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Comments by DrDroid

Go to: Former Louisiana pastor tells humanists about his conversion to nonbelief

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by DrDroid

The poll was impossible for me to answer:

"How would a candidate's atheism affect your decision whether to vote for them?

Very much Somewhat Not at all Undecided Other"

The poller probably imagines that a person who checks "Very Much" is saying that she would be very UNLIKELY to vote for the atheist candidate. In my case if I check "Very Much" I'm saying that I would be very LIKELY to vote for the atheist candidate. How does the poller know how to interpret the answer?? Poorly designed poll question with implicit and unacknowledged prejudice against an atheist candidate.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 23:20:17 UTC | #947265

Go to: Dawkins calls for 'Catholic' honesty

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by DrDroid

In my experience Catholics, and religious people in general, really don't subject their professed beliefs to much critical analysis, at least beyond a certain point. They've been raised in a certain religion and it just feels right to them. Attempts to question their beliefs are countered with the "hands over the ears" tactic. It takes courage and a questioning mind to reject early childhood teachings (but it does happen in some small percentage of people).

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 13:41:04 UTC | #946329

Go to: Moody Bible Radio Discovers 'The Clergy Project' - interview with Teresa MacBain

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by DrDroid

The Outsider Test for Faith is very relevant here:

Wed, 30 May 2012 23:22:26 UTC | #944659

Go to: Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by DrDroid

Here is Jerry Coyne's commentary on Leakey's statements:

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:47:39 UTC | #944231

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by DrDroid

I rather liked Richard's response to a young Muslim who thought he had Richard cornered by asking how Richard could possibly have an absolute basis for morality:

Tue, 22 May 2012 19:37:09 UTC | #942928

Go to: The brain… it makes you think. Doesn't it?

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by DrDroid

Sam Harris tried to pull Eagleman into a debate some time ago, without success:

Sat, 05 May 2012 22:18:56 UTC | #939988

Go to: Richard Dawkins Has a Point, Your Eminence!

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by DrDroid

The real intent of the article was not to say that RD might actually be right, but rather to say that Pell was wrong to deny the standard Catholic interpretation of the Bible. And in the process take a swipe at Richard by calling him a "dolt".

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 15:46:44 UTC | #937751

Go to: School vouchers and the religious subversion of church-state separation

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by DrDroid

The USA was founded by people who had a profound distrust of government and were strong supporters of freedom and the right of people to make their own choices. I subscribe to that general principle myself, and so I find that I am conflicted on the education issue.

Like most everyone else (I imagine) who regularly reads this website, I am a strong proponent of science and opposed to the teaching of pseudo-science and religiously-motivated ideas in schools. But the question is: Who "owns" children and has the right to decide what schools they go to and what they are taught? Is it the parents or the State? If it is the parents how/why does the State have the right to override their choices? If it is the State is there danger of slipping over the line protecting the freedoms of citizens? In the USA secularists fall back on the constitutional separation of Church and State to oppose the use of public education money to teach Creationism, for example. But what do secularists do in countries that do not have constitutional separation of Church of State? (If I remember correctly the UK falls in this catgeory). In such countries (democracy presumed) secularists must simply try to convince citizens and lawmakers that the teaching of religiously-motivated ideas is simply wrong (though not illegal or non-constituional).

Drilling down even further one can ask if there should be "public education" at all? I certainly am in favor of an educated citizenry, but given the poor track record of public schools (speaking here of the USA), is government-funded education the best way to achieve an educated citizenry? Would it be better to let private schools, paid for by the parents themselves, provide education? And if you fear that some parents might choose to not send their children to school, yes that can happen (my own father received only 3 years of elemntary school education because his father thought school was a waste of time). Then might you be in favor of tax-supported vouchers issued to parents that can only be used to buy their childrens' education?

I'm trying to sort out these conflicting issues in my own mind and would like to hear your thoughts.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 17:03:30 UTC | #937263

Go to: This is a short promo for the two-hour documentary, "In God We Trust?" by Scott Burdick.

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by DrDroid

Disturbing, infuriating, surreal. I hope I can screw up my courage to watch the whole thing (and hold my supper down while doing it).

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 15:41:56 UTC | #933084

Go to: In Defense of Dawkins’s Reason Rally Speech

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by DrDroid

Indeed an excellent article, extremely well stated and worth reading more than once to clarify exactly how the statements of the religious should be addressed.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:26:45 UTC | #931929

Go to: Melvyn Bragg attacks Richard Dawkins' 'atheist fundamentalism'

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by DrDroid

I hope that Richard finds time to counter this foolishness. There is a bright side to these attacks: the more ferocious they become the more it is evident that the religious apologists are alarmed, defensive, and losing.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 15:50:37 UTC | #926983

Go to: Rick Warren and the “Same” God Issue

Go to: BBC rewrites history of science

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by DrDroid

Comical really. I had to laugh.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 00:39:27 UTC | #924482

Go to: The "So" meme

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by DrDroid

The word "like" appears everywhere in the sentences uttered by teenage girls these days, at least in the USA. I'm not sure how the fad got started or what it's intended to convey. It's almost like (no pun intended) the girl is broadcasting "like me" messages into your subconcious.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 00:45:35 UTC | #924211

Go to: What leads some to never accept religion at all?

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 63 by DrDroid

My experience somewhat parallels your own. I was raised in a highly religious family that attended a Pentecostal church. I went to church three times a week, and nightly when a traveling evangelist was in town (who preached hellfire and damnation and scared the crap out of me as a youngster). Yet somehow this indoctrination never "took" for me in the way it did for others. I think one of the reasons is that I was a bookworm, and books can be dangerous. In particular I found science fiction to be fascinating, and buried in the pages of those sci-fi books were ideas that clearly ran counter to the dogma that was being pounded into me (I would experience shock, delight, and guilt all at once when I ran across those little gems). In any event I found the world revealed by science to be far richer and more fascinating than all the junk I was hearing in church. I went on to college and became an engineer, and the education broadened my horizons so much that it seemed like a waste of time to attend church, though I did continue to attend sporadically out of habit. It wasn't so much that I thoroughly analyzed and rejected religion as it was that there seemed so much more important and interesting things to do. So I kind of put religion on the back shelf of my mind, occasionally returning to think about it over the years and feeling that there was something embarrassingly wrong about religion. But it wasn't until publication of Sam Harris' "End of Faith" (which I picked up in an airport on a trip) that the disastrous grip of religion leaped sharply into focus for me. People like Sam, who were never indoctrinated as youth, have a unique advantage in that they are able to see religion as might Martians studying the human race (plus he happens to be a brilliant writer). Then came "The God Delusion", "Breaking the Spell", "God is Not Great", etc, which fully crystallized my vague and unverbalized feelings about religion. These books changed me from someone who was just uninterested in religion to someone who clearly saw how its grip corrodes peoples' ability to think clearly and threatens civilization itself.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 16:21:34 UTC | #923487

Go to: Jesus and Mo: Everything that has a beginning ...

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by DrDroid

This cartoon perfectly illustrates a point I've thought of many times before. The religious frequently fall back on some kind of argument that amounts to saying that the Universe must have had a Creator, and that Creator is "God". Well it's not clear that the argument holds water because one wants to ask "Where did God come from"? If the answer is that he/she/it has always existed, how is that better than just saying the Universe has always existed? But for talking purposes let's grant the religious their premise that "God" created the Universe. But even giving them that they've still got billions of miles to go before they manage to connect the "Creator of the Universe" with the nonsensical and clearly manmade dogmas and foolishness in their holy books. Good cartoon!

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 21:23:34 UTC | #878271

Go to: Einstein's Luck

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by DrDroid

The book shows (I've seen this before) that Sir Arthur Eddington, the astronomer who supposedly "proved" that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was correct based on the deflection of starlight during an eclipse, actually had very poor, inconclusive measurements and "cooked the books" to make the results agree with GTR's predictions (this was around 1919 as I recall). Eddington was a fan of Einstein's, and was said to be one of the very few people at that time who understood GTR. This is not to say that GTR is wrong; rather that Eddington's "proof" was premature and bogus. Hence "Einstein's Luck". The book is interesting, I found it to be a facinating read, showing how the classic view of scientists and their discoveries are often painted over by myths.

Fri, 20 May 2011 15:59:00 UTC | #628853

Go to: FOURTH UPDATE: RD on Revelation TV

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 667 by DrDroid

I was raised in an evangelical church with beliefs similar to those of the interviewer, so I watched this interview with a great deal of interest. The most interesting part for me personally was when the interviewer told of his personal experience involving electricity coursing through his hands, etc. Knowing that world and those kind of believers as well as I do, I know that the interviewer was playing his trump card at that point. In essence, he was saying, "OK Richard, I hear what you're saying but how do you explain this?" For believers this is the ultimate "proof", and well might be persuasive for many people in general. I thought Richard responded as well as could be done without calling the interviewer a charlatan or deluded: (1) he pointed out that there are people all over the world claiming all kinds of bizarre and mystical experiences, and (2) on what basis did the interviewer make the connection between his electric shock experience and Christianity as opposed to the many other extant religions? Good job, Richard.

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 19:31:25 UTC | #605094

Go to: Meet America's top exorcist, the inspiration for 'The Rite'

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by DrDroid

My CNN post:

"It's hard to believe these insane beliefs in devils and exorcism persist in this day and age. People like Gary Thomas are modern day witch doctors driving SUVs and talking on cell phones, but they're still witch doctors."

Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:13:52 UTC | #600152

Go to: The Emerging Science of Morality

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by DrDroid

Yes I agree that Richard's answer ( regarding "absolute morality" was a marvelous example of clear thinking and clear speaking (all the more impressive given that it was impromptu --- wish I could think on my feet that well!). Basically he said that he would rather see a morality based on reasoned discussion, and I'm just saying "let's get on with it", and hoping that Sam Harris will be able to carry that ball a long way in his new book.

Fri, 13 Aug 2010 15:31:15 UTC | #499851

Go to: Philosophy and Faith

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by DrDroid

This guy, a smart and educated man, is for all practical purposes an atheist, but he is unwilling to admit or accept where reason takes him. One wonders what he thinks as he goes to sleep each night. Does he toss and turn over the intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy that goes with being a professor who has devoted his life to misleading college kids when he knows better? Could the fact that his career, reputation, and livelihood are entwined with being a professor at a Catholic university have something to do with the fog in his head?

Wed, 04 Aug 2010 03:28:01 UTC | #495614

Go to: Atheist Billboards Appear in New Zealand

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by DrDroid

Although I applaud these efforts to make people aware that there is a viable alternative to religion, I find that I am troubled by the phrase "There's probably no God". The reason, I think, is that the word "God" lacks a coherent, agreed-upon definition. Yes, there "probably" is no God if by that is meant a "Creator of the Universe", but I think it is certain that there is no omnipotent Biblical God who troubles himself with the foibles of mankind. Yet when people see "There's probably no God" on the billboard it is likely that very Biblical "God" that they think of. To allow that this "God" might conceivably exist concedes far too much to the insanity of organized religion, in my opinion. The religious are simply likely to infer that their Bibles might be right after all and choose to take Pascal's Wager.

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 19:50:30 UTC | #486281

Go to: An Update from Christopher Hitchens

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by DrDroid

Get well Hitch, the world needs your eloquent voice. One of my favorite speeches by you:

Fri, 02 Jul 2010 01:15:26 UTC | #485642

Go to: On Living in the Middle

DrDroid's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by DrDroid

How sad. These people come off as quite pitiful to me. Darrell Falk sucking up to Richard Dawkins and saying nice things about "The Selfish Gene" possibly in the hope that that will incline Richard to say something nice about BioLogos.

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 23:01:03 UTC | #483372