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rookieatheist's Avatar Joined about 4 years ago
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Go to: Why do French intellectuals "know nothing about science"?

rookieatheist's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by rookieatheist

Seeing as several people from France have already posted some good replies, I don't really have much more to add. I also live in France and although I recognise some truths in the New Statesman article, there are also several bad conclusions made by the author. Though, to be honest, it's not a subject that I'm very well versed in. I do think that the author is very silly to suggest that France, one of the world's most scientific nations, has more difficulty than other countries in accepting evidence based science. One would need to show more than simple correlations between Noble prizes and population size to even begin to prove such an assertion.

I will add this: there is an anti-pseudoscience association in France known as the "Association française pour l’information scientifique" (AFIS), or in English the "French association for science information". Their website can be found here: They also have a recent article on the issue of autism and psychoanalysis which you can try to read by using the Google translate tool.

Edit: I've just noticed that the AFIS published in December 2010 a special magazine issue on psychoanalysis. Quickly skimming over the issue summary, it tries to tackle the reasons for why psychoanalysis is still prevalent in France, but that it's decline is underway. Just to be clear, I am not a member of the association, nor do I have a subscription to their magazine (though I'm thinking about subscribing).

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 13:48:15 UTC | #936457

Go to: We asked "Do you really believe ___" and they said yes. Now what?

rookieatheist's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by rookieatheist

My devout catholic mother tried to show me the following video:
It's about a "miracle" where the Eucharist actually turns into flesh on the tongue of a woman. You need to skip to about 4 minutes in to get to the, er, juicy part. :-o

It's actually quite disgusting and obviously a load of charlatan nonsense. I'm not sure whether the woman is crying because of a fear of God or because of a fear of the men that are manipulating her.

If you type "eucharistic miracle" in a search engine then you'll come across a lot of this type of stuff. There's actually a wikipedia page about the subject:

What I find interesting (and a bit loopy) is that these people of faith have a real desire for physical evidence to prove their beliefs. So, in summary, I suspect that asking a devout Catholic if they truly believe in transubstantiation will probably lead them to believing in it further.

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 08:06:17 UTC | #932518

Go to: Can the Reason Rally resonate in this most religious of democracies?

rookieatheist's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by rookieatheist

@ Avanti3258 What we mean by "insult his position" or "challenge his position" is this:
We respect the right to individual beliefs, but we feel no obligation to respect the individual beliefs themselves. Take this example: somebody asserts a belief that fairies are real and that one should avoid stepping onto land that might be their territory, or else suffer the consequences. We here will all fight for the right for that person to hold such a belief. We will also fight for the right to ridicule that same belief. After all, it is a ridiculous belief, don't you think? The two rights are not mutually incompatible.

It is possible to ridicule a belief, or another person's opinion, through a civilized debate. In the above example, I could simply say to the believer: "I have reflected on your belief and after some thought find it, in my opinion, to be ridiculous". A non-civilized way of debating would be to say: "I conclude that you are a stupid moron to hold such a belief".

Of course, we do not believe it to be moral to seek out other people to explicitly tell them that their beliefs are ridiculous. Neither do we condone efforts to convert believers to atheism. We try to only point out the ridiculousness when provoked (e.g. by a new law based on another groups beliefs). We only try to "convert" others to atheism if they come to us seeking for a debate on the issue.

I hope that makes things a little more clear. (I think my use of "we" was justified, but others on this site may not agree with all my statements).

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:12:21 UTC | #930944

Go to: Richard Dawkins: 2 live TV appearances later today

rookieatheist's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by rookieatheist

For those in the UK/Ireland (and possibly also internationally) one can watch Sky News online on their website:

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:23:46 UTC | #917722

Go to: Depression Defies the Rush to Find an Evolutionary Upside

rookieatheist's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by rookieatheist

This article appears highly flawed. Firstly, in the following extract, who are the evolutionary psychologists he is talking about?

Some evolutionary psychologists think this painful and often disabling disease conceals something positive.

I have my doubts that such psychologists literally think that. They may think that depression conceals an evolutionary advantage, but what is advantageous on an evolutionary scale does not always translate as a positive thing for the currently living animal in question, in this case humans.

Secondly, humans living in modern civilized society are subjected to an environment completely different to the nomadic lifestyle of our evolutionary ancestors on the steppes of Africa. Our transition to a modern technological society has very likely occurred at a pace much faster than the pace of natural selection. From this, I suspect that there is therefore no reason to view all human behavior through the lens of evolutionary biology, simply because some of our behaviour may be largely a consequence of this new environment which natural selection has not prepared us for.

Also, just as Richard Dawkins suggested that religious belief could be a side effect of the natural selection of children who believe their parents without question, so too could depression be a side effect of another selective advantage that Natural Selection bestowed upon us.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:24:09 UTC | #909198

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