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Comments by AllanW

Go to: Richard Dawkins Interview

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by AllanW

Comment #470235 by lswanson on March 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

It's world view, people. World view.

But one that can lead to disaster;

My point being that your 'It's a world view' comment becomes a very real-world problem in certain circumstances. There are many examples of this 'world view' causing people to act abhorrently. How do you justify this state of affairs, please?

Thu, 18 Mar 2010 10:43:00 UTC | #450182

Go to: [UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 125 by AllanW

Comment #447207 by Ophelia Benson on January 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm

While I agree with the point you make, please don't tar everyone on this site with the same broad brush as a result of the juvenile behaviour of our resident -------- (fill in the blank).

I can't believe that comment has not been dealt with by removal to the alt thread already but as you've no doubt seen, any mention of his childishness just provokes a further stream of inanity. A sad circumstance that has been going on for quite a while now and remains undealt-with by the administrators. Plainly they approve.

Feel free to remove this off-topic post to the alt thread should you see fit.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:56:00 UTC | #428560

Go to: The Richard Dawkins - Thunderf00t discussion

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 93 by AllanW

Comment #446967 by mr_darkman on January 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I think you're being overly supportive here. Many of us know very well who Thunderf00t is, have watched his youtube videos and applaud his efforts. I don't see 'everyone falling over themselves to slag it and him off' on this thread. His previous videos have been praised, his work combatting creationists has been mentioned a number of times and there have been quite a few mentions of the points in this video as well. Hardly 'everyone' and hardly failing to appreciate the man, don't you agree?

Yet it would be wrong not to mention the obvious production problems on this one. They are so obviously a bad mistake which seriously detracts from the whole thing. That's all. Should we all just ignore it? No; a number of possible commenters and viewers who Thunderf00t was presumably aiming at have been put off the whole set by the bad sound. Me included. It's a shame.

I'm sure Thunderf00t will do better in a setting he understands better and won't make the same mistake again but it was a big opportunity fumbled. As I'm sure he himself recognises.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 14:56:00 UTC | #428313

Go to: UPDATED 1/1/10: Last minute offer! A HUGE Thank You! The last day of our fundraising drive

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 63 by AllanW

Congratulations on this fundraising effort. Bravo!

Twatsworth; LS was your sock-puppet so was rightly banned. You should feel lucky you can still post here. Keep it on-topic, don't derail and your posts may stand a chance of not being relegated to the Alt Thread. It's up to you.

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 16:58:00 UTC | #427192

Go to: God is the question

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by AllanW

Comment #444990 by A on December 28, 2009 at 11:39 am

I don't know about tax exemption but it sounds to me as if you could become a Professor of Theology or English or Modern Studies at any university in the land.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:43:00 UTC | #426382

Go to: UK fails to halt female genital mutilation

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by AllanW

Comment #443429 by RightWingAtheist on December 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

With all of the obvious evidence of this occurring, has not a single person been jailed for it?

No; that's the abominable truth behind multiculturalism. The acceptance on cultural grounds of horrors that would not be acceptably visited upon citizens of this country. Except the vast majority of girls this mutilation is done to ARE UK citizens who therefore are not afforded the protection they should be receiving as citizens of this country. It's an obscene result.

Sun, 20 Dec 2009 21:11:00 UTC | #424858

Go to: Brief Scientific Autobiography

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by AllanW

68. Comment #441660 by Richard Dawkins on December 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

This is an example of the kind of thing I omitted from my autobiographical chapter because it was not relevant to the science, but which I could perhaps -- do you think it would be worth bothering? -- put into a full length autobiography.

Yes. Keep the scientific autobiography concentrated on the development of the ideas, the context, cross-fertilisations and peers.

Leave anything else for the personal biography to be read by those who are more interested in those things rather than the ideas themselves.


I'm sure there is interest in this more personal account from publishers, potential readers and future biographers it's just that whether you made toast at Oundle is not of so much interest to me as how your thoughts came together on sociobiology, for example.

Sun, 13 Dec 2009 18:32:00 UTC | #423106

Go to: Brief Scientific Autobiography

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by AllanW

44. Comment #441606 by Richard Dawkins on December 13, 2009 at 10:28 am

I am genuinely curious to know whether this experiment in scientific autobiography works, and whether the same level of detachment from personal emotions would carry over to a book-length autobiography.

I for one think this extended exercise of yours works.

It is normally only in the more lavish and voluminous biographies that it's possible to piece together the motivations, developments and milestones in thinking that contribute to the end product of a noteworthy thinker. This is only possible by assiduously raking through hundreds if not thousands of pages to extract these nuggets from the sea of other details that surrounds them; a book aimed at doing this for the reader would be very welcome indeed.

A second reason why I'd urge you to undertake the proposed work is that for someone who has had such a wide and remarkable influence upon not just your own field but society in a wider sense it would be unusual to get your own perspective on your scientific development and insights. We are most often only served these insights by biographers many years after the subjects' death and while they can be entertaining and illuminating, I'd rather hear from you.

Finally I'd hazard the guess that the literary work you are contemplating is so obviously within the range of your skills that it would be a shame not to demonstrate once again that exceptional writing skills need not be distant from scientific themes.

Go to it, please.

Sun, 13 Dec 2009 10:59:00 UTC | #423055

Go to: Intelligence Squared Debate: Is Atheism the New Fundamentalism?

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 169 by AllanW

167. Comment #439388 by flying goose on December 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

I agree with FG's distinction here between the inherent ideology and the human reactions of mob-rule/in-group,out-group persecution etc. It seems self-evident to us that atheism can have no inherent path that leads to persecution of believers but we should recognise that early Christians probably felt the same way about the teachings of peace and love that the nailed-up rabbi was supposed to have given. So we would be foolish to ignore the dangers that this example presents us with.

We can see it now, to be honest; the range of atheist ideology runs the gamut from Archbishop of Canterbury/Karen Armstrong-type nebulous non-deism right through moderate accommodationsists, non-moderate accommodationists and through to anti-theists of all stripes who wish not just to remove religious organisations from unjustified influence in the public sphere but go so far as to demand that children should not be abused by having religion taught to them. We all know this range exists.

Atheism is not a religion but some of its followers can act as if it were.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 11:02:00 UTC | #420908

Go to: Group organizes to be 'good without God'

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 147 by AllanW

143. Comment #438942 by SaintStephen on December 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Sometimes you only need to underline;

"knee-jerk and puerile reaction"

AND you're a pussy.

Wow! What cogent, articulate arguments from the supposedly intelligent crowd. Creationists would be proud of you, Baron sCrapia.


Address my arguments, or else STFU.

Sat, 05 Dec 2009 18:18:00 UTC | #420467

Go to: Group organizes to be 'good without God'

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 144 by AllanW

138. Comment #438937 by SaintStephen on December 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Apparently there are some important differences between us, but you simply can't, or won't, discuss what you mean. Coward.

No; the differences between us on this insignificant issue are quite small. What has been quite a sad revelation to me on this thread however has been your knee-jerk and puerile reaction to small, light criticism. I'll get over it ... there, done.

I could discuss this issue but I won't because, as YakobusRO says above, there are more interesting things to read about and discuss.

Please continue to make the choices that enable everyone here to form a judgement about you, well, unless they already have ..

Sat, 05 Dec 2009 17:59:00 UTC | #420464

Go to: Group organizes to be 'good without God'

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 134 by AllanW

131. Comment #438917 by SaintStephen on December 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Two! A whole two! Out of (if your diarrhoea-like last post is correct) nearly 1200 posts. Great work.

There are no arguments to address merely personal preferences. You wish to advertise your shallowness in bright, shiny colours, that's your prerogative. I will heed your request and avoid your posts. All sorted.

Sat, 05 Dec 2009 13:25:00 UTC | #420443

Go to: Group organizes to be 'good without God'

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 132 by AllanW

127. Comment #438907 by SaintStephen on December 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

A lot of piss and bluster about nothing. You like to use colour and fonts, big deal. Up to now I've let it wash over me as I find it a slight distraction from message content not an addition. After a good few months of noticing your contributions however, it's not the kindergarten amusement you obviously feel from using a pallette that will make me now avoid your posts but the contentless nature of them.

Sat, 05 Dec 2009 13:08:00 UTC | #420439

Go to: Intelligence Squared Debate: Is Atheism the New Fundamentalism?

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 121 by AllanW

I can only hope that dinosaurs with the stunted and bigoted mindset that Moore exhibits rapidly become extinct. He seems to have finally realised that there is an opposition although he plainly doesn't have the least idea as to why we oppose his delusional ideology.

Move aside Moore, you are a fossil, a relic of our species' infancy.

Fri, 04 Dec 2009 15:51:00 UTC | #420224

Go to: Our Changing Perceptions of God and Religion

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by AllanW

68. Comment #438283 by Tyler Durden on December 3, 2009 at 10:43 am


Thu, 03 Dec 2009 10:52:00 UTC | #419826

Go to: A Deal-breaker

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by AllanW

Terrific piece, Ophelia. Bravo. Clear, thoughtful and affecting. Thank you. I agree that the approach of hammering away at the dichotomy between 'I know what God wants/is/' and 'God is outside space and time' is fruitful to ram-home the irrationality of their position.

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 10:06:00 UTC | #419800

Go to: Let the War on Christmas Begin. Atheist style.

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 79 by AllanW

Well SaintStephen it brought a warm glow of nostalgic recollection to my wizened old heart to remember the mid-Seventies and how I devoured everything Moorcock. Sadly not too much of his output stands the test of time but he was always thought provoking.

Elric is bleakly interesting (no, Richard is far too nice to be an anti-hero; the guy who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films is the one I picture playing the role. Still hasn’t happened even though rumours and negotiations have been going on for thirty years about a filmed Elric project).

I particularly enjoyed the Jerry Cornelius stories (don’t even ask how they affected my hormone-fuelled adolescent mind) but the only stuff off the top of my head that feels really worthwhile now would be ‘Gloriana’.

I did read recently that he has been approached to write something for ‘Doctor Who’ next year; that should be interesting if it happens although Moorcock has a history littered with negotiations for film and t.v. projects that have not seen the light of day.


Damn it. I was born too late.

Moorcock conjures for me the feeling, sights and smells of hanging around the ‘Dungeons and Starships’ shop on Colmore Row in Birmingham in the Seventies. Tank tops, baggies and mullets; wispy moustaches, acne, and Hawkwind/Led Zep t-shirts; earnest, timid youths spending hours wading through the vaults of records, graphic novels and science-fiction books. If someone could bottle the smell of second-hand bookshops from that era I would buy it all (mould, paper, dust, damp leaves in autumn, sicklied o’er with the faint pall of inadequately washed bodies).

I was also thinking of the question of how legends are created and propagated out of hearsay: a story with little factual basis could nevertheless take hold because its message resonates with people at some level.

Exactly so. Powerful story themes that speak to most humans are normally the product of a long gestation period through many minds but we know that once they reach a certain pitch they are remembered more easily and get recycled endlessly in different formats.

Based on the Wiki link Moorcock seemed to be more fascinated by the psychology of an enigmatic character who consciously turned himself into the 'real' Jesus.

Read the book. There is that element in it but he was really playing with the notion of the dichotomous and wilfully capricious nature of the human condition as he did in most of his output (Elric, Jerry Cornelius, Dancers at the end of time etc). I don’t think his exploration of gender and sexual blurrings are at all ‘Freudian’ but rather a reflection of the times; an exploration of the possibilities.

Wed, 02 Dec 2009 08:58:00 UTC | #419350

Go to: Let the War on Christmas Begin. Atheist style.

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by AllanW

74. Comment #437679 by Bonzai on December 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Sorry to do this mate but you are describing pretty well the actual plot of the actual book entitled 'Behold the man' written by Michael Moorcock in the late sixties. ISBN here;

I enjoyed it when I read it as an adolescent.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 23:54:00 UTC | #419240

Go to: KRQE News: ''Anti Religion'' Billboards Surface

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 412 by AllanW

405. Comment #437336 by PressingOn on December 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm

406. Comment #437337 by PressingOn on December 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Marked as spam.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 15:40:00 UTC | #418896

Go to: Atheism is the new fundamentalism

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 194 by AllanW

I can't wait for the IQ2 site to finish tarting-up the video for this one as I want to watch it again and savour it. Watching online was great and the effect in real time of moments like 'Hellooo ...' and 'The title of Chapter 4 of The God delusion ...' and A.C.'s admonition of the moderator towards the end was electric but I'd like to take my time to look at it all again.

Just on the moderator; I thought he was awful and I'm very sorry to read on the IQ2 site that they will be doing more things with Wellington. I really hope this ignoramus is not involved in them. Here's what I wrote elsewhere about him last night just after the debate ended;

His job was to be an impartial moderator; he failed badly in his one role. Not only did he do an awful job that affected the audiences' enjoyment of the debate (ignorance about twitter, fumbling the microphone questions, not being impartial in directing questions towards the end, fumbling the result number for goodness' sake!) but he plainly favoured one side. Why allow his mate Moore to seriously go over his time? Why make some of the disparaging comments he made? How wrong to make such an atrocious faux pas at the end before the microphones are turned off?

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 16:35:00 UTC | #418522

Go to: Atheism is the new fundamentalism

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by AllanW

It's 6:34pm GMT right now, right?

No; 6:42pm GMT :)

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 18:44:00 UTC | #417990

Go to: KRQE News: ''Anti Religion'' Billboards Surface

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 167 by AllanW

There is the "physical" and there is the "spiritual" -- two planes of existence. Everything you see around you in the physical universe is dead matter. The spiritual realm flows into it and gives it life.

This is ignorant mythology. At root Platonic Essentialism. This 'understanding' of the Universe was comprehensively debunked with the scientific discoveries of the atomic nature of matter, Einsteinian Relativity and Darwinian evolutionary theory.

PressingOn, you need to catch up with the modern world or you'll expose yourself to justified ridicule here.

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 15:27:00 UTC | #417926

Go to: The Brothers grim

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by AllanW

I'd like to thank the Irish nation (or more specifically two of its members) for providing me with what will henceforth be my standard retort to anyone attempting to support the Catholic Church;

"Renounce your pomp now get in the fecking sack."

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 11:25:00 UTC | #417901

Go to: Michelle Malkin: Atheists Should Be Treated Like ''Trolls''

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 125 by AllanW

124. Comment #435453 by Ivan The Not So Bad on November 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I have to say I'm as worried about this issue as you are. Mainly from reading the Johann Hari article when it came out.

The 'Sun''s support for the Tory party gave the rumours and supposition added weight IMO.

Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:24:00 UTC | #417039

Go to: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: If only I could explain where this violence comes from

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by AllanW

I feel sorry for Yasmin. Does that sound condescending? I don’t mean it to; I want to encourage her to continue the journey she is obviously on and reach the end-point. As many posters here have remarked, her piece reflects the personal angst that thinking and conscientious individuals who have been brought up as Muslims are going through.

She is plainly a sensitive and caring woman, how else to explain her condemnation for those aspects of her ideology that we also see as homophobic and misogynistic? I applaud her effort, commitment and objective in trying to square the circle of making Muslims realise that secularism and equality of opportunity are valuable and laudable facets of western democracy that should be accepted at the expense of jihad, Sharia and isolation.

I’m equally pleased that she articulates and re-echoes our point that the ignorance of individual adherents should not prejudice our dealings with any other self-labelled Muslims (I wish she would do the same by understanding that not all of us in the West supported the disastrous foreign policy decisions undertaken by Bush and Bliar but maybe that will come over time). For this means that she has much more in common with western secularists (as many have noted on this thread) than the vast majority of literalists of her own religion.

She is so close, soooo close to turning the final corner and realising that freeing herself from the grip of childhood indoctrination far from being a dangerous and frightening step is in reality a liberation. I wish her well and hope she will continue taking one step at a time away from dogma and towards critical acceptance of rational values.


Mon, 23 Nov 2009 07:56:00 UTC | #415668

Go to: Richard Dawkins on Jeremy Vine Show

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by AllanW

64. Comment #433492 by flying goose on November 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm

'The Phenomenon of Science.' by Valentin Turchin 1977.

You can download it here;

The last chapter is about morals and ethics, the rest is a tour-de-force run through scientific fields and the history of science.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 15:34:00 UTC | #415112

Go to: Just say no to sharia law

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by AllanW

I wholly support this rally. The rule of law needs to be seen to apply to all citizens with no exceptions for race, sex or creed. Religiously inspired legal systems cannot afford protection equally for all citizens and actively discriminate against women, homosexuals and others. Demonstrations of support for these principles in this country are necessary to remind our Government of their duty as our representatives.

Why this rally makes the tactical decision to tie the situation in this country with those in other countries is a mistake in my opinion. Concentrating more closely upon the influence that various religious factions have on government policy formation here would I think serve this secular cause better rather than diluting it by highlighting the sterling work done under oppressive circumstances by like-minded secular liberals in other countries. This information is welcome to raise consciousness of the progress that still needs to be made towards the installation of genuinely universal human rights but nevertheless distracts unnecessarily from the work to be done here first.

I listened to a lecture that Grayling gave in Manchester on Wednesday (he will talk at this rally tomorrow as well) and like him I’m dismayed that the vast majority of reasonable, secular and tolerant people in this country (vastly outnumbering the regular church/mosque/Temple/synagogue-attending people) do not find it possible to exert the influence on Government policy that their overwhelming numbers would justify. Why is that?

The reasons why this may be so seem to be that this ‘silent majority’ do not see themselves primarily through the lens of their religious standpoint (as opposed to the religiously inclined for whom it is defining) and so are indifferent or divided as to any particular initiative that is undertaken. The net result is a continuing death by a thousand cuts as secularism in this country is eroded and, to mix a metaphor, we secular liberals are the frogs in the pan as the water is gradually being heated.

I hope that this rally is well supported tomorrow but will continue to try to find ways that more effectively consolidate the voice of the majority of voters in this country.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 13:43:00 UTC | #415067

Go to: Bad Faith Awards 2009: the polls are open

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by AllanW

Richard; Darth Ratzinger is the obvious choice for many people because of the sheer scale of the horror he causes. If he doesn't get the award what does that say about our humanitarian concerns versus petty political points?

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 12:26:00 UTC | #415033

Go to: Richard Dawkins on Jeremy Vine Show

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by AllanW

To add my agreement to his thoughts from the very next section that talks about 'the meaning of life';

To think about the meaning of life is to think about higher goals and this is the highest form of creativity accesible to the human being. Each person must somehow decide this question for themselves since nature has given them just such an opportunity. Assurances that this problem has been solved or assurances that it is insoluble are lies which some use deliberately; others fall back from them from mental laziness and lack of fortitude. The question is, of course, insoluble at the level of pure knowledge; it must include an element of free choice. In one way or another someone creates their highest goals because outside of society 'in nature' there are none. Every person is born with this capability to some extent; to voluntarily reject the use of it is the same thing as for a healthy animal to voluntarily reject physical movement and use of its muscles.

I agree with most of that; humans alone have evolved the ability for higher cognitive skills but have discovered so far no absolute morality that demands acceptance. We must make that moral journey ourselves. Children's perceptions of this journey can be hugely inhibited or corrupted by early-stage indoctrination into a religion rather than being taught about religions IMO.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 11:26:00 UTC | #415027

Go to: Richard Dawkins on Jeremy Vine Show

AllanW's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by AllanW

55. Comment #433412 by flying goose on November 20, 2009 at 10:55 am

Wholly accepted.

Here's a section from an interesting book I'm reading at present;

From the point of view being developed in this book, the general foundation of the highest values recognised at the present time by the majority of the human race does exist; it is inborn, encoded in the structure of the genes of each human being. This foundation is the ability to control the process of associating. It may be tentatively called 'the knowledge instinct' but this is just a figurative expression. The profound difference between this ability and instinct is that instinct dictates forms of behaviour while control of associating mainly permits them. Control of associating is an extremely undifferentiated, multi-valued capability which admits diverse applications.

Turchin then goes on to expand his idea that control of association abilities (encoded) both need and are expanded by social supplementation. This supplementation is the social integration, or lack of it, and forms the basis for human groupings. It is he says through this process of societal supplementation that individual "spiritual values originate." That's exactly where this campaign is targetted; early stage child development.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 11:10:00 UTC | #415025