This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by Cook@Tahiti

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Cook@Tahiti

America has succeeded where Russia's recent Mars mission (Fobos-Grunt) failed. And Britain's Mars mission (Beagles II) failed. And most of Japan's recent missions have had major problems.

After no Mars missions in the 1980s and a few failures in the 1990s, JPL-NASA have had flawless landings for Spirit & Opportunity, Phoenix and Curiosity. Good on 'em. They do it better than any other country.

Where's China?

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 15:26:02 UTC | #950431

Go to: Rise of religion in Russia

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Cook@Tahiti

As standard of living declines, religiosity increases, and vice versa. It's one of those sociological inverse correlations.

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 12:28:29 UTC | #950355

Go to: Conspiracies taking over where religion left off

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Cook@Tahiti

The reason why there's no evidence to all this stuff (e.g. reptilian overlords, chemtrails, 9-11, fake moon landings, face on Mars, Bilderberg Group, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Trilateral Commission, Rothschilds controlling world banking, Area 51, ancient aliens, Atlantis, etc) is that it's been covered up.

You're either a sheep (wake up sheeple!!) or you're in on it.

Remember, you only see what they want to you see. Everything happens is for a reason.

There's no evidence because they control the media, the government, the internet... everything.

Sure, it's unfalsifiable, but how else are you going to explain what's REALLY happening?

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 16:37:20 UTC | #949849

Go to: The Dark-Matter Ages

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 12 by Red Dog :

Comment 10 by Ornicar :

Sorry Mr. Krauss but who cares ? Research is important. Physics, darn important. But would next discoveries be made in Brasil, India or Angola doesn't matter for science.

You know, it's a tiny ball of rock in the middle of a huge, cold, hostile and expending universe. South Dakota or Vladivostok is all the same from a Big Bang point of view.

I agree that from the standpoint of science it doesn't matter where new results come from. But research funding isn't a zero some game. If the US stops a serious commitment to basic research there is no guarantee that someone else will pick up the slack. And while it doesn't matter to science or to the world as a whole it should matter to any US citizen who loves their country and wants to see it prosper in the future. In the past science and new technology were always one of the main drivers of the US economy. For selfish reasons its ridiculous for the US to abandon that now.

Stop voting for the same two parties if they keep letting you down. Seems ridiculous to complain the government is doing x & y, and then vote them in again.

Sun, 17 Jun 2012 00:46:22 UTC | #947732

Go to: Is Pleasure a Sin?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

Puritanism - the fear that someone, somewhere is happy

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 22:10:38 UTC | #945965

Go to: An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 13 by All About Meme :

Comment 6 by Rosbif

Do I get a rebate on my "We're all Africans" t-shirts?

+1 No rebate. Humans still come from Africa. Earlier species come from elsewhere. Who knows - the Cambrian explosion may have occurred at a point long subducted under some tectonic shelf.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:43:54 UTC | #945703

Go to: An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Cook@Tahiti

Not really human if it's 37 million years ago.

Anatomically modern humans are 200,000-250,000 years old.

Another sensationalist headline that 'overcooks' the conclusion.

Geography means less and less as you go back further in time as all the continents were together a couple of times and were moving about the entire planet.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 11:41:48 UTC | #945671

Go to: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Cook@Tahiti

That's a lot of nutjobs. Is any of RDF's et al work over the years making any impact? Is the nutjob line trending down at all?

Sun, 03 Jun 2012 19:30:55 UTC | #945329

Go to: Mars 'has life's building blocks'

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Cook@Tahiti

One could also draw the opposite conclusion. The building blocks of life are present on Mars, but there is no life on Mars, therefore you need more than just the building blocks, therefore you lower, not raise, the probability of life throughout the universe. We already know C, H, O, N are everywhere.

Mon, 28 May 2012 13:44:49 UTC | #943970

Go to: The Center of all Things

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Cook@Tahiti

Who's this 'we' the narrator keeps talking about? Most of the 7 billion humans currently alive are theists.

Wed, 23 May 2012 22:52:28 UTC | #943185

Go to: Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally to Discuss Risks of Internet

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Cook@Tahiti

It's amazing how much Ultra Orthodox Judaism has in common with Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia.

Wed, 23 May 2012 09:16:25 UTC | #943072

Go to: Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally to Discuss Risks of Internet

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Cook@Tahiti

The first law of any cult is to limit or strictly control engagement with the outside world. It doesn't matter if it's Scientology or North Korea.

Tue, 22 May 2012 23:52:44 UTC | #943005

Go to: Update - Podcast June 5 Interview with Peter Boghossian - "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Cook@Tahiti

My conversations go more like this:

Unbeliever: You don't even know the Bible, nor do you go to Church. How do you know you'll go to Heaven?

Believer: God is merciful and loving.

Unbeliever: But have the read the fine-print? Surely this is really important... either you're going to live forever in paradise or you'll be tortured forever. Isn't it important to get it right? What if God finds out you worked on a Sunday, thereby breaking one of the 10 Commandments. And you swore the other day. This COULD be enough to get you disqualified.

Believer: I don't think God, in all his mercy, would send a good person to Hell, even if he did a few minor things wrong.

Unbeliever: But how do you KNOW that for sure? Aren't you just assuming? Did He actually tell you which rules are flexible?

And so on. In other words, the believer wants to do whatever he likes, and still assumes God will be give him the thumbs up. Pretending to know things they can't know.

I'm always amazed how relaxed most Christians are about it. If it were true, and so much depended on it, you'd think it'd be rational behaviour to go through the rules with a fine tooth-comb and obey each one obsessively.

Mon, 21 May 2012 23:54:13 UTC | #942712

Go to: Live Slow, Die Old

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Cook@Tahiti

The light that shines twice as bright shines half as long -Tyrell

Fri, 18 May 2012 22:55:04 UTC | #942239

Go to: Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Cook@Tahiti

You can fool 80% of people 100% of the time

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:30:51 UTC | #941588

Go to: The brain… it makes you think. Doesn't it?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 12 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 6 by Rtambree

It's a curious position from a scientist. But there are other scientists who distance themselves from reductive materialism, while remaining atheists. Sam Harris' flirting with Buddhism has been endlessly discussed on this site. Paul Davies flirted with some sort of deistic knob-twiddler (intelligently designed laws of physics). Robert Winston is another in this category eager to say 'science can't explain everything, therefore....' and so the door is left open. Melvyn Bragg also comes to mind - an unbeliever, yes, but can't accept the implications of disbelief.

What Tallis and some of the others you mention have in common is an objection to the sort of 'nothing but....' science that sees reductionism in quite literal terms of having to 'reduce' everything to 'only' this or that. Those sort of 'only' judgements ( for example 'consciousness is only a small part of brain activity' ) are not proper science......but are instead a form of negative anthropomorphism that a lot of scientists seem to feel they have to convey to appear as good reductionists.

I'm all for scientists who question the 'only' paradigm. The word 'only' is a subjective human judgement and does not belong in science.

The 'only' in a negative sense, is just a value judgement. It's analogous to the half-empty glass. One can say that we 'only' live 80 years but they can be filled with wonder, excitement, learning, love, mystery, etc. The brain is only 1.5kg of C,H,O, N, K, etc but it's capable of so much creativity and introspection.

Sun, 06 May 2012 10:13:29 UTC | #940122

Go to: The brain… it makes you think. Doesn't it?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Cook@Tahiti

Tallis speaks like a dualist, but claims he isn't. Rather than suggesting an alternative line of enquiry, he's happy to pre-emptively dismiss 'reductive' neurology as fruitless in uncovering insights into the nature of consciousness. Tallis attacks the extreme position of 'scientism' - that we've found or are near to finding all the answers to everything. This is a position that no one holds. He seems motivated by 'human exceptionalism' - that we're not 'just' animals, that we do have free will, rather than being automata. He claims there is a fundamental difference between humans and chimps, rather than the two just lying on a continuum. While this sounds suspiciously like a religious motivation, he does insist he's a secular humanist/atheist signed up to Darwin, etc. Tallis' a priori assertions are sustained only by the re-defining of concepts, in other words an exercise in semantics.

It's a curious position from a scientist. But there are other scientists who distance themselves from reductive materialism, while remaining atheists. Sam Harris' flirting with Buddhism has been endlessly discussed on this site. Paul Davies flirted with some sort of deistic knob-twiddler (intelligently designed laws of physics). Robert Winston is another in this category eager to say 'science can't explain everything, therefore....' and so the door is left open. Melvyn Bragg also comes to mind - an unbeliever, yes, but can't accept the implications of disbelief.

Sat, 05 May 2012 22:41:34 UTC | #939991

Go to: Australia's blurred separation between church and state

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 26 by SonofHades :

@Macropus

The chaplains policy is blatantly wrong for a number of reasons and I'm unhappy about the fact that Gillard's government is continuing it, but perhaps you are being a tad harsh on the PM over this issue.

There's a difference between "supporting the status quo to appease the right wing of her party and powerful (and wealthy) religious interests" and reluctantly abiding by the majority view of the party, and I'm not sure that Gillard falls into the former category rather than the latter. Taking the disagreement outside the party room and into the public arena could well be disastrous. When there are so many important things at stake in how the country is governed, upsetting the apple cart over school chaplains would be daft.

We want atheists and firm secularists in positions of power. If they're in the minority they may not be able to have much of an effect when it comes to a vote, but one less theism advocate is a good thing. The atheists/secularists can operate within the limits of what the majority is willing to tolerate to reduce religious influence, or they can stick their necks out and have their heads chopped off.

We know Gillard is an atheist and is therefore likely to resent this policy. The members of parliament who are the real supporters of this nonsense deserve our ire to a much greater extent.

Sorry, but if Gillard/ALP's policies = Liberal Party policies, then they deserve the same condemnation. Stop trying to rationalise it as an apologist. If anything the ALP deserves MORE condemnation because that's not the direction they should be moving in, whereas we expect that from the Liberal Party.

Tue, 01 May 2012 23:55:28 UTC | #938854

Go to: The Consolation of Philosophy

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Cook@Tahiti

Some of the arguments against Krauss' original (less accommodationalist) position sound eerily similar to the arguments theists use e.g. science can't explain everything, therefore that's where religion/philosophy step in. Or science can't guide moral principles, therefore that's where religion/philosophy steps in.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 21:08:10 UTC | #937816

Go to: It’s Time for the US To Finally Sign the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 17 by Stafford Gordon :

Incidentally, it was none other than Che Guevara who persuaded Khrushchev to install missiles on Cuba; a manoeuvre that did indeed bring the world to the brink of thermo-nuclear war.

I wonder how many of his T shirt wearing fans know that?

Well I've seen the documentary "X-Men - First Class" too, and didn't prior US deployment of nuclear missiles in Italy/Turkey have something to do with it?

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 14:05:53 UTC | #937475

Go to: In defence of obscure words

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Cook@Tahiti

Orwell's Rules of Writing:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Bonus Rule: Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 21:12:26 UTC | #936806

Go to: Did Humans Invent Music?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Cook@Tahiti

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the argument:

Animals can't write music Humans can compose symphonies Therefore we're different from animals Therefore... God exists

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 14:02:13 UTC | #936460

Go to: Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss: Something from Nothing, at ANU (Canberra Australia)

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 14 by Perfect Tommy :

Hmm, I didn't know that the PM of Australia was an atheist. Now that's pretty good news :)

Is it? If you actually judge by POLICY, then it doesn't seem to make any difference. She doesn't believe in gay marriage and she continues to support faith schools and state-funded religious school chaplains. I can't see any area of policy where the atheism expresses itself.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 23:20:29 UTC | #936376

Go to: Why do French intellectuals "know nothing about science"?

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Cook@Tahiti

There is no prominent anti-Freud crusader in any country, like there is with homoeopathy or religion or spoon-bending or other woo.

For some reason, Freud gets a blind-eye from the skeptic movement.

You'll find the odd sentence or two dismissing Freudian interpretations in Pinker or Ramachandran , but there's no sustained polemic by any current public intellectual denouncing the entire psychoanalysis industry. The amount of academic time & energy that has been wasted on Freud throughout the 20th century is staggering.

Freud needs its 'strident' Dawkins.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:54:55 UTC | #936157

Go to: How Sexual Prudery Makes America a Less Healthy and Happy Place

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

Surprising to hear the (atheist) Chinese censoring the brief nude scene in Titanic 3D.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:13:32 UTC | #935376

Go to: What Is Science? From Feynman to Sagan to Asimov to Curie, an Omnibus of Definitions

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 17 by Bipedal Primate :

Comment 10 by Mr DArcy :

Rtambree:

Science = Reality

If I could amend that a bit:

Science is the best current understanding of reality.

How about: Science provides the best means to understand reality.

Not the best, but the only.

Sun, 15 Apr 2012 09:57:51 UTC | #934776

Go to: Pell, Dawkins wage battle of belief

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 84 by Cook@Tahiti

Judging by the comments here, half the regulars on this site could have had Pell for breakfast with snappy retorts to his incoherent ramblings. The Catholic Church has got such a big soft underbelly due to its history of slavery, corruption, complicity with fascism, misogyny, anti-science, paedophile scandals, etc, etc. It shouldn't have been too hard to 'own' Pell like Fry & Hitchens owned Anne Widdecombe in a debate in London a few years ago.

Fri, 13 Apr 2012 15:51:47 UTC | #934439

Go to: Update - Sanal Edamaruku under attack for exposing Catholic "miracle"

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by Cook@Tahiti

God's powers are weakening. He used to be able to flood the world and part the Red Sea. Now He's struggling to make statues leak water. Must have lost his Spell Book.

Fri, 13 Apr 2012 15:45:42 UTC | #934435

Go to: Mount Etna eruption expected any time now - webcam

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

The Mayans were right!

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 13:25:30 UTC | #934130

Go to: Pell, Dawkins wage battle of belief

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Cook@Tahiti

A little knowledge about the Catholic Church's complicity with the Nazi Party would have been a fine retort to 'Hitler was an atheist'

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 13:05:13 UTC | #934125