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Big City's Avatar Joined over 6 years ago
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Go to: UP w/ Chris Hayes

Big City's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Big City

I think that a candidate's private beliefs matter whether they influence public policy or not. If a person is privately a racist or, as Richard said, they think they're a poached egg, that should factor into their eligibility for holding office even if they never make a decision based on that particular belief. Of course, if they do start letting those asinine beliefs effect their governing decisions, which they probably would in most cases, then we have a serious, practical problem. But even if they don't, even if their racist, religious, or cryptozoological beliefs never come into play, they still matter. This is why I think it would be wrong of Obama, if he were an atheist, to hide that fact from the general public. There should be full disclosure when it comes to politicians and personal beliefs.

Also, I disagree with Richard that JFK was too smart to be a believer. It isn't a question of intelligence; many smart people believe in God. It's a question of indoctrination and being personally comfortable enough to question and reject the ideas that you and the people you care about hold so deeply. If you can't get to a place where you feel comfortable doing that, then you can't begin to address the question with intellectual honesty.

And finally, I like Chris Hayes. I was impressed by the job he did as a host here, including the fundamental idea of having a mainstream news show dedicated solely to lack of belief and featuring only atheists. It's a rare event here in the States. I wish the guests could have each participated more, but it was comparable to other shows on MSNBC where a host has a discussion with a number of guests. What I was most impressed by, though, was Hayes bringing up the point of authority & that the real difference in our points of view is who we get our information from and who we consider trustworthy. I feel that is a tremendously important point and one that I rarely hear addressed, certainly never on mainstream television. We trust science, and we think we have good reason to (it can back up the claims that it makes), but the people who don't trust it think they have good reasons not to (they are told to distrust it by people they trust & told to trust those people by other people they trust). You can never present enough evidence to a person to get them to trust evidence, and no sensible argument can get a person to stop accepting nonsense as evidence. I think this gets to the heart of breaking the spell of religion and other nonsensical claims, and that it warrants our attention. I also think that it is the Achilles Heel of Richard and other atheists that don't seem to realize that religious people think they have very good arguments, everyone they know agrees that they have very good arguments, and the arguments that atheists make against them sail right past without making contact.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 19:05:55 UTC | #931402

Go to: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

Big City's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Big City

He was an intellectual giant. We're lucky that he was on our side.

RIP Hitch

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 05:33:10 UTC | #899409

Go to: Near-Perfect Young Dinosaur Fossil Found in Bavaria

Big City's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Big City

Comment 14 by Alex Burton :

Comment 6 by antcowan :

Its in a nice pose too, that bone sticking from its backside looks odd though.

Unfortunately that "nice pose" may be the dinosaur convulsing and arching it's back as it dies in pain.

It's much more probable that the pose was caused by the mud that slumped over its dead body and encased it. I doubt it was fossilized in the position it died in.

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 04:22:39 UTC | #881212

Go to: The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare

Big City's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Big City

Comment 3 by PeterNoSaint :

Does anyone know how to check how true this story is?

All kinds of hysterical propaganda will be published in the lead up to the next US Presidential election. Just because this story may appear to confirm worst fears does not necessarily mean it's true, or within a relevant context. In fact, it's more likely to be written to whip up fear amongst those who oppose the Republicans. It's always a bad sign if people's own prejudices are confirmed and they begin to believe their own propaganda.

Those who oppose the Republicans wouldn't stretch the truth, would they...? (Shock!)

Mon, 05 Sep 2011 18:53:27 UTC | #867564

Go to: PZ Myers Skepticon 3 & and brief encounter outside the conference

Big City's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by Big City

For what it's worth, I don't like how people on here are saying that calling someone "ignorant" is just an objective fact that, since it's supported by data, is completely fine and no one should take offense to it. It's like saying "Wow, your teeth are yellow and you've got a lazy eye!" and then if someone takes offense, replying with "What? It's true!"

You don't get to call someone an idiot and then come out smelling like roses. It immediately makes you look like an asshole. PZ could have decimated him with logic, but he didn't. That's his own fault. So he resorted to an ad hominem, and instantly made that guy look like the better man. I know some people think it isn't an ad hominem because it's true, and I'll agree that the guy may have had it coming because he was acting like a passive-aggressive frat boy, but to an impartial observer, PZ shot himself in the foot.

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 03:20:23 UTC | #586535

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