[personal profile] matgb
Today is one of those birthday things. I knew it was coming up, because the BHA invited me to their annual event but a) I'd have had to pay and b) it was in London, so have fun all that do go, I'm sure it'll be good. Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] bagrec reminded me this morning, so I half inched this image from him Charles Darwin. Evolution was, I used to think, something that we generally all just accepted, sure, there were a few minority extremists that thought otherwise, but anyone with a decent education, including the entire Catholic Church, just know it to be real, right? Unfortunately the internet reveals this to be untrue, and that someone who is an avowed Creationist has a good chance at the Republican nomination (although no chance at the actual Presidency) is something that really does bother me. Fortunately, there are voices of reason out there, including my better half, and we all know what Theory means, etc, right? Ah well, if you need a bit more explanation, ask a skientist, I recommend Debi the evolutionary morphologist if you don't have another one handy. I'm sure her hangover will allow her to answer questions in her comments ;-)

In other news, Anonymous vs Scientology had a good weekend of protests it seems, [livejournal.com profile] deathboy went to the London protest and has a good report, and the Phoenix protest got /.ed. There's a little bit of me that dislikes the thing as a whole bunch of people, including people that have their own personal different brand of sky fairy, are ganging up on the Scientologists—I'm all for mocking all religions, but a dog pile seems a bit off when your allies are also batshit. Then I remember that they're Scientologists and that it's therefore OK anyway, right?

Last up, I've been promising various people for ages a post on markets, economics, and why I like them despite being a lot of a lefty, but while that's still on the planned list with a bunch of other stuff, Tim Harford continues his climb up my "top people" list by writing a post about why markets can at times fail, and how analysis of these "externalities" can help them get back on track and do a lot of good; "Green taxes" and similar are a method of dealing with externalities, and are generally much better than simply banning stuff.

Right, that's it for now, I have a fiancée to go snuggle for a bit before [livejournal.com profile] shrublette gets home...

Date: 2008-02-12 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] waka-laka.livejournal.com
I read about the Scientology thing the other day, there was one in Plymouth. I don't get what the big hurrah surrounding it is though, I mean Scientology's apparently batshit insane but it's still an opinion... why have Anonymous taken such offense to it? :S

Date: 2008-02-12 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
better half

* blush *

Date: 2008-02-12 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
If we're this bad now, what's it going to be like in three days? We may well break the internet with overpowering gushings of sop...

Date: 2008-02-12 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I disagree with the scientology thing- this is a whole other brand of batshit altogether. Of course i'm not excluding fundies from other religions in that equation, but regular old followers of some faith? Nah...not the same thing.

Scientologists will cut you off from your family unless they also convert, sap your bank account dry, have been responsible for a number of deaths of the members of their church, and attempt to censor anyone by means of a powerful legal team. Of course, I'm not saying other religions don't do this: but again I'm not excluding fundies from this equation. You can't pile regular people into the same box as scientologists.


Of course, there's the whole other sentence I can throw out at you: It's not a religion, it's a cult.

Date: 2008-02-12 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
A religion can be a personal belief. It doesn't necessarily have to be a mass indoctrination which manipulates and brainwashes it's followers. My friend worshipping her god in the privacy of her own home is not the same thing as Jim Jones breaking out the Kool-Aid.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Love these references to 'your friend'. The dumb-fuck cultist, I mean!

Date: 2008-02-12 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
You're so edgy!

Date: 2008-02-12 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
I hate this double-standard about Scientology. It's a crazy religion/cult (which is a meaningless distinction anyway - a religion is just a more accepted, mass cult), but no more or less valid than any other religion. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Scientology. Brainwashing? Check. Indoctrination? Check. Dubious fund-raising? Check.

Scientology seems preferable because it contains cool stuff about aliens, it's far more tolerant on social issues, and ultimately the beliefs seem more sensible (relatively!) than the shit the major religions teach. But when it comes down to it I don't see much difference between a crazed fundamentalist Scientologist and a mild-mannered Christian in terms of their beliefs. They're all fucking morons.

If people are going to protest, they should stop picking on one specific religion. In the case of Scientologists it's just because it's not generally accepted as a world religion. In the case of Islam there's all the tricky connotations of colonialism and racism. Just protest religion itself!

Date: 2008-02-12 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Scientology seems preferable because it contains cool stuff about aliens, it's far more tolerant on social issues, and ultimately the beliefs seem more sensible (relatively!) than the shit the major religions teach. But when it comes down to it I don't see much difference between a crazed fundamentalist Scientologist and a mild-mannered Christian in terms of their beliefs. They're all fucking morons.

I don't know how to reply to this without causing a shitstorm.

Date: 2008-02-12 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Or rather, maybe I should just say:

I could understand this sentiment about fundamentalists, people trying to shove religion down other people's throats etc: but I have a number of Christian, Muslim and Jewish friends who do not do that to people, and I don't appreciate them being boxed as "fucking morons."

Date: 2008-02-12 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paulgregory.livejournal.com
I agree, there is a massive difference between crazed fundamentalists and the mild-mannered. A mild-mannered Christian (or whatever) may only have a socially convenient alignment to that particular religion. It is wrong to assume that they have independently researched and arrived at the conclusion that the beliefs of Christianity offer the most logical explanations of all things, or even that they have ever considered that they have a choice. The specifics of the religion may be unimportant compared to the social and support networks that are intertwined with it.
However, human nature means that if his alignment is challenged by people who are *not* mild-mannered, he will defend his identity as a Christian. People don't like to be told they're wrong, even if they're not entirely convinced themselves.

What Scientology has going for it are two things:
1) As a modern invention, it has not been directly contradicted by thousands of years of discovery.
2) It eases people in, rather than shouting "ner ner de ner ner, everything you hold true is wrong".

A protest against religion will achieve little. A campaign to recruit people into the same mindset has been proven time and time again to work. The first step in that is to act like nice people.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-12 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
1) As a modern invention, it has not been directly contradicted by thousands of years of discovery.

It's directly contradicted by recent history, however, as Hubbard lied about important things.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
But they are, let's face it. They may be lovely people, but there's no religious person on earth who isn't a complete dunce.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Actually, include those in heaven as well in that statement.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I'll be sure to pass that on to the friend I have with the 175 point IQ.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
And two minutes after I mentioned your reference to this super-intelligent, argument-winning, sky-fairy-loving cultist, you make ANOTHER one. It's kind of funny you see.

Face it: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Scientologists... if they are supposedly intelligent (by design or evolution) then there's still something 'missing'. Some kind of mental illness at the heart of it, most probably.



Date: 2008-02-12 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
It's funny why? I have Jewish, Christin and Muslim friends.

None of them are as ignorant and self righteous as you. Good day.

Quick! If you act now you can get the last word in!

Date: 2008-02-12 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Nah, they are far more ignorant. Religious people tend to be incredibly ignorant and I very much doubt your furry multicultural social sphincter is any different.

Date: 2008-02-12 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Hehe, with reference to my last post I wuz just thinking what a brilliant t-shirt that would make for your creationist friend.

'Intelligent... by design'.

Date: 2008-02-14 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harry-t-skull.livejournal.com
and you being an obnoxious narrow minded, intolerant mare came from nature or nuture?

Date: 2008-02-15 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I'd say it's possible to play Devil's Advocate without being unnecessarily rude.

Date: 2008-02-14 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
I'm just a blank slate for you to write on.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-12 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Well, technically they're protesting the Church of Scientology and not Scientology itself. It's a very fine distinction, true, and not all of them are making it. But there are people outside of the CoS who practice scientology, and they're not the ones getting protested.

The difference between the crazed fundamentalist Scientologist and the mild-mannered Christian is that the mild mannered Christian won't attempt to utterly destroy you if you criticize their religion. The mild mannered Christian has not been trained in bullbaiting, either.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Reading all the ex-Scientology stories makes me oh so sad. The two are really not even close at all.

I mean, I was raised Mormon. I'm not now. Does it cause some stress here and there? Yes. But my family still loves me and we are very close.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Yeah I'm not denying other religions can cause strife, i was raised Catholic, and BOY would I rather forget that.

But it works for some people, and I got the extreme end of it at any rate. I have a Catholic friend and she's never once tried to indoctrinate me.

Date: 2008-02-12 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
No difference in terms of their beliefs was what I said.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-12 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Yes, that's what you said. And I listed terms of belief that are different.

The Scientology believes that critics are "suppressive people" who must be stopped, destroyed, or disconnected from, at all cost.

The mild mannered Christian does not believe that because you are critical of Christianity, you must be destroyed. This means I have fruitful and productive friendships with mild mannered Christians, even though I am sometimes blasphemous.

I don't believe that because both of their beliefs are fantasies, they are equivalent. I don't think protesting the Church of Scientology because of the aggressive, abusive bullshit they pull is some kind of double standard. It's not as if the Intarnets don't pull plenty of mockdom on Christianity.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-12 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
*scientologist

Date: 2008-02-12 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thapunkprincess.livejournal.com
Of course they're equivalent! Sure, they have different beliefs but on the dirty brown level of bullshit neither exactly smell of roses.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

Date: 2008-02-13 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
I admire the expansive width of the brush you paint with, sir.

Date: 2008-02-12 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paulgregory.livejournal.com
I do fail to be convinced that evolution is the exclusive and only backstory for every single living thing on earth, but is one of only two with any evidence and it seems a fair assumption for most things.

The leaflets I saw around Manchester's branch of Scientology were pretty clearly saying Scientology is a rip-off compared to other leading brands of religion, that unlike the Big 3 they don't give you any truths until your cheque's cleared. I'm not sure the argument would have worked the same if it read "Christians will tell you a load of bollocks for free, ditto Jews and Muslims, but Scientology will only tell you a load of bollocks after you've forked out some moolah", or even if it highlighted incompatibilities in the various truths. It's a Go Compare Money Confusamarket approach which assumes that whichever you pick your soul's equally insured. That said, more potential-Scientologists will be influenced by an argument based on the relative prices of placebos than by a "none of them are necessary" argument, and those already of no faith may be deterred by drawing a comparison with other religions.
innerbrat: (palaeo)

Date: 2008-02-14 08:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
I do apologise to coming to the party late, but I was hungover on the day...

I do fail to be convinced that evolution is the exclusive and only backstory for every single living thing on earth, but is one of only two with any evidence and it seems a fair assumption for most things.

What is the other?

Date: 2008-02-12 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frightened.livejournal.com
I'm all for mocking all religions, but a dog pile seems a bit off when your allies are also batshit. Then I remember that they're Scientologists and that it's therefore OK anyway, right?

I think so, yes, to be honest. Passing the collection plate's one thing, but demanding that much money from people they've told to stop taking their psychiatric meds seems a new and interesting level of exploitation.

Date: 2008-02-12 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
Then I remember that they're Scientologists and that it's therefore OK anyway, right?

They're not just batshit, and it's not that they believe in a Sky fairy. They bug phones, brainwash, extort money, intimidate and isolate. (Also, Xenu volcanoes and body thetans).

You'd think people would stop arguing about evolution.

"Of course, like every other man of education and intelligence I do believe in organic Evolution. It surpises me that at this late date such questions should be raised." - Woodrow Wilson 1922.

Date: 2008-02-12 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
It should be pointed out that between about 1880 and 1920 people were still arguing about how evolution happened, and Darwinism (i.e. Natural Selection) was somewhat eclipsed by ideas such as Orthogenesis, Mendelism, and other theories. It wasn't until the Modern Synthesis in the early 30s that we get the modern view of evolution, when genetics were finally successfully incorporated.

Date: 2008-02-12 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
Sure, but apparently by then we had at least moved into science, and on from the giant and the cow.

Date: 2008-02-13 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrell.livejournal.com
I think I read some of his ten-book sequence at one point, just to find out how it went. Turns out it was 'bad', and didn't actually have a point.

"You've got invisible bad bits stuck in you and they're making you ill/unhappy" is about as reprehensible and infantile as the doctrine of sin, and as original as 'elf-shot'.
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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