Tuesday, 25 October 2011

More Crap from Richard Dawkins

Here's that man Dawkins again. Apparently he says that "someone as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist"!!!! Ahem, I think he's missing something somewhere. It must be on the longer version of the linked interview below as he doesn't say it on the shorter. And he also says that those who believe that without religion society would degenerate and people would start rioting are wrong. Clearly he wasn't in London in August!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2011/oct/24/richard-dawkins-video-interview

16 comments:

  1. Oh this guy. He speaks of "gift of life" towards the end. Why even bother listening to him. =)

    And he also says that those who believe that without religion society would degenerate and people would start rioting are wrong.
    He doesn't put it this strongly, and I thought what he said was rather right. You don't NEED religion for morals. That's true. That said, religion is a very loose and flexible word ... we can even say antinatalism is a religion, for instance. That particular religion would be synonymous with good values/morals/ethics/whatever. Here, I only include a "Don't breed" commandment in antinatalism.

    someone as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist
    What an unintelligent thing to say! ;–D

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  2. =)
    Ok, I´m not gonna even sse the video, as you guys are already pointing its flaws.

    On the other hand, I might come around with a video of mine. Let´s see about that. I´ll give you a heads up!

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  3. Srikant: I think there has to be some underlying value system in every society, otherwise it just turns into the kind of relentless work-dominated world of drones we have now. To me, Britain is proof of this. It's the most secular, materialistic society I've been in and, to be frank, I find it pretty horrible and mindless.

    Shadow: Thanks, man. Looks like everyone's getting into the world of videos these days!

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  4. we can even say antinatalism is a religion, for instance.

    You can say that, but that doesn't make it true. Under no sensible definition of religion is antinatalism a religion.

    And he also says that those who believe that without religion society would degenerate and people would start rioting are wrong. Clearly he wasn't in London in August!

    Not sure London has much to do with. But you should have been a little clearer about what precisely you mean. Is it that you don't think a non-religious system of beliefs and values can supply what human societies happen to (unfortunately) need to cohere, in whatever miserable state they may be then? That seems mostly correct, ignoring perhaps nazism. That was non-religious, but did seem to inspire quite some coherence. Of course, there is the people insisting that it was in fact religious. I wouldn't say it was, but of course, it shared many features with religion - probably precisely those nasty features that do the trick...

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  5. Constant: Thanks for the comment. Regarding London, I think that anyone who lives in the UK can sense the slow but steady deterioration in social cohesion here. One feature of that deterioration is the decline in religion, a force that very much bound societies together in previous centuries.

    You wrote:

    "Is it that you don't think a non-religious system of beliefs and values can supply what human societies happen to (unfortunately) need to cohere, in whatever miserable state they may be then?"

    Yes, that's exactly what I mean and thank you for making me clarify my point. A system of pure self-interested capitalism, as prevails now, isn't going to lead to anything but a more gradually anarchic state of affairs. Re. Nazism, the best study available that I know in that regard is Michael Burleigh's "The Third Reich A New History" lauded to the skies by one and all apparently.

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  6. Isn't christianity vs. capitalism a bit of a category mistake? (And also an empirical mistake in the light of the US?)

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  7. Heh heh heh....Dawkins has jokes.

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  8. Constant: Doubtless I'm expressing myself badly, but what I'm groping my way towards expressing is what appears to me to be the ongoing cheapening of human life that arises from ever more invasive technology and advertising. To use Weber's phrase, the disenchanting of the world seems relentless.

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  9. Actually, I'd avoid the phrase "cheapening of human live" as well. That also sounds very much like a platitude to me. Especially male human life seems to have been incredibly cheap throughout the history of our species.

    I'm equally suspicious of "disenchanting". Of course, all these terms are there to express an intuition, but if one is serious about it, one should try to give more shape to this intuition than that.

    Couldn't the central point by phrased quite simply? Religion serves as an instrument of creating a group, and a feeling of belonging to that group. Nazism happens to do the same. And humans want to be in a group. Now the enlightenment tradition has found two problems with groups: first, they tend to be extremely nasty to each other. Second, groups, especially such big ones as whole societies, are often based on preposterous, utterly absurd, irrational ideas.

    That's why societies are fragmented into too many little groups to cohere as a whole.

    Now of course all this is also just popular science talk. I'm not a serious anthropologist. Still, it feels like a slight advancement over all too vague phrases.

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  10. Constant: The reason my phrases are somewhat vague is because what I'm trying to get at hasn't really anything to with the group explanation you proffer. I find that the reductionist take on religion which insists on boiling it down to nothing more than group belonging is so hopelessly off the mark that it misses the point entirely. To me, the religious impulse as manifested in individuals who exist outside of the stereotyped churchgoing drone (the favourite strawman target of militant atheists such as Dawkins and co.) is far more interesting and complex than that.

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  11. Hm. In that case I don't think I understand at all what your point is. How, then, does religion contribute to the stability of society?

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  12. Constant, I realise you find my less than precise phraseology to be annoying, but, as I said, I'm in the process of trying to sort my own thoughts on the topic, so apologies. I'm planning on a blog entry about it soon, so say tuned if you feel like it. Roughly, I'm of the opinion that since religion went to the side of society, we've seen a growth of rampant egotism, greed, material insantity and the degradaton of the earth. I'm not arguing that we'd be better off in a theocracy, but what I am saying is that the religious mindset isn't all bad in the manner that Dawkins et al claim.

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  13. Sorry if I came across as annoyed, that really wasn't my intention. There's very little emotional involvement here on my part, actually. ;)

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  14. Thanks, man. Same here, bar when I worry that my girlfriend might be getting broody:-)

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  15. Some comic relief:

    The Dawkins Delusion

    I recently found that and thought you might enjoy it.

    bonus:

    Here Comes the Happy Bus

    I like your blog a lot, although I'm not so keen on commenting on the internet these days. I'm glad you do, though.

    All the best,

    Jeff C.

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  16. Hey, Jeff. Thanks for the comment and the links, man. Funny stuff. Appreciated!

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