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The power of nonsense - Comments

ukvillafan's Avatar Comment 1 by ukvillafan

Another interesting article from PZ - i AM GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK UP SOME OF THE WORDS HE USES

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:31:00 UTC | #377164

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 2 by Steve Zara

I going to have to agree with Styrer's comments on a previous thread. Why are links to articles such as Bunting's being filtered through sites like those of PZ Myers'? It suggests that we here aren't aren't able to engage in useful discussion here without previous editorial comment by Myers. I think this is somewhat dismissive of the quality of poster on this site.

Just because PZ Myers has found a site first, does not mean that a direct link to the site can't be posted here.

A site of this quality should surely not be a publisher of second-hand articles and news.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:36:00 UTC | #377167

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 3 by Richard Dawkins

Steve Zara
I think you have missed the point. I, for one, have no interest in reading the ridiculous Madeline Bunting, so I never saw it as a link to her, filtered through PZ. I suggested posting this, simply and solely because it is a superb piece of polemical writing by PZ himself, well worth posting in its own right.
Richard

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:57:00 UTC | #377171

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 4 by Adrian Bartholomew

Not only that its just good Netiquette. If you find a site via Google you don’t have to credit Google (they can advertise themselves). However if you find a site via somewhere like Pharyngula you are obliged to provide a link to Pharyngula. Otherwise you just appear to be ripping Pharyngula off without respecting the time and effort PZ has taken in finding the articles in the first place.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:02:00 UTC | #377173

j.mills's Avatar Comment 5 by j.mills

I take the point, Steve, but it's not difficult to click through to Ms Bunting's article. Also, I would not have learned the word tergiversation from Ms Bunting (though I would certainly encounter the meaning...).

Personally I don't have time to follow blogs like PZ's, so I quite like it that particularly relevant or powerful pieces are highlighted here.

On the topic itself, like PZ, I would love to know some of these answers that only religion could have reached. Do dogs have souls? Can you get to heaven without accepting Jebus? Under what circumstances do guardian angels intervene, and how do you know?

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:04:00 UTC | #377174

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 6 by Steve Zara

Comment #394523 by Richard Dawkins

Thank you for your explanation, Richard.

I have to admit that I do frequently miss the point. It can be a great way to get a new perspective on an article!

I have to say, I salute PZ's ability to cope with reading Bunting's article (I found it quite a struggle). It was not quite as absurd as some of her recent publications (such as her shocking attack on Ophelia Benson), but still predictably silly.

Interestingly, Bunting's article has not (yet) had a high profile on the Guardian site. I do hope this indicates a decline in her status there.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:05:00 UTC | #377176

Smith's Avatar Comment 7 by Smith

Richard

If you have time, would you take a look at this comment
http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,3973,Correspondence-regarding-the-Templeton-Foundation,Richard-Dawkins-Daniel-Dennett-AC-Grayling-Edwin-Cartlidge,page2#390560
on another thread. Basically, I'm still wondering how you handle Templeton-sponsored events.

Thank you!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:06:00 UTC | #377177

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

Comment #394526 by j.mills

I agree that clicking through is easy. However, it seems that I have misunderstood the point of the article being posted here.

Commment #394525 by Adrian Bartholomew

However if you find a site via somewhere like Pharyngula you are obliged to provide a link to Pharyngula.


That might be the case for some obscure site that someone has spend considerable time seeking out, but as Madeline Bunting was posting on one of the highest profile newspaper websites in the world, there is no netiquette issue involved in linking directly.

However, I do realise my mistake here, and having been graciously corrected by Richard, I concede I was wrong (well, I was wrong however I was corrected).

Perhaps I should just generally admit to have put my foot in my mouth via my keyboard! Mea culpa!

So.. on to the discussion of the article...

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:16:00 UTC | #377178

j.mills's Avatar Comment 9 by j.mills

Ye gods! The Bunting thing is worth reading in itself though.

what's all the fuss about? It reflected a strand of anxiety in the multifaith audience that, frankly, there were bigger questions to worry about.
(My emphasis.) The multifaith audience thought there were bigger things to worry about than (presumably) whether there are gods and, if so, which religion has the right of it? How can a genuinely multifaith audience even for shame make common cause? All they have in common is that they're not us!

[John Houghton said religion] ...had a crucial role [in dealing with matters like climate change] because religion essentially concerned itself with relationships to other people, to the rest of humanity and to the natural environment.
We should take our cue on responding to global warming from the bible? My relationship to the rest of humanity, as per the bible, is that I am not one of the chosen people, that I should kill those who don't follow ancient joke-laws, that I should give up my worldly goods and leave my family behind. Oh, and I have 'dominion' over the world, so bugger the environment. This is not, of course, the view Houghton would take, but that's precisely because he doesn't take his cue from the bible - only from those bits he already agrees with. Ach!

Here was an area of huge overlap between science and religion; biology in recent decades has demonstrated the inter-connectedness of life and its evolution.
How is that an overlap between science and religion?

There are limits to knowledge, admitted Archbishop Williams, and we have to accept that knowledge is "corrigible" – that we can be wrong.
So religion can't even answer the questions that it can answer?

Hey, Steve, this is why they don't put the original article here - it sends fools like me into rant mode!

Good to see that the comments under the Guardian article are largely dismissive though.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:19:00 UTC | #377179

Gnu Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by Gnu Atheist

From Mirriam-Webster Online:

ter·gi·ver·sa·tion
Pronunciation: ˌtər-ˌji-vər-ˈsā-shən, -ˌgi-; ˌtər-ji-(ˌ)vər-
Function: noun
Date: 1570
1: evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement: equivocation
2: desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith


I particularly like the second definition here (although it was not PZ's intended use). It would be nice if more theists would tergiversate in the light of such devastating insight and analysis from the likes of Richard and PZ!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:20:00 UTC | #377180

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 11 by Adrian Bartholomew

Quote: "That might be the case for some obscure site that someone has spend considerable time seeking out"

No actually, that's not relevant. If you wouldn't have found it on your own your obliged to provide a link to the person that did. Especially given how often Pharyngula is posted here.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:21:00 UTC | #377181

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 12 by Steve Zara

omment #394531 by j.mills

Ye gods! The Bunting thing is worth reading in itself though


That was kind of my point.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:26:00 UTC | #377182

j.mills's Avatar Comment 14 by j.mills

I should clarify that when I said the Bunting thing was worth reading, I meant in a not-worth-reading sort of way... :)

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:33:00 UTC | #377185

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

Comment #394533 by Adrian Bartholomew

No actually, that's not relevant. If you wouldn't have found it on your own your obliged to provide a link to the person that did. Especially given how often Pharyngula is posted here.


Please talk about internet 'obligations' to someone who hasn't been using it and has been involved in message boards, newsgroups, forums and websites for over 25 years, OK?

I think both the original article and PZ's excellent response need to be discussed. There is much that is deeply interesting in both.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:33:00 UTC | #377184

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

Comment #394537 by j.mills

I think that PZ Myers' summary of what she has written is pretty accurate. But I don't yet see a 'killer blow'; something that could be quoted back to Bunting in public to shut her up for good. perhaps such a thing isn't possible.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:38:00 UTC | #377187

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 16 by mirandaceleste

The irony of this:


The discussion ended on a strikingly humble note. There are limits to knowledge, admitted Archbishop Williams, and we have to accept that knowledge is "corrigible" – that we can be wrong. "There is something very inhuman about claiming to be asking the last question or giving the last answer."


pretty much broke my brain. Good lord.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:41:00 UTC | #377188

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 17 by Adrian Bartholomew

Quote: "Please talk about internet 'obligations' to someone who hasn't been using it and has been involved in message boards, newsgroups, forums and websites for over 25 years, OK?"

Sorry no. I've been doing the same and working in the industry for about the same time. However even if I were 12 it wouldn't be relevant.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #377190

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Zara

Comment #394542 by Adrian Bartholomew

As netiquette surely implies we don't have discussions in the middle of threads like this, I shall shut up. Feel free to tell me off via PM :)

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:46:00 UTC | #377191

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Comment #394540 by mirandaceleste

Wasn't that quote from the original article simply wonderful? Irony meters across the English-speaking world must have been exploding furiously!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:48:00 UTC | #377192

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 20 by Enlightenme..

Lucky for Archbishop Williams he lives in the present day.
He must know that such an unguarded and frank loose tongue as that would have attracted some heat not so long ago.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:53:00 UTC | #377193

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Comment #394531 by j.mills

It is also good to see that Jonathon West has such a high profile in the comments.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:03:00 UTC | #377196

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 22 by Tezcatlipoca

re Comment #394545 by Enlightenme..

Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
Peasant 1: Burn them.
Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
Peasant 1: More witches.
Peasant 2: Wood.
Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn?
Peasant 3: ...because they're made of... wood?
Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her.
Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
Peasant 1: Oh yeah.
Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw her into the pond!
Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
Peasant 1: Bread.
Peasant 2: Apples.
Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
Peasant 1: Cider.
Peasant 2: Gravy.
Peasant 3: Cherries.
Peasant 1: Mud.
Peasant 2: Churches.
Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
King Arthur: A Duck.
Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...
Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
Sir Bedevere: And therefore...
Peasant 2: ...A witch!

-edit- courtesy of imdb.com

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:04:00 UTC | #377197

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 23 by Adrian Bartholomew

To Steve; you are absolutely right on us going off-topic. Although if it has come up before I guess there may be some value in having gone over it again.

On topic. I’m more worried by our (UK) faith heads than the American versions. I really don’t think they are stupid at all. After all we don’t have the simple ones that talk about Crocoducks. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of stupid to go around, it’s just ours seem better at hiding it and presenting it as perfectly reasonable. Compare Pat Robertson and the Archbishop…

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:19:00 UTC | #377201

beanson's Avatar Comment 24 by beanson

re: Miranda Celeste comment above

"There is something very inhuman about claiming to be asking the last question or giving the last answer."

Arch bish beardy


God- I can just hear him saying this too, in his cloying, deathly voice. What is it specifically about him that I so despise, his woolyness, his milldewed academicism, his ridiculous superstitions, his PC embrace of Islam, his obvious liberalism (Gays) which he allows to be trumped by dogma...

or is it just that fuckin' awful death voice

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:21:00 UTC | #377202

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 25 by Steve Zara

Comment #394553 by Adrian Bartholomew

I think you are right to be concerned about UK religious activists. I find this a real worry. I have friends who work in education and come across requests for creationism teaching at university level.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:29:00 UTC | #377203

Mark Smith's Avatar Comment 26 by Mark Smith

I've said before on this site when this 'religion as an alternative way of knowing' thing comes up, let them say what it is they know. If they know it, they can say what it is and we can check it out. If they can't say what it is, then this 'alternative way of knowing' isn't actually a way of knowing anything.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:32:00 UTC | #377204

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 27 by Adrian Bartholomew

Quote: "requests for creationism teaching at university level"

Gulp. I was going to ask if it was Christian or Islamic creationism they wanted to teach but with the capitulation of the Church of England (COE) to Islam I wonder if there is a practical difference between them anymore. I used to be proud that the COE had been declawed. I wonder now if all that has done is render it defenceless against the bigger and scarier religion to come.

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:46:00 UTC | #377208

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 28 by mordacious1

Since Ms. Bunting makes me want to throw up, I'll try derailing this thread by posting a video of the Canadian PM pocketing a communion wafer at a funeral:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/08/stephen-harper-puts-commu_n_228023.html

Hahahahaha

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:59:00 UTC | #377210

detox's Avatar Comment 29 by detox

Sorry - off topic, but..

Comment #394536 by Steve Zara

Please talk about internet 'obligations' to someone who hasn't been using it and has been involved in message boards, newsgroups, forums and websites for over 25 years, OK?


I'm not questioning your claim Steve, but back then I think I was using a ZX Spectrum to play games - because tinternet didn't exist.

Ain't fightin, just askin..

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 13:08:00 UTC | #377211

epeeist's Avatar Comment 30 by epeeist

Comment #394563 by detox:

I'm not questioning your claim Steve, but back then I think I was using a ZX Spectrum to play games - because tinternet didn't exist.
Yes it did, I was writing "Coloured Book" software for Prime computers to access it.

And a pox on you for making me remember the bag of bits that Prime computers were

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 13:13:00 UTC | #377212