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End-of-Days Danger - Comments

SoManyStars's Avatar Comment 1 by SoManyStars

arrogant&naive2say ucan run acntry anwhre thn in2the grnd.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 07:59:00 UTC | #442067

TrickyDicky's Avatar Comment 2 by TrickyDicky

The thought of Sarah Palin in the White House puts the fear of Dawkins in me.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 08:40:00 UTC | #442070

prolibertas's Avatar Comment 3 by prolibertas

"I just realized there might be a genuine connection between 2012 and an end-of-days menace!"

I confess to a brief chill going down my spine a few months ago when I made the same connection between 2012 and Sarah Palin. Maybe the 2012 movie just shows what happens to the world if Palin becomes President!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 08:56:00 UTC | #442074

jel's Avatar Comment 4 by jel

sarah palin, white house, president.

these are phrases that should NEVER go together. just thinking about the possibilities is scary.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:18:00 UTC | #442079

atheists-r-us's Avatar Comment 5 by atheists-r-us

i think sarah might be right. problem its nature that will come back to overpower us. a barren planet is just as much nature as a fertile one.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:32:00 UTC | #442082

Roland_F's Avatar Comment 6 by Roland_F

Well with Hockey Mom Sarah-IQ82-Palin in the White House soon – Lawrence Krauss as US citizen might really need some precautious measure: have a magic Mormon underpant ready for the end of US civilization.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:16:00 UTC | #442084

Brian The Coyote's Avatar Comment 7 by Brian The Coyote

I object to the association of Sarah Palin with the great sport of hockey almost as much as I object to her having any part in the US government!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:30:00 UTC | #442104

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 8 by Richard Dawkins

Democratic systems should have built-in safeguards against the possibility of a manifestly unqualified candidate ever even coming close to being elected. But it is difficult thinking what those safeguards might be. Should candidates sit some sort of examination? IQ test? Literacy test? On the face of it, such bars sound objectionable, like the infamous poll tax. But isn't it already objectionable that candidates have to have been BORN in the United States, even if they are full US citizens (like Christopher Hitchens)? And presumably they mustn't have a criminal record? So there are precedents for debarring people. Perhaps those precedents could be the basis for a broadening to debar unqualified ignoramuses like Sarah Palin.

Theoretically it shouldn't be necessary, because unqualified candidates should never even get through the primary elections, let alone the final presidential election. But since the parties allow their chosen presidential candidate to choose his own unelected vice presidential running mate, that is no safeguard. We saw this in McCain's grossly irresponsible act. Although he himself was, on-the-face-of-it, qualified to be president, he cast doubt on that by the very act of choosing an obviously unqualified running mate. Or at least by failing to have her properly vetted before choosing her.

I think it is an interesting question how the US democratic system could be modified to rule out such potentially disastrous mistakes in the future. The British system is in many ways inferior, but I think it is fair to say that a Palin-style catastrophe could never happen. This is because the Prime Minister is always the leader of a party, and leaders of parties don't suddenly get thrust from nowhere into the limelight by the caprice or whim of one individual, as was the case with McCain choosing Palin. Leaders of parties work their way up over years. This would automatically rule out downright incompetents like Palin – although it does not, of course, rule out villains (like Blair, who is a very competent villain indeed).

Richard

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:42:00 UTC | #442106

GandalfGrey's Avatar Comment 9 by GandalfGrey

A country of sheep will get a government of wolves...
If a majority of the Americans vote Palin into the whitehouse, they'll get what they want. It seems like it's their mistake to make. I just hope the world will survive such a period unharmed.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:59:00 UTC | #442111

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 10 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Why, oh why do these memes spread? First there was Y2K. Now 2012. It makes me think to The Extended Phenotype when Richard said, "There are some falsehoods, or half-truths, that seem to engender in us an active desire to believe them and pass them on even if we find them unpleaant, maybe in part, perversely, because we find them unpleasant." Oh, that is so true. The question is why? I have often wondered if people get perverse delight out of believing-- and yes, sincerely believing-- that the 2012 nonsense is true. Really, it does seem like people get a perverse joy out of these things.

Then again, maybe they will vote for Sarah Palin because they think she will bring on end days by nuking everything and that will lead to the rapture and they'll get to go to heaven and hang out with Jebus while the rest of us die and go to hell to live with SATAN!!!!!!!

Julie

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 13:20:00 UTC | #442115

Antireason's Avatar Comment 11 by Antireason

The British system is in many ways inferior, but I think it is fair to say that a Palin-style catastrophe could never happen. This is because the Prime Minister is always the leader of a party, and leaders of parties don't suddenly get thrust from nowhere into the limelight by the caprice or whim of one individual, as was the case with McCain choosing Palin. Leaders of parties work their way up over years. This would automatically rule out downright incompetents like Palin


Unfortuneately it didn't seem to work for Prescott though!

I think Gandalfgrey is correct. Somebody like Palin doesn't appear incompetent to the religious Americans - in fact they probably feel a connection and will vote for her just because of her religion ignoring her actual policies.

The best thing would be to separate church and state and only have an atheist as President. But I'm not holding my breath...

Oh and bring on the rapture! Maybe when they've all buggered off and left us alone we can get on with living a peaceful life with no wars.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 13:31:00 UTC | #442116

Dave Porter's Avatar Comment 12 by Dave Porter

"Should candidates sit some sort of examination? IQ test?"

This would have eliminated George W. Idiot.

"Theoretically it shouldn't be necessary, because unqualified candidates should never even get through the primary elections, let alone the final presidential election."

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups; AKA, the Republican nat'l convention.

"Leaders of parties work their way up over years."

Unfortunately, this is part of the problem. The longer these people seem to be in power, the more corrupt they become. If ever there was a time in history for the phrase "Throw the Rascals out!" it is now, and I mean ALL U.S. politicians. We need to trade in "politicians" for Statesmen, and fast!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 13:53:00 UTC | #442122

PERSON's Avatar Comment 14 by PERSON

8. Comment #461827 by Richard Dawkins on February 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm
AIUI, tests for participation in democracy are a bit of a sore subject in the states because of the Jim Crow laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow#Origins_of_Jim_Crow

Not necessarily a complete barrier, but I think it would make it harder for such an idea to gain acceptance. It does also highlight some of the potential dangers.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:03:00 UTC | #442126

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 13 by crookedshoes

Sarah Palin would not give Koko the sign language communicating gorilla a run for her money in a debate. Having said this, she is pretty and clean and spouts off the safe and preferred horseshit that stupid people (the majority of Americans) NEED to hear. Forget the hypocrisy inherent in her stances (abstinence -- with a pregnant daughter) forget the contradictions in her platforms(pro life -- pro gun -- pro war -- pro hunter) forget the clear inability to think (notes on hand -- every other intellectual gaffe). What the average GOP voter remebers is that she's pretty, white, clean, and soupts the same evangelical horseshit as the pastor of their church. She is dangerous.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:03:00 UTC | #442125

root2squared's Avatar Comment 15 by root2squared

Palin as president = A new golden era of comedy and humor.

Go Sarah!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:26:00 UTC | #442130

Lord Roke's Avatar Comment 16 by Lord Roke

I was listening to the News Quiz a few weeks ago when they were having some fun at Palin's expense, and giggling over the thought of someone so clearly unsuited to the role becoming President, when Andy Hamilton made the observation that when he was doing the show in the late 70's they were making exactly the same jokes about Ronald Reagan. It was a deeply sobering thought.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:27:00 UTC | #442131

daftness's Avatar Comment 17 by daftness

Comment #461856 by Lord Roke

And whenever the name 'Sarah Palin' is uttered on the News Quiz, there is a short burst of Carl Orff's 'O Fortuna'

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:02:00 UTC | #442136

Lord Roke's Avatar Comment 18 by Lord Roke

17 - daftness

Actually, I think it's the Hallejuah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, but I think yours is the better suggestion.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:13:00 UTC | #442139

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 19 by Jos Gibbons

Have you ever noticed how there is only ever 1 popular date for the end of the world, later ones being unpopular until after the previous one has passed? AFAIK no-one was saying in 1999, in criticism of the Y2K fear, "No, idiot, the world will end in 2012, not 2000!" A few weeks ago I read - perhaps on Richarddawkins.net - one of those "sophisticated" theologians saying "2012 is silly - it'll be 2011". This, of course, is the exact opposite of the apocalypse-delaying predictions whose apparent non-existence I'm noting. The 2011 prediction probably won't gain enough momentum to become more popular than 2012, but this is rather unusual: usually people go with the most imminent prediction, which of course is always highly imminent. Newsflash, apocalypse fans: the end of the Earth will come circa 5 billion, not 2000-odd.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:26:00 UTC | #442144

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 20 by HughCaldwell

President Sarah Palin? America is a democratic country. Idiots ought to get a fair crack of the whip.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:33:00 UTC | #442146

daftness's Avatar Comment 21 by daftness

Comment #461864 by Lord Roke

I defer to your superior knowledge.

And I went to a live performance of Handel's Messiah only a few weeks ago. So I have no excuse.

And I still wear Old Spice™ aftershave. For those of you long in the tooth.

Doubly no excuse.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:35:00 UTC | #442147

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 22 by robotaholic

What a birthday gift for me. I was born on 12-21 -

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 16:47:00 UTC | #442162

TheLordHumungus's Avatar Comment 23 by TheLordHumungus

I have never said it before, because I have never meant it, but I WILL leave this country if she gets elected president. I do believe quite strongly, though, that that is not in any way possible. I am pretty sure that she single hand-idly lost the elections for the republicans last time. I was planning on voting for McCain until she came on the scene.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:01:00 UTC | #442167

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 24 by alaskansee

robotaholic

you can't have been, there's only 12 months in the year, perhaps you mean 21-12-2012?

you pattern seeking monkey!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:04:00 UTC | #442168

Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 25 by Nick LaRue

The biggest problems in existence with regards to politics is the popularity idea. Presidents, Senators, Prime Minsters, etc... don't have to be smart or have any intelligence at all, in fact most voters would prefer they didn't. Politics doesn't appear to be about who's the best to run the country and more about identifying with the person who voters thing should run the country.

As many have noted, Sarah Palin is not intelligent enough to be president but then most Americans are dumb enough to vote her in based on the fact she's "just like them" and she's supposedly pretty. She's scary so I can't find her pretty. The vacancy sign in place of her brain is what scares me. If she does decide to run, which won't surprise me a bit, then I wouldn't be surprised she won because American politics has nothing to do with policy, more do do with, "hey look at me!"

Most Americans don't understand policies and with the Republicans and Democrats constantly catering to one part of the public it's no wonder why they don't seem much different these days.

Ah America the most warped country on the planet.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:26:00 UTC | #442172

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 26 by crookedshoes

Hey Smiling Atheist,
you hit the nail on the (empty) head....it is the "she's just like me" factor that is most scary. As for America's "warp"; it is too many imbeciles with too much power. No one THINKS anymore.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:46:00 UTC | #442175

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 27 by Roger Stanyard

Americans get the politicians they deserve.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 18:08:00 UTC | #442180

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 28 by chawinwords

I want to try to help the readers of Dawkin's site understand something so strange to their intellects that it seems stranger than humans saddling dinosaurs.

First, I totally enjoy this site and the communications offered. But, there is another reality totally believed by strange minds, and the readers of this site need to do a bit of research on religious history in the U.S.

Long ago (1831), Alexis De Toqueville, a brilliant young French philosopher and intellect visited America, and wrote a two volume treatise about his observations. One of his observations was: "America is filled with religious insanity."

So, to help you understand one side of Palin (and American politics), remember the type of religious organization of which she is a member. These people totally believe in biblical inerrancy, witchcraft, demons, the laying on of hands, speaking in strange tongues, etc. I repeat, they totally believe (minds closed to any other possible reality).

For instance, often, the laying on of hands causes the person to fall to the floor and have what looks like a grand mall seizure. The congregation swoons. Or, a person rapidly speaks a form of language no one else can understand. The congregation swoons. Now, the laying on of hands, etc. does not work on anyone other than a believer.

Regardless of the fact that in all the oldest cave paintings around parts of the world (some dated as old as 70,000 years), and none with written language captions, animals are depicted, some of which have long been extinct. Not a single one shows a drawing of a dinosaur. Yet, these people BELIEVE totally, that the universe is between five and ten thousand years old -- to hell with evidence, like measurable distances and the speed of light or ice cores with over a hundred thousand seasonal/annual markings -- and on and on. Truly, they put faith in belief so far above factual evidence that a rational mind can't grasp the significance of such a surrender of intellect to a form of sorcery.

These people are immune to rationality -- and any reality not within the scope of their infinite circle of belief is not even considered -- and it is a infinite circle, resistant to, and devoid of, allowed critical thinking.

Dawkins comment above about political realities is rational. But, these anti-evolution religious fundamentalist (belief/faith fanatics)are immune to rational realities. I repeat, they BELIEVE, period, and evidence be damned. Plus, and even in religious terms, there is one question never asked of themselves, especially about a very possible Armageddon: Am I serving God or Satan with my faith/beliefs?

So readers, get off your lazy butts and do some research into religious beliefs and such hypnotic spells cast upon non-questioning believers. Do some research on Christian Reconstructionism and Dominionism in the U.S. (you can start online) Know who you are talking about from R.J.Rushdonny, to the C Street believers, to all the way to the believers in Congress, the government in general and, especially the courts and the graduates of a few religious universities already found in government (look at their educational bios). Don't rely on your brilliance or brilliant comments, do a bit of actual work -- and know.

Finally, thanks Richard Dawkins, I enjoy your lectures, the debates you participate in, and your service to reality science. But friend, when it comes to the power of "I believe totally because I think I believe totally," you have only scratched the surface of "America is filled with religious insanity." !!! Richard, it is far more dangerous than you can imagine simply because a rational mind can't go there without becoming either infected or religiously insane -- blinding the eye of reason.

But you can, like a flat rock over water, skip along the surface with enough maintained energy not to sink within the depths. Be careful though, slow down too much and you might sink below the surface and drown your free reasoning ability -- forever.


Chawinwords

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 18:54:00 UTC | #442189

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 29 by Roger Stanyard

chawinwords says

So readers, get off your lazy butts and do some research into religious beliefs and such hypnotic spells cast upon non-questioning believers. Do some research on Christian Reconstructionism and Dominionism in the U.S. (you can start online) Know who you are talking about from R.J.Rushdonny, to the C Street believers, to all the way to the believers in Congress, the government in general and, especially the courts and the graduates of a few religious universities already found in government (look at their educational bios). Don't rely on your brilliance or brilliant comments, do a bit of actual work -- and know.



That's exactly what the British centre for Science Education has been doing for the lasy five years - see www.bcseweb.org.uk

We are under not illusions about religion in the USA.

From a ersonal point of view, it's even worse than you suggest. The whole shooting match is to export US fundamentalism to the rest of the world.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 19:15:00 UTC | #442191

Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 30 by Nick LaRue

@chawainwords,

There's a lot of people on this site who have a very personal experience with religion and they're American as well. I'm not one of them but I did do some American history and have seen enough programs on the religious history of America.

It's not all about religion as to the problems in America. The media, education and general attitude has a lot to do with it. Though strict religious thinking causes a lot of problems there is a large portion of the American public who probably are not like that but just simply don't care, this is truly the issue. People go about their lives with the attitude of, "if it's not affecting me I don't care". This attitude is everywhere by the way not just the US.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 19:50:00 UTC | #442194