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Robert Price & Chris Mooney - Must Atheists Also Be Liberals?
Posted: 05 July 2010 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Haven’t listened to the podcast yet and may not bother to do so, if for no other reason than that the answer to the question is clearly in the negative.

However, I did scan some of the posts above and noted a couple of folks raised the question of exactly how “conservative” might be defined.  I’m one of those who thinks that about 98% of the people in the U.S. who claim that label today do not meet a reasonable standard of intelligently conserving anything of value, but instead are people who are inadvertently, and sometimes intentionally, doing their very best to accelerate the decline of the United States along virtually every dimension.

Be that as it may, the question of whether Bob Price might be a conservative or simply a highly biased crank in the area of politics is relevant to the podcast and possibly to his credibility in general.

There is some evidence to help anyone who is interested reach a conclusion on that question on Mr. Price’s own web site, HERE.

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Posted: 05 July 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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Well, some of the things Bob writes and says, even in one his own podcasts, is worthwhile.  So I don’t know if I would say he’s a total crank and he isn’t so conservative that he doesn’t listen to a woman’s POV on some things.  He is a professor of religion and doesn’t refuse to listen to what anyone has to say.  My problem is, he calls himself, besides a humanist, the oxymoron of Christian atheist.  He went to Skepticon and before his lecture, he had himself introduced as a Xian atheist.  IMO, that is a complete and total oxymoron, but I’m sure Bob would love to debate me on that.  Hey, I’m willing to listen to what he has to say and he had a lot to say about it during his lecture at Skepticon, but I still say its an oxymoron.  He flip-flops in his self labeling so much that I don’t know what he is anymore, except whatever the case, he still professes to be an atheist.  I don’t think we can question that much.  He is still very much confusing though.

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Posted: 05 July 2010 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Logan - 05 July 2010 01:51 PM

Price argued that animals do not deserve ethical treatment because they cannot return our benevolence and have none towards each other. Non-theological defenses of ethical indifference toward animals often implicitly or explicitly employ naturalistic fallacies; “Suffering is inherent in nature, therefore it is admissible to cause suffering”. Devoid of “nature, red in tooth and claw” connotations, the argument Price forwards is just as valid in human society as it is the wilderness. If one wishes to argue (as examples) that “killing animals for food or research is okay because death and suffering are omnipresent in nature” there is no reason that you could not also make the arugment that “stealing is okay because there well always be some level of crime in society” and that “killing an annoying old woman is okay because she’ll die soon anyway.”...

That’s a good point, Logan.  When I was listening to the podcast, this was one of Price’s points that also rubbed me the wrong way.  I totally forgot about it when I was writing up my comments, though.  This idea that animals don’t treat each other with respect doesn’t mean that humans don’t need to treat them with respect.  In my opinion, animals have various levels of subjective experience of the world, and it’s that experience that forces us to treat them humanely.  (Admittedly, I’m not a vegetarian.  I do enjoy meat, and don’t think our protection of animals is the same as our obligations to protection of humans.)  Another point against Price’s argument is that you could say the exact same thing about human beings in any anarchist society.  Humans who existed 50,000 years ago in hunter-gatherer tribes didn’t respect the right of humans in other tribes to live—“therefore” there should be no ethical obligations towards humans in other tribes.  Or, it was okay for europeans to enslave Africans because Africans also enslaved other Africans.  Therefore, White people have no ethical obligations *not* to enslave Africans.  Obviously that argument doesn’t work, yet, I would think that Price would have to accept those conclusions in order to maintain consistency.

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Posted: 05 July 2010 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Mriana - 05 July 2010 07:52 PM

My problem is, he calls himself, besides a humanist, the oxymoron of Christian atheist.  He went to Skepticon and before his lecture, he had himself introduced as a Xian atheist.  IMO, that is a complete and total oxymoron, but I’m sure Bob would love to debate me on that.


`
Perhaps he means it in much the same way that Jewish atheists do?  Meaning, lacking belief in ‘God’, but culturally Christian.

(I have no idea how he means it, but just thought I’d toss that out there)

 


`

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Posted: 05 July 2010 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.

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Posted: 05 July 2010 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Mriana - 05 July 2010 10:30 PM

Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.


`
Well, as we all know (especially from the intermittent atheist vs agnostic discussions here:) that when it comes to ‘self-labelling’, people are ALL over the map when it comes to what they choose to call themselves and why…...

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

 

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Posted: 05 July 2010 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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Axegrrl - 05 July 2010 10:39 PM
Mriana - 05 July 2010 10:30 PM

Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.


Well, as we all know (especially from the intermittent atheist vs agnostic discussions here:) that when it comes to ‘self-labelling’, people are ALL over the map when it comes to what they choose to call themselves and why…...

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.

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Posted: 05 July 2010 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Mriana - 05 July 2010 11:04 PM
Axegrrl - 05 July 2010 10:39 PM

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.


`

It’s so funny, because I’ve heard Price as a guest on shows/podcasts like ‘Reasonable Doubts’, ‘The Infidel Guy’ and PoI over the past few years and had no idea that he affiliated himself thusly.

I just noticed that on the most recent episode of the podcast ‘American Freethought’ (#94, July 1, 2010), the guest is the editor of a book called “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails”, a collection of essays from contributors including Dan Barker, David Eller, Robert Price and Richard Carrier.

Methinks I’ll listen to it soon to see if it ‘illuminates’ anything :)

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Posted: 06 July 2010 04:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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I am glad Logan (Comment #48) left a comment about the attitudes of Bob Price towards animals. I have to admit I have been losing interest in POI for a while, and this show just about ended it for me. I was personally offended by his diatribe against animal rights and animal-rights activists, in which he repeatedly mocked them and the entire idea as “crazy” and completely devoid of any scientific basis whatsoever. Sadly, Chris Mooney did not offer anything to the contrary; his only characterization of the animal-rights movement was blowing up labs.

As a strict vegan and longtime animal-rights activist, who has not blown up a single lab, I was offended as much by their callous speciesism (which is a serious fault of humanism in many respect, unfortunately) as by their own lack of thorough scientific (yes, “scientific”) understanding of animals, their capacity to suffer, their right to live without arbitrary and needless suffering being inflicted on them, and the complexity of the"culture” that many animals have. It seems that every month new (and credible) scientific findings are being published that show the complex social structures, as well as the “language” and communication capacities, in many animals at various levels of the food chain.

Logan already touched upon the fallacy of speciesistic reasoning that denies animals have any legitimate claim to equal consideration by humans. Peter Singer, in Animal Liberation, explodes this instance of poor, biased reasoning pretty soundly…as he does the argument that animals kill animals, so we can (and bloody well should!) kill animals as well. Sadly, this argument ignores the vast number of vegetarian animals in nature; the super-predators that get such attention in the “cruel nature” argument are the minority.

All of this makes me sad not just because POI’s hosts took positions opposite to mine on an issue that is more important than many would admit—because, in their dismissive attitudes towards animals, the hosts displayed what I think is the foundational anthropocentric prejudice that allows us to plunder the environment simply for our own comfort and benefit. I am more saddened because, in the bellicose ranting and slanderous language used in addressing this issue and those who actually give a damn about other living creatures than us lordly humans, they sounded eerily like the close-minded pundits and entrenched ideologues that atheists and secularists, with all their skeptical acumen, seek to deconstruct.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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Axegrrl - 05 July 2010 11:46 PM
Mriana - 05 July 2010 11:04 PM
Axegrrl - 05 July 2010 10:39 PM

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.


It’s so funny, because I’ve heard Price as a guest on shows/podcasts like ‘Reasonable Doubts’, ‘The Infidel Guy’ and PoI over the past few years and had no idea that he affiliated himself thusly.

I just noticed that on the most recent episode of the podcast ‘American Freethought’ (#94, July 1, 2010), the guest is the editor of a book called “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails”, a collection of essays from contributors including Dan Barker, David Eller, Robert Price and Richard Carrier.

Methinks I’ll listen to it soon to see if it ‘illuminates’ anything smile

Well he did at Skepticon and something else recently.  I’m not sure why he did that.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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JustinVK - 06 July 2010 04:21 AM

I am glad Logan (Comment #48) left a comment about the attitudes of Bob Price towards animals. I have to admit I have been losing interest in POI for a while, and this show just about ended it for me. I was personally offended by his diatribe against animal rights and animal-rights activists, in which he repeatedly mocked them and the entire idea as “crazy” and completely devoid of any scientific basis whatsoever. Sadly, Chris Mooney did not offer anything to the contrary; his only characterization of the animal-rights movement was blowing up labs.

As a strict vegan and longtime animal-rights activist, who has not blown up a single lab, I was offended as much by their callous speciesism (which is a serious fault of humanism in many respect, unfortunately) as by their own lack of thorough scientific (yes, “scientific”) understanding of animals, their capacity to suffer, their right to live without arbitrary and needless suffering being inflicted on them, and the complexity of the"culture” that many animals have. It seems that every month new (and credible) scientific findings are being published that show the complex social structures, as well as the “language” and communication capacities, in many animals at various levels of the food chain.

Logan already touched upon the fallacy of speciesistic reasoning that denies animals have any legitimate claim to equal consideration by humans. Peter Singer, in Animal Liberation, explodes this instance of poor, biased reasoning pretty soundly…as he does the argument that animals kill animals, so we can (and bloody well should!) kill animals as well. Sadly, this argument ignores the vast number of vegetarian animals in nature; the super-predators that get such attention in the “cruel nature” argument are the minority.

All of this makes me sad not just because POI’s hosts took positions opposite to mine on an issue that is more important than many would admit—because, in their dismissive attitudes towards animals, the hosts displayed what I think is the foundational anthropocentric prejudice that allows us to plunder the environment simply for our own comfort and benefit. I am more saddened because, in the bellicose ranting and slanderous language used in addressing this issue and those who actually give a damn about other living creatures than us lordly humans, they sounded eerily like the close-minded pundits and entrenched ideologues that atheists and secularists, with all their skeptical acumen, seek to deconstruct.

Justin, I’ve had lunch with Bob and I’m a vegetarian.  He saw what I brought with me for my lunch and didn’t say a word.  I saw what he was eating too- I think it was pepperoni pizza or something like that (Gross) Neither one of us brought it up.  He’s not going to attack a person out of the blue because they are vegan or vegetarian.  I don’t like his attitude either, but as long as he doesn’t attack me about it when we meet, I’ll leave him alone about his carnivorous ways.  If it makes you feel any better, Bob is a pretty big man.  As you know, most vegans and vegetarians are not big people.  I’ll let you take it from there and think about it, then if you want, you can come back and let me know if that helped any.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, even though we disagree on several things, but it seems to me he’s heading for a health hazard- maybe its because I like him that I am concerned.  If he’d get off the meat, he might lose some weight and be healthier.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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rg21 - 06 July 2010 04:54 AM

Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

A conservative heretic would be one who chose a belief system other than the established conservative outlook, not whatever bizarre point you’re trying to make.  In any case, it’s ironic that you’d make that accusation at this web site; the CFI is all about putting all of our ideas on the table and examining them critically, not sitting around in a self-congratulatory love-fest.

Animal rights is a serious issue because animals are not mindless automatons.  Their mental lives are very different from (and in most cases inferior to) ours, but we still need to examine what rights they ought to be afforded.  Hopefully, we can agree that it’s unethical to cause undue suffering in an animal that can experience pain and fear.  In an age where the exploitation of animals is not especially necessary in the developed world, at least much less so than our ancestors, we are afforded the unique luxury of contemplating the ethics of animal use in agriculture and research.  While I don’t take an extreme position on the issue (I think the use of animals is generally okay, provided they don’t suffer unnecessarily), I think it would be callous not to consider what all sides of the issue have to say.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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rg21 - 06 July 2010 04:54 AM

Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

What?  Where do people get these sick ideas?  No one is going to burn you at the stake.  Too violent for starters.

As for animals, our (my family) pets are family.  They aren’t slaves.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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Mriana - 06 July 2010 07:38 AM

Justin, I’ve had lunch with Bob and I’m a vegetarian.  He saw what I brought with me for my lunch and didn’t say a word.  I saw what he was eating too- I think it was pepperoni pizza or something like that (Gross) Neither one of us brought it up.  He’s not going to attack a person out of the blue because they are vegan or vegetarian.  I don’t like his attitude either, but as long as he doesn’t attack me about it when we meet, I’ll leave him alone about his carnivorous ways.  If it makes you feel any better, Bob is a pretty big man.  As you know, most vegans and vegetarians are not big people.  I’ll let you take it from there and think about it, then if you want, you can come back and let me know if that helped any.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, even though we disagree on several things, but it seems to me he’s heading for a health hazard- maybe its because I like him that I am concerned.  If he’d get off the meat, he might lose some weight and be healthier.

Thank you for the response, Mriana, and thank you also to the others who responded. I do not take issue with Bob Price in his personal lifestyle (though of course I would love to see him go vegan…ha ha), but only in the rancorous way he criticized anyone who makes a case for animal rights. Most of us know more about the scientific facts of animals’ capabilities than he (or other critics) admit, and it is not really a matter of a “bleeding heart” for most of us. This is indeed a serious moral issue in its own right, regardless of (or I should say in addition to) the very real harm that is done to living creatures. I would be more than happy to debate the point with Bob Price or anyone, but not if they are going to start screaming about how stupid I am and the topic is. That is where I start to get turned off…and when I start to think that the show is not being open to other perspectives.

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