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The problem with secularism - Comments

Omnibus's Avatar Comment 1 by Omnibus

Oh dear.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:29:00 UTC | #12454

eggplantbren's Avatar Comment 2 by eggplantbren


That's philosophy for you.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:30:00 UTC | #12456

robert s's Avatar Comment 3 by robert s

Anyone know what 'integral insistence' might be?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:37:00 UTC | #12457

matt2112's Avatar Comment 5 by matt2112

This is a spoof, right?


Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:47:00 UTC | #12460

Logicel's Avatar Comment 4 by Logicel

Oh my.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:47:00 UTC | #12459

Logicel's Avatar Comment 6 by Logicel

Philip Blond, Adrian Pabst, their bad.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:48:00 UTC | #12461

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 7 by Mr Blue Sky

I really must respond! BOLLOCKS intellectual bollocks but still bollocks. i am off to track them down and maybe respond elsewhere...

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:49:00 UTC | #12462

rww's Avatar Comment 8 by rww

"integral insistence" is when individual species like the way they are and choose to stop evolving. What I like about this website is its integral insistence on evolving, at least in our thinking, as fast as possible. Long may it do so.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:54:00 UTC | #12463

eggplantbren's Avatar Comment 9 by eggplantbren

Intellectual bollocks is the worst kind. Even the young earthers have a better mind than this. I think it begins in school when obfuscation is encouraged. If you can make something simple sound profound by using flowery language, you're likely to be rewarded. In some classes anyway.

I'm still outraged that English is compulsory in high school here in Australia, given that it's mostly a lesson in how to make shit up and state it as fact.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:54:00 UTC | #12465

matt2112's Avatar Comment 10 by matt2112

Don't fret. I'm sure James Randi, or someone, will reveal themselves as the author of this hoax. Don't bite, guys and girls. Just count the non sequiturs in this piece if you have any trouble sleeping.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:55:00 UTC | #12466

Skeptic Jim's Avatar Comment 11 by Skeptic Jim

fun·da·men·tal·ism (fŭn'də-měn'tl-ĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
Usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

What are the fundamental principals of atheism?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:56:00 UTC | #12467

mryder66's Avatar Comment 12 by mryder66

After managing to read this article through to completion (no mean feat), my mind keeps returning to the phrase "barely literate polemic". The use of such disingenuous criticism undermines any credibility the article might otherwise have contained.

This is a vitriolic, ill-reasoned, ill-supported article to which these learned gentlemen should be ashamed to attach their names.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 05:58:00 UTC | #12468

godisanidiot's Avatar Comment 13 by godisanidiot

"Religion, stripped of rationality"
"intellectual return to religion"

Contradictio in terminus.

"Sam Harris's diatribe "The End of Faith" has to falsify history by claiming that Hitler and Stalin were religious in order to make its case for the malign influence of faith."

I'm currently reading this book and that is UNTRUE, Sam pointed out that both were also founded on irrational beliefs and so had all basic concepts of a religion with the respective dictators as God.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:00:00 UTC | #12469

Jared's Avatar Comment 14 by Jared

As much as I'd like to rip this piece to shreds, I instead would like to profess my hope that Professor Dawkins himself posts and tears it apart.

Granted, his collected works do precisely that, and it would be redundant for him to do so again here...but I'd still love to see his response!

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:00:00 UTC | #12470

Omnibus's Avatar Comment 15 by Omnibus

Does Prof. Conway-Morris come here do you think? I wonder how he will respond to this context for his views.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:07:00 UTC | #12472

Monolith's Avatar Comment 16 by Monolith

Actually that's Post-Secular Philosophy for you!

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:10:00 UTC | #12473

hfaber's Avatar Comment 17 by hfaber

"Arbitrary processes" cannot explain convergence in biology according to this confused author. I completely agree. But the poor soul "forgot" to include natural selection. Small error...

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:11:00 UTC | #12474

Will S's Avatar Comment 18 by Will S

It took the combined efforts of two philosophers to produce this 720-word masterpiece?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:13:00 UTC | #12476

JackR's Avatar Comment 19 by JackR

TGD is "...barely literate"?


This person is clearly deranged, and his opinions are therefore worthless.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:15:00 UTC | #12477

robert s's Avatar Comment 20 by robert s

Does an 'arbitrary process' require an arbiter?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:19:00 UTC | #12479

Logicel's Avatar Comment 22 by Logicel

mryder66 said, " which these learned gentlemen should be ashamed to attach their names."

apparently these gentlemen are ill learned.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:20:00 UTC | #12481

Monolith's Avatar Comment 21 by Monolith

Its not a spoof, this guy is for real as a quick Google indicates:

"It was during Phillip's time at Cambridge that he helped to formulate and instigate one of the most stimulating and innovative movements in modern theology: Radical Orthodoxy. This new way of doing theology has stimulated widespread international acclaim and controversy. Part of Radical Orthodoxy's appeal is marked by a critical philosophical questioning of atheism, secularity and modern culture."

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:20:00 UTC | #12480

igor's Avatar Comment 23 by igor

I'm fascinated as to what makes up the rational, logical proof of god(s) that does not require blind faith which these sorts of articles persist in referring to.

Has anyone seen any of it?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:25:00 UTC | #12482

Logicel's Avatar Comment 24 by Logicel

"...instigate one of the most stimulating and innovative movements in modern theology..."

My head slipped near my keyboard in somnolence several times during this stimulating and innovative article. I suppose these bloke's theological colleagues who profess a less stimulating approach would cause a mass coma upon their readers.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:25:00 UTC | #12483

Pilot22A's Avatar Comment 25 by Pilot22A

"status of their own first principles and explanatory frameworks"

Atheists exist only because there are theists. Why can't religionists see this "first" principle?

"Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool."
—- Voltaire

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:39:00 UTC | #12485

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 26 by gcdavis

Quote from Simon Conway Morris
". . . nevertheless, as I never tire of pointing out to my students in Cambridge, chimpanzees do not play the piano, drink dry martinis, or erect temples to glorify the Creator".

Lets hear it for the chimps!

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:42:00 UTC | #12487

matt2112's Avatar Comment 27 by matt2112

@ #14362

Thanks, Monolith, I suspected it was genuine, but it's so full of spectacularly woolly post-modernist cant that it would make for a good spoof.

Anyway, at least its content forgoes the requirement to take the piss out of it, which saves me a job.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:53:00 UTC | #12489

JackR's Avatar Comment 28 by JackR

igor: it's a classic tactic of the more intelligent religious apologist (insofar as that isn't a contradiction in terms). They declare that the particular version or versions of god an atheist attacks are childish simplifications; outdated notions of the deity; misunderstandings of the far more subtle nature of god that sophisticated theologians hold and certainly not in any way like their interpretation of god.

The way to deal with this is to always throw the challenge right in their faces: "Okay then, educate me. Bring me up to speed with the latest wonders of modern theological thought. Define your terms precisely. Define your notion of god precisely."

In the unlikely event they actually try to do this instead of ducking the issue ("Too complex to sum up quickly", "Go read Boethius and get back to me", etc) you'll be treated to either a woolly, wordy, waffle-fest about a curious shape-shifter of a god, or else you'll be bombarded with a flurry of pseudo-philosophical meanderings and logical loose ends which the believer hopes you'll simply find too complex to keep track of. However, if you doggedly persist in picking apart each element of their argument you will always - ALWAYS - find that their god is ultimately built on faith.

Always challenge. And if they refuse to meet the challenge they can be fairly discounted.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:59:00 UTC | #12490

Thrall's Avatar Comment 29 by Thrall

"This atheist apprehension is well founded, as the latest developments in biology, physics and philosophy all open the door to a revivified theology and a religious metaphysics."

Yes, because Deepak Chopra started as an athiest, and that is what made him what he is today. Everyone who is athiest is just one step away from becoming Deepak.

"if we ran evolution again life would look very different. However, evolution shows biological convergence. As Simon Conway Morris, a professor of biology at Cambridge University, has argued, evolution is not arbitrary: If it ran again, the world would look much as it already does."

So? So scientists don't agree if things would look the same if ran over again? Isn't this more philosophy rather than science?

"...Matrix hypothesis that we are actually only a virtual simulation run by other universes more powerful and real. So religion finds itself in the strange position of defending the real world against those who would make us merely virtual phenomena."

Isn't this also what religion posits? That we are all just being run by our "spirits?" After we die our "real" selves will come into being and will last for the rest of eternity in another "realm". What a kook.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 07:36:00 UTC | #12494

Homo economicus's Avatar Comment 30 by Homo economicus

Yesssssss, ahhhhhhhhhh whhhhat?

And I thought only a Pan Galatic Gargle Blaster could do that to me.

I would not dignify this paper even if I ran out of loo roll. The only barely saving point in there that I made out was that evolutionary theory is being updated in line with new findings and research. Yes guys, that's real science for you!

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 07:47:00 UTC | #12495