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Old 1st August 2007, 03:02 AM   #1
Nero
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Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

A nice little article in this morning’s Guardian (UK National Paper) by Christopher Brookmyre:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/st...138790,00.html

Quote:
My new novel, Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, takes its name from a coinage of the magician and sceptic James Randi to describe people who, no matter how much proof you try to submerge them in, always bob back up again with a new reason to keep believing.
Gist of the article is “blind faith without proof isn’t a good thing”, I’ve paraphrased the article down to 8 words, I’d read the article if I where you. The author's also plugging his new book.

Last edited by Nero; 1st August 2007 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 1st August 2007, 03:11 AM   #2
Cuddles
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Nice article. Although I was rather hoping it would be about this.
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Old 1st August 2007, 03:49 AM   #3
Mojo
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An astonishing comment from "Sweeney":
Quote:
Mr. Brookmyre believe it or not, but you're in the same boat as the faith group BECAUSE neither party has any proof of God, e.g. atheists cannot prove that God does NOT exist.

Thus, what makes you more rational NOT to believe than those who choose to believe?

I can't deny, though, that I find the "faith heads" a more attractive kind of bunch. Why? Well, at least, they don't sit in judgement over other people convictions and serious research into the paranormal seems to favour their stance somewhat more. This should give any rational man to think, shouldn't it?
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Old 1st August 2007, 03:57 AM   #4
Father Dagon
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Thanks, Nero. That article just made my day. (Now to translate the title into swedish and bonk some heads...)
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Old 1st August 2007, 07:06 AM   #5
Jaggy Bunnet
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One of my favourite authors, I have a copy of AOTURD which I am trying to resist the temptation to read so I can take it on holiday with me and am also going to see him in the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Few books are laugh out loud funny, but most of his are.

I suspect that many here would enjoy "Not the End Of The World" in particular.

http://www.brookmyre.co.uk/book3.htm

**Beware that following the link may result in exposure to sweary words** (and that reading the book definitely will!)

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Old 1st August 2007, 11:26 AM   #6
Skeptical Greg
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Thanks for sharing ..
My favorite clip:

Quote:
The notion that faith - belief in spite of an absence of proof or even in the face of compelling contrary evidence - is a form of mental and moral fortitude needs not merely to be challenged, but to be given the full point-and-laugh treatment, so that we can see afresh how this absurdity deserves ridicule rather than reverence.
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Old 21st August 2007, 01:32 PM   #7
Jaggy Bunnet
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Saw Brookmyre at the Edinburgh International Book Festival tonight - he did a couple of readings from the book which I think most people on here would have found highly enjoyable. Fortunately it was being recorded for broadcast on Radio Scotland (some time in October, date not yet confirmed) and will be available on the listen again site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/

As I have been saving the book for my holiday I hadn't realised that it was dedicated to James Randi and Richard Dawkins and a large part of the discussion was about why he wrote the book and he mentioned Randi (and his education foundation) on several occasions, as well as giving an account of the Fox sisters.

The interviewer asked him about Uri Geller where he produced my favourite quote of the evening (approximate from memory):

"As this is being recorded for the radio, you need to be very careful about Uri Geller. He's notoriously litigous - so we need to be careful about words like fraud and charlatan. We'll have to settle for fanny." Fanny is defined in the glossary to his previous book as a term of abuse for particularly whinny and snivelling individuals.
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Old 21st August 2007, 03:46 PM   #8
Tanstaafl
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
Nice article. Although I was rather hoping it would be about this.

I was wondering about that too. I got snookered into helping clean a truckload of those *#$%^(!# ducks as a fundraiser once.
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Old 22nd August 2007, 06:04 AM   #9
JQH
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Brookmyre is always good value

<pockets bribe from C.B.'s agent>

Distrusts religion and entrenched political systems. Also manages to be pro-Scotttish without being anti-English
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Old 28th May 2008, 04:10 AM   #10
sophia8
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I was hoping to find a mention of this book here. I'm reading it right now, and it's hugely enjoyable. Why did nobody ever tell me about Brookmyre before?

Bumping this thread in a good cause. Read this book!
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Old 28th May 2008, 05:59 AM   #11
skeptic of oz
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Yeah that phrase of James Randi's has always been spot on...THESE BELIEVERS JUST CAN'T BE SUNK!
Really are they any better than fundamentalist Christians/literalists/creationists? Who, no matter how much evidence to the contrary just won't be swayed?
Yeah great article and many thanks. I'm starting to really enjoy this forum!
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Old 28th May 2008, 06:12 AM   #12
Gib
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Is Brookmyre from the UK or US ? Because when he says "We'll have to settle for [calling Uri] fanny.", he is either calling him an a**hole or a c**t... Either way, I agree.
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Old 28th May 2008, 08:09 AM   #13
blauregen
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Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
Thanks for sharing ..
My favorite clip:

....
For the less enlightened and evolved than you, which includes me, 'Faith' in whatever has a few good points though. Let me explain:

You, as rational skeptics, who view the world with the impassionate and serene clarity that is often falsely attributed to perpetrators of religious woo like zen roshi, are not in need of any religious support or comfort.

Resting safely in the knowledge of the one true scientific method to interpret your perceptions you know and are content with the fact that in a hypothetical cosmic context your life and achievements may seem irrelevant and indeed the whole humanity may be nothing but a fluke in the overall structure.

What you didn't figure out yourself about the workings of the world you likely only accept from authorities you know to adhere to the one true methodology you follow yourself, and since you mastered your consciousness to a degree people like the science fiction writer vanVogt envisoned for example in his NULL-A-Series (I think Hubbard came from the same track, but realized the marketing potential of a religion earlier ), you are not prone to let emotions cloud your vision of what you know is real.

From this you realize that ideas like for example 'love','honor','loyalty' are nothing more than walking sticks for those who can't consciously judge their actions, and if you have any strong ethical guidelines at all, they are likely based on sound scientific models like the theory of games.

However, and it hurts me to admit this, I and many other people aren't that evolved.

We try to impose meaning on what happens in our life, and we often simply chose a model that seems to work for the moment and seems efficient . Like an ape coming around a rock and seeing another kind of animal we try to make fast decisions. Is it ape too or another critter? If critter is it predator, prey or something different? If ape, is it male or female? Is it friend, foe or undecided? And we have to do this fast, because it could attack.

And lacking your superior ability to make such distinctions fast enough counsciosly, we often rely on learned rules and guides. Our ethics are often based on generalizations like 'things that are bad' and 'things that are good', without finer distinctions like 'good for who?' and often not rational, but entirely emotional. It feels 'right' to do certain things, and it feels 'wrong' to do others. As ooposed to you we often act not upon clear and undeniable facts or evident-hardened theories, but upon beliefs.

Beliefs like for example 'People should legally be treated equal', 'Killing other people should be avoided', 'Everyone has a right to be heard' and sometimes beliefs like 'Pleasing <personal deitiy> as stated in <appropriate holy scripture> is right'. Unlike you, we did not get those beliefs through careful and thorough contemplation and application of the one true scientific method, but mostly through education and socialisation and we simply accepted them because the people we liked seemed happy when we did. Of course we sometimes reason why something is right or wrong, but as opposed to you we can't proof the premises of our reasoning.

I agree that it would be better to advance to your lofty state of existence, where everything is clear and evident, but i am afraid we lack the mental capacity to do everything counsciously. We need our rules and guidelines, which we often derive from faith in a religious or philosophical system. We also lack the psychological autonomy and maturity to prosper in a world where we are ultimately responsible for every tiny decision without seeing the ultimate reason for it, and so we use authority and unproven assumptions about an afterlife or a purpose of life as crutches. In a sense our deity is a substitute for our parents. We need it to keep going.

So please, enlightened one, bear with us. Most of us try not to be fanatical about it.

Thank you.

Last edited by blauregen; 28th May 2008 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 30th June 2010, 09:14 AM   #14
jiggeryqua
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Originally Posted by sophia8 View Post
I was hoping to find a mention of this book here. I'm reading it right now, and it's hugely enjoyable. Why did nobody ever tell me about Brookmyre before?

Bumping this thread in a good cause. Read this book!
Just read it, figured I should flag it up here, at least I searched first.

Bumping this thread in a good cause. Read this book! (and anything else by Brookmyre, but for an entertaining recap of science vs psychics - or just to see Randi namechecked - read Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks).
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Old 30th June 2010, 09:25 AM   #15
Professor Yaffle
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It's also being considered (suggested by moi) for the next book we read in the forum book club:

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...=160232&page=9

Feel free to join us there.
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