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Comments by ajs261

Go to: Does Conservatism Have to Be Synonymous With Ignorance?

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 58 by ajs261

Conservatism doesn't just mean the desire to conserve things as they are. They could advocate a slower pace of change over something seen as unpredictable and potentially dangerous... in many cases not a bad idea.

As my lecturer has pointed out, for example, "chemical engineering is inherently a conservative industry." Naturally the field is consistently advancing (for the benefit of us all) yet many organisations will prefer to use tried and tested technology first to avoid very costly (and indeed often incredibly dangerous) mistakes with newer technologies. The same argument could be made in politics.

I am quite sympathetic with many fiscal conservatives who advocate a balanced budget. Say what you want, eventually that deficit has to be repaid!

I suspect peoples' views of conservatism are tainted by the fact that it is the social and Christian conservatives who scream the loudest. There are such things as Republicans For Choice and the Log-cabin Republicans (gay rights)!

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 23:11:44 UTC | #927638

Go to: Gingrich says atheists can’t be trusted, disregards 50 million secular Americans

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by ajs261

"How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?”

Talking to imaginary friends inspires trust?

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 23:14:35 UTC | #886187

Go to: Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 63 by ajs261

Good news this may be, but 12,000 Muslims here cannot claim to represent the hundreds of millions residing in the Middle East. It simply proves that some religious people can embrace reason.

Furthermore, did they denounce homophobia? Did they denounce Sharia courts? Did they accept that anyone has the right to criticise their religion, through cartoons or otherwise? Did they accept that women have the right to wear what they choose?

If they did then fair play to them. If not then this conference serves only as a hollow attempt at PR.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 08:55:09 UTC | #874926

Go to: Atheists are as big a threat as climate change deniers

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by ajs261

‘If you believe in God all bets are off. The Red Sea can part. There’s a temptation to give a bit of ground to rationality. But if you believe in God, why shouldn’t there be angels?’


Why shouldn't there be 77 virgins in paradise if you fly a plane into a skyscraper? Why shouldn't women be considered fallen and sinful creatures after eating an apple? Why shouldn't there be eternal suffering in hell?

He just showed precisely how religion can be so dangerous.

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 21:33:45 UTC | #872054

Go to: Missing God

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by ajs261

This is very interesting. I have never properly believed in a deity, although I have thought about it like anyone else. I feel no such longing for belief whatsoever. I guess, if it has been a major part of your life for years, you might feel like you are "losing" something if you no longer believe.

Nonetheless, I have always found that a universe with a deity (at least of the powerful creator form) would be a far worse universe to be in - little more than a plaything, who suffers, succeeds and fails on the whims of someone far beyond yourself.

More importantly though, I actually suffered hugely when I tried to consider supernatural beliefs as reality - simply because I knew I couldn't back it up with any evidence or reason. The doubt would have torn me apart.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:23:29 UTC | #870065

Go to: State schools 'not providing group worship'

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by ajs261

Having recently(ish) left school (2008), it's interesting to see the change in the"act of collective worship" over time. Our schools did have assemblys daily but most of them were completely secular. Usually the teacher would go up to the front and tell us a story about something which ended up having a bit of advice about "life" at the end. Very few of them kept up the pretence that there was a religious element at all.

I never really had a problem with the assembly I usually received because the person delivering did often have something insightful (to my mind at least) to say that didn't descend into "collective worship," whatever that's supposed to mean.

Perhaps they should change the name to one replacing the word "worship" with "reflection".

Although as an afterthought, having to sing hymns in primary school DID get on my nerves. A lot.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 17:03:50 UTC | #867935

Go to: Is the Vatican cooperating fully with the Irish government?

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by ajs261

The Catholic Church should be told, quite bluntly, that they can go and shove their 'Canon law' up their backsides. They should completely and utterly comply with civil law and civil law alone in every matter. The fact that they are still wittering on about Canon law suggests they still haven't got the point.

Mon, 05 Sep 2011 15:30:00 UTC | #867495

Go to: Republicans Against Science

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by ajs261

It never ceases to amaze me how the US can simultaneously be one of the most forward thinking and scientifically advanced developed countries in the world as well as one of the most ignorant and backwards.

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 19:26:43 UTC | #865273

Go to: Germany: Politicians plan boycott of pope’s Bundestag speech

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by ajs261

"Without Christianity, our country is simply impossible to imagine.”

Very true. I doubt Hitler would have won much popular support without his constant invocations of him doing God's work throughout his speeches and Mein Kampf. Imagine how much weaker his political position would have been without his concordat with the Catholic Church! If only.

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 13:31:42 UTC | #842849

Go to: Geert Wilders - A Victory For Common Sense

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by ajs261

Generally, I am glad Wilders won this case, even if some of his other preferences/ideas are not to my taste... his hair for example.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 19:58:35 UTC | #842348

Go to: Lab yeast make evolutionary leap to multicellularity

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by ajs261

The University of Minnesota might be getting a call from Andy Schlafly sometime soon...

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 21:33:49 UTC | #842050

Go to: A field guide to bullshit

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by ajs261

I like the "going nuclear" analogy.

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 10:39:36 UTC | #641158

Go to: UPDATE: FALSE STORY Jerusalem rabbis 'condemn dog to death by stoning'

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ajs261

You have got to be kidding... how... just how can anyone take these people seriously?

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 20:46:10 UTC | #640120

Go to: UPDATE: Fashionable Nonsense?

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 337 by ajs261

The mark of a truly clever person is that they can explain something in simplistic and not complicated terms.

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:15:14 UTC | #639244

Go to: "The £9,000 tuition fees cap won't last – we're biting the bullet first"

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by ajs261

Stevehill, among others, is one of the people who sees this rationally and pragmatically in my opinion.

Practically, free higher education is now totally unsustainable in this country if we still encourage many of those two million students to study pointless courses at sub-standard institutions.

But I still notice how many people state that is fair to give free higher education to those who want it. What about those who don't want it? There are many wise people, who've decided university is not for them, who go on into perfectly productive careers. How is it fair that they should pay for a bunch of lazy students to spend three years drinking, do no work until the day before exams and come out with a 2.1 yet have no job prospects? Of course I, as a student myself, am not saying all students are lazy but frankly I know a fair number who squander their time at university and squander their student loans on alcohol and clothes. I am not exaggerating.

30 years ago, when everyone went to university having earned a place studying an academically rigorous course at a good institution, it's clear to see the justification for taxpayer funding. But now? Many people I know have gone to university, done nothing, learnt nothing and cost the (already struggling) taxpayer a great deal of money for nothing at all. It's wrong. It's just wrong.

Sat, 11 Jun 2011 16:37:03 UTC | #637228

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 378 by ajs261


I have a very large project to do and so do not have the time for protracted discussion but I feel your appreciation of the situation is totally unrealistic.

Good students (and I currently count myself among them) certainly are a resource but many are a drain - they study pointless courses with no academic rigour or career value (either in terms of direct practical benefit or in terms or the aformentioned academic rigour). I feel it is totally unfair that people wise enough to realise they could better themselves outside of higher education should pay for the fees of those who will do bugger all work until the day before the exams. I notice that so many focus on what is fair for those who want education (although many of them will put in no effort, as my personal experience testifies) but completely ignore what is fair on those who DO NOT want education.

Mentioning bank bailouts, I certainly have no love for many bankers at all, but in the short term I would prioritise protecting the industry responsible for up to 20% of the UK economy (and much of that university funding you cherish) from absolute collapse over the funding of thousands of students who would have benefited much more from something else than their university course.

I'm afraid I feel it is you who is blind.

Tue, 07 Jun 2011 22:31:50 UTC | #635671

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 374 by ajs261

Rather than hurl an ill-considered and entirely ignorant comment when the facts are entirely unclear (as is the entirety of higher education in the UK currently), I was told by one of my lecturers that Cambridge currently runs at a considerable loss for every student it educates.

Even Cambridge will run out of money eventually (many poorer universities already are) - the system has to change dramatically. And the new system has to be pragmatic and functional, not hopelessly idealistic. I would envisage that means either increasing fees or reducing student numbers.

Perhaps in an ideal world education should be limitlessly free for all. But in the real world, we have exceeded that limit. Something will give - either universities will collapse or funding will change.

Tue, 07 Jun 2011 21:59:53 UTC | #635653

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by ajs261

Comment 73 by SomersetJohn

It is good to see some realism injected into a discussion which seems to oscillate wildly to and from.

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 20:52:51 UTC | #634410

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by ajs261

Comment 63 by Corylus

Spot on. I was trying to put it as elegantly.

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 20:19:18 UTC | #634389

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by ajs261

If we lived in an ideal world, surely tuition fees could be free.

30 years ago, the argument that university education should be free for the good of society would have struck a chord with me. But with the advent of non-rigorous courses at dozens of universities that should not exist in esteemed subjects such as "waste management," and "equestrian psychology," I can no longer agree.

Frankly, half of the people I went to school with should not have gone to university. They do little work until an hour before the exams and still come out with a 2.1. Much of what they study COULD have been found elsewhere. I find that detracts from the many talented people who would benefit from study under distinguished academics.

Trust me - as an engineering student at Cambridge, just reading things off google (while very useful at times!) is no substitute for a (rigorous) university education. I personally find that patronising.

It may be unfair to charge people for university but it is also grossly unfair to charge the people realistic enough to accept that university is not for them for people to go to university and do absolutely no work whatsoever for three years. Tuition fees (introduced and then tripled by the Labour government, not the "evil" Tories do not forget) are trying to balance the two.

I also found the £18,000 price tag a little unfortunate but perhaps I am pragmatic enough to accept that , whilst the higher education system in the UK is in the mess it is (thanks to blunders of both Labour and the Conservatives), such things may be necessary. I find self-righteous comments and brazenly ideological statements are much more part of the problem, not the solution.

I wish we had a more pragmatic and less tribal electorate. But pigs can fly.

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 19:38:32 UTC | #634363

Go to: Bulletins from the Dublin Atheist Conference

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by ajs261

Congratulations to the Irish politician! About time someone criticised the role of the Catholic Church in schools.

Sat, 04 Jun 2011 10:24:58 UTC | #633921

Go to: Muslim proselytisers plan to attend Atheist day in Ireland

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by ajs261

From said leaflet:

"The Qur’an always mentions nature as a sign for God’s existence, power and majesty. ."

I always find it sad when I read things like that. I find it much more magnificent that such things have developed without an omnipotent creator. As well as the fact it is a downright lie of course.

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 01:07:42 UTC | #633541

Go to: Get them while they're young

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by ajs261

It's interesting. My grandmother bought up my dad and his siblings with considerable religious zeal. It had the effect adverse to her intentions. He is now a resolute atheist who would sympathise with many of the positions put on this website.

My grandmother tried to preach to my 30 year old sister and her boyfriend the other week. My dad was not pleased at all. What's more she simply alienates herself because me and my siblings become afraid to visit in case she tries it again.

I guess sometimes the "marketing" works, sometimes it doesn't. Perhaps, as I live in the UK, it is too easy to see the non-religious alternatives whereas in the US people (especially in the mid-west I'd guess) are smothered with religious dogma in all directions.

Mon, 30 May 2011 17:21:13 UTC | #632409

Go to: Should children be taught philosophy? Sounds like a good idea to me!

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by ajs261

It would make them far less susceptible to religious "arguments."

Definitely, classes in critical thinking should be taught to children.

Sat, 28 May 2011 23:50:11 UTC | #631905

Go to: The cardinal did not mention

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ajs261

What astounds me more is why people should think their opinion of HIV/AIDs matters.

Sat, 28 May 2011 21:06:00 UTC | #631866

Go to: Oregon Senate Votes to End Faith-Healing Defense for Parents

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by ajs261

The US is a fascinating country. It is simultaneously one of the most backwards and freethinking of all the Western countries.

Thu, 26 May 2011 10:11:02 UTC | #631051

Go to: Cashing in on Rapture

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by ajs261

I hear that the guy's Christian radio station received $18.3million in donations over the May 21st "rapture." Of which over $1million was spent on announcing it to the world. Who knows where the rest went! This should not be tax-exempt.

Sun, 22 May 2011 09:34:09 UTC | #629416

Go to: Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by ajs261

This is so annoying. Couldn't this have happened BEFORE I had to sit through my exams? God is so inconsiderate.

Fri, 20 May 2011 16:12:57 UTC | #628857

Go to: U.N. Forecasts 10.1 Billion People by Century’s End

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by ajs261

It may have been Richard Dawkins who said, "those who advocate natural forms of population control will get one in the form of starvation," or someone else. Nonetheless, I would argue this is bad news for Africa as a whole but good news for religious organisations like the Catholic Church, whose hold over the world's most impoverished will remain just as strong, if not stronger as the situation deteriorates.

Wed, 04 May 2011 20:55:26 UTC | #623090

Go to: Death of a Madman

ajs261's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by ajs261

I am glad the bugger is dead. To be honest I think this way was best.

What may ignite some debate in future is that this was achieved through the interrogation of individuals detained in Guantanamo bay.

Tue, 03 May 2011 12:51:53 UTC | #622475