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← YouTube: Karen Armstrong on Skavlan, SVT, 18 March 2011

YouTube: Karen Armstrong on Skavlan, SVT, 18 March 2011 - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

"Utterly transcendent". "Translucent". What is it that her words are supposed to mean? Really, what? This woman talks pure nonsense. Meaningless, vacuous nonsense. Why does anyone give her any respect whatsoever? Such wanton pretentiousness.


Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:19:14 UTC | #604809

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 2 by Rich Wiltshir

Seven years in a convent's left it's scar on the poor fool: she says everyone else is afraid, but it's her fear that's driving the drivel she talks.

An interesting response to the presenter's statement that "we don't need religion, we've got science.". She suggests that pain fir the Japanese tsunami victims is fathomable only a religion perspective.

One of the other guests observes that religoon is a good invention.

Mildly entertaiing, naive understanding of atheist reason and insight of someone who's ambivalent about a life that sandwiches a convent experience.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:19:49 UTC | #604810

Wendy Farts On Her Bible's Avatar Comment 3 by Wendy Farts On Her Bible

Karen Armstrong suffered a mental breakdown as a result of her belief in God. But she cannot let go of this belief. In spite of all the harm it has caused her, in spite of all the evidence against it, she still clings desperately to it. She is a clegnut of God.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:25:02 UTC | #604813

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

Oh for goodness sake. 'Science can't provide "meaning".' What the hell is "meaning"? Meaning! MEANING! Pretentious, obscurantist, vacuous twaddle. At least fundamentalists have a kind of batty sincerity and honesty, however misguided. This woman is a fake, through and through. A charlatan with nothing to say. A walking, talking, smirking con-trick


Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:25:36 UTC | #604814

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 5 by Steve Zara

People like Armstrong don't like physics. How can our substance be like THAT - just atoms? Biology isn't that much better. There's nothing there, we are hollow people with nothing flowing through us but blood and lymph. No humours, no ectoplasm, no soul.

So what they do is booze up on spirituality, and end up talking gibberish while thinking that they have in their heads the secrets of the universe. They think they are the kindly ones, but they are the comforters of fundamentalists, making idiotic delusion seem cosy.

As for meaning - meaning is a feeling, an emotion of recognition. If you get high enough you can see meaning in navel fluff. Religion is a good way to get that high.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:44:53 UTC | #604822

Veon's Avatar Comment 6 by Veon

She is like a female Alistair McGrath.(guessing on the spelling of his name) All the words are English, but the sentences doesn't mean anything.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:50:43 UTC | #604824

inquisador's Avatar Comment 7 by inquisador

If you get high enough you can see meaning in navel fluff. Religion is a good way to get that high.

Great heavens! I didn't realize that.

Now where did I leave that old bible?

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:55:45 UTC | #604825

Inquisitor Mence's Avatar Comment 8 by Inquisitor Mence

I was distinctly disheartened when they mentioned she was one of ours. :(

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:58:42 UTC | #604827

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 9 by Neodarwinian

Lots of words. Talks much, says little. Must of been in one of the silent orders of nuns because it seems she is making up for it now.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:01:33 UTC | #604828

The Plc's Avatar Comment 10 by The Plc

Linguistics, that branch of human biological science, studies meaning and semantics :)

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:02:05 UTC | #604829

ergaster's Avatar Comment 11 by ergaster

Thanks for posting this. It was what I suspected, more vacuous crap from a charlatan. Beware, there is a lot of talk about "transcendence".

This goes to show that, contrary to what most people in England and the US think, that Norway and Sweden is not a haven for reason and science. This talk show, and Armstrong's educated speech, will appeal to most of the viewers.


Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:09:03 UTC | #604832

inquisador's Avatar Comment 12 by inquisador

Karen Armstrong is a respected writer of the kind who is recommended a lot to students. She tells millions of readers the kind of thing they want to hear. My greatest grudge against her is that she presents Islam as a benign faith that is unfairly misjudged by those of us who take a dislike to the harm and hostility to others which it displays. Obscurantism applies here too; she likes to obscure the unpleasant facts and the many historical crimes and explain away the militant aggression and jihadism in the teachings as 'defensive'. She is quite undeserving of her status and popularity.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:10:12 UTC | #604833

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 13 by Andrew B.

This is one step away from speaking in tongues, but no more respectable. With speaking-in-tongues, you're using syllables to create nonsense words. With this crap, you're using words to create nonsense statements.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:10:46 UTC | #604834

helena!'s Avatar Comment 14 by helena!

It's bizarre how people eat this kookiness up. Lots of people in the woowoo business. It's a new religion - DeepakChopraWordSaladism".

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:27:37 UTC | #604837

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 15 by DamnDirtyApe

what vapid make-yourself-look-important-while-not-actually-saying-anything-at-all rubbish she spouts.

I should look into making a website with some natural language processing to make my own instafaith page.

Kind of like these types of lovely meme generators:

The good news is we can replace these types of people with a small perl script.

Unfortunately, the bad news is exactly the same.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:30:41 UTC | #604839

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 16 by Ignorant Amos

Is she related to Ann Widdecombe? I know what her beef is, she was spurned by all the perverted priesthood while she was a nun and now she is just venting her frustration on the rest of us. How can so many big words come out in such a small space of time and end up meaning absolutely fuck all?

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:36:43 UTC | #604841

Anaximander's Avatar Comment 17 by Anaximander

RD: What the hell is "meaning"?

Well, science cannot tell the meaning of the word "meaning."

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:38:20 UTC | #604842

Anaximander's Avatar Comment 18 by Anaximander

This goes to show that, contrary to what most people in England and the US think, that Norway and Sweden is not a haven for reason and science.

What? From where do we get our Nobel prizes?

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:44:03 UTC | #604843

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 19 by Dr. monster

calling atheists fundamentalists is really not helpfull but i see what they mean. we are fundamentalist only in the sense that we don't compromise our views. like a bible literalist doesn't compromise. on richards TGD 1-7 scale of atheism i suppose you could technically call the 1 and 7 positions fundamentalist.

but its ok to be confident if you are right. where as the bible literalists are clearly wrong.

what you can't call us militant atheists because we don't use violence.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:53:05 UTC | #604845

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 20 by God fearing Atheist

Interviewer (@5:08) "And study the world religions?"

Karen Armstrong (@5:16) "Yes, they are all very different, that's very healthy because when we are talking about god, as those children were trying to do, we are talking about what is unspeakable, what is utterly transcendent, and ideas about god, [other gods] can only be sorta stumbling attempts, and religious language should be translucent, that you look through them, you don't sorta say "that's it", and that the symbol is the reality, it points beyond itself.", um, so because this transcendence is without limit, therefore everybody is going to experience it, and talk about it differently, whether you're a Buddish or a Hindu, but something they do have in common, and that is that every single one of them says the test of true sprirtuality is compassion, is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the other, every single one of the major world faiths has sorta developed its own version of what's often called the golden rule. Never treat others as you would not like to be treated yourself."

Interviewer "blah"

KA "That is the common thread".

Translation:- "Yes, they are all completely different stories. But I'm shit scared of death. I really want them to be true, and so I'm desperately trying to distract myself from this obvious flaw by pretending this is a virtue. I haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, but it gives me a fuzzy warm feeling inside anyway. Since I don't actually know what I'm talking about, but waffling on about it anyway, it must be far away, and out of reach. But it is definately not a symbol. If it was, it wouldn't give me such a warm glow, so it must be beyond a symbol, and there also has to be a lot of it, because that feels more secure. I'm sure everyone experiences it, therefore there must be something in it. This funny feeling makes me feel compassion for other humans (except Richard Dawkins, that horrid little man). This is common to all religions (except those that stone fags), so there must be something in it. Well, apart from the evolutionary biology of a co-operative sentinent species - horrid Dawkins. Spit. But I do sometimes wonder why god didn't answer my 7 years of prayer when I was a nun."

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:59:01 UTC | #604847

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 21 by Pitchguest

This goes to show that, contrary to what most people in England and the US think, that Norway and Sweden is not a haven for reason and science. This talk show, and Armstrong's educated speech, will appeal to most of the viewers.


I beg your pardon? Karen Armstrong was just a guest. The host having her on as a guest and listening to her drivel does NOT mean it appeals to the host, nor to the audience of the show! Where did you get the silly idea that it would?

Skavlan is basically the Norwegian equivalent of Parkinson. No more, no less.

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 23:59:37 UTC | #604848

ergaster's Avatar Comment 22 by ergaster

What? From where do we get our Nobel prizes?

I don't know what you mean. Nobel prize recipients form Sweden and Norway are scarce. Handing out prizes for scientific discoveries lives very well alongside an interest in woo among the population.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:01:38 UTC | #604849

Wendy Farts On Her Bible's Avatar Comment 23 by Wendy Farts On Her Bible

Karen Armstrong's book The Spiral Staircase is a disturbing account of the seven years she spent as a nun in an English convent (1962-1969). Here is an excerpt from that book where she verges on being intellectually honest with herself:

'....Then there were my secret doubts. Even though I tried to tiptoe gingerly around difficult articles of faith, I could not stop wondering whether the Virgin Mary really had been conceived without Original Sin and been taken up body and soul into heaven after her death. How did anybody know that Jesus was God? And was there even a God out there at all? Was that why I never encountered him in prayer? As I knelt in the chapel, watching my sisters kneeling quietly with their heads bowed contemplatively in their hands, I would sometimes wonder whether it wasn't a bit like the Emperor's New Clothes. Nobody ever experienced God but nobody dared to admit it.' (Emphasis in original text)

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:18:29 UTC | #604855

ergaster's Avatar Comment 24 by ergaster

I beg your pardon? Karen Armstrong was just a guest. The host having her on as a guest and listening to her drivel does NOT mean it appeals to the host, nor to the audience of the show! Where did you get the silly idea that it would?>

Not a silly idea at all. A great many of viewers of shows like these gets their confident beliefs from authoritarian voices on the telly. The Baloney Detection Kit is not readily handy for most. For you, and me, yes, we see the bs. But not the average viewer of this kind of trash tv. In fact, I've already have had the first call from a relative telling me that Richard Dawkins is not one to trust as she heard on tv that he was no one to trust. This interview with Armstrong has done a lot of damage.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:21:52 UTC | #604857

Celtic Atheist's Avatar Comment 25 by Celtic Atheist

I'm reminded of an interview with Tom Baker in which he talked about being a monk before he became an actor and went on to play Dr Who. If I remember correctly he remarked that it turned out to be excellent training for the part of Dr Who as "the whole thing's completely preposterous!".

What a pity Karen Armstrong remains so deluded. I love the old trope about how the less desirable representatives of the major religions just aren't doing it right!

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:23:24 UTC | #604858

Net's Avatar Comment 26 by Net

I thought fundamentalism meant that you adhered inflexibly and uncritically to a doctrine of some sort, and that the truth, as it were, of such a doctrine could not be tested or altered but taken only on faith. Karen Armstrong seems to be reacting, not responding, to Dawkins' et al inflexibility around determining the truth through experiment and observation rather than through faith. It's as though she's only using or allowing one aspect of the word "fundamentalism" to come through. Perhaps, as in all argumentation, a definition of crucial terms needs first be determined before using them to defend a position. Finally, as beautifully as she speaks, and I adore her accent, I still have no idea of what religion means to he,r except perhaps, that it is something to be defended or used as a tool in here struggle to come to terms with secularism.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:25:59 UTC | #604859

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 27 by Rich Wiltshir

So reading between the lines, then; nobody here likes the cotton-brained mare?

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:26:55 UTC | #604860

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 28 by InYourFaceNewYorker

How can anybody find the idea of God comforting in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake? Doesn't the same god have the power to stop the earthquake or at least spare people from it?

Doublethink at its finest!


Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:37:00 UTC | #604862

Sucram's Avatar Comment 29 by Sucram

Well... she's annoying. It's just verbal diarrhea.

I don't see how atheists can be fundamentalists, when they would change their views if the evidence presented itself.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 00:39:45 UTC | #604863

Misfire's Avatar Comment 30 by Misfire

Symmetry is pretty, but there's no good reason to assume it's the rule in debates.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 01:18:46 UTC | #604866