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Discussion (52)¬

  1. Emet V'Chatulim says:

    Well done!

  2. Emet V'Chatulim says:

    P.S. I tried to “Get an avatar” but the link refuses to let my cursor catch it! Help?

  3. Author says:

    @EVC – Thanks. Have you tried going directly to the Gravatar website?
    http://en.gravatar.com/

  4. archbish says:

    point subtly made :D

  5. Postman says:

    Touche’, Author… touche’.

  6. CosmicStargoat says:

    The cartoon nails it nicely. When the mythologies of theists are challenged, especially if they are challenged politely and logically, the theist often flies into a rage, claiming that the challenger is trying to TAKE AWAY their right to believe.

    This form of response is known as “crucifixation” defined as- A state of mental duress, usually inside a fundamentalist Christian brain, that admires blood, guts, suffering, agony, drinking blood of God and eating His body, and usually wishes to be crucified and martyred him or herself.

  7. Yes exactly. Good one, Author. No, let me correct that. Great one.

  8. Tom says:

    I want a cock and bull sign. then i’ll have to build a whole bar to go with it

  9. Tom says:

    drinking out of my J&M mug as I type this… long live J&M !!!

  10. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    :-) have a drink on me jesus and mo

  11. kiyaroru says:

    I think I’ve had this very conversation.
    (with me as the barmaid)

  12. Father Ted says:

    Spot on; slippery buggers, these fanatics. Reason them into a corner and they’ll bring out the smoke and mirrors.

  13. J&M are like rutting little bantam roosters, aren’t they?

    Barmaid probably wishes she could institute a no brain no service policy

  14. Cygnia says:

    Bastards stiffed her on the tab!

  15. SteveInMI says:

    Brilliant, as always. :)

  16. Here is an interesting article by a science type trying very hard to explain why he thinks there is no need for a God. I would have thought however that there very presence would be payment enough for any libation….

  17. Unruly Simian says:

    @ Author – I too had a problem with my avatar and went back to gravatar and mine still does not show up – Please Author use your powers for good…(bowing, genuflecting, irrevently…)

  18. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Conversations can occasionally be civil
    When neither party’s inclined to snivel
    But sometimes some one walks
    Out of the talks
    When it degenerates into drivel.
    .

  19. @William Thanks for the link, though the comments beneath the story are rather depressing. I just wish all those evolution deniers would get a very basic education and something other than AIG they throw their opinions around.
    When the Pope says he wants to reach out to atheists, you can bet he’s not looking for an education himself, or for his “flock”. Speaking of which, don’t Christians find it insulting to be treated like either children or sheep? I sure do. The RC sure knows how to appeal to the infantile part of human nature – calling their bureaucrats “father” is a fairly transparent ploy. How long before the sheep catch on? Two thousand years and counting.

  20. Damn but I hate typos: and read something other than AIG

  21. Shit, just compounding the errors here:
    I just wish all those evolution deniers would get a very basic education and read something other than AIG before they thrown their opinions around.

  22. Sosusk says:

    nice point that they bring it up when the glasses are already empty :D

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @D.H.
    Or should that read “…….and read something other than AIG before they throw their opinions about”?
    Or “…….before throwing their opinions about”?
    Are you having one of those days?

    Either way, their opinions don’t really matter when they’re confusing established and proven ‘fact’ (evolution) with personal opinion (whatever nonsense they hold dear to their hearts).

  24. Daoloth says:

    This lady might interest JaMers. Missed her talk at the atheist convention in Dublin though. http://tiny.cc/qquj7

  25. SOLOMON says:

    Just joking…noticed he hadn’t checked in yet so I thought I’d impost. Can you use it as a verb though? To impost ie to act as an imposter.

  26. @ Acolyte of Sagan “Either way, their opinions don’t really” True enough. I just get tired of reading the same old same old all the time from them. Gets depressing after a while. And it doesn’t even help to direct them to a book that will completely straighten them out, my favorite being “The Greatest Show on Earth”. because they won’t read it, or only read it to find nits to pick.
    I don’t want to lose the hope that education is possible. We just might not see the results in our lifetime.

  27. @Daoloth thanks for the link. Great speech. My one kvetch is that I am a fan of multiculturalism, and she conflates it with cultural relativity. The two are not the same thing. Welcoming other cultures gives us a rich tapestry of customs, festivals, foods, and lifestyles.
    A real tragedy in America and Canada is that so many children of immigrants did not learn the language of the “old country”. Their parents wanted them to assimilate. Thus we get the “malling of America”, a bland uniformity. Canada is now officially multi-cultural, and I think that’s great. The problem is that idiots think this is subtractive, rather than additive, that we must not celebrate Christmas for fear of offending somebody when the truth is we should celebrate Christmas and Ramadan and Hanuka and Chinese New Year (love those lion dances), and any other festival or celebration a culture brings to us. We should have all the cuisines of the world, and all the costumes. Equating multiculturalism with tolerance for repression, or support for religious schools, is just wrong. Culture is a damn sight bigger than any religion.
    Cultural relativity is pernicious nonsense. I think it was invented by anthropologists who wanted the Christians missionaries to back off with their sexual repression and dress codes, but it quickly became a tool of the religious to claim immunity from criticism. A good idea turned bad, very bad. But lets not throw out the baby with the garbage.

  28. Daoloth says:

    @DH. A wise man once said that to understand someone you had to know who they opposed. In the case of Franz Boas–a major architect of cultural relativism– the anthropology that went before contained pretty undisguised racism.
    Myself I think that evolution teaches that humans are far more similar than they are different but a large branch of science wanted (and still wants) to go the other way–saying that “The essence of man is that he has no essence” (Gould) and plump for a blank slate view of humans.
    I find this a noble attempt but stupid and a hostage to fortune–in this case the unlucky fact that it is totally false.
    The claim that if humans study genetics (e.g. human nature) they will be nazis founders on the fact they the evidence is that humans don’t need any such excuses to be racists. It is better if we get the science right rather than denying the truth (and still having racists anyhow)

  29. @Daoloth Yes, Franz Boas had the best of motives, and he had a very good point as far as imposing western (read Christian) values on the heathen. Unfortunately the sword cuts both ways. I absolutely agree that humans are far more similar than they are different, though I think “Sex at Dawn” makes a very good case for not accepting the standard narrative about what those similarities are, especially when it comes to sexuality. Humans very obviously are not a blank slate. But many of the myths of the past – women have no sex drive, we are naturally monogamous, marriage is universal, jealousy and possessiveness are universal in all marriages- simply don’t bear a close examination.
    My problem with cultural relativity is that it’s used as the excuse for a hands off policy for things like FGM. And now, in reaction, we tend to equate cultural relativity with multiculturalism, and that’s sad. Accepting the rich diversity of human cultures does not mean we have to abandon any attempt at a universal moral code or universal bill of human rights. So, at the risk of repeating myself, multiculturalism and cultural relativity are not the same thing. We can welcome and accept other cultures into the fabric of our society without losing our right to campaign to change practices we don’t like.
    Aside from this, relatively minor, quibble, I agree with everything in her speech. I’m all for banning ALL religious symbols in schools, just as I’d ban gang banger colors. If I were in charge of the world, I’d ban Sunday Schools. I agree with Richard Dawkins that religious indoctrination is child abuse. But telling parents they can’t pass their values (or their silly ideas) down to their children is probably going a bit too far.
    How far is too far. The vote on infant male circumcision is coming up in San Francisco. Opponents of a ban are claiming religious freedom allows them to surgically alter an infant. I think it’s very sad if the Jews make this the defining characteristic of their rich and diverse culture. Just as it’s very sad if the Muslims make the wearing of the head scarf the definition of theirs.

  30. Jobrag says:

    Cygnia
    In British pubs you order, get your drink and pay at the bar all at the same time, Jesus and MO might be wrong but I don’t think that they’d go so low as to rob the barmaid.

  31. Daoloth says:

    @DH. I really like the way you equate religious symbols in schools to gang banger colours. I will definitely use that one!
    Re Sex at Dawn. Lots of fun–although the pot shots at Pinker seemed ill-tempered and lacking in support to me. Also, for some reason, Ryan & Jetha overlook some of the key evidence for adaptations to group, or at least multi-partner sex such as human scrotal size (Birkhead, 2000) & sperm increases with cues to multi-male sexual encounters (Pound, 2002). They also gloss over the very real (although not universal) adaptation of jealousy. Perhaps its a bit like lactase persistence? This is an adaptation of fairly recent origin–not species typical in humans–but allows us to trace reliably the poseessors heritage–in this case pastoralism (Cochrane, 2009). Maybe jealousy gets strongly selected for in environments where sequestering females became possible (e.g. with the rise of agriculture?) There would also be the usual individual variation that you get in any trait.
    It reminded me of the very old debate–does culture civilise us or has it taken us from the garden of Eden? My middle-of-the-road take, for what its worth, is that our evolutionary heritage does give us constraints–options, but not infinite ones, and the variances probably tell us interesting things about our shared and separate pasts. Now all we need to do is accept this without playing the “my past is better than yours” game….

  32. @Daoloth I agree with your reservations about “Sex at Dawn”. And I would love to hear Pinker mount a defense, or engage in a debate with the authors.

  33. well, as we’ve domesticated animals, we’ve also domesticated ourselves.

    our brains are smaller and we have a range of hair colours – but we lost our tails, so that can’t get curly.

    it is the case that those who are cooperative get the opportunities to breed, so sexual selection is partly based on pro-social rather than anti-social behaviour – although, with the human population being as large as it is – anti-social behaviors can flourish as a percentage of the total number of people

  34. Daoloth says:

    @ RN. Clarify for me please– what is the link between population size and the flourishing of anti-social behaviors? Do you mean something like reputation can be outrun or do you mean something else?

  35. ignatz says:

    [When the mythologies of theists are challenged, especially if they are challenged politely and logically, the theist often flies into a rage, claiming that the challenger is trying to TAKE AWAY their right to believe.]]

    Do you have any evidence to back up that accusation?

    [[This form of response is known as “crucifixation” defined as- A state of mental duress, usually inside a fundamentalist Christian brain, that admires blood, guts, suffering, agony, drinking blood of God and eating His body, and usually wishes to be crucified and martyred him or herself.]]

    Gee, no polemics THERE.

  36. @Daoloth If I can presume to interpret randomntrygg, I think what she is referring to is the well known statistical fact. If only .04 percent of the population is dangerously anti-social, that means that there are six of them for every street corner in Time square. Not sure about the numbers, but that’s the idea.

  37. beechnut says:

    Thanks, Author. Just what the doctor ordered.

  38. FreeFox says:

    @ DH: “Welcoming other cultures gives us a rich tapestry of customs, festivals, foods, and lifestyles.” Hm, just when I had you pegged as one of those Angry Polemics. :P Not that I don’t agree, about the additive and enriching and non-substractive nature of culture. Though I really, really would like to know how you argue for universal human rights and against cultural relativism? Or do you just want the cuisine and costumes without any of the ideas about gender roles, social structure, crime and punishment, and everything else that goes with it?

  39. @FreeFox You have really not given me any argument AGAINST universal human rights, other than to say I have no basis for insisting they should exist. What’s your point?
    If Uganda decides to pass a death penalty for being gay as a FreeFox, you are telling me you have no argument against that unless you are Ugandan?

  40. @Daoloth

    I think that anti-social behaviour is partly a down to a percentage of the total population, but in smaller population groups, anti-social behviour is less tolerable.

    If you consider that Iceland is a small nation with a small population, they have a very low crime rate, because, as you say, you can’t outrun any reputation you might achieve.

    While Canada is about 10% of the American population, our crime rates are comparable in terms of property crimes – they outstripe everyone for gun crimes, since they are more pro gun owning than anywhere else.

    You know, I don’t even think I’ve ever read anything about gun ownership and gun control in any country other than the US – are guns just a non-issue outside of north america?

  41. @DH

    I am not against universal human rights, but that they are not concepts in all countries and cultures demonstrates that human rights are a legal fiction and not inalienable or self evident

  42. @randomntrgg “human rights are a legal fiction and not inalienable or self evident” So what difference does that make? Does that mean we can’t decide as a now global culture what rules are desirable and work toward putting them in place? Are you saying that such things as ending slavery or FGM or genocide are outside of any intellectual justification? If so, so what? Don’t we want to push for them anyway?

  43. Daoloth says:

    @RN. Ah– I see your point. This is something akin to the Hutterites breaking up their groups when they pass 150? (interesting a number that pops up a lot in human cognitive capacity). They say its the maximum number in a group before you need police.

  44. FreeFox says:

    @DH: Why always so bellingrent, Mr. Harmless? ^_^ I am ALL for universal human rights. And for multiculturalism. But I have a hard time bringing both wishes into a consistent argumentative framework. It mostly ends with me actually wishing for universal European values and bowdlerised Multiculturalism, a position I’m not really happy with.
    As for “no argument against”, well, I thought we had dismissed that with the plethora of Gods you don’t believe in. The positive claim (in this case for Universal Human Rights) has the burden of proof against the relativists. And I was really curious if you had something good. If so, I’d like to borrow it when I argue with my Islamic, genital-mutilating, death-penalty-defending neighbours.

  45. FreeFox says:

    As for the Ugandan Death Penalty question, I’m afraid even if I were Ugandan my only argument would be: “Because I don’t want you to, you sick fucks.” To which they would probably respond: “But we want to, you sick fuck.”

    (Um… are we allowed to cuss on this board?)

  46. @random ntrygg “You know, I don’t even think I’ve ever read anything about gun ownership and gun control in any country other than the US – are guns just a non-issue outside of north America?”
    I got curious about this some time ago and did a post on it. Apologies for the spam but here it is:
    http://www.darwinharmless.com/thoughts_and_comments/?p=440

  47. @FreeFox If we were talking over a beer I don’t think you would consider me belligerent. It’s just my writing style. I’m trying to soften it, but I tend to speak directly and that comes off as harsh.
    I wish I had an argument for you to use beyond “Because I don’t like it.” It’s a mystery to me why people want to live in a world ruled by religious idiots, being required to fall on their face several times a day. Why do people want a world like that? Beats me.
    I agree with you that it would be nice to have a solid argument that didn’t sound like wishy-washy liberalism and bowdlerized Euro-centric attitudes fused to the white man’s burden. When faced with an honor culture, the kind of people who will send a daughter a kettle full of dynamite because she married a man they didn’t choose for her, all I can say is that I don’t share their priorities. I don’t think there’s ANYTHING worth killing for, and that’s leads me into the paradox of how do we stop a Hitler. I will tolerate anything except intolerance. My irony meter is in as bad shape as my moral compass.
    Sorry if I sound offensive sometimes. As O’Toole said in Lawrence of Arabia, “It’s my manner, sir.”

  48. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @ DH. Your line “Sorry if I sound offensive sometimes…” reminds me of a brilliant quote from comedian Marcus Brigstocke;
    “I don’t want to sound unsympathetic, but I am, so that’s how I come across”.

    Like you, I embrace multi-culturalism. I was born in the ’60s in an ‘inner-city’ area with a large immigrant population; my two best friends were first generation British Punjabi and Jamaican boys whose families welcomed me into their homes (as did my family to them), and introduced me to their cuisine, customs and traditions, so to me multi-culturalism was the norm. In fact, it came as a great shock to me when I first discovered that not all of my fellow countrymen were as welcoming as I, and I can only assume that their objections are based on fear, ignorance and a lack of imagination. Would it not be a boring world if we were all the same?
    I have long thought that if we can educate people to lose their prejudices, be they based on colour, race, gender, caste, sex, sexuality etc., then a harmonious multi-culturalism would be the natural outcome.
    Oh, and no more killing ‘in the name of God’. If they truly believe what they preach, they should be content to let their particular deity dole out its punishment itself; after all, if it’s that powerful why would it need mere humans to act on its behalf?
    A simplistic view maybe, but aren’t the best solutions always the simplest?

  49. @Acolyte of Sagan You give me hope for humanity. And a great joke. Thanks.

  50. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    High praise indeed! Pleased to make your aquaintance, Darwin Harmless.
    A little story that may increase your hope an iota;
    My own children were brought in a small village and went to a tiny school of around 80 pupils from surrounding villages. I was taking the girls to school one morning and the eldest, aged 8, asked if ‘Julie’ could come for tea that evening. I asked her which one was Julie, and she spent ages trying to describe her to me before saying
    “You do know her, you helped her dad fix his car outside school at christmas”.
    In all that time, not once did she think to mention that Julie was the only black kid in the school!

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Whoops, just noticed my own wee typo in my last post.
    To clarify, I am neither Madonna nor Angelina, and my children were brought UP in a village and NOT purchased from one!

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