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RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness' 
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Ire.

You said.
Where I won't remain silent is when ridicule of peoples' delusions turns to ridicule of a member's discussion about his social interests.

That comment was not meant in a derisive way, as much in sincere incredulity. It's great to care about and care for people--but tirelessly, without rest with a sense of grand mission? I am concerned that such behavior is harmful to the person doing it, that fatigue never lends itself to efficiency or clarity, and that more people just walking around on the planet should just do more in little ways so that these messianic types don't end up doing it all--which of course, is IMPOSSIBLE, also my point.

Whether you think impressions of people, after observing their behavior or symptoms counts for nothing, which leaves us with only being able to understand them in some thoretical sense, if I understand you?--since our human subjectivity would only hopelessly scew our interpretation of data? Is, that what you meant?

You seem to assert that human happiness, the desire for it, the quest for it, our human need to feel good, do good, care for others, enjoy, create, --which is what a well nurtured human, a healthy human, just does 'naturally,' has nothing to do with the origin of 'religion' or any thoughts about something bigger or at least much smarter, than we, 'God,' in the first place?




Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:21 pm


Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'


Ire,

It wasn't ridicule. It was a kind of incredulity. Someone who 'won't rest' until all of the rights are right and all the wrongs are righted, and there are basically no more wrongs, whew!--helping people is good, but fatigue only causes less chance of efficiency and clarity, so why be so self sacrificing about it? I am concerned for that person's well being when I hear things like that.


In that way, I think Jesus set a really bad example. (Yes. I believe he existed.) Look the guy had some issues.

Oh, and, right, examining someone's behavior is too subjective to be real--one can only understand human beings theoretically,...is that what you meant?

How is it that the notion, happiness, that, has nothing to do with religion?




Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:43 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
::117 ::124 :

Quote:
I've stayed away from these new threads in The God Delusion, thus far, because I'm not sure how productive they are, and I think they have very little to do with the text itself.


I think these threads have everything to do with the book/text (especially this one since it was an interview with the author about related topics). I think the best conversations do stray from the literal reading and should inspire tangential conversation.

More than any other book we have read, this book has done that. This is a large and all inclusive topic, the existence of god and the value of religion, so I think this is all relevant.

Now back to being the best "wild irish rose" with you, ok?

Mr. P.


I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George Carlin

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/27/07 3:14 pm



Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:13 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'






DOH! Ok, the reason those two last posts were the same, basically, was that I thought I'd lost the first, etc..

Frank, I think Jesus existed the way, we think Alexander the Great existed--a person, with historical reference found other places than the Bible.

I think that Mark's gospel was the closest account of what he, Jesus, actually said, and that Mark, basically interviewed Paul, in Rome, when Paul was old--so it (the gospel) was his
memory of things, and all that might imply. It's the one where the fig tree does not die of shame, for example, whereas it started doing that in, several, rewritings of that original account which were composed hundreds of years later by people on wheat mold or something; lead poisoning?--when many things got flourished right in to the bizarre. We just don't know if Paul's memory remained true, and if he was interested in preserving truth or not.

Anyway, I think he (Jesus) was illegitimate, that he had connection to royalty, that he was a good speaker and teacher, that some of his teachings were good, and, that he became a victim of his own false beliefs at the end, by his adamant insistence.

The point I was trying to make earlier, was that the belief that he could rise from the dead is, now, a delusion whereas it was either a common false belief then, or, the reference 'rise from the dead' actually meant, to them, rise in to heaven, as in your spirit, anyone's spirit, in which case, Jesus believing it actually could happen was a delusion, then.




Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:40 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Frank: What alternatives do you mean?

I refer you to those religious communities and traditions that reflect a kind of agapic radicalism and green faith: a whole mess of folk devoted to loving creation and seeking justice. You wouldn't know they existed if all you read were folk like Dawkins or Harris or Dennett...but they are alive and well and active in their communities and across the planet. This might fill some with despair; it fills me with hope...enough so that I've decided to throw my lot in with them and join the struggle. I think this quotation from a recent Roger Gottlieb interview is useful here:
Quote:
These ( Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, Beijing School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, American Nuns Sisters of the Earth, Pope John Paul II and US Council of Catholic Bishops, Buddhist monks against deforestation, Lutheran Evangelicals for Fair Trade, Evangelical Environmental Network, World Council of Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life) and literally thousands of other examples reveal some remarkable, and remarkably hopeful, patterns. For one thing, in a time when many of us wonder if religion should be limited to something done by consenting adults in private, religious environmentalism is an example of people of faith engaging in politics in ways that are humane, respectful of democracy, and in the best interests of humanity, indeed of life, as a whole. The movement is marked by intense civic concern, not bolstering the beliefs of one group against everyone else.


Frank: No one is suggesting that we "escape" myth, not Dawkins and certainly not me, but why not accept it for what it is and dispense with the pedestal.

Well, perhaps I've completely misread Dawkins and the lionshare of Booktalk commentary around the subject of Myth and its deleterious impact on human reason and society. Perhaps I should read a bit more carefully.

Frank: If Myth is not unreal but not real either what is it?

Excellent question. I don't think this is the thread to answer that question (if it is answerable).

Frank: What of us that do not share this "hunger"? What of those of us that find religions offer us nothing that we don't already possess? And what of those of us that actually disagree or actively dislike what religions offer? Are we incapable of joy?

I don't know if anyone is incapable of joy, but I have seen seriously depressed folk full of despair and intense pessimism...nihilists who see no reason to live, carry on, or bother with life's difficulties and dark corners. I think it is Joy that fires the heart to face the unacceptable world around us and demand something better...work for something better. I don't know how anyone can access this kind of Joy without some kind of faith...some kind of trust in an uncertain, unknown, inaccesable but incessant demand to act and resist despair. In other words, the lion's share of evidence points toward Dystopia and Devastation...to think otherwise, and act otherwise, is to engage in kind of trust and hope that is not simply reasonable nor purely logical...it is a radical trust and hope in the seemiingly impossible...a kind of faith.




Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:57 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Halo,

This internet is a tricky business. I certainly saw mocking in the choice of syntax and context of your statement: "How is that going, the exposing all wrongs and healing everything, thing?" An afterthought, a tongue-in-cheek question that really has no serious inquiry to it. Kind of like: "How's that going for you, that rocket ship you intend to build?" I will take you at your word, and acknowledge that you meant no harm in the statement.

I don't think it is impossible to understand peoples' state of mind from observation. I, however, think it is reckless to make general statements about insubstantial ideas, directed at whole groups of people, based on mere anecdotal evidence:

Quote:
BUT HAPPY? As in a relaxed, confident, self loving, productive, ethical, person, able to think and act for themselves? Uh, no. The people I know who would fit that description, stopped going to church, if they ever went, at age 8 to 11...


That might be true of all the people you know, I doubt it



Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:23 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Frank 013: So can we start calling you "crazy" architect?

Start? Ha.

misterpessimistic: And as for the last part of your sentence, there is absolutely something inherent in religion that would make it very hard to find cooperation with someone that is in direct opposition to what you hold true in your heart.

Abandoning religion altogether isn't going to change that. People are still going to have differences and differing priorities. They're going to act according to those priorities. And they're going to find it difficult to get along with people whose priorities conflict with theirs. So maybe it is something inherent in religion, but it is by no means unique to it. It's inherent in anything that matters to people.

It is the ability of the human being to reason and examine the world around her that gives us the ability to overcome the religious seclusion inherent in the system.

I don't think so. A great deal of scholarship written in the last 100 years or so has been devoted to examining the ways in which reason contributes to atrocity. Reason is not some unmixed blessing. Considered, deliberate steps can lead just as surely to the gallows.

But then, this all goes back to the argument that all rational arguments are rooted in values that are, themselves, arational, which is a position that you de facto reject. So we should probably just call that one an impasse.

I took you for a pompous ass...and I have yet to stray from that assessment.

Doesn't surprise me. I've never seen you stray from any assessment you've made. I'm not sure you're capable of it.




Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:10 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
I dont think I have a NEED to. ;)

Well Luke, looks likes we are at an impass on many things.

And just what positions have you strayed from?

Mr. P.


I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George Carlin

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/28/07 7:28 pm



Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:12 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
Mad
Abandoning religion altogether isn't going to change that. People are still going to have differences and differing priorities.


True, but how many differences do we need? especially ones that cannot be logically rectified.

Quote:
Mad
So maybe it is something inherent in religion, but it is by no means unique to it. It's inherent in anything that matters to people.


I do not think anyone here has argued that these issues are unique to religion, but I do think religion adds an element of irrationality to existing conflict.

And shouldn't we remove all unnecessary reasons for conflict where possible?

Quote:
Mad
But then, this all goes back to the argument that all rational arguments are rooted in values that are, themselves, arational, which is a position that you de facto reject.


Which any practical person who wants to accomplish anything must do.

Later




Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:59 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
me: But then, this all goes back to the argument that all rational arguments are rooted in values that are, themselves, arational, which is a position that you de facto reject.
Frank: Which any practical person who wants to accomplish anything must do.

No, all they need do to stay practical is admit that their reasons are always, at root, personal rather than objective. That still allows for pragmattic behavior and makes us less prone to the delusion that we're behaving objectively and from pure reason.




Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:01 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
Mad
No, all they need do to stay practical is admit that their reasons are always, at root, personal rather than objective. That still allows for pragmatic behavior and makes us less prone to the delusion that we're behaving objectively and from pure reason.


This does make us less prone to delusion by basically saying that all views are equally valid; from the crazy Sally example to ones based off of evidence that is corroborated and tested by other people and science.

That's hardly practical.

Later




Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:00 am
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
This does make us less prone to delusion by basically saying that all views are equally valid; from the crazy Sally example to ones based off of evidence that is corroborated and tested by other people and science.

That's hardly practical.


But people can make functional assumptions. I can say that on an ultimate level, all views are equally valid, regardless of whether or not they belong to Crazy Sally or Einstein. But when speaking within a specific agreed framework, I can say that (according to the agreed criteria) one view is better than another.

What you seem to be saying is akin to saying that it because a person recognised that positions like right and left are relative, they could not say that the sun was to an individual's right or left.

More interestingly, it is a lot like saying that because you have no belief in a morality that transcends humanity, then you would not be able to behave morally. Think about it.

You believe that morality is a matter of opinion, that it is something artifical (or at least, that is the impression I get), but still, you live your life as though your opinions on what constitues a moral/immoral actions were objective facts. If Crazy Sally's cousin (we'll call her Crazy Ann) were to turn to you and say that she believed that genocide, murder and rape were good things, would you consider the moral scheme she constructed to be the equal of yours?

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:28 am
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
Niall
But people can make functional assumptions. I can say that on an ultimate level, all views are equally valid, regardless of whether or not they belong to Crazy Sally or Einstein. But when speaking within a specific agreed framework, I can say that (according to the agreed criteria) one view is better than another.


This is exactly my point, but Mad seems to want to defeat valid arguments by poking holes in the agreed framework.

Quote:
Niall
What you seem to be saying is akin to saying that it because a person recognized that positions like right and left are relative, they could not say that the sun was to an individual's right or left.


Not at all those examples are based off of sensory input and within the accepted framework.

Quote:
Niall
More interestingly, it is a lot like saying that because you have no belief in a morality that transcends humanity, then you would not be able to behave morally. Think about it.


I am thinking about it and I do not see the similarity, morality is made by humanity for humanity how can it transcend humanity?

Quote:
Niall
You believe that morality is a matter of opinion, that it is something artificial (or at least, that is the impression I get), but still, you live your life as though your opinions on what constitutes a moral/immoral actions were objective facts.


They are for me. but these moral choices are mine alone I do not expect everyone to agree with me or attempt to force others to follow my example.

Quote:
Niall
If Crazy Sally's cousin (we'll call her Crazy Ann) were to turn to you and say that she believed that genocide, murder and rape were good things, would you consider the moral scheme she constructed to be the equal of yours?


No because I take into account personal freedom and the welfare of all people, Crazy Ann clearly does not.

But under the all views are arational stance, crazy Ann might have a valid point. Who knows maybe she has important information the rest of us are lacking?

Later




Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:56 am
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Frank: In this way we are not vastly different, while I do not pray or expect a loving response from the cosmos I am in wonder of what I see; from the vastness of the universe to the complexity of a single cell.

Perhaps if you expected more out of the cosmos you'd experience something different? Perhaps if you allowed your wonder to expand beyond observation and into intimacy: in other words, not simply observing but really loving...and, in the process the cosmos responds with a sort of gracious hospitality: a prodigious invitation to join in relationship where intimacy and communion take the place of exploration and understanding...the cosmos is no longer simply a great spanse of stuff to learn about, but a loving partner to cherish and honor and care for.

Frank: And while I do love nature I realize that without giving it its proper respect it will readily take my life.

Where does Frank start and Nature end?

Frank: From my experience the cosmos seems to be totally indifferent to the plights of mere humans and it is our own will and resourcefulness that makes the difference.

My experience is more mixed. The cosmos is gracious in billions of ways: cool breeze, warm sun, fresh water, fertile soil, lucious vegetation, ripe fruits, clean air, beautiful beasts, etc...and it is a tsunamic whirwind of crushing force and brutal consumption. I think a great deal of our suffering is related to our lack of resourcefulness and indifference to the miseries of others. But, there is also extraordinary graces thruout the human experience too.




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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
DH
Perhaps if you expected more out of the cosmos you'd experience something different? Perhaps if you allowed your wonder to expand beyond observation and into intimacy:


How would you accomplish something like that? My nature does not seem geared towards intimacy with something I can't completly understand, and seems as hostile as it is giving.

Quote:
DH
in other words, not simply observing but really loving...and, in the process the cosmos responds with a sort of gracious hospitality:


Like how? Do you get super powers?

Quote:
DH
a prodigious invitation to join in relationship where intimacy and communion take the place of exploration and understanding...the cosmos is no longer simply a great spanse of stuff to learn about, but a loving partner to cherish and honor and care for.


Sounds like a long wait for a train that will not come.

Quote:
DH
Where does Frank start and Nature end?


Frank starts at consciousness and nature ends at instinct.

Quote:
DH
My experience is more mixed. The cosmos is gracious in billions of ways: cool breeze, warm sun, fresh water, fertile soil, luscious vegetation, ripe fruits, clean air, beautiful beasts, etc...


While I do appreciate those things I could also argue the opposite, freezing winds, scorching deserts, salty wastelands, inhospitable rocky regions, poisonous fruit, choking volcanic gasses, wild deadly and poisonous animals, viruses, bacteria, natural disaster, all are just as prevalent.

Quote:
DH
I think a great deal of our suffering is related to our lack of resourcefulness and indifference to the miseries of others. But, there is also extraordinary graces throughout the human experience too.


Undoubtedly.

Later




Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:21 am
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CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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