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John Yates's Avatar Joined almost 7 years ago
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Go to: Melvyn Bragg attacks Richard Dawkins' 'atheist fundamentalism'

John Yates's Avatar Jump to comment 144 by John Yates

Bragg doesn't seem to grasp the idea that, whilst we can find ourselves fascinated by the various myths that humans around the world have dreamt up to explain the likes of thunderstorms, rainbows, eclipses, tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes, we don't necessarily have to "respect" such beliefs as having any basis in reality. The tribal myths of the Aboriginal Australians and the Native Americans and the Ancient Greeks arguably contain an inherent aesthetic beauty which can be enjoyed in much the same way that art or literature is enjoyed, and they also shed light on the way in which human cultures have historically attempted to make sense of a world which had not yet produced the scientific method. However, in the cold light of day we must accept that such tales were produced by people who were deeply ignorant of the world and their place in it, and that we now have far better tools at our disposal to make sense of this strange planet that our species has been lucky enough to find itself a part of. What a far better state of affairs we find ourselves in today in relation to the utterly confused and deeply ignorant Aboriginals which Bragg cites! The ruthless application of empirical evidence and reason has allowed our species to discover wonders unimaginable by any of the major world religions, and it is reason alone which has afforded us with all of the joys of modernity.

Our recent advances in medicine, cosmology and evolutionary theory are arguably the most remarkable, useful and awe-inspiring subjects that we humans have ever managed to advance, and every last one of them has been achieved as a result of the human mind ditching non evidence-based faith and wishful-thinking in favour of cold, hard, ruthless reason. Yes, the tribal myths of ancient peoples are often extremely interesting, but thank goodness our society no longer embraces them as being literally true! Thank goodness those of us reading this website recognise them as being utterly and unequivocally false, and that we are now able to use reason to find out what is actually true about the Universe. How infinitely more satisfying it is to be able to confidentally assert what is true and what is bogus!

Bragg's implicit assumption that we atheists reject the value of our emotions is just gibberish. Love is not incomprehensible, as Bragg says. Love is an incredible feeling which makes us feel as though nothing else in all of existence matters outside of its clutches, but we now also know that love is nothing more than our genes ensuring that they are passed onto the next generation. Love is an evolutionary tool that our genes have stumbled upon to ensure that our hunter-gatherer ancestors stayed together in (largely) monogamous relationships in order to raise children. It is not incomprehensible! Science and reason have worked it out! Poor Melvyn Bragg- he really doesn't have a clue, does he?

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 18:48:27 UTC | #927553

Go to: Image of the Day: The Unbearable Beauty of the Milky Way's Hidden Star-Birth Regions

John Yates's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by John Yates

And we owe you astrophotographers a debt of gratitude, jac12358, for allowing us to contemplate the vastness and beauty of the Universe.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 01:20:37 UTC | #856800

Go to: Image of the Day: The Unbearable Beauty of the Milky Way's Hidden Star-Birth Regions

John Yates's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by John Yates

Thank you for the explanation, Sheila. So no-where in the galaxy would a human be able to see such wondrous bursts of colour with the naked eye- it's all down to the kind of light in which the photographs are taken. Still, what amazing sights to behold!

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:34:18 UTC | #856264

Go to: Edzard Ernst: at war with prince

John Yates's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by John Yates

Edzard Ernst is a champion of reason and I for one applaud him!

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 23:47:23 UTC | #856009

Go to: It’s Time to Scrutinize Fox

John Yates's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by John Yates

Some of you may not be aware of "The Liberal Viewer", who posts erudite and utterly damning videos on YouTube of the constant right-wing bias shown on Fox News. As a Brit who doesn't have access to the news channel, his regular videos, concentrating on the worst of their excesses, paints a sordid picture of their one-sided exploits.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 23:30:53 UTC | #856001

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