Your are viewing a read-only archive of the old DiS boards. Please hit the Community button above to engage with the DiS !
Rolling Richard Dawkins twitter thread
probably didn't like that.
I'm going to search that one out! :D
especially with the sensitive left, who seem to loath him these days and brand him a "bigot", the more I agree with him.
Someone's got to take a stand against religion and be the sacrificial lamb for the all inevitable vitriol. So fair play to him.
I think he was saying laws should reflect the crime more, but it kinda came out as "I got abused so screw you cry babies".
i honestly think that what he said there is totally reasonable.
I don't know if he's right or wrong but certainly I think it's not for me to start telling people who were abused as children how they should feel about it.
looks the far more mental of the two there.
I agree with the sentiment behind much of what he has to say, but hate him because he is such an utter douche.
...I just remind myself that Alain De Botton also exists. And I mellow accordingly.
but I've started to see him as someone who kinda states the obvious about everything and present sit as some kinda revelation. Still good though. Status Anxiety is especially great.
His philosophy is largely empty. Aside from Status Anxiety, he has produced nothing of value. Absolutely nothing. But yet he carries on with a horrid pomposity. You seen his twitter feed? It's just him fishing for soundbites. Constantly fishing for soundbites.
Oh, and he was the chap who suggested 'Atheist Temples' for atheists. An idea which angers me on every level.
I dislike Dawkins intensely, but at least he's brought SOMEthing to the table and has got more people thinking critically about religion. De Botton has provided nothing.
He's just slapped together a bunch of E-Z-to-assemble flat-pack opinions based on a hilariously crude understanding of how religion actually works, and they've been flying out the door.
What, people believe stuff that isn't true and hates / discriminates on that basis?
Seems fair enough to me.
Or you're trolling.
if it isn't about believing something made up and forming opinions based on it.
Reveal to me the bigger truth. Please.
...but his writing on religion deserves more credit than that.
was pretty disappointing. He interviewed people with different jobs, basically. It didn't really go into any further depth. I was like, "oh, that's it" when I finished it. :(
(I say that as someone who only has a passing idea of even who he is).
Her Parents: Punk Rock For People Who Like TED Talks
and I watched one and it was awful. I don't have anything more than that!
why don't you criticise the talks instead of trying to put groups of people down?
actually that was still very 'people'-centric. comes across quite snobbish.
Mainly because the contributors, and the subjects, are wide and varied. Both in terms of content and quality. Strange how you could compare the two, to be honest.
what De Botton is to philosophy and architecture.
A way for young, ADD web-designers and out of touch middle-aged managers to think that they're clued-up about subjects without really having to engage in the subject. I know that's a lot of the point - bite-sized bits of info for people who think that they're too busy to actually find out about stuff, but the focus of TED talks has been lost and it's now as likely to be pushing motivational quackery as it is rigorous topics.
They're self-help pop-talks for people who feel left behind, and want reassurance, rather than a useful education tool to make people think.
But, y'know, I've seen TED talks that were useful and educational. Most of them probably aren't for me but... y'know.
Think Scout's doing one soon. Be interesting to hear her take on it.
Especially the last paragraph:
"Ultimately, the TED phenomenon only makes sense when you realise that it’s all about the audience. TED Talks are designed to make people feel good about themselves; to flatter them and make them feel clever and knowledgeable; to give them the impression that they’re part of an elite group making the world a better place. People join for much the same reason they join societies like Mensa: it gives them a chance to label themselves part of an intellectual elite. That intelligence is optional, and you need to be rich and well-connected to get into the conferences and the exclusive fringe parties and events that accompany them, simply adds to the irresistible allure. TED’s slogan shouldn’t be ‘Ideas worth spreading’, it should be: ‘Ego worth paying for’."
There's some reasonable concerns in there. Don't like the way he's presented them but... there you go. The whole thing IS very hubristic, I'll admit.
I seem to have found a way of circumnavigating all of the stuff that he gets so upset about and watching, and enjoying, some of the talks on their own merits. Fair enough.
but 99% of the viewing is done by people at their computers who wouldn't have a hope of paying in to it. So that all seems a bit of a distraction to be honest.
Ultimately, the New Statesman only makes sense when you realise that it’s all about the audience. www.newstatesman.com is designed to make people feel good about themselves; to flatter them and make them feel clever and knowledgeable; to give them the impression that they’re part of an elite group making the world a better place. People read for much the same reason they read magazines like the Spectator: it gives them a chance to label themselves part of an intellectual elite. That intelligence is optional, and you need to be rich and well-connected to get into the party conferences and the exclusive fringe parties and events that accompany them, simply adds to the irresistible allure. The New Statesman's slogan shouldn’t be ‘Free thinking since 1913’, it should be: ‘Apologists since 1997’.
they are basically glitzy book pitches delivered to a room full of braying twats.
and then looked them up in depth afterwards?
You're all being ammusingly smug and self-righteous about these smug, self-righteous TED talks.
Standing against religion, as a sacraficial lamb.
Seems like a mixed message.
the selfish gene came out in 1976
I'm talking about his allotted span of media stardom & getting to hang out with Ricky Gervais.
But I find religion really interesting, and I know that Dawkins on religion is a complete fraud.
in what respect is he a fraud? please elaborate.
1. Takes the most retrograde, knuckle-dragging aspects of religion (e.g. predisposition to terrorism) and pretends they're somehow foundational. A bit like me saying "Science enabled the manufacture of Zyklon-B gas, and is therefore morally bankrupt from the ground up"
2. Reduces religion to a set of propositions in which you have to "believe", and for which there's no empirical proof. E.g. "Does God exist", which is just about the most boring question you can ask of religion. Dawkins is completely obsessed with it, but it's actually quite a marginal concern in the minds of most religious people I talk to (and I talk to a lot, in my line of work). E.g. the resurrection of Christ, the miracles in the gospels, the idea of Judgement Day/heaven/hell... you don't find many thoughtful, intelligent Christians today who actually "believe" literally in these things, in the way that we believe the earth revolves around the sun. Contemporary theology is way more subtle than that. Ditto the idea that Jews somehow have to be cool with everything in the Hebrew Bible because it's all the word of God: there are entire traditions like Reform Judaism which just blow that caricature out of the water. But none of that fits Dawkins' picture of faith as moronic literalism, so he ignores it.
3. Thinks that because the Hebrew Bible advocates things like capital punishment for homosexuals, Jews & Christians are somehow bound to agree with it on some level. Whereas in fact, religious people are as good as anybody else at distinguishing between archaic-culture-bound nonsense and the ethically useful stuff.
4. Subscribes to the model of history that says "Europe was mired in superstition & religious wars until the Enlightenment came along & gave us secular culture". Uh, wrong. Also thinks that because past societies were more religious, then every abuse perpetrated by them was somehow caused by religion - as though the desire for economic power, territorial expansion etc somehow didn't exist back then.
... I'm not saying there aren't stupid religious people out there, or that religion has been an unalloyed force for good in the world. I'm just saying the whole thing is way more complicated than Dawkins & his fellow travellers make out. But they get a free pass, largely because so many people are happy to sign up to simple, knee-jerk atheism as a means of demonstrating how down they are on things like Islamic fascism and clerical sexual abuse. The outrage is justified of course, but it results in a critique of religion that's uninformed and clouded by prejudice.
Still, like I said, I think this is beginning to change and the whole neo-atheist movement is losing steam a bit.
Really good dismantling of Dawkins' et al's thought.
'you don't find many thoughtful, intelligent Christians today who actually "believe" literally in these things, in the way that we believe the earth revolves around the sun. Contemporary theology is way more subtle than that'
How can you believe in something that has no factual basis in anything other than it being written text in old book, but then pick and choose what parts of that are actually correct?
The whole idea of a bible is that it is the word of god. Seems pretty arrogant to believe that is the case, but then decide god doesn't really know what he is on about and set about make your own rules based on your own prejudices.
Also, can't think of an easier job than 'contemporary theologian'.
if it is not, and it's just the rantings of a bunch of men a long time ago, why believe any of it?
The combined works of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle are hereby laid to rest. RIP, their contemporary relevance.
If people want to believe the (Christian) bible is LITERALLY the word of God, then... that's their choice. Most people use it to be guided by the teachings of, and the lessons learnt from, Jesus don't they? Not sure your `the whole idea` summation is accurate.
sounds a bit Dawkins-esque, in fact.
Decries the unthinking dogmatism which he sees as being characteristic of certain tranches of religious behaviour and then, well, goes on to be unthinkingly dogmatic in the presentation of his own arguments. Lovely stuff.
Religion is a faith not a philosophy.
1. I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. Under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting.
Even if you take the rest of the bible as pick and choose guff that above is not up for debate and there's pretty clear evidence from science that a lot of that is probably wrong.
there still has to be a fundamental belief in some variation of the claims above, right?
But my point was about the bible being THE LITERAL WORD OF GOD etc.
dismissive of Plato et al, when there is no religious lead of faith required in the reading of Plato or Aristotle.
My point was in direct response to the `bunch of men A LONG TIME AGO` point. I was highlighting the farcical nature of this point by making reference to other writing from A LONG TIME AGO which still underpin contemporary thought.
Pretty major misreading there I'm afraid.
really underpin rational modern thought though which is why increasingly people have to abandon parts of it and reinterpret other to ensure it's relevance to their moral schema. Which is an argument laid out a lot better in the Gay Science.
In which case I don't understand how people believe entirely and unflinchingly in the baptismal declaration which is believed as fact.
Either way I've made my point terribly so I'm probably going stop now before I embarrass myself further.
And that he never went to church in his life. And that the early Christians were Jews too. And that Christianity existed long before any of those creeds or catechisms.
Seriously, just stop. This isn't going nearly as well for you as you think.
unless you again don't believe that part of the bible and choose to believe he something else, rendering the whole thing meaningless in my eyes as Jesus would just be another random guy telling a story.
The reason I brought up 'a long time ago' is because if you don't believe the bible to be the literal teachings of god then the only thing that seems to give it any credence compared with say me and my pals writing a story on creation, is the fact it was written a long time ago.
I'm honestly not trolling or whatever here. I just don't see how you can follow a religion but not actually believe the teachings in the book that has given everyone the idea of that religion in the first place.
and that like any set of texts, it's a product of its culture, however inspired it might be. Your problem is that you have a very narrow understanding of the "word of god" concept.
Also, I'm 99.9% sure that your scorn for contemporary theology stems from the fact that you know absolutely fuck all about it. Don't let that stop you from making confident sweeping dismissals, though. You're in good company, and very few people will call you out for being a complete berk.
I mean, you've not said that in as many words but I think it's fair for me to conclude that you think that way.
Maybe 'wisdom' rather than intelligence if you're splitting hairs, but in general knee-jerk reactions and assumptions come from a lack of understanding, don't they?
is not the same thing as a lack of intelligence.
I don't think intelligence has any place in a discussion about religious/spiritual/whatever belief. I don't see that the two ever cross paths or bear any relation to each other.
It's a mindset that happens to be hung on religion. It can just as easily be hung on fascism or communism or other narrowminded positions.
Understanding and intelligence are pretty much the same thing, in my view, and I don't think either are 'set' if that worries you: anyone can gain both. I think when it comes to fundamentalist philosophies (of whatever flavour) intelligent people tend use them to control the less intelligent. You're right that there are obviously intelligent people who do end up believing them.
Either through (yes) lack of intelligence, or a disinclination to engage in critical thought for whatever reason.
I'm 99.9% sure that you are talking shite. Don't let that stop you from making confident sweeping dismissals, though. You're in good company, and very few people will call you out for being a complete berk
Take up the issue, and tell me why you think contemporary theology is bollocks.
basically though, as with my objections up there^, I don't see what there is to debate or analyse in religion.
I can understand fundamentalism: this is what my religion says, I chose to believe it word for word as the word of god, fuck logic.
I don't understand analysis of religion: I kind of believe certain parts of this religion, but what I think it needs is my take on it and ways I can adapt it to what suits me and the world around us as we now know it. Of course people doing exactly the same job as me may completely disagree with my views, most the world will not care, and in 100 years everything I say will be discredited as human understanding will be much different to now, but I'll plow on nonetheless, too late to work at greggs now.
Humans are of course going to discuss and analsye it like they do with everything else.
Lots of religious people recognise religion is inherently a social construct there to give guidance and not a set of inflexible rules.
Christians for example often discuss the what is the meaning of life or why are we here questions. Not just, it says god put us here so thats it.
A lot of religious people are scientists, they don't see this as an oxymoron and will apply similar critical thoughts to there beliefs. It's bot just the bible says about Adam and Eve and thats that.
Once I was at a service and the vicars sermon was about the big bang and how we're all made of stars (or the same stuff as stars).
and don't think that it is to worship god and then be judged on that, then I don't see how you can possibly call yourself a christian
what is a christian then?
I'm not religious so can't get into that but my point is that you say you can't understand how someone can be religious and also objectivly analyse their religion.
I'm saying they can and do and this is a good thing as it leads to progressive religions and people who literal creationists (for example) are the minority.
fundamentally not understanding what a Christian is.
Ok I should have said religious rather than christian. You can't say that all religious people are doing it wrong if they don't blindly follow their religious text to the key.
It's a really weird and smug argument: ''Oh your're relgious but you can't follow your own rules, not that I'd repect you if you did, I'd just think you're even more stupid''.
Religious people are just as capable of critical thought as others and they see their faith as something a bit beyond whether adam and eve are real or you can't eat shellfish or whatever.
It provides a place where people get together, provides support, helps those in need and generally acts as a socialy lubricant, give people a sense of belonging and a positive force in the community. Even in my parents generation the church was the focal point of all community events/festivals etc.
On a personal level (for religious people not me) I think religion gives them comfort, something to believe in, a sense that things happen for a reason. A sense of inner peace much for sophisticated then whether Noah really got all those animals on a boat or it water did turn to wine.
I genuinely don't see it as that different to what music fans get from loving a band or being part of a scene. I bet that feeling you get of conecting with a band you love, seeing them live, feeling the unity with the other pople in the room as you all sing along is probally similar to people singing hymns in church. That coming together and beliving in something is universal. Just they didn't have indie rock a few hundred/thousand years ago, they had religion. That's what it give to people.
* lets ignore potentially damaging or bigoted parts for the moment cos they are the minority and I'm talking about when it works as it should and about why people can discard the stupid bits of a religion but still be a beliver.
that Christianity and what it means to be a Christian has meant different things over centuries for 2000 years. It means different things today. E.g. for someone in the Muslim world, everybody on this board is a Christian by virtue of the fact that we all live in the "Christian" west. And they're more right than you might think, given that religion broadly speaking is about cultural affiliation as much as it's about individual doctrinal belief (this just sounds strange to us because we've become such a secular individualist society. But it's how many Muslims understand themselves, i.e. more "I'm Muslim because I was born a Muslim and I live in a Muslim country" than "I'm Muslim because I've made a personal decision to follow Allah as my lord & saviour").
All this confident banging on about what religion is and what you *have* to believe if you're gong to be a Christian - coming from people who have a loose recreational aquaintance, at best, with what they're talking about, and given that what they're talking about is a huge topic of debate & disagreement among scholars who *do* know what they're talking about - is pretty funny really. In short: Christianity is not reducible to its "official" doctrines or its institutional means of expression. If you insist that it is, then dare I say it, you sound like nothing so much as an evangelical fundamentalist.
usually comes in response to Christians using The Bible to inform people of what they should and shouldn't do (eg: gay marriage), no?
In which case, it seems a fairly reasonable response, wouldn't you say?
themselves with a religion due to circumstance is who the debate is between though.
this is just a load of rubbish. you can't claim that someone else considering you "christian" based on where you were born makes you christian, or has any bearing on this discussion.
"religion broadly speaking is about cultural affiliation as much as it's about individual doctrinal belief"
sure, if you want to redefine religion. but that's shifting the goalposts. religion to anyone who isn't some subtle theologian is based on faith, belief and worship.
I'm pointing out that the goalposts have been shifting ever since Jesus died, and they're still shifting today.
lol @ suspicion of "subtle theologians"
this is my fav recent piece of Dawkins trolling
Why is the Nobel Prize in Literature almost always given to a novelist, never a scientist?
Might [Shakespeare] have been even better if he’d studied at Oxford or Cambridge?
why get into college when you can start a privately funded humanities college with your rich atheist friends innit?
"...those obscurantist philosophers, often of “Continental” tradition, for whom obscurity is valued as a protective screen, or even admired for its own sake."
There is no philosopher like this. There are plenty of people who think there is, and the idea that Continental philosophy is all jargon & bullshit has gathered some impressive cultural momentum. But if Richard Dawkins can find me even one philosopher who really, truly values obscurity "as a protective screen" or admires it "for its own sake", I'll give him a million dollars.
I mean it can be fun to troll, generalise unfairly, slag people off etc, and it's not like I've never done it myself. But then I'm not a scientist and I don't bang on all the time about evidence & empirical scrutiny & intellectual courage & whatever the fuck. That's why I think he's a bit of a hypocrite, rather than just an entertaining polemicist (like e.g. Hitchens).
but I bloody love him.
Richard Dawkins reading out his hate mail made me chuckle...
I don't like TED talks, I'm completely ambivalent towards Dawkins, completely oblivious to De Botton but buy a weekly zones 1-2 travel card for journeys across my native London every Monday and quite enjoy both Gladwell's writing and how much he annoys people. Who am I?
but I've always thought his ire is reserved for 'one-dayers'
The Dawkster's finest hour:
(skip to 4.45)
(perhaps allow the Kilroy sketch from Jam to seep into what's left of your brain)
my respect for him has just considerably increased
The "secret lizard people taking over the world" route or the "the Holocaust was no where near as bad as was made out" route?
Or maybe he'll combine the two and go full Jim Corr/moker?
HE KNOWS TOO MUCH
I don't believe any conspiracy theories you bastards. I just find them interesting.
Apart from Diana. I truly believe she was assassinated. The Daily Express are currently digging up evidence to back this up.
Not sure if that supports my stance or not.
Read a couple of his books, seen him talk (was good)
He's just entry level philosophy isn't he? What's wrong with that?
He's just a really bad example of it. He takes rather simple observations and concepts and attempts to turn them into HUGE philosophical observations which is a pretty daft thing to do. He doesn't offer any real insight in his books, or offer any decent theories. Apart from Status Anxiety, which has its merits.
Plus his book The Consolations of Philosophy, where he attempts to use philosophers as self-help tools, is excruciating. I'm all for popular applications of philosophy but that was just ridiculous...
can't say i've noticed.
for the record - i have read STATUS ANXIETY (was good, enjoyed - thought i learnt a little something, and that one about architecture (enjoyed but can't really remember anything about if other than BUILDINGS EFFECT YOUR MOOD ETC - which seems a bit obvious)
just had a look at his twitter feed as you mentioned it upthread, and yeah that's a bit much, but whatever, i still like him
I don't like him but, it's just an opinion...
"It's become hard to write a single line with which someone won't vociferously disagree."
so bloody ruddy true
what a guy!
Liked him a couple of years ago, then realised he was philosophically crap and smug.
The Selfish Gene and (I guess, didn't finish it because I had to take it back to the library) The Extended Phenotype are both really great though. Can we talk about those?
I quite like that he riles pretty much everyone up though
I'm watching videos of him now, seems alright, doesn't say anything *especially* profound, but he seems pretty good at what he does and a lot more likeable than Dawkins.
I have seen his book Essays In Love and that looks pretty punchable though.
TRUTH! > Something you can convert to is not a race. A statement of simple fact is not bigotry.