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Zelig's Profile

Zelig's Avatar Joined almost 4 years ago
Gender: Male

Latest Discussions Started by Zelig

Happy, wise, or virtuous? - last commented 14 September 2011 08:27 AM

The two main obstacles to progress. - last commented 26 June 2011 04:05 AM

Morality as self-division - last commented 07 May 2011 09:52 PM

A challenge to the politically correct - last commented 08 May 2011 03:40 AM

Greatness or goodness? - last commented 07 March 2011 11:29 PM

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Latest Comments by Zelig

Go to: Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Zelig's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Zelig

I was sad to hear of Christopher Hitchens' death, as so few intellectuals speak openly and honestly about the ignorance and toxicity that religion both conserves and promotes. I found Lawrence Krauss' tribute both heartfelt and important.

Is it nothing but a typo that Nietzsche is incorrectly spelled? As a Nietzschean I find it humorous and dispiriting (depending on my mood) that Nietzsche is noticeably absent from the work of most "New Atheists". He is widely cited in various circles, but rarely actually read and his real impact on modernity, I would argue, is almost nil. Krauss is correct, in my view, that the prospect of knowledge triumphing over powerful ignorance is "always slim". I don't believe in any Revolution. I believe in that eternally small minority of individuals who represent a real engagement with the world and themselves in an exemplary intellectual and moral fashion; individuals who are almost certainly doomed to exert very little authentic causal force on society at large. And in so far as Hitchens belongs to this set of individuals, I salute him and mourn his passing.

Sat, 24 Dec 2011 14:38:19 UTC | #902393

Go to: Free Bibles being sent to all schools

Zelig's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Zelig

Just when I think i'm perhaps overly cynical and unjustifiably pessimistic about society, gems like this come along with increasing regularity. From every angle I find this event depressing and despicable. What good are scathing critiques, intellectual integrity, moral rigour and clever rebuttals in the face of this gross hypocricy? Yet more evidence, as if more were needed, that Might is Right.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 22:09:56 UTC | #894208

Go to: UPDATED: Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution... because it 'clashes with the Koran'

Zelig's Avatar Jump to comment 101 by Zelig

Comment 92 by danconquer :

Metamag, the concept of religious privilege is a familiar one for which a well-understood and perfectly satisfactory term already exists: 'religious privilege'! So I'm not sure why you are so determined to hijack another completely different term. . . . If you absolutely insist on hijacking the term 'multicultural' as yet another synonym for 'religious privilege' . . .

When Richard Dawkins was growing up as a boy in Kenya, I doubt he and his family felt any duress or obligation to communicate only in Swahili or to adopt the fashions and eating habits of the native population there. Yet oddly enough I never see people on here arguing how being the beneficiary of such multiculturalism must surely have damaged him or the society in which he was living at the time. Fancy that!

You appear to be saying: religious privilege = bad. Multiculturalism= good. And hence objecting to anyone effectively conflating these two (in your eyes) very different things.

I just don't buy it. I don't need Wittgenstein in order to see that a word or concept is defined by its usage and application. Hence it seems to me perfectly legitimate to use a term according to its dominant application. And by this standard it has nothing to do with ethnicity, or skin colour, or favourite foods, or being bilingual, or different fashions, or any other mundane forms of diversity.

"Multiculturalism" is, in reality, an empty and incoherent concept. But viscerally, ideologically, politically, and practically it has acquired tremendous power. And whatever its conceptual inadequacies, the most common de facto meaning of the term is the relativist, postmodern notion (again incoherent) that all cultures are of equal worth and that refusal to accept this epistemic, moral, and cultural parity is a form of imperialism and tyranny (and hence necessarily objectionable).

"Multiculturalism" is a codeword for endorsing identity politics and for granting certain groups (especially those who qualify to cultural Marxists as an "Other") special privileges, whether they have a religious dimension or not! It's NOT religion that's being privileged, it's the concept of the "Other".

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 21:54:00 UTC | #894203

Go to: Channel 4 becomes "teach the controversy" stooges

Zelig's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by Zelig

I'm astonished that Channel 4, the "respectable" media outlet that only a few years ago gave us Ahmadinejad delivering its Christmas Day Message, would behave in this manner! Shock Horror!!

Some here have argued that the slot is deliberately eclectic, pluralistic and arbitrary in its choice of subject matter, and that given that context it's no surprise if a few religious fringe viewpoints get aired. I think this is incredibly naive. On the contrary, I think the appearance of pluralism is merely window dressing and a pretext designed specifically for the purpose of normalising particular brands of religiosity.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 03:00:18 UTC | #894039

Go to: UPDATED: Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution... because it 'clashes with the Koran'

Zelig's Avatar Jump to comment 83 by Zelig

Comment 80 by Metamag :

I guess it depends on how many "students" there are...if there is a sufficient number then political correctness and multiculturalism takes over, not academia. But I think teachers will auto-censor themselves first . . .

Agreed. A few honourable exceptions aside, if the anti-science force is sufficiently powerful and committed, the universities will capitulate (or, as it will be euphemistically called "come to an arrangement agreeable to all parties concerned with fostering community cohesion and mutual respect"). Let's never forget that the primary purpose of education is most certainly NOT the pursuit of truth.

The anti-science force doesn't have to be especially strong in order to achieve results, since most of our opinion-formers are, when all is said and done, "Last Men". People who no longer really believe in anything beyond material comfort and who have an essentially affected and ironic view of their own nominal "ideals". Touch their pensions, that'll get them unequivocal and animated!! Challenge the curriculum, . . . we have much to discuss!

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 02:28:44 UTC | #894037

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