Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

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Palantyre
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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#51 Post by Palantyre » 21 Oct 2010 11:37

Too final, certain, closed. Not only a kind of believe, but rather something towards fanaticism.
This.

To me, diehard atheism is just another religion. They worship their precious non-existence of gods and elevate themselvs above other belief systems just because they KNOW they're right and consider themselves the better people for it.
Same shit in a different wrapper.
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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#52 Post by ThePKH » 21 Oct 2010 12:00

Atheism is a religion if:

Bald is a haircolor
Unemployment is a career
Not collecting stamps is a hobby
I still am the terror that flaps in the night!

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#53 Post by Andreas » 21 Oct 2010 13:02

ThePKH wrote: Not collecting stamps is a hobby
And a nice hobby it is 8)

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#54 Post by t.a.j. » 21 Oct 2010 13:58

Palantyre wrote:
Too final, certain, closed. Not only a kind of believe, but rather something towards fanaticism.
This.

To me, diehard atheism is just another religion. They worship their precious non-existence of gods and elevate themselvs above other belief systems just because they KNOW they're right and consider themselves the better people for it.
Same shit in a different wrapper.
All right, I consider myself to be a pretty diehard atheist. I don't believe in any gods, I have no religious feelings, I find the notion of gods silly, I am abhorred by the rampant irrationality of believers, I find very little redeeming features in any of the western great religious books, I find most strongly religious people obnoxious with their passive aggressiveness and their wilful ignorance, I am appalled by the suffering caused by religious fanaticism for no good reason at all, I consider teaching religious or most esoteric to children tantamount to a violation of their rights and the responsibilities of parent hood, I believe that the world would be much better of if less people where christians, muslims and jews.
I have never found myself worshipping anything other than metal bands at great concerts ;). I value my belief system above others, because I take great pains in trying to be as accurate and responsible about what I take to be true or likely true and what I take to be false or likely false. I study and train myself to look beyond the surface and understand as much as I can about things. In short: I try to be epistemically virtuous in all aspects of my life. And because I do this and in this respect, I do consider myself a better person than many others. But of course, there is more to a person than just epistemic virtuousness.
On the other hands, I am constantly confronted with people who just "KNOW they're right", be they religious or defenders of socially unquestioned beliefs.
Also, there is much more to a religion than just being a strong held set of beliefs. If it were that, the set of unquestioned beliefs about the physical world that each of us carries around (e.g. stuff falls down, people get older, time moves forward, food is required for survival, air is breathable,...) would constitute a religion. And that set of beliefs is probably as much systematically integrated and employed in understanding and interpreting everyday life as religious beliefs system are.
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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#55 Post by Joost » 21 Oct 2010 15:04

t.a.j. wrote:I study and train myself to look beyond the surface and understand as much as I can about things. In short: I try to be epistemically virtuous in all aspects of my life. And because I do this and in this respect, I do consider myself a better person than many others.
How and why does being epistemically virtuous make one a better person? Or was this last sentence of yours to be taken with a grain of salt?

Furthermore: are religiousness and 'epistemical virtuousness' necessarily opposites? Of course, a quick glance at dogmatically religious people, or a literal reading of religious texts, may trigger an inclination to answer this question with 'yes', but may it not be the case that there is more to religious experience than that? -- not just on a 'we'll just forget about what's in the text, and be nice people'-level, but on a more profound and intellectual level. Reading parts of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, to me, has made the latter seem quite likely. (And I don't think I'd have an easy time finding anyone I'd sooner classify as 'epistemically virtuous' than William James. Right now, David Hume is the only one I can think of.)

And, to finish, one more -- somewhat controversial perhaps -- question: is 'just KNOWING you're right' necessarily non-epistemically virtuous? If so, why? And is it even possible, while admitting the possibility of knowledge, to free yourself entirely from the 'just KNOWING you're right'-type of knowledge?
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
-- Martin Walkyier

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#56 Post by spamel » 21 Oct 2010 16:37

If Darwin's Theory of Evolution or Einstein's Theory of Relativity are just that, theories, how come a God, with no proof of existence whatsoever, is taken as read by so many people? There is not a shred of proof to say that there is a God, and until that time I will not believe there is one, or many! If somebody said it was possible to jump off the Empire State building, naked, and survive, would you take their word for it or would you require proof first?

Until I'm proven wrong, I will maintain my disbelief. If others want to worship an imaginary deity, then they can crack on. It leaves the woods emptier on a Sunday whilst they sit on their arse in a cold church, so it is quieter for me! :lol:
My mother in law is a Balrog, and I'm telling you, she has wings!

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#57 Post by t.a.j. » 21 Oct 2010 18:36

Joost wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:I study and train myself to look beyond the surface and understand as much as I can about things. In short: I try to be epistemically virtuous in all aspects of my life. And because I do this and in this respect, I do consider myself a better person than many others.
How and why does being epistemically virtuous make one a better person? Or was this last sentence of yours to be taken with a grain of salt?
The short answer lies in pointing out the expression "in this regard". The longer begins with pointing out that the reason I called it virtuous is that consider it a moral goal to "try and get it right".
Furthermore: are religiousness and 'epistemical virtuousness' necessarily opposites?
No. My main point was merely that "diehard atheism" does not deserve the kind of judgement as was levelled against it.
Of course, a quick glance at dogmatically religious people, or a literal reading of religious texts, may trigger an inclination to answer this question with 'yes',
It's certainly not a matter of necessity, as there were numerous religious people who were epistemically virtuous even by today's standards. I do think that what it means in concrete terms to be epistemically virtuous changes as scientific and philosophical methods develop. Clearly, when you have idea about e.g. confirmation bias, you are not required to take it into consideration, but once you do know about it, you have to consider it. And this is where things begin to get a bit more difficult for current Christians. As an example, given what has been shown about the bible and its history, which any western, semi-educated person has to take into account, believing in literal bible truth and divine authorship looks a lot like a failure to conform to the constrains of epistemic virtue.
but may it not be the case that there is more to religious experience than that? -- not just on a 'we'll just forget about what's in the text, and be nice people'-level, but on a more profound and intellectual level. Reading parts of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, to me, has made the latter seem quite likely. (And I don't think I'd have an easy time finding anyone I'd sooner classify as 'epistemically virtuous' than William James. Right now, David Hume is the only one I can think of.)
Didn't James himself state that "as a psychologist" he was an atheist? But even that is beside the point. Certainly there may be more to religious experience than taking holy texts literally. But I have not had any and am not altogether familiar with many first person reports of people who confess to have seen or met or in other ways experienced a god and therefore my judgement on these things in not on the surest of footing. I feel more at home with books and papers I can read. But those experiences I have heard reports of, I would advise the experience haver to reconsider their judgement. It seems more likely that Hildegard von Bingen was schizophrenic than that there is a god and it's blue, to give just one particularly colourful example.
I do not apologize for the pun. I like it. I might take it home and keep it as a pet.
And, to finish, one more -- somewhat controversial perhaps -- question: is 'just KNOWING you're right' necessarily non-epistemically virtuous? If so, why? And is it even possible, while admitting the possibility of knowledge, to free yourself entirely from the 'just KNOWING you're right'-type of knowledge?
No. Of course you can never check and justify all your beliefs. But you can select their importance. Also, the reason why I speak of virtue is that, instead of checking all your beliefs, what you should do is habituallize practices and methods of belief formation which are robustly reliable. And you should always treat your beliefs with a pinch of salt, being open to the possibility that you might be wrong, that you might have made a mistake somewhere and willing to correct yourself, if presented with corresponding evidence. All of this basically comes down to saying that you should never "just know" anything, but assign degrees of credence in appropriate ways. And 1 is hard to qualify for. Probably reserved for logical truths.
Accordingly, I try to avoid say "I know that..." and use expressions like "I think so.".
http://www.gedichtblog.de
They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#58 Post by Led Guardian » 21 Oct 2010 20:26

t.a.j. wrote:Accordingly, I try to avoid say "I know that..." and use expressions like "I think so.".
"I feel that..." should also be avoided like the plague. It's usually used as synonymous with "I know that..." and is another way of stating a belief for which their is no evidence.
'Nowhere has this renunciation of man's transience been more joyous or uplifting than in the medium of airport carpets.'

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#59 Post by t.a.j. » 21 Oct 2010 21:50

Led Guardian wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:Accordingly, I try to avoid say "I know that..." and use expressions like "I think so.".
"I feel that..." should also be avoided like the plague. It's usually used as synonymous with "I know that..." and is another way of stating a belief for which their is no evidence.
I disagree. Some judgements are primarily emotional. Often judgements of value or right are like this. If I say that I feel that something is important, I mean precisely that. Make of it what you will, that is my emotional stand on the matter. And that is not the same as stating a belief for which there is no evidence. In fact I would say that it is not a statement of belief at all.
http://www.gedichtblog.de
They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


Still the goddamn Batman.

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#60 Post by Led Guardian » 21 Oct 2010 22:49

t.a.j. wrote:
Led Guardian wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:Accordingly, I try to avoid say "I know that..." and use expressions like "I think so.".
"I feel that..." should also be avoided like the plague. It's usually used as synonymous with "I know that..." and is another way of stating a belief for which their is no evidence.
I disagree. Some judgements are primarily emotional. Often judgements of value or right are like this. If I say that I feel that something is important, I mean precisely that. Make of it what you will, that is my emotional stand on the matter. And that is not the same as stating a belief for which there is no evidence. In fact I would say that it is not a statement of belief at all.
You misunderstand me, so let me clarify: I mean specifically the use of "I feel..." to state something that can be empirically determined, but without use of evidence for the "feeling." For example, Bob says "I feel like climate change is not really occurring." This is something that has been verified through numerous experiments, and to counter that Bob does not even take evidence from contradictory experiments; he simply "feels" that they're wrong and that climate change is fake.

Now, if you are dealing with something that should actually involve emotions, then yes, it is perfectly acceptable to say "I feel..." Indeed, that is what you should say. That is the proper context of the word.

So to make my previous sentence clearer and closer to my original meaning: "I feel that..." is often used by people in a way similar to "I just know..." The feeling is also often used as the sole explanation for the statement made.
'Nowhere has this renunciation of man's transience been more joyous or uplifting than in the medium of airport carpets.'

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#61 Post by t.a.j. » 22 Oct 2010 00:03

It seems like a US thing to mean, what with all the cheeriness and stuff.
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They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


Still the goddamn Batman.

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#62 Post by Joost » 22 Oct 2010 00:40

I feel more at home with books and papers I can read.
The aforementioned book by William James is definitely more readable than the Bible.
But those experiences I have heard reports of, I would advise the experience haver to reconsider their judgement.
But I don't find much flaws with James's pragmatism and radical empiricism. Its conclusions may run counter against the current received wisdom, but, in the end, I'd call them more 'epistemically virtuous' than what most people have to say about these topics.
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
-- Martin Walkyier

Also, Balrogs have wings.

::.: Homepage .::. last.fm .::. Facebook .::. Flickr :.::

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#63 Post by Led Guardian » 22 Oct 2010 01:05

t.a.j. wrote:It seems like a US thing to mean, what with all the cheeriness and stuff.
I am not sure what you mean by this, unless you are referring to my defaulting to the name "Bob."
'Nowhere has this renunciation of man's transience been more joyous or uplifting than in the medium of airport carpets.'

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#64 Post by TraneDeracs » 23 Oct 2010 19:29

This is the problem I have with Dawkins: He believes his position and credibility as a scientist and geneticist gives him more reasonable doubt and right to speak about a topic that is completely unrelated to science. He's good at what he does and has helped the scientific world but his viewpoints are atrociously arrogant and devoid of any respect or notion for the common man, religions positive effect on human beings, and in the end he just wants to see himself as a famous educator of the human race alongside the greats when he hasn't even reached that level yet.

Oncemore: Good scientist, bad philosopher, untalented theologian.

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#65 Post by No‘am » 24 Oct 2010 01:31

I guess then that no one cares about the hatemail he got
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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#66 Post by t.a.j. » 24 Oct 2010 08:31

Led Guardian wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:It seems like a US thing to mean, what with all the cheeriness and stuff.
I am not sure what you mean by this, unless you are referring to my defaulting to the name "Bob."
Na, it's just that I've had the repeated exprience that many USians tend to practice a kind of inoffensive cheeriness. Nothing too substantial, just an impression. Of course, Jackson doens't fit.
http://www.gedichtblog.de
They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


Still the goddamn Batman.

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Re: Richard Dawkins (biologist/atheist speaker) hatemail

#67 Post by Led Guardian » 24 Oct 2010 20:15

t.a.j. wrote:
Led Guardian wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:It seems like a US thing to mean, what with all the cheeriness and stuff.
I am not sure what you mean by this, unless you are referring to my defaulting to the name "Bob."
Na, it's just that I've had the repeated exprience that many USians tend to practice a kind of inoffensive cheeriness. Nothing too substantial, just an impression. Of course, Jackson doens't fit.
Maybe we're just happier than you Europeans. :wink:
And come on, WVM just lights up a room with his optimism. Or maybe that's just the flames.
'Nowhere has this renunciation of man's transience been more joyous or uplifting than in the medium of airport carpets.'

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