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Go to: The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers

Gobby's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Gobby

The list is largely BS.

Bernanke? Larry Summers before Joe Stiglitz, and where the hell is Paul Krugman? The Dick? Bill Gates instead of Linus Trovalds? Pope? Karen Armstrong?

Wed, 02 Dec 2009 17:19:00 UTC | #419514

Go to: Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Wright

Gobby's Avatar Jump to comment 90 by Gobby

So, the religious side sends a bunch of dumbasses: rabbi with his rants and preaching, D'Souza with his lies (that's not how physics works! Do show the evidence!), Wright...just WTF is he doing and WTF is his point? And the Turkish guy has no idea of what economics is about (bankers are not scientists nor are they economists!).

I'm watching and typing at the same time. Wow, that Turkish guy (the one talks about Turkey) advocates making decisions based on incomplete information!! And religion is about all that and it is good!! Well, it is good to be stupid! I guess that's why god did such a half-ass job when he created stuff.

I cannot type coherently right now after listening to that bullshit.

One thing to add about economics: economists knew the crisis was coming, they just didn't know when and at what scale. Economists like Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman et al. have been saying that the international system is highly imbalance and that unconstrained capitalism does not work. It was market fundamentalists, Chicago school for example, that had been pushing deregulation and government noninterference, even if information suggested otherwise. In essence, it was the blind belief in market and the ignoring of information that caused this crisis.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 20:26:00 UTC | #414211

Go to: The Evolution of the God Gene

Gobby's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Gobby


You don't have to believe in a supernatural God to realise that religion is part of the meme/gene matrix. We Humans have moved beyond our biological roots. We can see the future, we study ethics, and morality. We place value on things and this is part of the reason why value systems such as religions will always exist. Science is not great at answering questions of morality and value.

I will say it's a meme but not a gene. It has different implications. As a meme, we can say it is a social construct that we can choose to believe or not to believe. With it as a gene, it means that we are hardwired and there is evolutionary advantage to believe, so we better believe. We cannot see the future, but we can have reasonable prediction based on observations. Moral and values are gathered/learned/created by socializing, it has nothing to do with religion(s). One good evidence is that we have nearly universal moral but not universal religion, and the discrepancy among "moralities" is usually fueled by religion/dogma/bigotry/superstitution etc. It is true that science doesn't answer moral question, but it is way better than religion in an indirect way that it gives us rationality. Knowing why we should not kill is better than just blindly follow the rule. Knowing why gives us spillovers to other questions. In essence, you will have a theory of ethnics with the scientific method instead of dogmatic rules.

It is also rather arrogant of some commentators to suggest that just because we live in an educated urban society then religion is no longer appropriate.

You have to understand that a learned atheist, unlike theist, will not jump to the conclusion that is it no longer appropriate. We typically follow a couple steps. First, we say it is no longer necessary, because we can explain many things sooner or later with the scientific method. Then religion is no longer appropriate because it is dogmatic; it is morally wrong by advocating its dogmas. Example, we know that condoms are effective against AIDS by science but the catholics church, for its dogma, decided to spread lies about it. It is morally wrong. I wouldn't mind if there is a religion in this world that would just keep its silly beliefs to itself.

As the article demonstrates, science can play a valuable role in understanding the evolution of religion

The article fails to demonstrate that. It is not scientific. Science can analyze and study religion if the definite of religion is a form of social organization/pattern. However, if the definition presumes religion is a necessity or it is a moral good, then the study is not scientific.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 09:50:00 UTC | #414044

Go to: The Evolution of the God Gene

Gobby's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Gobby

I see a couple flaws in this kind of studies. The big one is that they mistake superstition as religion. At the same time, they are treating religion/superstition as exogenous, but in reality, religion is an endogenous variable, which means religion is a meme evolves along with human society, not because religion is beneficial to human society thus it drives evolution.

It is easier to see from hunter-gatherer societies how religion may have conferred compelling advantages in the struggle for survival. Their rituals emphasize not theology but intense communal dancing that may last through the night.

That's not religion at all. It is superstition as a pretense in the arrangement of a society. It is merely a method to arrange/organize the society, not the only one. We can also call it a cultural element, just like many people will get together to see a play or the Olympics in ancient Greek. This kind of social events are beneficial to society, without or without the religious motifs.

To give another example, Chinese are famous for ancestor worship. However, that doesn't mean the Chinese respect their elders due to the practice of ancestor worship; it is the other way around, it is because the society first requires respects for elders, then people make up excuses/myths to justify the practice. At the same time they could not explain death or other natural phenomena effectively, so putting them together, you will have seemingly "religious" social practices. I think this point is rather obvious for anyone who has done some basic social science to see.

Moving on to political science. In the past, most government officials, especially the highest ones, had a dual role in the management of the state and participation in religious matters. Their religious functions were often justifications to their power. Even the Roman consuls, who had the duty to perform omens, were of no exception. The "good" that religions had done would be done anyway if we were to give the officials a secular function only. This will of course weaken their power, but that's another question.

Without proper definition of religion and proper treatment of it as an endogenous variable, I fail to see the study as a scientific one.

PS. I should have noted that religion is superstition, while religion is more organized. The author fails to give any definition at all.

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 08:33:00 UTC | #414038

Go to: Darwinopterus v Dawkins

Gobby's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by Gobby

Better yet, I should use Stewart's infallible logic to answer you, InYourFaceNewYorker.

God would probably say "In the beginning I created mankind in my image. Therefore, there was a complex stupidity trait in the genome full of information of stupidity. Then there was the Fall and decay and whatnot. Information of stupidity is being lost for millions of years. Some just have move information loss in the trait of stupidity than the others".

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 15:47:00 UTC | #412795

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