1 of 2
1
Humanist House Cleaning
Posted: 15 November 2011 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2011-11-15

I hope that my registration to this forum doesn’t imply membership in CFI.  My introduction to Humanism was my attendance at the Portland Humanist Film Festival this weekend.  I hoped to find a community of my peers and to address the self imposed isolation that is fundamental to the dysfunction in my life.  Since other obligations prevented my attendance at Friday’s presentations, the second movie I was able to see was “Here Be Dragons:  An Introduction to Critical Thinking”.  I was appalled that this hypocritical propaganda piece was not only presented but lauded by the festival organizers.  I realize that this may be a peculiarity of Portland Humanists.  It’s a characteristic of the Portland community to abstain from any criticism (at least publicly) of anyone who proclaims support for the illusion of the moment.

I was particularly bothered by the movie’s denigration of traditional wisdom.  A bit of traditional wisdom that has been a bellwether in my efforts at recognizing my own intellectual shortcomings is:  “We only get angry at actions that reflect our own behavior.”  Though it mirrors what little experience I’ve had with Skeptic publications, I don’t really know how well Dunning represents the Skeptic branch of the Humanist community.  Assuming he’s typical, the generalizations and conclusions presented in “Here Be Dragons” reflect the selective and faulty application of the scientific method that is fundamental to his skepticism of what he labels “pseudoscience”.  Just as the rationalizations on the Q&A page of Dunning’s website reflect the justifications of pseudo-scientists, the failure of mainstream Humanists to criticize this lack of critical thinking reflects the acceptance by mainstream Christianity of fundamentalist hypocrisy.

Having grown up in a Christian fundamentalist community, I’ve been particularly offended by the failure of mainstream Christian congregations to criticize fundamentalist congregations’ denial of the revolutionary aspects of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Central to the myth of Jesus is his transformation of the militant concept of God that was prevalent in his time, to a God of infinite compassion.  Fundamentalist rejection of 90% of the Gospels makes their “Christian” appellation appear to me to be the ultimate hypocrisy.  As an atheist, I’m perfectly comfortable ignoring the other 10% in my appreciation of Jesus as a man of the courage, insight and compassion.  I suppose it’s all politics, but I’m extremely bothered by the willingness of the mainstream Christian community to ignore this sacrilege.

Setting aside the blatant prostitution of Western scientific research to commercial interests, the history of the Western scientific community is rife with political backbiting, denigration of unorthodox research, and the outright suppression of research that is contrary to existing commercial endeavors.  Western scientific institutions might well be lumped in with the religious institutions that are the popular target of Humanist pontificates.  I think that Skeptics need to be very careful in their application of the term “pseudoscience”, since it applies equally to much of what most people consider scientific inquiry. 

Until the Humanists are willing to clean their own house, I’ll continue to go my solitary way.  I hope it’s appropriate to post to this forum as a respectful dissenter.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 November 2011 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1396
Joined  2010-04-22

I haven’t seen that movie and don’t have any particular desire to do so, but I know that you’re free to offer respectful dissent on this forum.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 November 2011 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2651
Joined  2011-04-24

Hello, being a CFI forum member doesn’t make you a member if CFI itself.  I’m not aware of the films you give as examples of Humanism’s hypocrisy, but there is no philosophically unified community of humanists on earth, that I’ve heard about. Your comments about Christ’s revolutionary teachings might be true, but mostly irrelevant because Christ is a myth. Your comments about western science are logical fallacies however, and need to be strongly reexamined.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  96
Joined  2010-09-10

I was particularly bothered by the movie’s denigration of traditional wisdom.  A bit of traditional wisdom that has been a bellwether in my efforts at recognizing my own intellectual shortcomings is:  “We only get angry at actions that reflect our own behavior.”  Though it mirrors what little experience I’ve had with Skeptic publications, I don’t really know how well Dunning represents the Skeptic branch of the Humanist community.  Assuming he’s typical, the generalizations and conclusions presented in “Here Be Dragons” reflect the selective and faulty application of the scientific method that is fundamental to his skepticism of what he labels “pseudoscience”.  Just as the rationalizations on the Q&A page of Dunning’s website reflect the justifications of pseudo-scientists, the failure of mainstream Humanists to criticize this lack of critical thinking reflects the acceptance by mainstream Christianity of fundamentalist hypocrisy.

Example?
I mean, Dunning certainly doesn’t speak for everyone involved in Humanism, nor does the Portland Humanist society. Dunning’s a libertarian, last I checked, and I don’t agr with him there much at all.
He may be considered as belonging to the sceptical community, but there he receives a fair amount or criticism for the way he manages his blog.

Having grown up in a Christian fundamentalist community, I’ve been particularly offended by the failure of mainstream Christian congregations to criticize fundamentalist congregations’ denial of the revolutionary aspects of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

For example? Not a lot of new ideas came from Jesus, chief good idea he’s credited for is the so called “Golden Rule.”

Which doesn’t originate with him, as it’s found in cultures well pre-dating him.

Central to the myth of Jesus is his transformation of the militant concept of God that was prevalent in his time, to a God of infinite compassion. 

Maybe… he also stressed that all of the harsh Old Testament laws were still in place.

This of course supposes he existed as was revealed in the Christian Bible. (Current versions, without all of the extra books like the rather trippy Gospel of Judas. )

Honestly, you seem to be taking a very narrow view of humanism and scepticism based off of your own opinions and your experiences at this group.

There are a number of well respected skeptics that do go after “Big Pharma” as it were, Ben Goldacre being a personal favourite. I recommend both his blog and his column at Guardian (though it’ll be archived, he’s taking six months now to write a book on the Pharmaceutical companies.)

I do have to ask, you do realise that being a humanist, a sceptic, an atheist and whatever else, are all separate things, right?

  Of course dissenters are welcome, so long as they actually re worthwhile,  not just raising voices stating that they disagree.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  265
Joined  2011-09-13

I have never seen the move but I can assure you that I, and I think most others on here, accept any respectful dissent.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6012
Joined  2009-02-26

Welcome Laughingwolf,

Having grown up in a Christian fundamentalist community, I’ve been particularly offended by the failure of mainstream Christian congregations to criticize fundamentalist congregations’ denial of the revolutionary aspects of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As an atheist, why are you so concerned about that particular failure of mainstream Christianity?

[ Edited: 16 November 2011 05:30 AM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2011-11-16

Laughingwolf,

Brian Dunning speaks about ancient wisdom specifically in the context of medical treatments and argues that it is silly to assume that the ancients knew more about treating an aliment than modern medicine does.

So the statement “We only get angry at actions that reflect our own behavior” has nothing to do with what Dunning is talking about.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2009-06-04
deros - 16 November 2011 04:13 AM

I have never seen the move but I can assure you that I, and I think most others on here, accept any respectful dissent.

The movie can be steamed online at http://herebedragonsmovie.com/

Critical thinking has historically not been a very entertaining subject. This 40 minute movie does a decent job better than anything else I’ve come across.

Laughingwolf, dissent is actually encouraged in the skeptical community so long as one has evidence to back up their claims.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2011 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2010-04-28

Dear Laughingwolf,
  As the chairperson for the Portland Humanist Film Festival, I would just like to acknowledge your feeling “appalled” by the film Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking by Brian Dunning.  We certainly did not expect that everyone would necessarily agree with or enjoy every single film - nor every part of every film, but it sounds like this one was a really bad experience for you.  I can’t undo that, but I’d like to focus a little bit on your criticism of the film and create some context.

  I’d like to focus on your primary criticism that to you, it “denigrated traditional wisdom.”  The film title indicates that this is an INTRODUCTION to the subject of critical thinking.  In that context, Brian advises that something labeled as “Ancient Wisdom” is a red flag. I’d like to point out that just because Brian identifies “Ancient Wisdom” as a red flag in GENERAL, it does not mean that an individual could never benefit from something labeled as “Ancient or Traditional Wisdom.” An obvious example is that scientists are often doing research on a specific plant species that is identified because of a culture’s legacy of traditional medicinal herbalism.  In any case, if you had wanted to, you could have raised your concern to Brian in front of an audience of fellow movie watchers. Maybe others felt similarly! There is no “group think” about having to agree with the contents of the films or speakers!  We flew Brian up here from California so that there could be robust discussion, which there was with around 60 people present. You may have remained appalled after the discussion, but the point is, that the films are not considered gospel by the film festival committee or sponsor or contributors or supporters to the event. They are opportunities for fresh discussions!

  You also link this film to the subject of hypocrisy. I have trouble pinning down what exactly was hypocritical in offering this film so I will pass on that. If there is hypocrisy contained within the film, then there was an open discussion forum in which any related subject, including hypocrisy, could have been called out! The discussion lasted for an hour - until no more questions could be elicited from the audience. - so I defer on the subject of hypocrisy because hypocrisy could have been discussed and we could have learned from one another, which would have fit with our mission of “freethought” and “free inquiry.”

  I would like to suggest that your criticism, while valuable as a viewpoint to bring to the table, perhaps could be transformed into something positive. If you would like to offer an example of a traditional wisdom that Brian identified as pseudoscience but that is effective AND that has science to back it up, I’m sure Brian Dunning would love to be informed of that. In conversation with him, Brian volunteered that whenever he finds out that there is an error in one of his Skeptoid podcasts, that he makes it a point to make a new podcast that clarifies or corrects the error.  He also said that he is working on a sequel film that will be more in-depth.  I’m sure he would appreciate any information you have that would help his upcoming film get to the next higher level. 

  I would like to add that I was pleased to offer this film and the other 16 films and that the committee and I had hoped that there would be stimulating discussions and engagement as a result of seeing the films. Critical thinking is a very important subject and deserves your input and also the input of the other forum members.  So thank you for participating in the discussion, sharing your criticisms, & calling out hypocrisy as you see it, is all okay.  In addition, the committee welcomes film suggestions from you and all the community, for next year – please forward to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  THANKS!

Sherry Hansen
PHFF chair 2011

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2011-11-15
SylviaMB - 16 November 2011 12:17 PM

Laughingwolf,

Brian Dunning speaks about ancient wisdom specifically in the context of medical treatments and argues that it is silly to assume that the ancients knew more about treating an aliment than modern medicine does.

So the statement “We only get angry at actions that reflect our own behavior” has nothing to do with what Dunning is talking about.

I did an obviously poor job of justifying my statement.  My problem with Dunning is that he ignores all of the recent research that validates significant parts of traditional healing methods.  I suppose the greatest source of failure of all rational thought is the basic impossibility to consider every discovery that precedes our current conclusions.  I apologize to all for my rant.  If anyone is interested, I suspect much of the misapplication of traditional healing practices today stems from the fact that those practices are founded in place.  Modern medicine is really not doing so much better.  Few medical practitioners in my experience recognize the genetic differences in our modern diverse community and that for most medical issues, no therapy for works for all or even most bodies.

I appreciate all of the comments about distinguishing the different subcultures that make up this community.  It’s the role of skeptics to be skeptical.  I hope they won’t be insulted if I relate to them like the “Contraries” of Hopi culture.

The openness to dissension of this community is a tremendous blessing.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  96
Joined  2010-09-10

I did an obviously poor job of justifying my statement.  My problem with Dunning is that he ignores all of the recent research that validates significant parts of traditional healing methods.

Like?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6012
Joined  2009-02-26

Laughingwolf
I appreciate all of the comments about distinguishing the different subcultures that make up this community.  It’s the role of skeptics to be skeptical.  I hope they won’t be insulted if I relate to them like the “Contraries” of Hopi culture.

On the contrary…. cheese

About 75% percent of mdern medicine is based on the properties of naturally occurring medicines which were in use for centuries if not millenia by native medicine (wo)men in africa, north and south america, and the orient. No one disputes the inherent effectiveness of those medicinal properties.
The difference is that today we can extract, refine, purify, or synthesize those beneficial properties (chemicals) in a more concentrated way so that they are more effective (efficient) in small doses, but we still use some of the “old ways” with many fruit and vegetable juices and dehydrated (powdered) products.

Few medical practitioners in my experience recognize the genetic differences in our modern diverse community and that for most medical issues, no therapy for works for all or even most bodies.

I believe this is an important point.

I (native european) am married to a native american woman and have noticed that she is allergic (sensitive) to certain modern synthesized medicines while she tolerates the less potent natural herbal versions. This may indeed be a genetic adaptation in people from different geographic areas of the world.

[ Edited: 19 November 2011 08:51 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1757
Joined  2007-10-22

Setting aside the blatant prostitution of Western scientific research to commercial interests, the history of the Western scientific community is rife with political backbiting, denigration of unorthodox research, and the outright suppression of research that is contrary to existing commercial endeavors.

In other words it was and is the result of norman human intercourse.

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6012
Joined  2009-02-26

Laughingwolf
Obviously you are interested and a student of cultural and genetic differences in demographics around the world, especially where it pertains to medicine, modern and traditional.

I am not sure about the following, but perhaps it may interest you enough to research this area:

I believe it is accepted science that the genetics of different “human families” were (are) influenced by both natural and societal environments.

Some time ago, I read that due to these factors North and South American Natives evolved genetically with a somewhat “right brain” orientation, whereas European Natives evolved with a more or less “left brain” orientation. Supposedly this accounts for the “spiritual” orientation and strengths in American Natives and the “technological” orientation and strengths in Europeans.
Note: these were described as genetic tendencies, with many exceptions, dependent on exposure. For instance it is believed that thousands of years ago, coastal dwellers tended to use a greater variety of tools, than interior (jungle or desert) dwellers. This was attributed to the greater technological demands of fishing or harvesting ocean dwelling creatures, i.e shellfish, etc. 

As many medicines (chemicals) affect brain functions it would be reasonable to assume that there might be some differences in the effects of chemicals on brains with either left or right lobe orientation.  When discussing this with a Native friend, he observed that Indians do not consume greater quantities of alcohol, but that due to the right brain orientation the euphoric effect of alcohol is greater in natives than in the left brained Europeans.

This is purely anecdotal and I may be completely off-base here, but it might be worth investigating if such genetic differences exist and may be instrumental to the difference in therapeutic effectiveness and reactions to various chemicals and substances which affect the body in general and brain function in particular.

http://www.web-us.com/brain/right_left_brain_characteristics.htm

[ Edited: 19 November 2011 06:28 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2651
Joined  2011-04-24
Laughingwolf - 19 November 2011 11:10 AM
SylviaMB - 16 November 2011 12:17 PM

Laughingwolf,

Brian Dunning speaks about ancient wisdom specifically in the context of medical treatments and argues that it is silly to assume that the ancients knew more about treating an aliment than modern medicine does.

So the statement “We only get angry at actions that reflect our own behavior” has nothing to do with what Dunning is talking about.

I did an obviously poor job of justifying my statement.  My problem with Dunning is that he ignores all of the recent research that validates significant parts of traditional healing methods.  I suppose the greatest source of failure of all rational thought is the basic impossibility to consider every discovery that precedes our current conclusions.  I apologize to all for my rant.  If anyone is interested, I suspect much of the misapplication of traditional healing practices today stems from the fact that those practices are founded in place.  Modern medicine is really not doing so much better.  Few medical practitioners in my experience recognize the genetic differences in our modern diverse community and that for most medical issues, no therapy for works for all or even most bodies.

I appreciate all of the comments about distinguishing the different subcultures that make up this community.  It’s the role of skeptics to be skeptical.  I hope they won’t be insulted if I relate to them like the “Contraries” of Hopi culture.

The openness to dissension of this community is a tremendous blessing.

When you say traditional healing methods, I assume you refer to Native American methods; if so then you are free to use those methods, who cares if Dunning likes it or not.  I think many M.D.s (and scientific researchers) do recognize the genetic differences between racial/ethnic groups, but they are loathe to admit it, sort of like the Stephen Jay Gould worldview that even merely suggesting that biological traits differ, is immoral.  As more and more genetic research is done it will be harder to ignore these differences, and it will probably lead to more distrust and segregation among the various peoples of the earth.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2011 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15355
Joined  2006-02-14
Write4U - 19 November 2011 03:22 PM

I (european) am married to a native american woman and have noticed that she is allergic (sensitive) to certain modern synthesized medicines while she tolerates the less potent natural herbal versions. This may indeed be a genetic adaptation in people from different geographic areas of the world.

This doesn’t make any sense. It sounds like it’s based on some notion that “native” people are “more natural”, as though any of us were “non native”, and as though there were a difference between “natural” and “artificial” chemicals.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ Homosexuality      A question about humanism ››