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  1. #221
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    All I see on either end of this atheist/fundamentalist spectrum nowadays is intolerance on both sides.

    Pretentious superiority complexes from atheists and dogmatic self-righteousness from fundamentalists. It's really terrible that each party doesn't realize that most people of either belief system fall somewhere in the middle ground where they understand the others perspective and respect it as their right to believe what they want.

    Personally, it would be awesome if everyone went back to that old rule of politics and religion being off-limit topics for strangers to discuss.
    One similarity I've noticed in both sides is that they tend to be almost Puritanical about how they treat specific goods. Hardcore Fundies also advise against Harry Potter or any form of media that could possibly be interpreted as an affront against their worldview. Both tend to dismiss psychology as a means of explaining the abuse of certain things like Harry Potter because it's either not a hard enough science or because it's not explicitly mentioned in the Bible or the Q'ran.

  2. #222
    Retired Nicki's Avatar
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    That's disappointing.
    I really like cats and food.

  3. #223
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    He does seem to be speculating about whether or not it's harmful, rather than claiming it is.


    That being said, there's a big difference between enjoying a work of imagination, and believing it. I don't see any harm in imagination, at least not by itself. I don't recall being terribly traumatized when I figured out that Santa Claus isn't real, unlike some people. If I have an issue with the "Santa" thing, it's the consumerism aspect, not the "making up a story" part.

    I can't help but think of this exchange from Gilliam's Baron Munchasen:

    Horatio Jackson: Ah, the officer who risked his life by singlehandedly destroying...
    Functionary: [whispering in his ear] Six.
    Horatio Jackson: *Six* enemy cannon and rescuing...
    Functionary: Ten.
    Horatio Jackson: Ten of our men held captive by The Turk.
    Heroic Officer: Yes, sir.
    Horatio Jackson: The officer about whom we've heard so much.
    Heroic Officer: I suppose so, sir.
    Horatio Jackson: Always taking risks far beyond the call of duty.
    Heroic Officer: I only did my best, sir.
    Horatio Jackson: Have him executed at once.
    Soldier: Yes, sir. Come along.
    Horatio Jackson: This sort of behavior is demoralizing for the ordinary soldiers and citizens who are trying to lead normal, simple, unexceptional lives. I think things are difficult enough as it is without these emotional people rocking the boat.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


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  4. #224
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I can read that he is speculating over what impact fantasy has on the human mind. My impression is that he does tend to be a bit narrow, and I wouldn't expect him to understand artistic processes. Those seem quite alien to the way his mind works. No one understands everything, and I don't expect him to be right about everything. I know some rather high level scientists who disagree with his scientific positions, although I don't have the understanding to accept or reject his theories. He seems like a conscientious thinker, highly intelligent, but not someone who understands everything - just like everyone.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  5. #225

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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I can read that he is speculating over what impact fantasy has on the human mind. My impression is that he does tend to be a bit narrow, and I wouldn't expect him to understand artistic processes. Those seem quite alien to the way his mind works. No one understands everything, and I don't expect him to be right about everything. I know some rather high level scientists who disagree with his scientific positions, although I don't have the understanding to accept or reject his theories. He seems like a conscientious thinker, highly intelligent, but not someone who understands everything - just like everyone.
    I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure no one would say the same thing about the individuals who venture opinions about how the Harry Potter books are ruinous because they are portraying witchcraft, ie the religious fundamentalists.

    This is a good piece, well found @Peguy, because it shows how much Dawkins is coming to mirror his opponents.

    What most interesting about this thread is the extent to which people are willing to still "go to bat" for him, ie rationalise, frame and reframe, excuse, explain away, instead of saying simply that he could've been wrong about things this time, it's not even like doing so wouldnt mean that you think he's correct in other things.

    To think the left, with whom atheism is associated and most often likes to associate itself, used to pride itself, at least in some quarters, on being critical thinkers or critically reflective, at least in contrast to their opposition.

    I'm actually happy because I read fairy tales and fiction for precisely the reason Dawkins thinks they're a bad idea.

  6. #226
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure no one would say the same thing about the individuals who venture opinions about how the Harry Potter books are ruinous because they are portraying witchcraft, ie the religious fundamentalists.
    You could be right about that. I wasn't expressing my personal feeling about him because I don't care for him or his ideas, and I could be a bit more explicit about it if it seemed relevant to do so.

    I'll have to read through everything again because if he is saying that the Harry Potter books are ruinous for certain and not just wondering about their effect, then the two cases you give would be equivalent. If Dawkins is saying fiction "might" be harmful and a religious leader also says fiction "might" be harmful, then both positions should be treated at the same level as well.

    I think developing the imagination is very important and metaphor is a way to understand those things which move beyond our experience. They can be a way to exercise even a type of empathy and reasoned speculation without which it is difficult to gain new knowledge.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  7. #227
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    From an evolutionary biologist's point of view, I find Richard Dawkins too close minded, not only regarding religion, but also on the other side, regarding other evolutionists. His 'selfish gene' theory is interesting and true in a way, but he won't open up to the other 'side', ie the theory of cooperation and symbiosis proposed by Margulis. He's also stuck in a tree-like pattern for the evolution of life on earth, and doesn't accept, consider or even begin to understand the newer vision (which has been around since at least 1995) that there isn't a tree but a web of life. He's just a sad old fart in my eyes.

  8. #228

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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    You could be right about that. I wasn't expressing my personal feeling about him because I don't care for him or his ideas, and I could be a bit more explicit about it if it seemed relevant to do so.

    I'll have to read through everything again because if he is saying that the Harry Potter books are ruinous for certain and not just wondering about their effect, then the two cases you give would be equivalent. If Dawkins is saying fiction "might" be harmful and a religious leader also says fiction "might" be harmful, then both positions should be treated at the same level as well.

    I think developing the imagination is very important and metaphor is a way to understand those things which move beyond our experience. They can be a way to exercise even a type of empathy and reasoned speculation without which it is difficult to gain new knowledge.
    In Adam Smith and other enlightenment influenced rationalists imagination is highly significant and important, the metaphor of the invisible hand is meaningless for instance if you can not "imagine" it, but in a greater sense Smith's System of Moral Sentiments explains how sentimentality, ie sympathy with others, is impossible without imagination.

    All that stands in direct opposition to the sort of rationalism or reason which Dawkins is exemplifying here but there's something awful about the idea that if you can repress or prevent young peoples exposure to imaginative reading or flights of fancy they'll be more susceptible to your own thinking about metaphysics, I dont see how that differs at all from religious authorities and their maxims about give me the boy until seven and I will give you the man and stuff of that kind which secularists and atheists do their nut about and panick about.

    It impresses upon me that no matter how much its moderated as "musing" or "wondering" or "speculating" that the idea is about preventing any deviation from a particular way of thinking in the name of "open mindedness", there's something totally wrong with that.

    Sorry, I wasnt singling your post out, I replied to it but I was also making a stand alone response to the thread too.

  9. #229
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I think developing the imagination is very important and metaphor is a way to understand those things which move beyond our experience. They can be a way to exercise even a type of empathy and reasoned speculation without which it is difficult to gain new knowledge.
    I hadn't even considered it from that angle. I was coming at it more from the angle that it is extremely absurd to propose that it may be a good idea for people to only engage in activities that reflect an empirically verifiable reality.


    1. We don't always have all the facts in life.
    2. Facts can sometimes be changed.
    3. Creativity and imagination can be an intense source of pleasure, and I don't see why that should be denied to people for the sake of molding them to some bullshit political agenda.


    Regardless of what Dawkins was actually saying, this quote is another reason why, despite my atheistic leanings, I prefer apatheism and secularism to Dawkin's antitheism.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
    http://kevan.org/johari?name=Birddude78

  10. #230

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkgraffiti View Post
    From an evolutionary biologist's point of view, I find Richard Dawkins too close minded, not only regarding religion, but also on the other side, regarding other evolutionists. His 'selfish gene' theory is interesting and true in a way, but he won't open up to the other 'side', ie the theory of cooperation and symbiosis proposed by Margulis. He's also stuck in a tree-like pattern for the evolution of life on earth, and doesn't accept, consider or even begin to understand the newer vision (which has been around since at least 1995) that there isn't a tree but a web of life. He's just a sad old fart in my eyes.
    I'm actually really glad to see this because its the reason I dislike Dawkins, I knew he was an arch atheist but I dont really worry about that sort of thing, its a tired debate kept alive for the sake of some of its proponents at this point I think, but because of the selfish gene theories.

    There are theist and atheist evolution theorists who reject him altogether as a sort of classical charles darwin fanboy who takes up a lot of the already done to death diatribes and debates reviving them for new audiences. In the process he's not really advancing knowledge but feeding an audience who want to appear in the know instead. I dont think that's a good thing or a service to anyone, least of all knowledge.

    The web theories of the upward, evolution growth of life is more credible than the tree but there are systems and reciprocity models which make much more sense than competition, things beyond simple tit for tat or co-operative game theory models (you might have been talking about these though). The thing about Dawkins is that I kind of think he has a little knowledge of something and a lot of pride in being an intellectual, whatever unfair and unwarranted savaging he got from ignoramuses back in the day has left its mark on him and effected everything he has produced since, not simply in his interaction between them and himself either but himself and everyone.

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