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Comments by Niels Thorsen

Go to: An imaginary deity is denounced and debunked

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Niels Thorsen

RE: 12. Comment #14633 by adorno

Horkheimer sounds as if he is describing ever increasing complexity, (evolution), through a form of 'natural selection'.

Niels

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:24:00 UTC | #12770

Go to: Fallen Angels Assault: Heaven at Christmas

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Niels Thorsen

RE: 11. Comment #14649 by Sam: "Most of us atheists are living proof that you don't need faith to be moral."

Just so Sam, I like to think of it this way: All moral humans are living proof that you don't need faith to be moral.

With the realization that there is no 'personal god', this is the clear position to take.

Niels

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:13:00 UTC | #12768

Go to: What I found out about God

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Niels Thorsen

Regarding the article, I think John Humphrys is sincere and his position is honest. He is simply not being rigorous enough to really answer his question.

The scales tipped for me when I realized that everything, (life, the universe, etc.) made much more sense when I understood that there was no 'personal god'. All of the contradictions I once observed, such as 'free will v. intervention', immediately vanished.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 23:47:00 UTC | #12767

Go to: What I found out about God

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Niels Thorsen

RE: 10. Comment #14637 by jbannon

"It is the same with meaning. All meaning in the universe is created by humans (or more generally by sentient creatures to allow for alien civilisations and non-human animals with a degree of sentience)."

I prefer to call this perception rather than think of it as 'meaning'. What exactly is your point? If it is that we cannot really *know* anything for certain, than what is the point of discussing it in the first place?

We have to start somewhere.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 23:39:00 UTC | #12765

Go to: The problem with secularism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Niels Thorsen

Even now, I have pity for them. That is... unless they are aware of what they are doing.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 22:10:00 UTC | #12754

Go to: CBC Segment on Evangelist Christians

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 82 by Niels Thorsen

Edutheria,

I second the thank you for the link. I'm settling down with headphones for an intimate review.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 19:44:00 UTC | #12744

Go to: Fallen Angels Assault: Heaven at Christmas

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Niels Thorsen

Using the words "virtue's originalists" betrays the author's true position and demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the human experience.

There was virtue long before there was religion.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 15:54:00 UTC | #12716

Go to: Religion does more harm than good - poll

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Niels Thorsen

The spokesman for the church said, "It doesn't alter the fact that the Church of England will get 1 million people in church every Sunday, which is larger than any other gathering in the country."

I guess he factored out television and internet audiences.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 15:32:00 UTC | #12708

Go to: The problem with secularism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Niels Thorsen

AND mark these prophetic words…" Darwinism is close to being completely rewritten."

I wonder if the timing of this event will coincide with that of the Second Coming?

Yes… that must be it.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 14:51:00 UTC | #12701

Go to: The problem with secularism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 70 by Niels Thorsen

From the authors:

"Thus religious fundamentalism constitutes an absence of religion that only true religion can correct."

Rewritten this way, it makes much more sense:

Thus [deluded] fundamentalism constitutes an absence of [delusion] that only true [delusion] can correct."

There… that's better.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 14:43:00 UTC | #12697

Go to: The Only One in Step

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Niels Thorsen

RE: 45. Comment #14528 by Roger Stanyard: "Now this is from a very senior educator in the UK! He is openly claiming that what people should believe in science should be based on fear. What happened to the open enquiring mind?

Seems to me that Burgess has accepted one rule for himself (academic freedom) and another for the rest of Britain (fear)."

AND: "Burgess claims that Modern Cosmology and the Theory of Evolution are no more than "ploys by Satan to divert man from belief in God and a literal interpretation of Genesis".

According to the Brights movement in the UK, Burgess claims that, "There is a case for arguing that Satan has deliberately made modern theoretical physics complicated in order to blind people to the truth of the origins of the universe.""

AND: 50. Comment #14543 by ridelo: "I think that those otherwise intelligent professors as youngsters have been immersed in a biblical atmosphere that has made an ineffable imprint on their 'souls'."

AND: 58. Comment #14554 by jbannon: "How can any modern scientist come up with such drivel? I mean someone who actually studies thermodynamics arguing that evolution violates the second law? It is quite beyond my understanding."


I'd like to offer a simple explanation for the behavior of McIntosh and others. To expand upon the quoted posts above, such minds are trapped inside an artificially closed system of thought. HOPE in eternal 'bliss' and FEAR of eternal 'fire' are the mechanisms that close the locks.

I submit that every true believer serves as proof/victim of this mechanism.

It is very much the same mechanism that binds the minds of suicide bombers. The artificially closed system is very powerful and we must not underestimate its ability to maintain such fatal misperception, especially within otherwise very intelligent minds.

We must gain a more comprehensive understanding of this mechanism and acknowledge its influence in this case. It is not enough to simply dismiss it to intentional obfuscation.

Niels

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 07:57:00 UTC | #12672

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 158 by Niels Thorsen

Logicel, Yorker, Jared, Sancus and any other interested person.

RE: Civic Action forum

Great!

Hope to see your posts there.

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 21:44:00 UTC | #12620

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 151 by Niels Thorsen

Why not go ahead with the civic action space by default? Maybe later Josh could move the thread to a more specific forum, once created.

I think it would be a thrilling project for any atheist who wishes to make a difference, as opposed to just bantering back and forth.

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 01:19:00 UTC | #12419

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 150 by Niels Thorsen

All these bright synaptic sparks... and on the darkest day of the year... Imagine!

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 01:12:00 UTC | #12417

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 148 by Niels Thorsen

Hello again,

Thanks for picking up on the suggestion. I like the action step approach submitted by Yorker.

What excites me the most about pursuing this notion is that I think we can actually make an impact.

Could we go ahead with the brainstorm?

I might start by suggesting that the animation concept is powerful. Do we have any Flash resources?

Maybe we can move this off to one of the forums for more efficiency.

I have plenty of content ideas, would love to get some feedback.

Cheers,

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 01:05:00 UTC | #12415

Go to: Richard Dawkins on the Mike Dickin Show

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by Niels Thorsen

Very sorry to learn of his death.

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 00:46:00 UTC | #12411

Go to: CBC Segment on Evangelist Christians

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Niels Thorsen

JohnC, although you argue from sincere intent, I suggest your mistake was made when you initially did not qualify which 'Americans' you were referring to in your beginning comments.

It seems you may have pissed some people off and now they are not open to your position. It's the same sort of immune system defense mechanism we see in most 'isms'. If you hope to penetrate it, you must first at least cloak yourself in empathy.

One last inquiry for JohnC; Have you ever been to America? It is nearly impossible to get a true sense of the animal without spending some quality time with it. I'm genuinely curious if you have and if so, how much time was spent.

Now, back to 'extended phenotypes'… I like Munger's characterization of the 'obsolete element of society'.

Can anyone else perceive this in the way I suggested earlier at post 18?

…'From my perspective, I saw signs of an antiquated ideology grasping at the structure of the more powerful extended phenotype that is surrounding it. This is done in an attempt to adapt or die.'

There is a ground swell against irrationality in the US, our obligation is to add to its momentum. I don't really see how arguing amongst ourselves is going to accelerate humanity to rationality.

Niels

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 00:28:00 UTC | #12410

Go to: CBC Segment on Evangelist Christians

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RE: JohnC

Surely you don't mean all Americans.

Niels

Thu, 21 Dec 2006 01:32:00 UTC | #12173

Go to: Kim Hill interviews Richard Dawkins

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Niels Thorsen

RE: JohnC

Brilliant observation on human foresight, well done. However, I prefer to think of it as human 'perception'.

The astounding human capacity to perceive is matched by an equally astounding capacity to mis-perceive.

Our lazy habit of trusting our perceptions is at the heart of the delusion in question. Sometimes they are wholly unreliable, but it is difficult for us to accept this.

I recommend reading "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.

http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Robert-Cialdini/dp/0688128165

Good things there.

Niels

Thu, 21 Dec 2006 01:22:00 UTC | #12172

Go to: Merry Mithras

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Niels Thorsen

RE: paradigm667

Brilliant posts! You're way ahead of me in the research department.

However, I have read Joseph Campbell, an expert on global cultural myths. His points are much the same about the origins of myth and religion.

I do think that he was too afraid to come right out and state that he was an atheist. Perhaps his reluctance was due to the culture of his generation. Watching his lectures, I distinctly get the impression that he did not wish to offend, with a mind toward getting his audience to stay open to his message.

Even so, the underlying theme is that early humans worshiped the sun (as an expression of a very ill-informed human need to understand our environment) and most religions still do today. They have simply moved to a more egocentric interpretation.

There is much more to be learned from this thread, in fact I have firm intellectual convictions that this is at the heart of why humanity has remained deluded.

Niels

Thu, 21 Dec 2006 00:38:00 UTC | #12168

Go to: CBC Segment on Evangelist Christians

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Niels Thorsen

These images of Holy Land Park and evangelist rock concerts speak more to the American culture of excess than they do to a surge in belief.

From my perspective, I saw signs of an antiquated ideology grasping at the structure of the more powerful extended phenotype that is surrounding it. This is done in an attempt to adapt or die.

I hope that the waning membership statistics purported in this segment are solid. I'd like to know where the 'host' acquired them.

Niels

Wed, 20 Dec 2006 23:47:00 UTC | #12164

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 124 by Niels Thorsen

Logicel; Luthien; Yorker; Jared; Sancus

The comments and direction of your posts are productive. I am particularly excited about the idea of an open-source educational system. I think this is exactly what we need.

If it were internet based, free to access, (perhaps supported by a philanthropic foundation for the promotion of reason), and geared toward children, we might begin to make some headway.

Consider the points made about the lack of self-possession in our adult population. I submit that personal accountability, responsibility and awareness are best learned in childhood.

Our western culture, with its paternal theologies, stunts the psychological progression of those who are indoctrinated into the restrictive system of thought. For most, this indoctrination begins as a child, a process Dawkins refers to as a form of child abuse. I agree with that assessment; however I cannot fully blame the parents. The parents are usually products of the same perpetual system.

Content geared toward children would likely speak to the 'psychologically adolescent' mind of the parent as well. This would be an added benefit to designing the content in this way. Both parent and child might make the journey toward intellectual maturity together, creating a very powerful combination.

Maybe we could share some ideas regarding where to start out. Who's game for the discussion?

Niels

Wed, 20 Dec 2006 21:56:00 UTC | #12162

Go to: The Trouble with Atheism

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 96 by Niels Thorsen

Contrary to many posted observations, Rod Liddle *does* hold fast to a staunch belief system. It's called 'Sensationalism'.

His self-serving style and blatant misrepresentations notwithstanding, there are some good points to observe.

The most profound question posed is that which elicited the response from Richard Dawkins that should atheism win out, ~'mankind might be so weak that it requires something to replace religion'.

This is a critical point and one that must be explored before the rational principles of science and reason are able to satisfy the irrational collective of humanity.

I submit that we, intellectually honest atheists, undertake an approach which recognizes that the bulk of humanity is not ready to accept the raw truths provided by atheism.

Perhaps the answer is a philosophy, firmly based on reason that is inclusive, (and I am strictly *not* implying that it should be tolerant of religious faith), not perceived as elitist. This 'replacement' must appeal equally to the most humble as well as the great intellects among us.

Once had, this philosophy will give traction to the effort, lifting our humanity out of this fantastically irrational muddy bog.

Niels

Wed, 20 Dec 2006 00:20:00 UTC | #12018

Go to: Security tight as Mozart production resumes

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Niels Thorsen

Three cheers for Hans Neuenfels.

Niels

Tue, 19 Dec 2006 22:19:00 UTC | #12005

Go to: Richard Dawkins on the Mike Dickin Show

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Niels Thorsen

Judging from the intellectual thickness of those who called in, this is going to be a long, hard slog.

Hats off to Richard Dawkins for taking this on, we need many more of him.

Niels

Mon, 18 Dec 2006 23:51:00 UTC | #11772

Go to: Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Niels Thorsen

Matthew and his family need to have direct support from the larger international community in this fight.

Niels

Mon, 18 Dec 2006 23:21:00 UTC | #11769

Go to: The Grinch Delusion: An Atheist Can Believe in Christmas

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Niels Thorsen

Ahh Christmas! Another among many fine examples of how social rituals EVOLVE!

I wonder, what form will the celebration assume in the years to come?

Merry Christmas,

Niels

Sun, 17 Dec 2006 23:31:00 UTC | #11620

Go to: Atheist Chic

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Niels Thorsen

This article reflects the malaise that many find themselves in when it comes to confronting the culture of faith. Our society has pursued tolerance for so long that we sometimes (mistakenly) hold it to be as virtuous as others do 'faith'.

Correcting this slide into intellectual oblivion is precisely what Dawkins and Harris are attempting.

I fully agree that selecting the proper moments to speak is the best approach.

Niels

P.S. Yorker, I began to feel nervous just before the needle went in, but afterwards it wasn't as bad as I feared.

Sun, 17 Dec 2006 23:23:00 UTC | #11619

Go to: Kim Hill interviews Richard Dawkins

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Niels Thorsen

Toward the end of the interview, Richard Dawkins is given the opportunity to reveal perhaps the most important purpose of TGD and his subsequent tour. That is to serve as a champion for those who are culturally oppressed and not able to freely express their atheistic views.

This is the case particularly here in America. It is refreshing to hear an interview where the point is so equably pursued by the interviewer. It was a proper pleasure.

Niels

Sun, 17 Dec 2006 22:57:00 UTC | #11615

Go to: Intelligent Design packets

Niels Thorsen's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Niels Thorsen

Once again, the ID proponents think there is a debate between ID and evolution. The only debate to be had is between reason and faith.

Maintaining the focus on reason will always provide a position of strength.

Niels

Sat, 16 Dec 2006 13:14:00 UTC | #11408