but I haven't been able to find its text online to see exactly what he praised in it. Nowadays MacDonald has gone full nazi and writes neo-nazi articles. Hartung distanced himself from MacDonald when it was clear that he had gone completely bonkers, but "Love Thy Neighbor" contains the sentence: "for an analysis of the history of reactive racism that the in-group nature of Judaism has fomented among diaspora host populations, see Shahak, 1994 and MacDonald, 1995 — and a review of MacDonald 1995 by Hartung 1995".

Hartungs omissions are not restricted to the Old Testament. When looking at New Testament, there certainly are places where other nationalities are spoken about with disparaging terms and places where Jesus orders the disciples to spread the word only to Jews and not to the other peoples. As a side note, these places are one of the reasons why I think that there probably was some historical Jesus: if you are inventing a new evangelizing religion from scratch, it does not make sense to invent an inventor who forbids you from evangelizing to the people that you want to evangelize to.

But there is the one elephant in the room that Hartung completely ignores. He doesn't mention it all. That's the by far best known instance of the terms "Love Thy Neighbour" in the whole Bible: The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

In that story Jesus explicitly says that the Samaritan was the neighbour of the Jew. You couldn't be more out-group from the Jewish viewpoint that a Samaritan in the 1st century Palestine. Samaritans and Jews considered each other heretics who had corrupted the teachings of Yahweh. Hartung mentions in the article that Samaritans are an out-group so he can't even claim that he thought Samaritans were Jews.

It is certainly possible that the parable of Good Samaritan was invented long after Jesus's death by Paulist circles. It occurs only only in the Gospel of Luke and the author of the book was almost certainly somehow connected to Paul even if he probably was not the actual Luke that is mentioned in epistles. But to completely pretend that it does not exist does not speak highly of Hartung.

The Good Samaritan is not the only place in the gospels where Samaritans are spoken about with good terms. Luke has two positive stories and one neutral-ish while John has two positive. By the time the books that ended up in New Testament were written, the "Love Thy Neighbour" already had the universal interpretation. So to say that "Christians seldom realize that much of the moral consideration for others which is apparently promoted by both the Old and New Testaments was originally intended to apply only to a narrowly defined in-group" like Dawkins does is disingenious.

tl;dr Dawkins stumbled on an article he liked and included it in his book without being aware that it was not good scholarship but an antisemitic hit piece.
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Old Today, 07:59 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Marras View Post
... tl;dr Dawkins stumbled on an article he liked and included it in his book without being aware that it was not good scholarship but an antisemitic hit piece.
Very nice write-up, thanks.
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Old Today, 10:45 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Once again, you seem to forget that people in dire circumstances make up gods whenever they feel a need for them. Or they resort to one of the many gods already in existence.
That you can imagine billions of ways to religion or atheism, new or old (and in a way they are all new because each and every person believes in their own interpretation of the idea), is uninteresting if you are trying to find out what actually makes people believe - or not.

I am not surprised that you are attracted to the tabula rasa idea because many atheists believe in the sin of the fathers when it comes to religion: 'If only people didn't raise their children religiously, there would be no religion.'

They tend to forget that Carat's Harry Potter deity is still available to them along with any other they can come up with:


Laima, on the other hand, resorted to the deity she had already been told about, maybe even believing that thou shalt have no other gods before me, so Harry Potter would be out of the question. But since it was in the (kind of) atheist USSR, I guess it's also possible that she was 'raised without any thoughts of religion' and only knew enough about it to recognize the cross she found on the floor. It seems to have worked more like a talisman than the symbols of a deity:

Actually I do think the "tabula rasa idea", as you call it, is valid, dann. Sure, some folks may come up with the occasional Harry Potter gods or deities or whatever. Sure, you might even have whole Hubbardesque religions come up from scratch. But surely such instances will be far, far fewer in number than the whole hordes of Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and what-have-yous that grow up with their faith, indoctrinated into it by their parents and by the larger religious system their parents endorse? And again, before you object, sure, many leave their parents' faith, either to shun all religion, or to embrace other faiths; but still, a great many don't. It's a simple Venn thing. You'll be left with a large, very signficant number of people who've been brought up in their parents' faith, and who continue in that faith. And it is this large, very significant number of people --- well, these, less a relatively small number who might, hypothetically, embrace, of and by themselves, Harry Potter deities and Hubbardesque religions, which remainder is still a very large and very signficant number --- who'll be spared the burden of carrying these superstitions, if parents stop teaching their religious claptrap to the hapless children who are to a large extent in their power and under their control when young.


Quote:
Reality matters! Even when you are trying to explain religion ... or atheism. Being gullible doesn't have much to do with it. As I have said before:



And I really don't see the difference between atheists and believers as one of more or less gullibility. This conceit is the one thing I hate about atheists.

Of course it is a question of having been more gullible --- even if not necessarily of gullibility per se. I think what you're doing is conflating having been gulled, with being intrinsically more gullible, perhaps by virtue of being more stupid; and reacting to this implied slur of stupidity that you see directed at theists. While this may actually be true for a subset of theists; but it isn't for all of them, and probably not for the majority of them. What has facilatated these latter's turning to theism are probably extraenous factors like, as you'd pointed out earlier, things like poverty, and lack of control, and finding themselves socially marginalized, as well as having been indoctrinated by parents and religious teachers, that as well: so that the net result, regardless of their intelligence or lack of it, regardless of their stupidity or lack of it, is de facto having been gulled into superstitions. That "de facto having been gulled" need not necessarily be synonymous with 'instinsic gullibility'; but that they've been so gulled is fact. You can't wish it away. That they believe stupid things is fact: your "hating" it being described as such won't change it, because that is fact.


Quote:
So you have discovered that there is no god. Big deal. Good for you. But don't you think it's about time to move on from this self-gratulatory stance? There's a whole world out there for you to discover, and for the most part it doesn't give a **** about your alleged lack of gullibility.

Nor do I, for the most part, give a **** about any of this. Not unless the discussion happens to veer specifically to this sort of thing. But when it does, then absolutely, it's bang on point then.

Also, and like I'd said before (and you'd failed to acknowledge this then, and continue to ignore this now): The fact that your world, your geographic location, your specific part of the world, seems, as you say, largely free of religion, or at least the kind of religiosity that is troublesome, does not mean that that is representative of the whole world. There are many parts of the world where rabid religiosity and superstitions and are actually a big thing. There's other parts of the world, over in the Middle East for instance, where things are much much much worse, in terms of religiosity, than even these "troublesome parts" just mentioned. So that your advice to simply move on comes across, at best, as entirely blinkered, and focused only on your specfic part of the world, and mistakenly imagining that that is representative of the rest of the world; and, at worst, it comes across as callously uncaring of the rest of the world that is not situated as you are. (Personally I don't think it's the latter, I don't think of you as a callous selfish narcissist, far from it: and personally, for what it is worth, I believe it is the former, that you're wrongly imagining that all of the rest of the world answers to the benign irreligiosty that you find in and around you.)


Quote:
When you make up the idea of "the unthinking default of someone raised atheistic, for instance, raised without any thoughts of religion and theos ever filling their minds. Someone who is innocent of any arguments in defense of atheism," you forget about the circumstances necessary to make this idyl a reality.

I've already addressed this, more than once, haven't I? I've already agreed with you, as far as this. I demonstrably don't "forget about the circumstances necessary to make this idyl a reality", because while I may not have thought about this to begin with, but I agreed with you when you brought in this argument to this thread, and acknowledged it and accepted it. Like I've said, more than once, that's a good point that you've introduced to this thread. At this point, I'm not "forgetting" that, at all.


Quote:
People, even children, don't stop thinking about the world just because adults tell them stories about a god, repeatedly. They can make up gods on their own if they need them. And they can reject them, which is so much easier when they don't need them. People aren't forced to continue to believe the stories they were told by their parents, and unless they have a reason to do so, they will leave them behind along with all the other rubbish they were told. If they don't need those stories, they give up on them. Some of them by an act of will, others just forget them.

For some, it may require a certain amount of courage to be open about it. I remember how one of my friends said to me when we were about 7: "You know that they're full of it when they talk about God, don't you? There is no God."

I was shocked to hear him say so! Not so much that there was no god. I guess I had more or less come to the same conclusion, never having seen him around even though he was supposed to be [i]everywhere.[i] But that one of my friends, another child, dared to say it out loud! I never mentioned it to any adults for another 9-10 years. And we would probably never have mentioned it in school. I know I never did.
Even though I wasn't raised in a religion at home, I knew enough to never question it openly to anybody.

By the way, the reverse thing seems to happen, too: I'm a committed atheist, but my child has become religious (The Independent, Mar 13, 2017)
(Has anybody watched The Americans? )
Committed! Wow! I guess I am uncommitted atheist, then.

It's kind of of ironical that, much like you've been (sometimes rightly) accusing others of ignoring the socio-economic environment that drives some theists to theism, you yourself seem to keep on ignoring the socio-religious environment that drives some people to "commited atheism". In many parts of the US, being an atheist is not the utterly insignficant thing you seem to see it as; for many it requires a certain strength of conviction and character and resolve. And not to forget other parts of the world where it would take actual heroism to openly profess atheism (as well as, to begin with, take an actually heroic intellectual strength to arrive privately to the conclusion of atheism in the first place).

You're doing the "Why don't they eat cake" thing here, it seems to me. Just because being atheist is apparently no big deal for you personally, you seem unable to see that not everyone else is similarly situated.

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Old Today, 10:49 AM   #155
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by Marras View Post
Coming back to the Dawkins should do some more research on things that he writes about department.

When it comes to God Delusion, perhaps the worst part is the "Love Thy Neighbour" chapter that is based on and largely follows John Hartung's article "Love Thy Neighbor : The Evolution of In-Group Morality" in Skeptic in 3:4, 1995. Dawkins recommends the paper several times in the chapter.

In the article Hartung argues that "Love Thy Neighbour" commandment was specifically intended to mean only Jews in both Old and New Testament and that the texts instruct Jews to enslave and genocide all other groups for world domination. To support his argument Hartung includes a lot of quotes from Torah, New Testament and Talmund to demonstrate that the law and civil norms applied only towards the in-group, the Jews, and not to the out-group, everyone else.

The quotations are real. The Torah and Talmud quotes exist and they are precisely the ones that have been used for hundreds of years to justify persecution and murder of Jews by antisemites.

Hartung includes those quotes but he leaves out every single place where Jews were ordered to treat out-group members well. In addition to "Love thy Neighbour" there is also "And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt" (Deut.10:19) and many other verses like that. You don't do omissions like that if you don't have an agenda. When called on it Hartung claimed that all those places were actually referring only to those out-group members who had been accepted as guests by the in-group members.

I'm willing to give Dawkins the benefit of doubt and assume that he was not aware of the antisemitic tradition of Hartung's argument. It is easy to believe that he just missed it. He just saw a scientist use a few key words of evolutionary biology in an anti-theist article and jumped right in. I'm not willing to extend the same courtesy to Hartung. He must have known what he was doing.

A further reason to doubt Hartung's sincerity is that his list of sources includes Kevin MacDonald, who at the time was an evolutionary psychologist who thought that antisemitism is a justified reaction against Jewish quest for dominance. Hartung apparently wrote a positive review on MacDonald's first book, but I haven't been able to find its text online to see exactly what he praised in it. Nowadays MacDonald has gone full nazi and writes neo-nazi articles. Hartung distanced himself from MacDonald when it was clear that he had gone completely bonkers, but "Love Thy Neighbor" contains the sentence: "for an analysis of the history of reactive racism that the in-group nature of Judaism has fomented among diaspora host populations, see Shahak, 1994 and MacDonald, 1995 — and a review of MacDonald 1995 by Hartung 1995".

Hartungs omissions are not restricted to the Old Testament. When looking at New Testament, there certainly are places where other nationalities are spoken about with disparaging terms and places where Jesus orders the disciples to spread the word only to Jews and not to the other peoples. As a side note, these places are one of the reasons why I think that there probably was some historical Jesus: if you are inventing a new evangelizing religion from scratch, it does not make sense to invent an inventor who forbids you from evangelizing to the people that you want to evangelize to.

But there is the one elephant in the room that Hartung completely ignores. He doesn't mention it all. That's the by far best known instance of the terms "Love Thy Neighbour" in the whole Bible: The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

In that story Jesus explicitly says that the Samaritan was the neighbour of the Jew. You couldn't be more out-group from the Jewish viewpoint that a Samaritan in the 1st century Palestine. Samaritans and Jews considered each other heretics who had corrupted the teachings of Yahweh. Hartung mentions in the article that Samaritans are an out-group so he can't even claim that he thought Samaritans were Jews.

It is certainly possible that the parable of Good Samaritan was invented long after Jesus's death by Paulist circles. It occurs only only in the Gospel of Luke and the author of the book was almost certainly somehow connected to Paul even if he probably was not the actual Luke that is mentioned in epistles. But to completely pretend that it does not exist does not speak highly of Hartung.

The Good Samaritan is not the only place in the gospels where Samaritans are spoken about with good terms. Luke has two positive stories and one neutral-ish while John has two positive. By the time the books that ended up in New Testament were written, the "Love Thy Neighbour" already had the universal interpretation. So to say that "Christians seldom realize that much of the moral consideration for others which is apparently promoted by both the Old and New Testaments was originally intended to apply only to a narrowly defined in-group" like Dawkins does is disingenious.

tl;dr Dawkins stumbled on an article he liked and included it in his book without being aware that it was not good scholarship but an antisemitic hit piece.

Read your criticism with interest. Provided you're right about this --- I personally don't know if you are, and I'm happy to take you at your word, unless of course someone comes along to challenge this here --- absolutely, the highlighted would appear to follow.
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