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Epich's Avatar Joined about 5 years ago
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Go to: I have no faith in these unholy warlords

Epich's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by Epich

“world’s second most evil religion” — did he do a poll?

Why would he take a poll? The statement is not predicated in any way on popular opinion. If I lived in the pre civil war southern US, where technology could only make local polling feasible, should I have determined whether slavery is evil with a poll?

Likewise, when Stephen Hawking announced recently, with messianic certainty, that God could not have created the Universe, he sounded only like a spiteful child, hoping to make his baby brother cry by revealing there is no Santa Claus.

This is more shrill and strident than anything I've heard from new atheists. Stephen Hawking made a very modest and sensible statement and she goes off on this baseless tirade.

Because true secularism is not aggressive, it is the end of aggression. It is cool, temperate, unfailingly rational. It does not name-call or demean. It does not care if you believe wine literally turns into Christ’s blood or, like South Indian Hindu pilgrims, carry a coconut full of ghee on your head.

But wine turning into blood is a factual statement, particularly by virtue of the explicit "literally". Why would a secularist not care about a factual statement?

In its support for the rights of all faiths, yet championship of none, it is the highest attainment of civilisation. Its demands are simple: that laws be made and enforced in a sphere clear of discrimination or zealotry.

The new atheists she named are consistent advocates of religious freedom and government-state separation, so this is a strawman.

When the Pope asserted that secularism gave birth to German Fascism, atheists countered with a swing at the Church’s own shonky wartime record. And so debate sank below that of the sixth- form common room, with furious finger pointers calling each other Nazi.

So no derision towards the Pope from Miss Taylor. Yet Richard's tactful comment: "To mention Ratzinger's membership of the Hitler Youth might be thought to be fighting dirty, but my feeling is that the gloves are off after this disgraceful paragraph by the pope."

they don’t make me long to assert my moral superiority or slap them round the head with Darwin.

I wonder if Miss Taylor would take issue with slapping someone round the head with Newton or Einstein or Feynman.

It might concede that the Pope has a point that secular values have struggled in the past decade when morality was wholly defined by the free market.

What a bizarre statement. What does free market ideology have to do with secular values? Opinions about economic policy have little do with religion.

Already, five out of the first sixteen Government-approved free schools are faith-based, able to set their own curriculum, and able to teach religion without having to understand the comparative value of other faiths. It would be ironic if Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, a hammer of Islamic extremism, was to preside over the creation of government-funded madrassas.

Because government approved and government funded schools are so free market. Not that I'm defending free market ideology, but this sort of confused off topic prattle has to be pointed out and laughed at.

Sat, 18 Sep 2010 15:56:11 UTC | #520671

Go to: A response from Shermer

Epich's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Epich

Trade makes us less likely to kill our potential trading partners.

Comment 11 by alovrin : But it doesn't stop you killing (or find other inventive ways of harming the other) anyone who your not trading with, and who maybe you have a beef with? Or maybe they have something you may want - lets say oil - but dont want to trade with you. Oh that's right we don't talk about that.

To summarize: if there isn't trade, then trade doesn't make us less likely to kill our trading partners. Brilliant rebuttal!

Updated: Sat, 04 Sep 2010 03:31:20 UTC | #511031

Go to: A misguided attack on kin selection

Epich's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Epich

It's unfortunate that this confusion still exists, since the explanation given in the Selfish Gene is quite accessible and should clear up the matter neatly for just about anyone. Do we know whether Nowak or Wilson have read the book?

(Speaking of the Selfish Gene, I remember asking a question about the chapter on children blackmailing parents in the forums, but I don't know how to access old posts to remind myself of the question and its answers.)

Wed, 01 Sep 2010 00:27:27 UTC | #508897

Go to: Richard Dawkins is an embarrassment to atheism

Epich's Avatar Jump to comment 119 by Epich

I read the piece and thought: he's talking about Dawkins? The adjectives don't fit. I've always found Richard to appear reasonable and pleasant. At least as he appears publicly, I've never met him.

Wed, 25 Aug 2010 01:48:12 UTC | #505077

Go to: Are we phalluses?

Epich's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Epich

I was a bit annoyed by the verbosity of Phil's talk, taking thirty minutes to say what could have been said in much less. I'm not in tune enough with this accommodationist debate to know whether Phil objects to, say, Potholer54's or AndromedasWake's style of debunking. He maybe should have been clearer about what he is criticizing.

Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:25:28 UTC | #504071

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