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Go to: They aren't honest enough to write this

Lionel A's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Lionel A

I thought this statement from the last paragraph spot on:

'We shall marginalize the New Atheists with paint brushes of extremism..'

considering the tone of the Madeleine Bunting article at:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,3711,Real-debates-about-faith-are-drowned-by-the-New-Atheists-foghorn-voices,Madeleine-Bunting---The-Guardian

A little background. A family member recently accused atheists of being bombastic and strident. I inquired, 'Have you been reading Madeleine Bunting'?

His look of surprise was enough confirmation but he proceeded to confirm it.

So you see Myers once more has struck a nail firmly on the head. This family member has argued with me over my demonstration of a mobius strip having only one side (and one edge when demonstrating with paper), he insisted that it still had two and would not budge.

As an aside try slitting the strip along the centreline once and then again. What happens? Surprised?

Thu, 11 Jun 2009 08:16:00 UTC | #369701

Go to: Religion is a product of evolution, software suggests

Lionel A's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Lionel A

To simplify matters, Dow picked a defining trait of religion: the desire to proclaim religious information to others, such as a belief in the afterlife. He assumed that this trait was genetic.


That is one big assumption and one founded on a false premise.

I would think that 'survival' is a genetic trait as is the protection of those carrying copies of ones own genes. To these ends adults will warn their children, grandchildren and other near kin against actions that are likely to be self destructive and in turn the children that survive to sexual maturity are those who have believed what they were told and acted accordingly. Adults will also pass down hunting skill tips and knowledge about seasons so as to aid agriculture. These are schemes which assist survival. This is where information not immediately verifiable will be believed. Over time the information will either be validated or challenged and a more complex cognitive model of the environment constructed to account for any deviations. Thus is an improved strategy for survival formed.

The religious zealot fails to take those last two steps of challenging and improving the cognitive model and in this way has reached evolutionary stasis. At the very least their cognitive model of their surroundings no longer fits the reality and thus they become prey to all manner of ills from refusing medical aid to ensure survival to mass suicides brought on by mass hysteria. That leads to an evolutionary dead end. Such a mechanism may have been instrumental in the decline and failure of many an ancient civilization.

Tue, 27 May 2008 07:25:00 UTC | #175814

Go to: That's it. Texas really is doomed.

Lionel A's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Lionel A

40. Comment #185047 by AoClay on May 26, 2008 at 7:06 pm

I agree. I really think people need to do something about it and I think one of the biggest things that would help is a serious book by a serious scientist either about global warming or about how oil reserves are running out (or both).

Here are suggestions in both categories, and I have read a few on each including these two:

The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson, in a new 2008 edition:

http://www.amazon.com/Rough-Guide-Climate-Change-Reference/dp/1843537117

The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man by David Strahan:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Oil-Shock-Extinction-Petroleum/dp/0719564239

Tue, 27 May 2008 04:05:00 UTC | #175738

Go to: That's it. Texas really is doomed.

Lionel A's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by Lionel A

46. Comment #185107 by YssiBoo on May 27, 2008 at 1:13 am

Secularists and rationalists must keep fighting this with every available weapon.


Such is the language of zealots.

The keeping of a watching brief and countering by all legal and ethical means would be the preferred course.

I agree with those who are pointing out the dangers by correctly guessing MacLeroy's motives and next move WRT Science. Adverse cultural changes often have a slow fuse.

Tue, 27 May 2008 03:55:00 UTC | #175735

Go to: The Mind-Altering Role of Incense in Religion

Lionel A's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Lionel A

This is a sloppy and shallow article right from the start with what I am sure is a repeated typo, should it not be headed, and sub-headed, 'The Mind-Altering…' rather than 'The Mild-Altering…'

Belonging to the same religion also gives people a common identity, sometimes across countries and continents.


But that does not stop people knocking ten-bells of stuffing out of each other with each faction having their own 'just cause'.

I have just been reading the book Passchendaele Unseen Panoramas of the Third Battle of Ypres by Peter Barton and the opening prologue is worth a read by everyone here.

This prologue, the writing of Captain Mathew Roach Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and then 180 and 255 Tunneling Companies, Royal Engineers, succinctly lays out the hubris of the priests and bishops on one hand asking for god to destroy the German nation and the craven writings of the few religious minded amongst the soldiery who only seemed to be concerned with '…the safety of their own paltry skins'. Captain Roach would have been privy to the writings of a large number of men because censorship of letters from the front to 'Blighty' would have fallen to men such as him.

Captain Roach was serving on the Somme front in January 1916 when he penned the words of this prologue and was killed in action on 2 July 1916, having no known grave.

As for the information accredited to David Sloan Wilson - was this a cherry picked nugget? I would consider that religion has a nasty habit of unnecessarily depleting the gene pool through events such as that indicated above.

Karl Marx claimed that organized religion was the "opiate of the people," meaning it dulls us into complacency, but that might not be such a bad thing.


Complacency is a very bad thing it can lead to the empowerment of those not fit to hold governmental office, including the highest.

What does this Meredith F Small think there is about organized religion that the powerful recognize and appreciate - the giving of an ability to control.

Sorry Meredith F Small but most free thinkers have been aware of the role of incense, and other substances in religion without the need for it being spelled out by the likes of you.

Mon, 26 May 2008 08:56:00 UTC | #175457

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