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Atheist/Humanist Spokesmen With a Positive Image {200 word post maximum}
Posted: 20 August 2008 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Does democracy need a king?  Just as we should not seek a single authoritative text on human origins, we should not be looking for a leader.  Iit is the job of all of us to act as spokesman to the best of our ability. 

That being said, I do agree that we need advocacy and I like all of the aforementioned folk from the last page of this thread… Sagan, Attenborough, Tyson, Dawkins, Blackmore.  It is always wonderful when someone finds a creative way of reaching the masses with good science, and I do think that part of the problem of mass scientific illiteracy is that not enough work is put into sharing scientific discovery with the masses that dwell outside of the scientific community.  Sagan, Attendorough and Tyson are particularly strong figures because they found ways to do this.  We do need more good pop-science books and films, as well as some pop-philosophy and pop-psychology that are based on real science.

Also, none of the aforementioned folk are really ethicists.  Unless we are talking exclusively about promoting a naturalistic world view (I assume this is implicit in the “atheist” portion of this thread’s title), we should also include a . . . [Sorry, you went 18 words over the 200 word limit. - Occam)

[ Edited: 20 August 2008 05:39 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 20 August 2008 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 20 August 2008 09:46 AM

Does democracy need a king?  Just as we should not seek a single authoritative text on human origins, we should not be looking for a leader.  Iit is the job of all of us to act as spokesman to the best of our ability. 

That being said, I do agree that we need advocacy and I like all of the aforementioned folk from the last page of this thread… Sagan, Attenborough, Tyson, Dawkins, Blackmore.  It is always wonderful when someone finds a creative way of reaching the masses with good science, and I do think that part of the problem of mass scientific illiteracy is that not enough work is put into sharing scientific discovery with the masses that dwell outside of the scientific community.  Sagan, Attendorough and Tyson are particularly strong figures because they found ways to do this.  We do need more good pop-science books and films, as well as some pop-philosophy and pop-psychology that are based on real science.

Also, none of the aforementioned folk are really ethicists.  Unless we are talking exclusively about promoting a naturalistic world view (I assume this is implicit in the “atheist” portion of this thread’s title), we should also include a . . .

. . . [Sorry, PLaClair.  The quotation you added was already 18 words over the 200 word limit, so your fifteen word response had to be erased. - Occam]

[ Edited: 20 August 2008 05:41 PM by Occam ]
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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: 20 August 2008 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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If we were only making a list of noteworthys then I suppose, perhaps, that I may have been overly cautious.  I too have heroes.  I am just very skeptical of promoting individuals to the position of “spokesman” in reference to disbelief.

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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Rather than point to someone as a ‘spokesperson’ for the humanist cause. It would be great if those humanist/atheist/agnostics and skeptics already in the public eye could integrate public knowledge of their beliefs into their public persona (without beating people over the head about it, like the religious right does). Looking at a list of ‘100 famous atheist’ their were names I certainly did not expect to find there (don’t know how reliable the list is though). Unfortunately, in the current political climate, coming out as other than a religious person could be a death knell to your career. Apparently, even a muslim is more acceptable than an atheist. The only practice rated below atheism is satanism, and I think some people even confuse the two shut eye .

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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Hey Occam.  Would it be acceptable to post several consecutive shorter posts… each within the 200 word limit but combined adding up to a much greater sum?  cheese

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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 20 August 2008 06:09 PM

Hey Occam.  Would it be acceptable to post several consecutive shorter posts… each within the 200 word limit but combined adding up to a much greater sum?  cheese

LOL

Man, you guys are quick!

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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Damned secularists —always thinking outside the box.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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dougsmith - 20 August 2008 06:17 PM
erasmusinfinity - 20 August 2008 06:09 PM

Hey Occam.  Would it be acceptable to post several consecutive shorter posts… each within the 200 word limit but combined adding up to a much greater sum?  cheese

LOL
Man, you guys are quick!

And I was just thinking that if I type in antitransubstantiationalist,  floccinaucinhilipilification (both words actually related to the subject at hand) and added supercalifragilisticexpialidocious until I get a total of 200 words, I could get a reasonably long post LOL !

[ Edited: 20 August 2008 06:51 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 21 August 2008 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 20 August 2008 09:46 AM

Also, none of the aforementioned folk are really ethicists.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. Let’s get in all the data and then we try to make some sense of it. I remember reading in the Evolution of Desire by David Buss that when they showed a rape scene in a movie to a group of men, most of them got sexually aroused. Now, you don’t really need an ethicist to tell you that rape hurts women, but you need a scientist to figure out why men rape women. Once we’ll know the answer, only then we might (or we might not) be able to do something about it. If eliminating rape from our society will ever be possible, it will be a scientist who will succeed at it, not an ethicist.

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Posted: 21 August 2008 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I think that there has to be people involved from many differing and varied disciplines. This would not of course include Feng shui, astrology, homeopathy etc!

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Posted: 21 August 2008 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I also suspect that what I said above might be the reason why Pinker, for example, isn’t getting involved in the new atheist movement. Again, maybe we need to find out why people actually believe in god before criticizing it. Not that criticizing religion is wrong, but without further research it will probably turn out to be unproductive.

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Posted: 25 August 2008 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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George - 21 August 2008 06:53 AM

If eliminating rape from our society will ever be possible, it will be a scientist who will succeed at it, not an ethicist.

While reason and it’s pursuit of truth are the surest means for human salvation, I am highly skeptical of the view that such truth is solely discernible via the methods of the physical sciences.  It should be informed as literate of the physical sciences, but placing everyone in a lab coat won’t get everyone to behave ethically.  And that is what we are getting at here… we want others to behave more ethically.

Along those lines, brain chemistry and neurology can reveal fascinating insights about the motivations of the human mind.  But there are often straighter pathways to more pragmatic understandings.  One does not need to understand the biological basis of morality in order to make meaningful assertions about what is or isn’t moral.  In fact, one could quitewell understand such processes, and yet deliberately choose to not be moral.

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Posted: 25 August 2008 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Erasmus,

I see one way somebody who has “higher moral standards” having an impact on the rest of the society. If you have enough people who poses this quality at the right place and right time (the Enlightenment, for example) they might set a new “higher” standard. But I believe that only those who are already genetically predisposed to adapt to this new “higher” moral standard will do so. The rest will suffer enormously, just like the Canadian Natives, for example, who have the highest suicide rate of any identifiable population group in the world. To help (?) those who are not genetically predisposed to behave morally will take a scientist. But then I doubt that any scientist would really want to play Nostradamus, trying to predict the future and deduce what qualities would actually be desirable so that the whole human species might gain from it. Luckily, only the ethicists seem to know how everybody else should behave, and, once again, they will only impact the “chosen ones”.

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Posted: 25 August 2008 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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George,

Of course, a good ethicist is not only concerned with “chosen ones.”  Such entitlements and pronouncements of superiority seem, to me, far more commonly ascribed by persons who disregard ethical inquiry.  They seem, to me, particularly well suited to someone with a penchant for clockwork and a disregard for the value of telling time.

If chemists could concoct some sort of a pill that would assist persons with their moral deficiencies… say for example the chemically prone rapists that you were referring to, then by all means I would favor it.  But if course, such a chemist would also have an ethical interest in pursuing the technology and/or an industry of ethically minded persons supporting the development of such a pill.  It would not be chemistry or even the chemists passion for chemistry that would guide him toward developing such a drug.  It would begin with the idea that it should be done.

The fundamental matter is still ethics and will always be ethics.  Either they are intelligently and rationally thought out or they are not.

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Posted: 25 August 2008 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 25 August 2008 11:23 AM

Of course, a good ethicist is not only concerned with “chosen ones.”

I don’t think we are understanding each other, Erasmus. A good ethicist (whatever good means) will be able to set a new standard, but only some will be able to adapt to it. The rest won’t make it. This is probably the reason why violence has been in decline. It seems as if “being nice” does pay off. I mean, at least for the moment it does. The more peaceful the society becomes, there are more chances some scientists will find the time and ability to create weapons, such as the atomic bomb, that will wipe out all of us before we’ll have time to say “the violence has been declining.”

[ Edited: 25 August 2008 12:17 PM by George ]
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