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Comments by PERSON

Go to: Religious Olympics

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by PERSON

The Long-Shot

The trinitathalon, in which competitors participate in three events simultaneously


The Creationist Marathon, run by fleas over a 1cm long track

Holy Roller Skating

Prayer-boxing, in which competitors alternately pray whilst the other boxes

100min dissembling

Posthumous water polo

Priest Dog-collar trials

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 20:52:18 UTC | #950072

Go to: Oxford Gift for Poor Students

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by PERSON

Comment 12 by Mark Ribbands :

 [Removed by moderator]

Comment 8 by Cartomancer

… do it as a matter of policy, through taxing the wealthy more … [my emphasis] 'Tax the rich!'? Rubbish! And more suited to a pathetic 70's Student Union meeting than one of Cartomancer’s usually erudite and considered submissions.

Do you really think that would work? The rich, by definition, are not stupid. Tax them too much and they simply leave the country. The easy worldwide mobility of wealth and talent has never been greater than it is today.

Myth. They say they'll leave the country. They don't actually do it. Why would they need to? They have enough money even with a higher tax rate. The disadvantages of losing public services, citizenship, etc, outweigh the loss of money that they don't really have a practical requirement for, money that will be used for speculative schemes, fripperies and little else.

Oh, and "The rich, by definition, are not stupid"? Really? Why on earth not? Have you never heard of inheritance?

I hear there are many livers of life there too!

That's a flowery term for cirrhosis.

It's worth noting that it's not only politics (ideology) and religion that do that, but also business tradition and its mathematical poets, the economists.

Just to be clear, I agree with Cartomancer's point, though I think I have more enthusiasm for the news. This is a good action by a (presumably) good person, but like buying "The Big Issue" it shouldn't be necessary in the first place.

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 06:46:15 UTC | #949486

Go to: The Dark-Matter Ages

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Comment 4 by mordacious1

Hey, that's how we got the internet...

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 10:57:28 UTC | #947548

Go to: Cleric says polio vaccination 'un-islamic', warns of jihad against docs

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by PERSON

You don't have to be Muslim to believe this sort of stuff. There was the MMR fuss, and at the moment (mement?) the fundies are pushing conspiracy theories about contraception, abortion and HPV vaccination, the latter with help from the unaffiliated anti-vaccine crowd.

It's very tempting to go with intuition. Instinctively, parents do not want their child to be "harmed", i.e. have a needle stuck in them. They don't want them to be upset or have to deal with the pain of it. They then rationalise that by allowing themselves to be convinced by the anti-vaccine stories. If their child is sick, and that happens around the time of the vaccination, they blame the vaccine. If they hear the stories of such people, they become concerned (and the story tellers are self-selecting: those who don't have problems don't have such passion) and again their instinct is to be protective. And, to be fair, large pharmaceutical and synthetic chemical companies have been pretty badly behaved, both as of late and in the past (valium, oxycodone, thalidomide, DDT, agent orange, etc). The Nixon medical system in the US is an appalling farce of perverse incentives and exploitation. It's not surprising if they don't trust the medical establishment, sadly.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 17:50:09 UTC | #947431

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

To a politician or a bureaucrat

Or a theocrat pushing to get state funding for their nonsense. A loophole is a loophole, and needs to be plugged.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 10:46:03 UTC | #947027

Go to: Church pastors become atheists

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Comment 3 by strangebrew

Exactly. The report was very unsympathetic to the problems the pastors face having started out honestly then drifted to a forced dishonesty. It didn't deal with the forces stopping them from just leaving.

mordacious1 said:

selling Amway products

AmWay, I understand, is rather cultish.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:49:27 UTC | #947023

Go to: Inspirational atheism

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Comment 22 by Caper :

But it does seem that atheism lacks a charismatic preacher

Sorry, but the last thing we need is a "charismatic speaker". It's what someone says, not who said it.

"It is what..." what is "it"?

Also we're talking about how someone speaks, not who they are. Would you complain about a desire for advocates to be articulate? Highly literate? Neither of these are necessary for someone to be intelligent or to understand the arguments.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 08:35:41 UTC | #947012

Go to: School Challenge

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by PERSON

Our RE teacher was a fundie with an absurd bowl cut who showed us neocon videos about the dangers of Rock and Roll. I don't recall learning anything (except quite how crazy fundies are), though I do remember Viz running an article about standards of graffiti in R.E. textbooks in 2002 or so. They were slipping, apparently.

There was another guy who taught us a few words of ancient Greek and their significance, which was kind of interesting-- though I've forgotten the details it probably helped spur me to learn the Greek alphabet-- and some philosophical and logical ideas, but he was only there a couple of times.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 07:01:56 UTC | #946996

Go to: Major Threat to Religion? Clergy People Coming Out as Atheists

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The Clergy Project is also a selective force, of course. So it will have a radicalising effect, because moderates will be eliminated. The question then is whether religion will destroy itself or society and democracy first.

On the other hand, if it becomes big enough and happens quickly and permanently enough, it could deal a crippling blow. Such blows have not stopped religion yet, note.

Mon, 11 Jun 2012 14:55:26 UTC | #946872

Go to: Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to be spent on faith-based education

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Comment 31 by TerryStokeB

You want it to be mandated that children nationwide receive information based on scientific consensus? Socialist! Fascist! Tool of the NWO! Freedom-hater! Puppy killer! Muslim sympathiser! Communist! Satanist!

(did any of those stick? if so, please forward them as chain emails to your full address book)

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 13:44:27 UTC | #946730

Go to: Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to be spent on faith-based education

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Comment 16 by Nerevarine

Well, a set is just another name for a class... perhaps they think set theory is Communist?

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 01:01:29 UTC | #946678

Go to: Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to be spent on faith-based education

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by PERSON

Comment 12 by Neodarwinian

It's an insider-targeted reference to Matthew 5:13-16. Saltiness means pleasing to God: full of faith (an impulse to claim to know things one does not know) and the holy spirit (positive reinforcement through ecstatic trance), i.e. unquestioningly obedient to the church hierarchy. That is, orthodox. Light means spreading the message (memeplex) to other people: waking up the sheeple, that kind of thing. It's commonly cited as an instruction to evangelize whilst remaining a true (i.e. pure) believer.

Comment 22 by 78rpm

That shouldn't make it any less of a source of shame. The ruling class has the power, and thus the responsibility-- jointly with those who tolerate or worse support them-- for what happens to the least in their charge.

Comment 17 by Sharpur

I think you're right, in that the supporters of this who know it's BS have a class war race-to-the-bottom ideology. They want to undercut the peasants in China with their own peasants.

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 00:42:42 UTC | #946675

Go to: Why We Don't Believe in Science

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Comment 34 by raindrops

"Less" refers to a graduated quantity. It should be "fewer".

Whatever you think of the writing, the subject matter is interesting. Here're the study and the survey, which are linked to in the article.

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 00:13:22 UTC | #946672

Go to: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 66 by PERSON

The Moonies are a big deal in S. Korea. They had enough money to buy the Washington Times, for instance, and still own it. They have a crazy amount of influence in Washington DC, so presumably considerable clout back home. I'd imagine they're not the only such group in the country, either. I strongly suspect this change is not a result of an external imposition; not a recent one, anyway.

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 23:15:46 UTC | #946236

Go to: Footsteps into a New Life

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Comment 3 by Philoctetes

There are also less Muslims in the US, of course.

And yes, best not to use rumours about ongoing trials as evidence.

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 23:05:22 UTC | #946235

Go to: Expanding the Genetic Alphabet May Be Easier Than Previously Thought

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This could also lead to a spectacular range of new diseases never before encountered by any immune system on Earth. Hopefully not (do you have faith that it won't?)

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 22:57:56 UTC | #946231

Go to: [Update] How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by PERSON

This can't possibly a problem. Christian OK or even good, Muslim bad. Our society is based on a history of Christianity, and that has never produced genocide, has it? Except a few crazy people, but they were acting alone, or completely different from real Christians, or something.

The supreme court is the US' House of Lords, except with far, far more power and a more Byzantine mechanism by which political stooges are installed.

Thu, 31 May 2012 09:28:24 UTC | #944729

Go to: In God We Teach

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by PERSON

This is what theocracy looks like.

The "teacher" is more like a cult leader.

Thu, 31 May 2012 08:18:50 UTC | #944722

Go to: Q&A: Sam Harris

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by PERSON

If he annoys leftists, it's because of how he mischaracterises their views. Some people do feel Hamas should be supported, I'm sure. Others have sympathy for the situation of their members without thinking they're some kind of force for good (or an absolute force for evil: in the same category as fundies, say). Harris lumps this range of opinion together. For me, that, more than anything else he says, is objectionable.

Perhaps I'm jumping the gun, though. I'm going on impressions, memory and the introductory text, which is not by Harris himself.

Thu, 31 May 2012 07:42:27 UTC | #944716

Go to: Violent anti-science anarchists vow to strike again

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by PERSON

Kafka? I must have missed the one about the daft anarchists. Wasn't he more about the insanity of institutions?

Thu, 31 May 2012 07:33:49 UTC | #944712

Go to: 2,000 protesters support gay rights

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by PERSON

It's also about the social control enforced through a would-be monopoly on who has permission to have sex. It must be approved by the patriarchy: the father must "hand over the keys" to his daughter, who should in turn be undamaged goods. Women are owned or conditionally protected. Other deals may have been made on the side. Gays are not subject to paternal approval, since marriage is not a possibility. This is one of the ironies of opposition to gay marriage-- then again, it probably does undermine the notion that paternal approval is the basis of marriage since I'd think pretty much all gay couples do not accept that notion. I think that's where the "gays and their marriages undermine straight marriage" stuff comes from. They are seen to disrupt the deal-making that would go on between families (subject to male veto, of course).

Thu, 31 May 2012 07:22:17 UTC | #944709

Go to: The Politics of Religion

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by PERSON

It's also politically significant: this move got a lot of cover from the hate radio shows, FNC, etc. They seem to have made a pact with the GOP.

Thu, 31 May 2012 07:03:35 UTC | #944707

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

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Comment 5 by Chomolungma

Comment 17 by scottishgeologist I've mentioned this before but I'll ask again,. Are the only opponents of evolution the faith heads?

Well, depends what you mean by faith-heads, and by challenging evolution. There are people who challenge the idea all humans originated in Africa, for instance. There are other people who think that humans are not the only species on earth; that there are reptilians (shape-shifters?)... and others I guess. Another belief: that there are sub-species of human. Not races exactly, but more subtly distinguished, and yet to be described fully by science. Some of these people are atheists, if rather quiet and very accommodationist about it, though they have other unusual beliefs. I think they're few in number, but like people who believe in UFOs and fundies, like economists and literary theorists, they have an influence beyond the circle of true believers.

Tue, 29 May 2012 12:48:21 UTC | #944211

Go to: [Update] note from Richard - CFI student leaders need your help!

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Have you described why anywhere, mordacious1?

Mon, 28 May 2012 10:39:20 UTC | #943944

Go to: Psychiatry Giant Sorry for Backing Gay ‘Cure’

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Comment 7 by zengardener

True. Hopefully it'll make it harder for them to get support, though.

Fri, 25 May 2012 07:30:21 UTC | #943432

Go to: The beauty of creation: an interview with Richard Dawkins

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by PERSON

the volume of the universe is at least millions of times larger than we can see.

I don't see how that can be established. Or can we measure outside the areas we can see somehow?

Thu, 24 May 2012 18:06:51 UTC | #943325

Go to: A Year After the Non-Apocalypse: Where Are They Now?

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Comment 1 by mordacious1

c.f. the followers of the Great Prophet Zarquon in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe".

what do you do with a T-shirt

"Freed! Nelson Mandela"

Thu, 24 May 2012 07:29:46 UTC | #943233

Go to: Ancient walking mystery deepens

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by PERSON

Therefore... goddidditt! Fundie "arguments" scrawled in crayon in 3... 2... 1...

what scientists?

Dr. Stephanie Pierce (RVC and Cambridge), Professor Jenny Clack (Cambridge), and Professor John Hutchinson (RVC), apparently.

A short video of the model.

Thu, 24 May 2012 04:37:27 UTC | #943209

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by PERSON

Comment 50 by brighterstill "Morality is a social construct: WE MADE IT UP. It makes us feel good to live by it and it is conducive to our continued, feel-good existence. There is nothing wrong or illegitimate about this. Just because we invented it, bit by painful, bloody bit, over millenia of living together, with the result being what we see around us today, does not mean it isn't worth following."

Not entirely true, as pointed out in comment 54 by Zeuglodon.

"Distinct moral codes can almost be considered like species: they compete for resources (adherents) and try to reproduce (indoctrinate, educate). They share genes (ideas) and sometimes try to destroy each other. Some are better suited to different environments and they are often regionally distributed"

I don't think they're distinct. They may have components that cause them to distinguish themselves, often attached to signifiers of identity that have little worth beyond that (eating with a particular hand, seeing Christ as God and God's son simultaneously or God's son alone, etc), but there is a lot of commonality amongst different religions.

The analogy with species is useful, but breaks down in several ways. A species cannot radically alter itself in response to its environment. Religions do this all the time. They keep their signifiers the same, but their emphasized beliefs and actual idea/talking point set can change from week to week. Species cannot exchange genetic material by definition. Ideas from different religions (and other sources) are modified and co-opted.

Wed, 23 May 2012 02:09:13 UTC | #943029

Go to: UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 83 by PERSON

From David Mitchell's article (linked above)

"First of all, the whole idea, practically speaking, is pointless. Many, if not most, of the schools to which Gove is arbitrarily sending a King James Bible will already have at least one. For those that do not, the acquisition of one copy of a book is useless for teaching purposes. And the entire King James Bible is available online anyway."

Well, quite. And more to the point:

"Michael Gove is a more senior member of the government. He doesn't just make speeches, he also comes up with "eye-catching initiatives". Whether it's sending out Bibles, buying a yacht for the Queen or letting people set up their own schools, he's got an impresario's gift for keeping us interested. He holds our attention with the £370,000 he's spending on gilded scriptures. It distracts from what's happening with unloved billions elsewhere"

Sun, 20 May 2012 13:01:07 UTC | #942430