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Comments by Dover Beach

Go to: Translating the British

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Dover Beach

Yes, a moving poem celebrating a sense of community whilst rejecting chauvanism and heartless economic cuts.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 13:12:29 UTC | #950667

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Dover Beach

No sign of heavenly choirs or burning sinners. Looks like heaven and hell must lie a little further off yet. Perhaps the Vatican astronomers can tell us where to look?

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:57:05 UTC | #950489

Go to: A Not-So-Short Circuit?

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Dover Beach

Comment 1 by Schrodinger's Cat

Thanks for making both me and my partner laugh heartily. She assures me that she would find such a chat-up line irresistible.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 12:31:14 UTC | #883934

Go to: Explaining science’s magic to the young

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Dover Beach

I was slightly taken aback at the good sex over the telephone till I noticed the punctuation!

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 13:08:44 UTC | #877766

Go to: You have to “like” lots of things to fight against one big “dislike”

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Dover Beach

Comment 15 by Robert Howard

Robert, I agree with you that it's a shame to lose the distinction between disinterested and uninterested but feel that, King Canute-like, you will find the tide of everyday useage against you. There is evolution in language as well as in the natural world, which is why we don't still use the language of Chaucer; and if enough people use disinterested to mean uninterested then that is what it will come to mean. After all, disinterested did originally signify uninterested.

The problem is what word to use when we mean disinterested in its sense of impartial and objective. Perhaps we will just have to learn to distinguish by context as we do with hundreds of other words. In the present case, although it might have been better had Tanya Smith used the word uninterested, it was quite clear what her meaning was.

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 12:50:27 UTC | #861825

Go to: Scientist Imam threatened over Darwinist views

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Dover Beach

This is intolerable! That a British citizen should have his life threatened by fanatics and the only respose of the police is to warn him to avoid going to the place where his potential assassins are known to be is simply appalling and unacceptable. Surely there has to be zero tolerance of any attempt at restricting freedom of ideas or the creation of no-go areas where our lives are at threat. If we are incapable of standing up to such outrageous infringements of our civil liberties then the future looks very bleak. Is there a way we can register our anger and dismay at the pusillanimous reaction of the police force?

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 17:13:47 UTC | #599406

Go to: Debate: Islam or Atheism? With Hamza Andreas Tzortzis & the president of American Atheists

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 66 by Dover Beach

It's very disappointing that Ed Buckner took part in this debate without having read the Koran as this exceedingly unpleasant little book gives us the best reasons for rejecting Islam outright. Hamza Andreas Tzort made excuses for Islam and its associations with slavery. How about this quote from the 'inimitable' Koran that could only be the word of Allah. 'Forbidden to you are...married women, except those whom you own as slaves'. So Allah prohibits adultery except with your slave women; those you can fuck whenever the fancy takes you. Such wisdom has to come from God, no man could possibly have thought up something so divine. And the Koran is full of such abominable statements. If only Ed Buckner had read the book he wouldn't have needed any other weapon to refute the idiotic arguments of his opponent.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 20:48:24 UTC | #550108

Go to: Pope beatifies Cardinal Newman as his UK tour ends

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by Dover Beach

I've only known of Cardinal Newman until now because of the wonderful setting Elgar made of his poem, The Dream of Gerontius. I love the music but the poem is ridiculous with its guardian angels, hell, purgatory and a vision of God, so brilliant that it overwhelms the sinner. Presumably these were all firm beliefs of Newman's, the man praised in this article for his 'insight into the relationship between faith and reason'. Quite the contrary, an examination of Newman's poem is further evidence, if any were needed, that the doctrines of the Catholic Church and reason are completely incompatible. I listen to Elgar's oratorio as I listen to Purcell's Dido and Aeneas or Sibelius' settings of the Kalevala, as wonderful settings of mythological subjects.

Wed, 22 Sep 2010 12:34:14 UTC | #523332

Go to: Transubstantiation

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Dover Beach

Anaximander, your comment on Mozart's K466 amused me and so I was rather surprised at Richard Dawkins waspish reply. As he started the thread in a light-hearted and humorous way it seems odd that he didn't see that your post was continuing in the same vein. If you can keep your sense of humour when all around you are losing theirs..

Sun, 08 Aug 2010 10:29:53 UTC | #497401

Go to: God, Darwin or...Both?

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Dover Beach

Duane Gish was unintentionally very amusing; a sort of Fred Flinstone of science. I could see him as a cartoon character walking with dinosaurs.

Eugenie Scott was excellent, making her points in a calm and measured way.

Hugh Ross, on the other hand, I found really disturbing. He was able to speak at great length and in a plausible way about evolution, probabilities, cosmology etc then suddenly he came out with his outrageous statement. God has placed us here to conquer sin. All the wonders and vastness of the universe made so that we can conquer sin! A shocking statement that threw us back from cutting-edge science to medieval ignorance. He then carefully explained to a questioner, and with absolute authority, the difference between the creation of Adam and Eve and how God breathed life into the dust!! We'd gone from sanity to madness and in Hugh Ross' cold eyes I felt I caught a glimpse of the fanatic; of inquisitorial fires.

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 21:53:09 UTC | #490956

Go to: Dawkins speaks to overflow Fairbanks audience about humans, religion

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Dover Beach

Is it not possible that the origins of religion were ritualistic behaviour which did confer a benefit on those practising it? Any pattern of behaviour which had a successful outcome would be repeated whilst those which were unsuccessful would be avoided. Later, those successful stratagems would be elevated into ritual and might contain elements which had no part in the outcome but which were observable as being present at the time, such as food eaten, clothes worn or the position of the moon and stars. These rituals would eventually become compulsory with 'wise men', or priests, to do the enforcing.

There is, surely, a very strong primitive human need for ritual, manifest in religion, superstition and compulsive behaviour. As an angst-ridden teenager I felt compelled to make certain small, unobservable (I hoped) movements otherwise a tragedy might occur. We know that certain sportsmen insist on wearing strips or garments worn on previous winning occasions. At the recent World Cup Diego Maradona, the manager of Argentina, crossed himself an extraordinary number of times before the match with Germany. (God wasn't watching as Germany won 4-0.) Everywhere the religious faithful are genuflecting, counting beads, making pilgrimages, praying five times a day to Mecca, turning prayer wheels, kissing crosses, insisting on one type of food whilst proscribing another etc. If only they could be persuaded to try stopping all this for a while and see that none of it makes any difference whatsoever; that the world will still go on rotating round the sun as usual. But no the atavistic fears must be kept at bay and the futile rituals followed.

The obsessive need, however, to repeat those sophisticated but pointless patterns of behaviour (or religions), I feel, might have come from a period in human development when the ability to distinguish successful behaviour from unsuccessful and to repeat the former was of paramount importance.

Mon, 19 Jul 2010 14:25:50 UTC | #490303

Go to: BioLogos: Don’t tell people that Genesis is fiction

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Dover Beach

Comment Removed by Author

Tue, 06 Jul 2010 16:32:43 UTC | #486722

Go to: BioLogos: Don’t tell people that Genesis is fiction

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Dover Beach

Philoctetes, Some interesting conjecture in your post on the origin of language and religion; but what does anogenistic mean? I Googled it and remarkably the only result was your post! Nor is it in my copy of Chambers Dictionary.

With regard to your question about what good Muslim women get in the sex line in the afterlife, not much, would seem to be the answer. Perhaps Allah is killing two birds with one stone in his reward of 72 virgins for martyrs? Heaven for the men but hell for the virgins.

Tue, 06 Jul 2010 16:18:55 UTC | #486720

Go to: BioLogos: Don’t tell people that Genesis is fiction

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Dover Beach

Philoctetes, I mean it's impossible for me to believe such nonsense or, presumably, anyone who subscribes to the mission statement above of the RDFRS. I accept your point, however, that some people do give credence to The Tower of Babel story.

In my original post I simply wanted to draw a parallel between the creation of life myth in Genesis and the myth of the creation of multiple languages in the same book. The truth,of course, is that language, like life, has evolved from simple beginnings to its present day incredible diversity and comlexity.

I'll decline your kind offer of a cost benefit analysis of language as a precondition of religion but will be happy to hear any thoughts you have on the subject.

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 16:22:26 UTC | #486229

Go to: BioLogos: Don’t tell people that Genesis is fiction

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Dover Beach

Philoctetes, It's not hard to accept The Tower of Babel story as anything other than myth or parable. It's impossible! I fully appreciate that language evolved and thanks for your interesting outline of current thinking on its origins. What we can be sure of, however, is that it wasn't divinely created.

Sat, 03 Jul 2010 21:31:37 UTC | #486075

Go to: BioLogos: Don’t tell people that Genesis is fiction

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Dover Beach

Another ridiculous creation myth in Genesis, which Creationist don't mention often, is its explanation as to the origin of language. In Genesis 11 we read that 'And the whole world was of one speech, and of one language'. God, however, became offended when man began to build a tower that would reach the heavens. Thinking that this was too clever by half he decided to scatter the people and make them speak different languages so they wouldn't be able to understand each other any more. This was cunning as it meant that man wouldn't be able to coordinate his efforts and come up with any more disturbingly challenging ideas. A nice trick which must have put back human progress by a few millenia.

Anyway, that's why we all speak different languages as, I presume, any Creationist will tell you. On the other hand its just one more ludicrous story from a book that, incredibly, many people still take seriously in the 21st century. It makes me want to weep. And BioLogos doesn't want people who believe this nonsense to have their faith shaken!

Sat, 03 Jul 2010 12:39:47 UTC | #485950

Go to: Genius of Britain

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by Dover Beach

I think that bliszs has a Capital sense of humour.

Sun, 20 Jun 2010 19:38:13 UTC | #482073

Go to: Richard Dawkins at the 'Genius of Britain' centenary talk

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Dover Beach

A most eloquent and moving statement of his admiration for these two great men.

In an interview that Wallace gave to my grandfather (Master Workers Harold Begbie 1905)the latter asked him whether Darwin's ideas had now been disproved by recent scientific advances. Wallace 'chuckled with quiet delight at the idea that Natural Selection was an exploded theory. Darwin's work, he told me, is buttressed and fortified by every fresh discovery in natural history.'

One hundred and five years later and we find the same ill-informed doubters and the same reinforcing of Darwin's work by science.

Sun, 13 Jun 2010 13:17:21 UTC | #479881

Go to: The BIG Debates Trailer: Islam or Atheism? You Decide! - 19, 21 & 22 June

Dover Beach's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Dover Beach

Why is it that Moslems always arrogate the credit for any scientific advances made in Islamic societies to their religion? Given that they pique themselves on their translation of Greek scientific texts it might be thought that they would recognise the superiority of Greek paganism to their own beliefs. The astounding scientific advances made in Europe and America are credited to European and American science, not to Protestanism or Catholicism, whatever the prevailing belief system in the scientists country might be. Surely a large proportion of scientific discoveries have been made by atheists but we don't talk of atheist science. Let's have Arab Science, Australian Science, German Science, World Science but please not the oxymoron of Islamic Science. Christian Science, of course, is quite another animal!

Mon, 07 Jun 2010 13:42:07 UTC | #477598