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Posted: 22 September 2007 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 02:43 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 22 September 2007 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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[ Edited: 19 October 2007 10:01 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 22 September 2007 09:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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A couple of years ago I was talking with Mel (whatever his name is), the president of the AHA.  After trading our views of humanistic philosophy for a short time, he said, “Oh, you’re a lower case humanist, not an upper case Humanist.”  That may apply to you too, Zarcus.  I’m not quite sure what that means, but I think he meant is as a mild put-down, but I take it as a compliment.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 22 September 2007 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Both men perform a service in raising consciousness, in exhorting the like-minded, in taking apart fairly silly ideas that have become entrenched through tradition and social authority.  Personally, I enjoy and respect Dawkins in particular immensely.

Still, I believe the approach of Carl Sagan would ultimately have been more helpful.  Isn’t militant confrontation, which derives from and motivates a less accommodating point of view, a serious problem with the religious people of the world?  Don’t we want to employ more humanistic methods?  Or, at least, more humane?

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Sapere aude! Dare to reason!  -Immanuel Kant

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Posted: 22 September 2007 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[ Edited: 19 October 2007 10:02 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 22 September 2007 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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One thing I’ve learned as a trial attorney is that it isn’t just the evidence we present, but how we present it; we trial lawyers don’t just ask qusetions and make opening and closing statements, we also send messages. If the jury likes me better than the other guy, I have a better chance of winning the case. If they don’t, my client pays the price. I can ask the greatest questions imaginable, but if I look like I’m getting beat up, that’s all the jury processes. In one case, I beat an excellent lawyer on a case I should have lost; he was speaking medical-ese and I was speaking English. I won by default. He was right, but I was the only one the jury heard.

During the Reagan administration, Lesle Stahl reported on the White House nightly. Every night she would be shown lambasting Reagan for one thing after another, and the more she spoke the higher Reagan’s approval rating went. The network finally figured out that they kept showing Stahl in front of a beautifully lit White House, an idyllic American picture. The audience didn’t hear a damn thing she said, all they processed was the pretty picture.

Dawkins and Hitchens are bright men, but they’re people stupid, especially Hitchens. Let them write, but (1) they should stop hyperventilating in their prose, stop making unnecessary and excessive claims, and (2) for John Dewey’s sake! keep them off camera!

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 23 September 2007 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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PLaClair, you are quite right, and that same syndrome isn’t limited to trials and newscasts.  I’ve seen the same thing among a group of scientists and learned through painful experience when I was younger to avoid language and behavior that tilted the views away from me.  (Now that I’m retired, I don’t give a damn, so I can be nasty for the fun of it. LOL )

Occam

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Posted: 24 September 2007 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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PLaClair

          I don’t understand where you are coming from! Here you are attacking the good guys where you ought be attacking real crap that the religious folks by the zillion spew over everything every day.

Your statement “Dawkins and Hitchens are bright men, but they’re people stupid, especially Hitchens. Let them write, but (1) they should stop hyperventilating in their prose, stop making unnecessary and excessive claims, and (2) for John Dewey’s sake! keep them off camera!”

You need to give specific examples of what you are talking about with “unnecessary and excessive claims” Obviously, to me at least, that you just plain don’t like them but you must be more specific about what bothers you about them.

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trgregory

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only a fool states the obvious

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Posted: 24 September 2007 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I personally dont care for Hitchens. Hes a bully, and not in an enlightening sense but in an easy way to make money for his alcohol problem kind of way. At least Dawkins tries to tie his atheism with something (science). Hitchens just gets plastered and rails on about how God is not great. Thats too easy and in the end it doesnt offer anything. I dont think Hitchens is good for Humanism or humanity…

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Posted: 24 September 2007 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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truthaddict

            Have you actually read “god is not Great”? I find a great deal of fine argument and persuasion, but I guess that’s a matter of “likes and dislikes” which are personal. Mayhap you can explain what is good for so-called humanism, the definition of which in various posts seems to wander all over the place.

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trgregory

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only a fool states the obvious

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Posted: 24 September 2007 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’ll say it again that I don’t particularly like Hitchens’s personality or certain of his stated views. However his book is actually pretty good. No, he doesn’t deal with science issues, but he does deal with literature, history and current events. It’s sort of a good addition to Dawkins in that Hitchens covers different ground. Of course, Hitchens is equally unrelenting. He’s an accomplished polemicist.

FWIW he’s also a fierce debater. Fierce both as in nasty and as in that he has phenomenal recall of names, dates and events.

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Doug

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 24 September 2007 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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trgregory - 24 September 2007 06:37 PM

truthaddict

            Have you actually read “god is not Great”? I find a great deal of fine argument and persuasion, but I guess that’s a matter of “likes and dislikes” which are personal. Mayhap you can explain what is good for so-called humanism, the definition of which in various posts seems to wander all over the place.

cheers
trgregory

no, i only skimmed through it at a bookstore. I wasnt impressed enough to buy it.

i realize he cites good arguments and points, but thats it.

humanism ought to be more than attacking religion and to me it is. hitchens offers nothing but angry assaults against religion. again, the points and intensity are fine by me, but I dont see him as a humanist. at least with Dawkins, we can read about the awe inspiring feeling of evolution or science in general.

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Posted: 24 September 2007 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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truthaddict

          You never answered my question about what you consider good for so-called humanists. You even included Hitchens as lacking humanity.
Do you consider religious folks as good for humanity?

cheers
trgregory

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Posted: 24 September 2007 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I bought his book, haven’t read it yet, but I can tell you now that he probably says what I have always thought.  I don’t know if it is good or bad for Humanism though.  Then again, I can say I have read the first two Humanist Manifestos and they were not beyond criticizing dogmatism and alike.  The three doesn’t have any criticisms of religion and I don’t remember seeing it in the 2000 either.  So it is hard to say.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 24 September 2007 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’ve said before, though I think it’s worth reiterating, that I don’t think vitriol and hostility are good for humanism, even in the cause of increasing the visibility of atheism and mobilizing the (un)faithful. Dawkins isn’t allways like that, and even Harris isn’t (though he’s close). Dennett’s less so, and I don’t know much about Hitchens. So I don’t want to exaggerate or charicature these folks. But in terms of whether the style often labeled “angry atheist” is good for humanism, which seems the general question here, I’m not convinced.  I can see how getting attention and publicity might serve the interests of humanism generally, but I think antagonizing people is rarely a good way to get them to listenb. And maybe polemic motivates the true humanists to go forth and conquer, but I don’t favor a war rhetoric or mentality myself. Do the “angry atheists” get press and win converts because of their style, or are they just invigorating the opposition? DO they advance the cause, or just perform for the media, which loves the conflict while not caring a whit for the issues? Are they more widely accessible because they are aggressive, or is the culture simply ready for the message so they get a better forum to delivery it? I don’t klnow the answers to these questions, but I think they’re legitimate questions. And ultimately, while I think vigorous argument and direct criticism are important and necessary, I think antagonism, contempt, polemic, and zealotry are not what humanism is or should be striving to be.

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Posted: 24 September 2007 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I don’t know anything about humanism, but I really enjoyed Hitchens’s book. I thought it was well written a very informative. All that I learnt within couple of weeks from his book, would have taken me months to research at Wikipedia and other places.

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