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Comments by Zamboro

Go to: An Apology

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Zamboro

I hope everyone who threw a fit over the forum closure realizes that in doing so, they played right into the hands of our detractors. Don't think this mess escaped their notice. They love nothing more than to see us at one anothers' throats.

Sun, 28 Feb 2010 20:32:00 UTC | #444926

Go to: Open Your Eyes

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Zamboro

ryguyrv, please stop trying to take credit for evolutionary biology on behalf of medieval Catholic apologists who had no understanding of it.

Sure, by substituting words into their writing as we please, we can make it appear as though they knew things they didn't. But that doesn't mean a whole lot. You can do that with any text.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:14:00 UTC | #434591

Go to: Greenpeace plays on atheist campaign - There's Probably No Cod

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Zamboro

I normally don't care for greenpeace due to their radical methods and anti-nuclear energy stance, but overfishing is a serious problem and any attention that can be drawn to it is a step forward.

Thu, 13 Aug 2009 12:37:00 UTC | #387712

Go to: The power of nonsense

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Zamboro

At the risk of appearing contrarian and in spite of Prof. Dawkins' view on the matter, I agree with Steve Zara's original sentiment.

Anyone who has discussed the Professor's books with moderate theists knows that many persist in the belief that he's a venom spitting ideologue, and that none of his arguments have any merit. How did they come to this conclusion? Most often it turns out that rather than actually read The God Delusion, River Out of Eden or An Ancestor's Tale themselves, they read books like The Dawkins Delusion or The Irrational Atheist. They're uncomfortable reading 'bare arguments' directed against their beliefs as they may not be able to answer them without the aid of an apologist narrator who can refute* those arguments paragraph by paragraph. (* their satisfaction of course, and it doesn't take much of a rebuttal to satisfy a theist hungry for validation)

When we've reached the point where our only exposure to the opposition's arguments is by proxy, we run the risk of dismissing arguments simply because "our guy's" rebuttal seems witty and well reasoned. At what point did we read the argument by itself, without an atheist's commentary? Has the opposition's argument really been dispensed with objectively, or just to the atheist's satisfaction?

Imagine how we'd appear if we allowed our enemies to define us. We all know how our arguments appear when mangled and misrepresented by creationists, for instance. Shouldn't we aspire to greater objectivity?

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 16:31:00 UTC | #377258

Go to: Atheists target UK schools

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Zamboro

Auraboy: "Hang on...are we the militant minority who have no chance of de-establishing Religion or an abusive power hungry majority punishing the poor Christian minority? Make up your mind."[/quote]

This rang a bell, so I did a quick search and presto:

"When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers of Ur-Fascism must also be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy."

This is from "14 ways to look at a Blackshirt", a brief rundown of the defining properties of Facist thought. The more of this we see, the more panicked and defensive they are likely becoming.

Sat, 25 Apr 2009 22:48:00 UTC | #353473

Go to: Prepare for an ugly battle in Texas

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Zamboro

Bring it on, godbags.

Sat, 01 Nov 2008 19:34:00 UTC | #262730

Go to: Have-a-go deaths are never a waste

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Zamboro

This must be a British thing. Call us Americans violent all you like, but enough of us are registered gun owners that yobs would not last ten seconds over here. Beyond that it's a cultural thing; films, television, even cartoons drill it into us from a young age that it is heroic and proper to violently intervene when someone is being victimized. A better way? Maybe not, but we don't have a yob problem.

Thu, 02 Oct 2008 05:36:00 UTC | #245097

Go to: Cartoons from Turkey

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Zamboro

Torcant: "Also, Islam has no problem with billions of years."

Whether or not it can be creatively reimagined to accommodate recent scientific findings, Islam remains wrong on several important matters, such as the existence of a god and the countless claims involving supernatural events contained within.

This is not an attack on your person, nor on Turkey, which I admire precisely because of its strong secular tradition. It addresses only the factual veracity of the claims made within the Qur'an and Hadith.

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 13:25:00 UTC | #242148

Go to: Cartoons from Turkey

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Zamboro

Torcant: "Creationism in Turkey isn't more widespread than in the US."

That's not true, see here:

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #242129

Go to: No atheist burials in Co Donegal

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by Zamboro

In all sincerity, I'd like to be frozen. With the understanding that the brain is the totality of who we are comes the concern for what happens to all that beautifully stored information after death. The idea that it should just rot into mush displeases me. Although it serves no purpose other than my comfort and vanity I'd prefer my brain be frozen so that the sum total of my experiences in life may continue to exist in a tangible form.

Fri, 29 Aug 2008 17:26:00 UTC | #226740

Go to: Ten Commandments' of race and genetics issued

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by Zamboro

Do we really need these guiding principles? Isn't an honest pursuit of the truth, whatever it may be, sufficient? These "principles" seem designed to avoid undesirable conclusions.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 09:52:00 UTC | #202315

Go to: Stephen Hawking's explosive new theory

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Zamboro

Hi Oystein! I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the way your expert knowledge enriches comment threads related to astrophysics.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 19:57:00 UTC | #191917

Go to: Oystein Elgaroy - the Christian defender who became an Atheist

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 151 by Zamboro

I think Oystein would do well to author a book address to liberal Christians. He seems to nail the rationale underlying their defense of theism as well as the tactics used to do so. He is therefore uniquely suited to the task of reaching out to them, not only in a confrontational sense but in a sympathetic one as well. I suspect many want to lay down the burden but feel as though they need 'permission', or the understanding of someone who has been through the tunnel and come out the other side; perhaps the guidance of a former moderate theist would ease the transition.

The reason I suggest this is because above all else I was impressed at the way in which he came clean and identified what we all suspected were the intellectually dishonest motivations behind using specific bits of apologetics; He's like a magician who has revealed his tricks, much to the consternation of other magicians. If he were to then turn around and address those other magicians and call them out on their tricks, explicitly laying out their arsenal of tactics and their real motivations behind using each one, it would be at once a devastating blow and an invitation to come forth as he did and admit that it's all smoke and mirrors. After all, once the curtain has been thrown back to reveal Oz, the jig is up.

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:52:00 UTC | #185659

Go to: Oystein Elgaroy - the Christian defender who became an Atheist

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 144 by Zamboro

Rawhard Dickins: "So why did it take this guy so long to work through some pretty simple logic?"

Have you ever been religious? Simple though it may be to follow the path of reasoning from the available evidence to atheism, there are significant emotional roadblocks in the way. None of us are robots; as human beings we are swayed strongly by emotion, and a combination of childhood conditioning and societal pressures can form some pretty solid obstacles. Nothing to scoff at, anyway.

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:23:00 UTC | #185625

Go to: Oystein Elgaroy - the Christian defender who became an Atheist

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 132 by Zamboro

Oystein: I often hear the names of accomplished astrophysicists and other scientists who believe in God trotted out in support of the notion that a God exists.

This is usually a response to books, videos and well known arguments put forth by famed atheistic scientists. The theist sees only the authority of the scientists involved and doesn't realize they're meant to be persuaded by the arguments themselves. So, in an effort to fight fire with fire, they bring on the parade of theistic scientists....Often dropping names from literally centuries ago, their list suspiciously bereft of modern theistic scientists with the same sort of clout.

I don't believe this is a dishonest tactic because I don't believe any intentional dishonesty is behind it. Theists I've spoken to honestly do perceive the atheist majority within the national academy of sciences to be more persuasive than all the articulate, well reasoned books we could ever throw at them. Consequently the "famous thinkers who believed in God" approach is just a misguided response to a perceived appeal to authority.

What's the significance of all this? Simple: The core misunderstanding on the part of the theist is thinking that the scientists on their list were great because they believed in God. In truth, it was because they practiced good science; because despite their critical blind spot when it came to theism, they were otherwise quite rational and discerning. It was reason, rationality, logic, intelligence and a dedication to practicing the scientific method as objectively as possible that made them great scientists. They were such in spite of, not because of, their anciliary religious beliefs.

From what little I've seen this seems to be true of you as well. Had you continued in your career as a token theistic scientist you'd likely have wound up on a lot of "look how many scientists believe in God" lists. Instead of recognizing that you practiced solid science, the credit would go to your assent to theistic ideas; You would be valued by theists not because of your sharp mind and dedication to science, but because you happened to also share their beliefs.

I personally value you because you're evidently a very capable, intelligent scientist. The things you've discovered and will continue to discover will do real, concrete good in the world. A billion people praying for increased harmony and wellbeing wouldn't accomplish a damned thing; if I were to isolate a single force in the world which has reliably provided drastic improvements in quality of life throughout history, it would be technology. The judicious application of discoveries made by scientists like yourself has done infinitely more to alleviate suffering, feed the hungry and mend the ill than any priest in any church in all the world.

..And you know what? I'd feel the same if you were still a theist. =]

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:27:00 UTC | #185582

Go to: Debating creationism in Louisiana schools

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Zamboro

I didn't mind the troll, it was moderately funny. The idea of dawkins presiding over the 'practice' of atheism and ordering us to "resume" it made me chuckle. "Proceed with the skepticism!"

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #182124

Go to: Interviews with Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Zamboro

Vanitas: Agreed, thanks for the clarification.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:51:00 UTC | #156104

Go to: Interviews with Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Zamboro

"the more you make a stand for yourself, the easier it becomes and the more you gain the respect you deserve."

We all certainly deserve a basic degree of ethical consideration on account of our humanity, but I hope you don't mean to imply that being an atheist entitles one to additional respect, any more than accepting gravity, evolution or the shape of the earth does....although I suppose there's some merit to championing these scientific truths in an era of opposition (much as we'd champion abolitionists *not* for their common sense conclusion that slavery is ethically impermissible, but instead for their tireless struggle to thwart the regressive forces which greatly outnumbered them)

I'm not saying we can't take pride in our advocacy of reason, only that we oughtn't pat ourselves on the back for doing something which is a moral necessity.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:24:00 UTC | #156089

Go to: A New Flea

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by Zamboro

Big promises from theistic apologists are nothing new. Had they ever delivered on their promises, even once, the world should be a very different place than it is today.

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #153507

Go to: Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Zamboro

It's as though nothing they're convicted of will ever 'stick'. This incident should have been the end of the church as a whole, when combined with their interference with condom distrubution and campaign of misinformation about contraception in Africa.

Instead, they poop out some conciliatory platitudes and go on about their business as though nothing happened, and somehow they get away with it every time.

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 09:52:00 UTC | #153500

Go to: Russell T Davies: Return of the (tea) Time Lord

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Zamboro

I enjoy the imaginative plots, but Doctor Who too often resorts to warm, fuzzy, semi-spiritualist deus ex machina to save the day such as when Rose absorbed the time vortex or when the Doctor was restored to youth and near godlike power by the simultaneous prayers of everyone on Earth in the last episode of the arc where The Master takes over the Earth with the help of the 'Toclafane'. It seemed like they wrote themselves into a corner and then came up with some ridiculous "power of prayer" nonsense to pull the Doctor's ass out of the fire. We need less of that, and more clever, well thought out last minute solutions.

Sat, 12 Apr 2008 11:01:00 UTC | #151602

Go to: Inadequate, private and late apology with grotesquely inadequate excuse

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 122 by Zamboro

Whatever, I forgive her. I am not so easily offended that I'd demand an apology to all atheists, what I really want is for her to research Lincoln's actual ideological leanings and learn something.

Sat, 12 Apr 2008 10:33:00 UTC | #151595

Go to: Expelled Overview

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 167 by Zamboro

It's frankly a bit confusing and scary that there are really people in the world unwilling to make a statement like "It would be good if nobody were born with mental or physical defects".

Who would honestly wish that children *continue* to suffer from such conditions when an ounce of prevention and the moral bravery necessary to apply it could make the beautiful dream of a world nearly free of hereditary defects into a reality within a matter of decades? No trampling of rights, no forcible sterilization, no anything of the sort. A sensible, unashamed public dialogue concerning the proliferation of hereditary mental defects (and the responsibility of any who has a mentally defective family member to recommend sexual suppressants to them) would do so much good within such a short time that it would leave even the most ardent opponent of the program wondering why we didn't do it sooner.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 21:04:00 UTC | #147082

Go to: Expelled Overview

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 165 by Zamboro

"In these studies, there aren't controls based on white people raised under similar conditions of oppression, and economic conditions"

I dunno how you'd quantify oppression, but there have indeed been tests which drew white applicants from the same economic level, and the results were the same: A difference of around one standard deviation, nearly two between asians and blacks.

Interesting stuff but an awful lot of people seem to have decided what they want the results to be already and are arguing with others based upon that assumption. This goes for both sides. Just keep in mind that sometimes really ugly, unpleasant notions turn out to be true. There is after all a great difference between "is" and "ought".

It's whether we act on such knowledge and how that determines whether we are ethical or not, rather than whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. I for one oppose any sort of discrimination based upon knowledge of genetic background, as we haven't any control over our own ancestry.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 20:46:00 UTC | #147077

Go to: Expelled Overview

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 153 by Zamboro

"This is inherently subjective not objective. If "crippling hereditary conditions" are not inhibiting the ability of its sufferers to procreate then it cannot be objectively said that it is 'derailing the human endeavour entirely'."

Yes, it can. You seem to have confused evolution with the human endeavor. Evolution has no specified goal. Most human beings share the goal that our species should survive in the longterm and continue to become more intelligent and advance, those last two words being key.

"Yes many humans have very well formed definitions of superior and inferior. Many of these humans are referred to as white supremacists. A quick glance at your avatar (olive skin, brown hair, brown eyes) suggests that you would not meet their definitions of superior. I consider myself superior to clearmind, but I would not want to live in a country where he would have the police come and forcibly take him to the hospital to have involuntary surgery."

Well done, you've invoked Naziism. Not that your godwin invalidates your argument in itself, but given the recent damning dissection of Ben Stein's similar smear on evolution you'd think you might be a bit more hesitant to trot out that old chestnut. The problem with your reasoning is that such definitions weren't based on solid factual ground and weren't anchored to a specific goal, they were simply held to be self-evident and worth pursuing for their own sake. Our modern understanding of genetics invalidates notions of racial superiority, but corroborate notions like the heredity of intelligence and the role of genetics in behavioral inclinations.

It's as close to an objective standard of human superiority as we'll ever get to say that a smarter, less aggressive, more compassionate human species would be better than the one we have now. Of course this standard is based upon an axiom in the form of an "if" statement: IF you would like to ensure the longterm survival and continued advancement of the human species, THEN these are the traits which best facilitate that end.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #146763

Go to: Expelled Overview

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 151 by Zamboro

Even vasectomies are unnecessary in an age of libidinal suppressants, the sort they use to rehabilitate sex offenders. After a patient explanation of why it would be irresponsible to have a child and what effect the suppressants would have, provided that they agree to take them, they could simply be included in their allotment of meds.

Simple, cheap, painless and ethical. Not all will volunteer to suppress their own libidos, but if even half of them do, it would make great headway towards reducing the birthrate of mentally defective children (and yes, I stand by that term.)

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 09:32:00 UTC | #146691

Go to: Expelled Overview

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 149 by Zamboro

Jon_Sociologist: I think you misunderstand his position. We've not escaped from the selective process, but it is acting on us differently and favoring different traits as a result of civilization mitigating the selective pressures against what would normally be poor genetic fitness. It's true that evolution is blind and has no notions of superiority or inferiority, but the same is not true of human beings nor should it be. We have very well formed definitions of superior and inferior, however controversial they may be to hyper-sensitive sophists.

Operating under the axiom that the human endeavor to preserve our species by expanding our power and influence is something we all wish to continue, it's objectively true that persisting in policies which favor the reproduction of individuals who have mentally crippling hereditary conditions will inhibit and potentially derail the human endeavor entirely. There's simply no getting around the fatal impracticality of providing for and even assisting the reproduction of individuals who cannot themselves (nor can their offspring) ever contribute anywhere near as much as they consume. It's societal suicide, and only a backwards and self-destructive sort of person would advocate it.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 07:06:00 UTC | #146643

Go to: Christmas Present to Defenders of Darwinism

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by Zamboro

Douglas: "I also disagree with Dr. Dembski's use of farting noises in mocking the puppetry of Judge Jones."

Do you actually think he was a "puppet"? Seriously? The man was a Bush-appointed Republican Christian. The ID side couldn't have asked for a more sympathetic judge. Isn't accusing him of having been a puppet merely a way to rationalize ID's defeat by appealing to paranoid notions of the "evil atheist conspiracy"? Isn't that what every discredited ideology sinks to, making it out to seem as though the sole reason it fails is because the world is out to destroy it?

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 23:23:00 UTC | #146458

Go to: Christopher Hitchens on Real Time with Bill Maher

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 226 by Zamboro

As a counter-point to the Buddhism love-in going on in here:

Mon, 03 Mar 2008 05:21:00 UTC | #130507

Go to: Stop revisionist Christian nation House Resolution 888

Zamboro's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by Zamboro

Over. My. Rotting. Corpse.

Mon, 21 Jan 2008 18:24:00 UTC | #108858