Monday, August 08, 2011

Twelve Opinions Likely To Be Unpopular

Funny thing is, I'm not even in a particularly bad mood...

To say that "all religion is bad" is an oversimplification bordering on intellectual bigotry and does not hold up to any measure of scrutiny. However, to say that "NO religion is bad" is equally over-simplified and holds up even less. I can think of FOUR religions, off the top of my head, that would make the world a better place by having their influence diminished to near-total obscurity - two of them are very large, two of them are sort of new, one of them is VERY new, and none of them are Judaism or Buddhism. Have fun guessing.

Barack Obama is NOT "playing chess while the Republicans play checkers." The Republicans are playing checkers, and Obama is wondering why they can't just all take equal numbers of red and black pieces, call it an "everybody wins" and go outside to guess what clouds look like.

Widespread legalization and acceptance of gay marriage will probably NOT cause an errosion in the societal stature of marriage itself, monogamy, the 'traditional' family unit, etc; ultimately leading to a kind of benign sexual/romantic anarchy (at least compared to the current model)... but if it DID, I wouldn't necessarily call that an innately bad thing.

The idea that "amoral" and "immoral" are treated as being the same thing causes an awful lot of unnecessary consternation and social-slowdown.

Making a certain "baseline" of medical care government-run and taxpayer funded would not only pay for itself but start paying DIVIDENDS if said "free" care was NOT made available to those who injured themselves through acts of willful stupidity - re: repeat hard-drug abuse, improperly-supervised "Xtreme!!!" sports/stunts, etc.

I do not object to one man being able to attain, without even running for or being elected to political office, the level of power and influence over world events that Rupert Murdoch has - I only object to that man BEING Rupert Murdoch. If I found out someone was bribing officials and subverting the will of "the people" to ends I agreed with, I'd probably be okay with it... unless it involved serious wrongdoing, like people getting killed or whatnot.

Science has not and probably will not "disprove" the existance of God. However, it's doing a very good job of making the prospect of an all-knowing, loving, benevolent God to seem very, very unlikely. Ironically, the much more ancient notion of god(s) as a super-powerful yet petty and scatterbrained uber-being treating the world like a bucket of not-especially-well-cared-for toys seems more plausible by the day.

The "Tea Party" wing of Congress (as opposed to individual citizens still for whatever reason comfortable with identifying with said movement) is speaking with 100% accuracy in it's opinion of itself as the representation of "average, everyday, ordinary folks" outlook on the world. As such, they are the clearest example ever presented of why "average, everyday, ordinary folks" are best kept as far away from exercising actual, direct power over the running of a society as humanly possible.

When I say "Hey science, it's the 21st Century - where's my jet-pack!?," I am NOT interested in hearing about how infeasible it is because air-traffic would be so difficult to manage. After all, please notice I was asking about MY jet-pack - not everybody else's jet-pack.

If Godzilla or something like Godzilla actually came into being and began an unstoppable destructive rampage the likes of which the world had never seen; so long as said rampage didn't kill anyone I know or destroy anything I hold in particular affection it would take at least a month for me to even think of acknowledging said events as anything other than "REAL GIANT MONSTER!? AWESOME!!!"

The worst thing that has happened to modern culture by far is that "elite" has become a derrogatory word.

I disagree with people who say "I have no problem with faith, it's organized religion that's the problem." Frankly, organized religion is fine by me - I "get" people needing/wanting some kind of structured sense of community and ritual to build get-togethers and holidays around; and that's cool by me. MY problem is when the actual faith/beliefs involved are take SO seriously by adherents that they actually want it to effect the way the world is organized and run.

I would be absolutely fine with NASA forging photographs proving to have found oil on Mars if it was successful in "tricking" the U.S. to turn the space-program back on and get some permanent installations built up there already.

53 comments:

Mister Hobo said...

I see nothing wrong with this post.

MajorRed53 said...

And not a single fuck was given that day.

Q said...

Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and Scientology. Bam!

Steve said...

While Bob is always entitled to share his opinions, I can't say I really care about them.

I watch him for movies, comics, and games. I'd hope he would continue to keep them all separate, though I feel that won't be the case for long.

Chrome166 said...

Pretty awesome post. I don't agree with everything Bob says, but I'm alright with pretty much everything here.

James said...

Have to throw my own opinion out there as well, Bob: Obama is revealing that he's got a lot in common with George Bush.

Q said...

I, being the resident troll, find so many things wrong with this post I hardly know where to start.

Firstly, the title. There's nothing about this list that is inherently offensive seeing as it's so simplistically juvenile - having just the right amount of shallow grandstanding and regurgitated intellectual fluff - that I can easily see some know nothing college students forming a cult around these, let's say it, commandments and make even a bigger ass of themselves than those that actually take Ayn Rand seriously.

There's nothing offensive about it because there's simply nothing here, nothing real anyway. Try making something serious next time then see how it goes, I bet it'll go over better than the "Antithinker". Bam!

Q said...

I would like to apologize about my earlier post. I didn't mean to troll that was uncalled for.

Hammbone said...

@Q- thank your for catching yourself being a dick, we are all dicks from time to time it's just nice to see someone relieve their dickishness and come back from it! good job!

@Steve Your on his his personal blog? if you just want his videos they cvan be located at screwattack and the escapist.

@James: The big difference between obama and bush was that bush is a Moron who pushed every stupid thought through while obama is a half intelligent person with no balls

@Themoviebob: i agree with most of your thoughts except the one about the tea party, but that just may be me thinking that the average ordinary person isnt a complete moron.

The Offender said...

Seem reasonable for the most part.

Steve said...

@Hammerbone, I know where his videos are, and I do quite enjoy his blog. And as I said, he's entitled to post his opinions (it's his blog after all), as much as I am entitled enough to not care about them :)

Martijn said...

Why would anyone talk about feasibility of air travel when the practical issue with jet packs is fuel?
Also: We have this thing that allows us to connect to nearly the full extent of human knowledge, nearly the full extent of human entertainment, and allows thousands of creative, talented people to share their creativity without anything getting in the way. And you can connect to it with a device smaller than your hand. Why would you want something as lame as a jet pack!? You are living in the future, and the future is awesome!

David (The Pants) said...

"The worst thing that has happened to modern culture by far is that "elite" has become a derrogatory word." Is probably my favorite. Short 'n' sweet, and makes a good quote. I also like the thought of NASA "tricking" its way back into production, like the good guy who must do bad things to get what is important done.

@Hammbone I assume as well that the ordinary person is not a moron, but that the Tea Party people are being labelled as such and over-broadcast by media makes it look like someone's trying to re-brand what an 'ordinary person' is. I think ordinary people stay home and live productive lives. Nobody wants to see that on TV.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

You ain't got the tea party or Right Wingers to blame for defunding Nasa, Moviebob. As much as we know you love space and the advancement of man into the frontier beyond, I'm surprised you're not more pissed about Nasa becoming a hollow footnote of history than you are.

because frankly, I am beyond pissed and I know JUST who to blame.

Xerxes Qados said...

I agree with most of these things, but I really feel the need to speak up about your championing of elitism, Bob. For the longest time, it's been the one misguided blemish I've seen on your philosophy of awesome.

The reason "elite" is becoming a derogatory word is because it's yet another inequality in this world.

True, the elite are smarter and more talented than the unwashed masses (except in rare cases of confirmation bias run amok, e.g. Harvard MBAs fucking up the global economy with their "brilliance"). But the average citizen isn't willing to just be subservient, and accept their lesser role without question. And why should they? That's how tyrrany flourishes.

Even when the elite really are right, really do know what's best, and have the best of intentions, they need to get the not-as-brilliant people on the same page. They may not have been able to come to the same conclusion all by themselves, but they'll certainly understand it if it's properly explained. And with their newfound understanding, maybe they too will join the ranks of the creative thinkers who come up with the great ideas.

The reason the Tea Party has risen is because those explanations aren't happening. I think we can all agree that the Tea Party has no idea what the fuck is going on, but you have to realize, that's not their fault. It's the job of the brilliant, the educated, the enlightened, the elite to pass on their knowledge, and the Tea Party is a sign that they (we) have not succeeded at that.

Don't waste your energy deriding the "average, everyday, ordinary folks". Educate them. If not out of compassion, do it because if you don't, they'll kill us all.

Chris Cesarano said...

You definitely went to a Catholic school.

I like to view Catholicism as being where Christianity went wrong. Read the New Testament. Get to know Jesus. You'll suddenly realize it's all about personal relationships, not about running the world (which the Bible is pretty clear in stating will be full of selfish assholes that will put sugar in your gas tank for no reason, but you should love them nonetheless. What's wrong with that?)

fox said...

lol Bob is so cute trying to sound edgy and post-modern. (and cinical).

Sylocat said...

Responses, in order:

1. Four religions? Let's see... Christianity, Scientology, Islam (although...), and... what's the fourth? Mormonism?

2. I always thought of it more as "Obama's playing checkers, and the Republicans are knocking pieces off the board."

3. Agreed.

4. Agreed.

5. Agree in principle, but the problem is verification. They'd need someone's rubber stamp to get treatment, and that would just lead to more bureaucracy and loopholes.

6. Again, agree in principle, but the problem is, anyone who is CAPABLE of achieving that much power probably shouldn't be allowed to have it anyway.

7. My theory is that we're all in a giant copy of The Sims and God is a 16-year-old kid torturing His creations for giggles.
Actually, the Matrix theory makes sense. Planck length and Planck time (dimensions of time and space below which, according to theoretical physics, the laws of reality just stop) could be explained as pixel resolution, and the Copenhagen Interpretation (wave/particle duality, nothing exists unless it is measured or observed) is evidence of procedural generation.

8. Agreed.

9. Pretty much.

10. Yeah, I'm an asshole too.

11. Well, not THE worst thing, but a bad thing.

12. Agreed.

Daringbob said...

I just want to say that I respect and appreciate your opinions and your choice to add them too this blog. I of course love your videogame and movie commentary, but I find your elaborations on politics and religion to be provocative, eloquent, informed, and in my own opinion entirely agreeable. Hell, I'm one of those who is sorry you seemed to have stopped doing the "American Bob" show. So bottom line I heartily encourage your interest in this realm of Americana and ask you to keep up.

Philbo said...

My main issue with this list is the "elite" statement.

I know that America is less than 300 years old, but "elite" used to bonly be for the rich, upper class of society (Born into that role 99 times out of 100). Scientists and those working to further the cause of the common man were not the Elite.

In fact it was for a very short time that Elite had to do with intellectual standing as it quickly passed from those of high birth status to those who had achieved money and fame: celebrities. So having Elite be a derogatory word is not a bad thing.

But if we take it as red that by Elite we mean the best of our kind and since most people here consider ourselves leaning more towards intellectual superiority than physical or social, lets be honest a moment: Are we the Elite? It certainly seems like those who comment here regularly (and sometimes Bob himself) believe themselves to be at or near that level. Truth is, the difference between us and the "normal people" is we sometimes pick up a broadsheet instead of a tabloid paper. Maybe some of us sit with the news on, or read a bit more than others. Big whoop.

How many here are curing cancer? Creating new technologies? Breaking world records? Making fuck tons of money successfully inventing and marketing brands?

Either we let Elite belong to celebrities and high born brats, and enjoy the derogatory status the word has; or agree that we are not the Elite and don't deserve to put ourselves on a pedestal as "better than muggles" because we sometimes take an interest in politics/religion.

Giuseppe said...

Islam, Christianity, Mormonism and Scientology.

Actually, I think Mormonism is a red herring...

I'll replace it with Pastafarianism.

Chris Cesarano said...

I of course love your videogame and movie commentary, but I find your elaborations on politics and religion to be provocative, eloquent, informed, and in my own opinion entirely agreeable.

You don't read a lot, do you? In truth, MovieBob's views on religion and politics can be found anywhere on a College campus. In fact, go to your College, and spit as far as you can. Somewhere within that radius is a person with the exact same thoughts and ideas about politics and/or religion as MovieBob.

Which is one of the reasons I preferred he avoid politics and religion. His knowledge in both is honestly superficial, as opposed to his knowledge in games and film. He should write what he knows, not what he thinks he knows.

These sorts of posts and discussions are better left between him and his friends. On the Internet, it's just noise.

Ryan said...

This is a fun game...

1. So, *is* the fourth one Mormonism? And if Christianity and Islam aren't the first two, why the heck not?

2. More like, Obama is wishing he could play chess, trying to compromise by teaching checkers, and getting frustrated because the 'pugs are eating the pieces.

3. Heh.

4. There's no neutral place to stand on a moving train. Amoral and immoral are both choices, and they're both not helping.

5. Eh. I don't think you want people thinking that way, Bob. It leads to people saying that nobody who was overweight should be treated for a heart condition later on.

6. I'd be happier with a system that put checks against overpowered capitalists than I would with the chance of more RM's popping up.

7. Yeah, I keep wondering why we don't go back to that. It makes more sense.

8. I find that most people are smarter than I give them credit for. The Tea Party are another iteration of a conspiracy that's been alive since the late 1960s to use people who are racist, overly religious, or otherwise easily frightened to help the wealthy defend their money. They do represent a certain group of people, but that group is more pathetic than stupid. Libertarianism, by the way, is the line of bullshit this conspiracy uses to snag people who think of themselves as "elites".

9. Ok

10. I doubt it. One photo of a dead kid and you'd just be depressed and guilty and frightened.

11. There's only one "r" in derogatory, Mr. Elitist.

12. Actually, both faith and organized religion are problematic. Faith is actively ignoring evidence so that belief can be preserved, which is why (for example) we just had a debt crisis. Organized religion is the intentional creation of bandwagon propaganda in order to ignore evidence to preserve belief. The world would be a better place without any of it.

13. You get right on that.

Darren said...

Liking or disliking Metroid Other M is an unpopular opinion XD

counterpoint said...

hmmm, not sure what the point/purpose of this post is, but i have to say i pretty much agree (not so much on the giant monster point, though)with most of these.

I think Q's guess as to the religions are good, but I have to say it's certainly the most "obvious" and "mainstream" set of guesses. Allow me: zoroastrianism, Bahai'i, aboriginal australian, and etruscan. BAM!

jojjo said...

Chris/
"Read the New Testament. Get to know Jesus. You'll suddenly realize it's all about personal relationships"

It's also all about getting rid of all worldly possessions and caring noting for tomorrow, if the gospels are all that counts. Since you'r obviously using a computer I'd say you'r toast.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Chris Cesarano said...

Faith is actively ignoring evidence so that belief can be preserved

So tell me which of your "factual" theories of the universe has "factually" proven God nonexistent and explained everything we don't know about everything? Especially considering how much of science is guesswork, anyway.

But remember, scientists don't have faith in theories! Theories are facts we just can't prove yet!

It's also all about getting rid of all worldly possessions and caring noting for tomorrow, if the gospels are all that counts. Since you'r obviously using a computer I'd say you'r toast.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.


Lucky for me Christ is all about forgiving me for liking my comforts. :D

I still feel, however, that there's a lot of messages to get out of there without having to go total Zen Buddhist monk. I mean, the only people Christ spoke harshly to in the New Testament were the Pharisees and Saducees, religious leaders of the time. He knew not everyone can live like Christ did, so he didn't treat them harshly. The central idea of being about personal relationships still holds true. For example, if I were to let my love of video games become prioritized over my family and friends, then there's trouble.

Some people are good at giving away worldly possessions and living with God. Me? I make a much better web developer than a farmer.

Dave from canada said...

"To say that "all religion is bad" is an oversimplification bordering on intellectual bigotry and does not hold up to any measure of scrutiny"

HOW? How is it in any way bigoted to think that believing in something for no logical reason is bad?

Science, math (hell, all reliable tools of human learning) function on the basic principle that claims must be proven.

The only difference between the rejection of religion and that of cryptozoology is one of popularity. And I dare say noone will call me borderline bigoted for holding that belief in the chupacabre is stupid.

"Making a certain "baseline" of medical care government-run and taxpayer funded would not only pay for itself but start paying DIVIDENDS if said "free" care was NOT made available to those who injured themselves through acts of willful stupidity - re: repeat hard-drug abuse, improperly-supervised "Xtreme!!!" sports/stunts, etc."

You left out obesity.

"The worst thing that has happened to modern culture by far is that "elite" has become a derrogatory word."

I think you are confusing intellectual with elite. Elite has been pretty much used by snobby entitled pricks to describe themselves for centuries. The modern meaning hasn't changed. Especially considering that everyone's conception of the ideal elite invariably includes an idealized version of themselves.

Now intellectual, THAT has taken a brow beating. The number of times I've seen people use my university education as an INSULT is staggering. Not to mention the periodic sneering at 'experts' as though learning about a subject somehow makes one LESS credible.

There's nothing wrong with intellectualism, nor has their ever been. Elitism has long been about people dreaming about how if only THEY were in charge, they would fix everything.That's nothing new.

Adam Meyers said...

Mormonism is a branch of Christianity, dividing the two makes no sense theologically or practically. Which raises an interesting point: I wonder if Bob is lumping Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Evangelicalism and other branches into one overarching "Christianity" religion, or if he's dividing the parts. In my experience it's only an American and sometimes South American thing to believe that they're all the same. It's one of the prime reasons they don't learn theology, it would cause them to realize there's actual differences between religions.

joshquixote said...

"MY problem is when the actual faith/beliefs involved are take SO seriously by adherents that they actually want it to effect the way the world is organized and run."

Let me see if I have this straight: believing in God is OK as long as that particular god isn't actually powerful enough to affect the way the world is run. As long as your god keeps quiet, stays in his own little corner, and is just the little statue you pray to so you can feel better, without it mattering to anyone else around you.

If I want to just "feel better" about myself or the world at large, I'll go take some drugs or have sex or do something to get my brain chemicals raised. Last I checked, belief in god was about more than "feeling good." Gods affect the world. They are the primal forces that shaped it, or continue to shape it in some way. That's what makes them gods in the first place.

What kind of weak, pathetic, and downright inconsequential god are you expecting us to pray to anyway? Why would such a being be worthy of reverence? A supernatural being that flimsy may as well not exist, and certainly won't be getting my prayers and respect, if anybody's.

Dave from canada said...

@CC
“So tell me which of your "factual" theories of the universe has "factually" proven God nonexistent and explained everything we don't know about everything?”
Science is under no obligation to disprove ANYTHING. Be it god or unicorn. Science is a method by which we determine what is true. NOTHING can be totally disproven. Science functions on the principle that the person making the claim (like a god exists and mine talks to me) must provide proof. Everything currently held by science is so because it met its burden of proof. Sometimes there are mistakes, which are eventually rectified rather painlessly, instead of causing a massive doctrinal split and a half dozen holy wars as has been the case with religious differences.
“But remember, scientists don't have faith in theories! Theories are facts we just can't prove yet!”
If you are going to try and be snarky, you might want to understand what the hell theory means in a scientific context. Because while I’m sure you thought you delivered a cutting rejoinder, all you did was demonstrate a level of ignorance on the subject that most creationists would balk at.
Theory, in scientific parlance, is HIGHER than fact. Theories explain and unify facts. Like the theory of gravity. Or germ theory. Outside of the scientific community, theory is used almost exactly like science uses the term hypothesis , as in an unproven idea. In science, you start with a hypothesis and then if you did your research right it becomes theory.

“Lucky for me Christ is all about forgiving me for liking my comforts. :D”
Yes how astounding that you just happened to find a god who lets you do whatever you want without consequence. There’s no self serving angle to that in the slightest.

@Adam
If you want to get technical, you could include Mormonism, Christianity and Islam all as subsets of Judaism. They all spring form the same source with small cultural differences. Like mormonism being invented by a failed treasure hunter who hated black people.

@ Josh
“Why would such a being be worthy of reverence?”
Why indeed?

What Bob is almost certainly getting at is he draws the line when the religious stop making it a personal thing and start trying to force others to live by their rules. If you want to have your own belifs, that’s your business, and the worst you’ll get form others is them thinking you are wrong. But when you start trying to force your beliefs to be taught in schools, or to be adopted by governments, then you cross a line.

Adam Meyers said...

*sigh* I don't want to make this a thing, but Dave from Canada, please don't say things like that. Firstly your info on Joseph Smith is wrong, secondly that's a rather insulting tone to those of us who are Mormon.

Chris Cesarano said...

@Dave from Canada:

Doing a quick Google search, I am, in fact, NOT speaking out of my ass or ignorance. A theory is basically a rationalization of what we see or believe.

Sometimes there are mistakes, which are eventually rectified rather painlessly, instead of causing a massive doctrinal split and a half dozen holy wars as has been the case with religious differences.

I'm glad you mention gravity, which current theories are known to have anomalies and descrepancies and even alternative interpretations or ideas. Science? Unified? Please.

Is it so hard to believe that people thought rationally and logically about the existence of a God? Isn't it possible that there are actual practicing scientists in all parts of the field, be it Astronomy, Physics, Biology or what have you, that believe in a God (of which I actually know many)?

And given that Theories are built off of observations OF facts, isn't it possible that there are many theories built off of causality? Or is it somehow impossible for someone with a lab coat and safety goggles to make that mistake because they have a fancy piece of paper calling them "Doctor" that is becoming less and less difficult to get in this day and age?

Note that my point here isn't that one side is better than the other. I believe in rationality and faith, and I believe without science and the industrial revolution we'd be a savage group of people still murdering each other in large numbers for dumb reasons. But so many science-minded people treat it like a religion and don't even friggin' realize it. That level of hypocrisy is what gets on my nerves. You behave and act the same, just with a different name. But that's okay! Somehow, you're different, and that's all that matters.

It's like talking with a teenager.

“Lucky for me Christ is all about forgiving me for liking my comforts. :D”
Yes how astounding that you just happened to find a god who lets you do whatever you want without consequence. There’s no self serving angle to that in the slightest.


Thanks for taking a joke and turning it into an attack of my character.

Dave from canada said...

@ adam
What parts are you taking exception to? The treasure hunter part? Because I was under the impression that was common knowledge. Or the not being fond of black people part? Which is spelled out by the theology. White and delightsome anyone? Then there’s that nasty business of how black people were not allowed to be ordained until 1978. I’m not saying MORMONS hate black people. (or rather I should be saying non white people. Smith wasn’t keen on the Indians either)
@CC
“Doing a quick Google search, I am, in fact, NOT speaking out of my ass or ignorance. A theory is basically a rationalization of what we see or believe”

Yes. You are. As you’ll evidence below.

“I'm glad you mention gravity, which current theories are known to have anomalies and descrepancies and even alternative interpretations or ideas. Science? Unified? Please.

Are you seriously trying to argue that gravity is ‘only a theory”? Because I can’t wait until we gotten to the issue of whether the earth is flat or not.


“Is it so hard to believe that people thought rationally and logically about the existence of a God?”

Not at all. You’d be astounded how many atheists did exactly that.

“Isn't it possible that there are actual practicing scientists in all parts of the field, be it Astronomy, Physics, Biology or what have you, that believe in a God (of which I actually know many)?”

Certainly. But not ones who have given it any great logical thought. There’s a reason why the more people understand, the less they need to plug in mythology. Francis Collins, the guy who headed the Human Genome project, converted to Christianity after seeing a frozen waterfall. Now he may be a smart man, but in that moment he was exceptionally stupid. As though freezing water...in winter was something miraculous. He’s never really given the thought he obviously can bring to an issue to his own beliefs because he thnks something as mundane as a frozen waterfall is a miracle.

Religion and the scientific method (and indeed logic) are antithetical. You can’t have both without compromise. And likely a decent amount of compartmentalization.




At no point did I say the scientific method was flawless. Or no one ever makes mistakes. The method is BUILT on the principle that people will make mistakes by requiring proof and documentation so at later dates we may find what mistakes there may be, and ferret out mistakes before they become accepted as truth. Whereas religion either claims there were never any mistakes and to keep believing that condoms cause aids, or simply makes a chance and expects everyone to go along with it.

Science has the virtue of dealing with reality. I can WANT germ theory to be wrong. But then I’ll catch something. I can choose to ignore whatever parts of reality I want, but unlike picking and choosing with religion, they will have real consequences.

And, even if your massive strawman of the scientific method was true, that still doesn’t make religion the answer. You don’t get to plug in your religion as a default just because you think science doesn’t yet have the answers.

“But so many science-minded people treat it like a religion and don't even friggin' realize it.”

You know I’ve heard this a couple dozen times and not once have I gotten an example beyond “oh some dude i know”. Curious how no examples are ever volunteered.

“You behave and act the same, just with a different name.”

I never see any examples of that either. Well, except for one which part of me really hopes against all logic that you are actually dumb enough to use.


“Thanks for taking a joke and turning it into an attack of my character. “

So you’ll be selling your possessions and giving all the money to the poor like jesus commanded when? It’s a legitimate question. This is your God, we are talking about, making a direct command to his followers. And presumably as the logical man we know you to be, you’ll know that defying your God for your own selfish reasons isn’t likely to engender his favour.

Matt said...

Well one thing's for sure here, Dave from canada doesn't understand the scientific method.

Matt said...

Well I wasn't going to, but I'm bored right now so here are my thoughts.

1. I used to be really into talking about religion. Now I don't care so much because the discussion always dissolves into petty strawmen arguments made by two sides that don't really know what either they or their opponent are really talking about. Now I tend to just listen to what people have to say, and if they are interested in what I have to say about it, I'll share.

2. Quite frankly, what the best analogy to use when describing the current state of politics is futile and gets none of us anywhere.

3. I'm super liberal, sexually. Not only do I think gay marriage should be legal, but I also support polygamy, incest, and lowering the age of consent to at least 15. Yeah, society will change, but fuck those who want to keep it the way it is now (or revert to some time in the past) forever.

4. I suppose.

5. I have no problem having my tax dollars going towards healing stupid people. To me, health care is not a pragmatic matter, but rather an issue of whether or not your society is ready and willing to support those who need it.

6. I guess I more or less agree. I don't much care though.

7. Science does nothing but investigate physical phenomenon. The results of those investigations can be used as assumptions in philosophical arguments regarding a God. What "God" is, though, changes from time to time and person to person, so while it may be able to disprove some Gods, it may have no sway on others.

8. Yeah I agree. The thing I've never understood is why people want ordinary every day people in power. If someone's going to rule over me, they better be a fuck-load smarter than I am. More on this later.

9. I was a teenager in the early 2000s, so I'm not as concerned about my jetpack or flying car as I am about having reasonable internet speeds.

10. I've often planned for the zombie apocalypse. I think I've got a pretty decent plan too (just so you know, it starts be immediately driving to each cable tv and ISP's local operating headquarters and somehow destroying their ability to sent out/manage their signals). But, when the time comes, I think I'll probably just freeze up and let myself be zombified.

11. I agree. In reference to something someone earlier saying it's the elite's job to guide the masses, they are totally missing the point. The problem, now, is not shitty elite, but masses who have it in their head that the elite are ideological, impractical, ineffective, callous, and mean-spirited people out to destroy their world, their world-view, and take every bit of control away from them. So, in a sense you're right, but you've got to put the blame where it belongs.

12. I have no problem with organized religion either. Sure I think they're wrong (in an epistemological sense), but there's not a person in the world who I don't think is wrong about a great deal of things. To point fingers at certain groups does nothing by way of improving our way of life. Here's a novel idea, Instead of telling people they are wrong, why don't we listen to them when they tell us why we're wrong?

13. Meh. NASA went to shit when they started working with the space shuttles. ESA will quickly take the reigns once the economy settles down.

Adam Meyers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave from canada said...

@ Adam

He wasn't approached for manpower. He was approached to find the mine using magic powers. He continued searching for(and failing to find) treasure even after the founding of Mormonism.

Treasure hunting wasn't a thing he did one time. It was something he practiced. So a guy tries treasure hunting for much of his life and never brings anything back counts as a failed treasure hunter in my book.


As for black people, do I need to quote Nephi 5:21? The bit about god cursing the bad tribe with black skin?

Ryan said...

Reading back through this, I realize that talking about faith never gets me anywhere and I should remember not to. I don't see how religion is useful, I don't see any epistemological merit in faith-based reasoning, and I constantly see evidence of religion being a tool for people who need to manipulate others into unreasonable behavior. But my whole framework for talking about this is the idea (perhaps it's a kind of faith) that the only kind of knowledge I can have is the kind I can pick up using empirical data. There's no argument I can make to someone who doesn't agree that will make them agree with me, since they by definition are incapable of changing their mind about this based on evidence. Religion is an incurable thought virus. Thanks for the reminder.

Adam Meyers said...

Sigh... and then when that "bad tribe" as you put it went righteous they outshone everyone else so completely in obedience to God that they were the ones educating the "good" tribe in religion. I'm only bringing that up because I don't like false facts, but we should stop this, it really is getting no one anywhere...

Laserkid said...

@Dave

You do not understand science in the least. A Hypothesis is an idea to test. A Theory is something that has been tested to see if it is false - if it fails the test it is deemed false. Science is ALL about proving something false. A theory is something that passes an exhaustive amount of tests is not considered proven true, just not proven untrue.

What you're thinking about is called a law (and quantum mechanics are screwing around with those these days anyway).

What you are describing as science only would have flown in the 1800s or before.

In short, yeah actually it IS Science's job to disprove things.

Dave from canada said...

@ Laser Kid.

Except no. Disproving just about anything is a logical impossibility (disprove leprechauns for instance.). That's why the burden of proof is on the person trying to prove something DOES exist.


Laws describe a series of observations (what happened). Theories explain said observations Ie, they explain WHY.)

Hence why evolution isn't considered a law. It actually explains why change happens.

Philbo said...

@Matt:

I presume when you say you support incest you are either trolling, or it comes with the requirement that there can be no chance of reproduction from the event?

Otherwise...what?

Laserkid said...

@Dave What you are describing would be how the legal system handles things, not science. Science does not believe it is possible to PROVE anything, but it is possible to disprove things. Again, unless your a scientist in the 1800s or further back when we thought we understood the fullness of the universe.

CraftyAndy said...

all religion is bad bob because it offers comfort through having faith in something that is not real and based solely on delusion and feelings. So what if it comforts and makes people happy, reality is not about being happy it's about what is REAL! so yeah bob anything that requires the belief in something without sufficient proof is inherently bad.
You don't have to believe in the Earth being round in order for it to be round.

Dave from canada said...

@ Laser. No, that is how LOGIC works. The legal system just happen to be one of many that operate on logic.

Again I bring up my earlier request: disprove leprechauns. You can't. According to your view on science it should be easy.

Science is all about trying to determine why things happen, and most certainly does NOT function on the basis of everything being assumed true until disproven. That's how creationists might like it because it doesn't require them to back up their claims but that's not how it works.

Darwin didn't disprove God. What he did was present strong evidence in support of his claim, preemptively countered (or at least addressed) what he believed would be the primary objections to it and even made predictions about what future discoveries in the fossil record might be like if his idea was true.

Using your model, he would have been accepted instantly until someone disproved him. That isn't what happened.

Hence going back to my early comment: science doesn't disprove god and is under no obligation to do so. The people who believe in god are the ones with the burden of proof as to why we should believe.

I really don't know how you can get this so backwards.

Laserkid said...

Okay, my hypothesis if leperchauns exist then there is a pot at the end of a rainbow, if we go to the end of a rainbow and find no pot of gold, leperchauns do not exist.

You will not find the end of a rainbow because they are circular - thus endless - thus leperchauns do not and cannot exist.

THIS is how a hypothesis is proven false.

How about another - I hypothesize everything floats. I do a first test by blowing bubbles - they float. Have I just proven all objects float? No, because I can try the test by knocking my cup over, my cup does not float, therefore my hypothesis which could not be PROVEN, has in fact been disproven.

This is how science works.

Dave from canada said...

@Laser

"You will not find the end of a rainbow because they are circular - thus endless - thus leperchauns do not and cannot exist."

Faulty reasoning. You have not demonstrated that leprechauns must be at the end of a rainbow, or near a pot of gold.

The default position for everything is disbelief. The very fact that you resort to testing illustrates my point. You had to prove your claim...and failed to do so.

Hell, your 'disproof' of leprechauns is essentially the fact that there is not sufficient evidence...which is in direct opposition to what you are trying to claim.

Unless you have absolute knowledge of everything in the universe, you can't truly disprove ANYTHING. There might be unicorns on mars for all we know.

And unless you adopt a position where claims must have sufficient evidence BEFORE they are believed, then you have NO way of sorting what is real, and what is simply something someone came up with. Because each claim, even contradictory ones must therefor be accepted until each one can be 'proven' wrong.

Are you really so wedded to this backwards thinking that you have to resort to semantics to try and make it fly?

Laserkid said...

Oh so now we're redifining what a leperchaun is? The only definition of leperchauns we have are from legends. Unless, you define a leperchaun we're just throwing terms around.

If thats okay, I have leperchaun to sell you, it goes "meow".

For the record, I'm not interested in proving or disproving god in science, I am interested in making sure people understand you are propegating misinformation about how science works.

Matt said...

@Philbo
No I wasn't joking, and no I don't think that there should be a requirement that there is no possibility for reproduction. There's this fear that having a kid with your cousin will produce hideous man-beast children with extra limbs and an only partially functioning brain, but really that's not the case. The increase in the probability of serious birth defects isn't significant until you get to the third or fourth generation of consecutive incestuous breeding. And to be quite honest, even if that weren't the case, I still wouldn't have a problem with it. I'm not about to tell a brother and sister they can't fuck because they might have a baby with down's syndrome because the prospect of me regulating the sexual desires of others is far more frightening and immoral (so far as I'm concerned) than the possibility that a baby could be born with health problems.

Daystar Eld said...

Agree with most of this, but for a few points:

"...none of them are Judaism..."

Do you consider Zionists more a country thing than a religion one? Because however few of them there may be, extreme right wing Judaism is half of the problem in quite a bit of middle-east angst (see: illegal settlers)

"I disagree with people who say 'I have no problem with faith, it's organized religion that's the problem.'"

I think this is a semantics issue. When most people I know say the above, they mean organized religion as a political force in "the way the world is organized and run," as you put it. In other words, an actual organization revolving around faith with an agenda. If individual people just have faith in odd things and didn't try and push those beliefs onto others, I have no problem with that.


"I would be absolutely fine with NASA forging photographs proving to have found oil on Mars..."

That's an even better idea than this!

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1522#comic

SonofRyan said...

I'm going to guess Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and Scientology, in that order, unless maybe you have an intense and irrational hatred of Zoroastrianism.

Also, Daystar Eld, Zionism in and of itself isn't harmful it's just the belief in a Jewish State, and actually has traditionally been a primarily non-religous movement with some relgious elements, mainly founded in response to the racism encountered by Jews at the end of the 19th century in Europe leading Jews to the conclusion that Europeans didn't really want them there so, to be safe, they need to go found their own country somewhere else. In addition there are significant religious militant-right-wing parts of the Israeli polity, a good number of the far-right in Israel are entirely secular, it's really much more an issue of militancy due to fear of being destroyed. As Jews have come close to being wiped out in many places many of the people in Israel are especially afraid of Israel (and therefore roughly half he jews on the planet) being wiped out, and this fear motivates an unfortunately overly-militant attitude. Remember, for much of it's history Israel has been under a left/center-left labor party, the radical right-wing factions have only gained strength in the last 10-15 years.

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