[personal profile] matgb
My friends, a momentous occasion has come upon us. It is time, my friends, to join a new religion. I find this great new scheme has already been found in the mass media, and in this glorious interview he reveals himself:
Our pub quiz team is named The Church of Richard Dawkins. At a recent Oxford quiz night, we were told to change our name in case it was deemed offensive to any churchgoers present. Have you any suggestions for a " less offensive" name? RICHARD O SMITH, Oxford

And they call me intolerant! I am shocked that this happened in Oxford, of all places. I hope you win the tournament so resoundingly that you can dictate terms and call yourselves whatever you like. "Offensive" my foot.
I particularly also liked
Are people who advocate intelligent design stupid, and do you think natural selection will operate to remove them from future generations? ADAM KHAN, The Hague, Netherlands

The majority are ignorant, which is not the same thing as stupid. Natural selection will not remove ignorance from future generations. Education may, and that is the hope to which we must cling.
but the whole thing is definately worth a read. I shall forthwith petition to have this great man added to the list as our only living saint.

/silliness. And I am so glad the Independent has dumped that stupid subscription scheme that was never going to make them any money, it means I can link/exerpt rather than nick the whole thing wholesale...

And this was going to be cross posted but I'll have to do that later, seems I'm not actually a member of a few of the comms I want to send it to, and I'm due out in a bit...

Date: 2006-12-04 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I liked this one:

Should men submit to their selfish genes, dump their wives and go for younger, blonder models? CAROLYN SANCHEZ, Manchester
No. We gave up submitting to our selfish genes long ago, when we took up clothes, contraceptives, sonnets, cubism, astronomy, snooker, bungee-jumping and other things that our selfish genes would at best consider a waste of time. Scientific facts about the world do not translate into moral " shoulds".


Because I hate people who argue that EVERYTHING mankind does is some form of evolutionary traits just as much as i hate those crazy creationists.

Yay Dawkins!

Date: 2006-12-04 07:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2006-12-05 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I wasn't implying that biological urges are bad. But recently I had an argument with a douchebag that said that women developed orgasms as an adaptive means for dealing with rape. *headdesk* Airchair evolutionary biologists= pet peeve.

Oh...and avatar love. Damn..I forgot blackadder on my fictional character shag list!

Date: 2006-12-05 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
armchair* sigh.

Date: 2006-12-04 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
Yes, I was very happy about the Independent dropping the stupid subscription.

I liked his answers a lot.

"Do you consider parents forcing children to accept their religion a form of child abuse?" JAMES MACDONALD, Bronte, New South Wales

"If you died and arrived at the gates of Heaven, what would you say to God to justify your lifelong atheism? VALERIE JACKSON, Richmond
"I'd quote Bertrand Russell: "Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence."


Date: 2006-12-04 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rho
One wonders if "go fuck yourself, you over-zealous upholders of perceived political correctness" would be deemed less offensive. Probably not, alas.
ext_27872: (Default)

Date: 2006-12-04 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] el-staplador.livejournal.com
One wonders whether any genuine churchgoers did in fact deem it 'offensive'. I rather doubt it.

Date: 2006-12-04 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] srk1.livejournal.com
I enjoyed that and I don't much like Dawkins in general. I still think his approach to atheism is completely wrong-headed, though.

Date: 2006-12-05 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
That's exactly what I was gonna say, on both points.

Date: 2006-12-05 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
I guess my main problem with Dawkins is precisely that he does treat religion as something that can be countered with a militant rationalism, thus maintaining this religion/science dichotomy that's existed for hundreds of years. It's fair enough to argue against religion on a rational basis, but I think this approach is very limited if that's all there is because:

a) The roots of science and religion are intertwined. The Victorian scholar James Frazer wrote a famous book called 'The Golden Bough' that demonstrated how societies progress from magic -> religion -> science, with all three implicit in each other. There is not as much of as a strict delineation between science and religion as Dawkins or other rationalists would believe. I think it's really interesting how, say, the creationists are deploying post-structuralist arguments to place creationism and evolution in relativistic, rather than absolute, balance. Evolution is indeed 'just a theory' - and now evolutionists have to argue for the credibility of their theory, as opposed to the incredible theory of creationism. It's an interesting shift in the terms of debate.

b) People all around the world are becoming more religious these days, not less, despite the triumphant march of science. I think Dawkins is misplaced in suggesting that mass irrationalism is the reason for this. He fails to address the fact that religion is more a social/cultural phenomena to do with people's identities than a matter of science/mysticism. When identities (especially national ones) are threatened because of globalisation and foreign interventionism, people reinforce some imagined identity often by turning to religion. Hence all this Christian/Muslim 'clash of civilisations' stuff. Such problems can be solved only with political and social solutions, not by arguing for the value of scientism as worthy in itself!

c) Something that just occurred to me. If science is all about discovering (rather than creating) 'truths' then religion actually has a better track record in terms of dealing with the qualitative stuff. Nearly every time a scientist has come up with a set of immutable laws (Galileo, Newton, Einstein) some other scientist pops up years later to undermine them. Whereas religion keeps it 'thou shalt not kill' type truths as truths over thousands of years. Now we all know that many adherents to religions actually do kill people, but this only reinforces my point that religion is a social/cultural phenomena rather than a matter of science vs. mysticism! In which case why is Dawkins criticising religion and not, say, nationalism, or, say, capitalism as mystifications that control a populace?

Date: 2006-12-05 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Plus if Dawkins is positing an ethical premise to his argument for rationalism then he'd do well to indulge in some study of The Frankfurt School, which consisted mostly of Jewish scholars who fled Nazi Germany. They saw scientific rationalism as a double-edged sword, and that the logical conclusion of the Enlightenment could only have ever been the atomic bomb. Scientific progress inevitably involves more and more hygenic, efficient methods for States to kill people. It's to do with rationalism operating according to a logic of identity (the same) rather than difference, and setting up categories of thought that subsume difference within them. It's pretty philosophical but certainly worth reading for those who think that science and rationality are simply de facto good things.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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