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Episode 35 - Why Secularism and Humanism Need Evolutionary Theory, Part 1
Posted: 28 June 2010 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Part one of a two-part lecture by biologist and anthropologist David Sloan Wilson, professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University and author of the recent book Evolution for Everyone. On October 30, 2008, Dr. Wilson presented his lecture, “Why Secularism and Humanism Need Evolutionary Theory,” at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational  in Amherst, New York.

In this lecture, Wilson addresses the relevance of evolutionary theory to human affairs, and especially to secularism and humanism.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/centerstage/episodes/episode_35_why_secularism_and_humanism_need_evolutionary_theory_part_1

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Posted: 05 July 2010 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Even though I am what Hitchens would refer to as a “religious victim” I have always maintained a benevolent view toward religion specifically because of an evolutionary view to its success in codifying human values and “enforcing” them through some fear of retribution by the hand of god or spirits that monitor you. As a means of organizing and influencing human behavior and inspiring people to unite and protect their culture I think it was good to Homo Sapiens in helping us survive and thrive. However, while I understand Wilson’s critique of the “new Atheist’s” harsh treatment and rejection of religion, I think there is an interesting thing here to note. Though Wilson’s comments are in line with the Templeton Foundation funded projects which would like to put Science and Religion on the same plane as convergent philosophies I think that Wilson’s work seeks to dispassionately put religion under the microscope of science which I think the new atheists would approve of. I think the difference might be the lack of respect and deference given to religious points of view by those such as Dawkins and Hitchens. (I’m probably referring more to Ep 36 now, which hasn’t posted here yet, perhaps this comment should move to that thread when it gets posted). In defense of Dawkins and the new atheists, I think that it is important for some voices to be very loud and very negative in order to shake things up. If we are too conciliatory (a la some of the Templeton Funded projects) then we may leave people with the misunderstanding that we DO put the mythologies and revealed dogma of ancient religions and related pseudosciences on equal footing with the knowledge acquired and refined through serious inquiry, investigation, experiment and PEER REVIEW. (sorry had to yell that last bit…its important).

Overall though, I am happy to see this line of research because it further demonstrates the explanatory power of Darwin’s dangerous ideas. I don’t for a second think that it brings Science and Religion together though, except as I mentioned above, with Religion as the lab rat and Science in its traditional white coat poking and prodding the rat for data. I agree that the process is likely to give the guy in the white coat a better appreciation for the origin and function of religion but I think that some may think that religious people will be happy to come along for that ride. No doubt many theologians and clergy will engage and enjoy that intellectual journey (after all they have seen their faith with its pants down for years and probably have the contempt that familiarity brings). But the average layperson and especially the fundamentalist believers (from which I escaped) are still in the dark ages clinging to their dogma like the evolutionary security blanket that I know it to be.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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In the absence of unassailable evidence - rarely if ever available - there is no legitiment intellectual reason to consider religion the enemy of analytical thinking, aka the “scientific method”.

They are polar opposities; one requiring unquestioning faith, and the other near absolute skepticism.

However, the beliefs of the religious and the “politically correct progressives” - the latter of which make up the majority of Posters here - are in fact quite similar believing as they do in the unprovable, ie, inaccesible to rigorous scientific investigation.

And both are content to remain ignorant in the face of proof of their ignorance.

The religious are not nearly as threatening to the total knowledge base - they tend to be content to follow their selected deity - and are of little consequence to the efforts of honest “skeptical inquirers”.

Not so the “politically correct progressives”: theirs is “group think”, eg, scientific knowledge CAN be based on press releases and polls of so-called scientists.

Stay away from them because they are fanatic proselytizers!! Unless you see their “arguments” as so much bloviation - and their entreaty, “trust me”, as common to fabricators.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Analytic - 13 July 2010 07:12 AM

Stay away from them because they are fanatic proselytizers!!

Looks as if you are trying to stay as close to them as possible and constantly wanting to pick a fight. Actually what you’re doing here is trolling. Moderators?

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Posted: 13 July 2010 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Analytic - 13 July 2010 07:12 AM

Stay away from them because they are fanatic proselytizers!!

...and yet you return, unable to resist..again and again and again and again and again and again and again…. wink

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 13 July 2010 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m starting to think A’s just fucking with everyone.  Like he doesn’t really care and just wants to be a pain.  Like me, only more dedicated.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dead Monky - 13 July 2010 09:58 AM

I’m starting to think A’s just fucking with everyone.  Like he doesn’t really care and just wants to be a pain.  Like me, only more dedicated.

But you are MUCH more fun! Must be the lack of a doctorate from a top ten university! smile

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I do have a partially completed degree from a community college though.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dead Monky - 13 July 2010 10:07 AM

I do have a partially completed degree from a community college though.

Do you think that you could be as annoying as A after you finish your education? You know, your PhD blah, blah, blah…?

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Probably.  I was actually thinking of having my degree framed then hanging it from a big chain so I can wear it like a medallion and show it off to everyone that I meet.  While proclaiming my superiority over them the whole time, of course.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dead Monky - 13 July 2010 09:58 AM

I’m starting to think A’s just fucking with everyone.  Like he doesn’t really care and just wants to be a pain.  Like me, only more dedicated.

After all these years of earnest effort, among all my other traits, I believe I’ve earned the title of CURMUDGEON!! grin

But you can call me Prof. Cur.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Aye, aye Captain!  Oh, wait, Professor.  That doesn’t have the same ring.  I’m just going to call you Cap’n.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 13 July 2010 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Analytic - 13 July 2010 10:36 AM
Dead Monky - 13 July 2010 09:58 AM

I’m starting to think A’s just fucking with everyone.  Like he doesn’t really care and just wants to be a pain.  Like me, only more dedicated.

After all these years of earnest effort, among all my other traits, I believe I’ve earned the title of CURMUDGEON!! grin

But you can call me Prof. Cur.

I’ll go with a diagnosis instead of a nickname for you: sociopathy.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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George - 13 July 2010 10:54 AM
Analytic - 13 July 2010 10:36 AM
Dead Monky - 13 July 2010 09:58 AM

I’m starting to think A’s just fucking with everyone.  Like he doesn’t really care and just wants to be a pain.  Like me, only more dedicated.

After all these years of earnest effort, among all my other traits, I believe I’ve earned the title of CURMUDGEON!! grin

But you can call me Prof. Cur.

I’ll go with a diagnosis instead of a nickname for you: sociopathy.

WUSSY!!

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Posted: 13 July 2010 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Please, Georgie.  Cap’n isn’t a sociopath.  An asshole probably, a crabass definitely, but not a sociopath.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Adam Isaak - 28 June 2010 03:03 PM

Part one of a two-part lecture by biologist and anthropologist David Sloan Wilson, professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University and author of the recent book Evolution for Everyone. On October 30, 2008, Dr. Wilson presented his lecture, “Why Secularism and Humanism Need Evolutionary Theory,” at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational  in Amherst, New York.

In this lecture, Wilson addresses the relevance of evolutionary theory to human affairs, and especially to secularism and humanism.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/centerstage/episodes/episode_35_why_secularism_and_humanism_need_evolutionary_theory_part_1

I have listened to Chapter 35 and concluded it’s just more intellectual sludge that so many pseudo-intellectuals find so majesterial.

Trying to find manifold linkages between biological evolution and sociological concepts such as “secularism” and “humanism” is just another attempt to make shinola from s**t.

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