Things Amanda Marcotte is bad at and clearly needs work on: Writing sentences.
A lot of the energy of my skepticism is dedicated to wondering why anyone would believe a weird thing like "calling our conference 'Amaz!ng' will make people take us seriously."
This is also why it's important to spread not just debunkery but also skepticism and reason as epistemic habits- if you show a man a fraud, you've helped him for a day, but if you show him how to spot frauds, you've helped him- and those around him- for life.
I was homeschooled by my mother who held a highschool diploma and believed that Noah took Dinosaurs on the Ark, and the world is only 6 thousand years old.
I have no real education other than the one I've put together over the years like some kind of homeskooled Robinson Crusoe
So I'm not really sympathetic towards people who thought Uri Geller could bend spoons. But maybe I'm wrong and I should try to be, it couldn't hurt my relationship with my mother any.
And beyond this, many of the things we've comfortably identified as 'magical thinking' are going to bite us very hard in coming years. I can think of no better metaphor than animism for a world dominated by artificial intelligence - of machines, and perhaps of hyperdense corporate, legal, and informational structures. This is why voodoo was of such significance in William Gibson's sprawl; it was "street reality. It "just worked." When other parts of the universe are growing in consciousness faster than mankind, well, all bets are off.
I think you all should just pray on this. I'm sure that listening to the Holy Spirit will help you resolve these arguments.
I'll take it seriously when it starts addressing the issue of how to replicate the value that religion has for the downtrodden, instead of just mocking us all as being dumb sheep.
Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
I desired that, if there is to be talk about philosophy, there should be less trifling with the label “atheism” (which reminds one of children, assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the bogy man), and that instead the content of philosophy should be brought to the people.
Only after you've separated the strands of feminism that allow themselves to be subjected to the scientific method from those who do not, can they be incorporated in the atheistic movement without friction.
Many feminists argue from assumptions that are not only not based on scientific findings but are in outright denial of them. E.g, the idea that no behavioristic differences between the sexes can be ascribed to biology.
I don't think you'd have a hard time finding someone calling McCain a male-specific insult. I think the main problem is, you haven't thought of which insults are male-specific. I know when I did, nothing came to mind immediately - but after a little reflection, you realize how many of the common insults are male-specific. It's a surprising number.
But I believe you cannot understand religion’s enduring popularity without understanding its role in systems of oppression. The belief that some people are lesser than others, and should be relegated to a servant class, is unscientific and irrational, and so religion is better for defending these beliefs than science.
If you want my honest opinion, and since this is blogging I assume you do, I think that the hand-wringers are speaking more from an subconscious belief that religion deserves special treatment more than a real concern that we’re losing anyone. But like I said, if you have this subconscious urge to protect religion, remind yourself that you’ve been indoctrinated precisely so that nonsensical beliefs can be protected from criticism. Don’t take that lying down! We’ve all been brainwashed. We need to get angry about that, not defensive. Every time you think, “Maybe I shouldn’t say that Jesus really wasn’t a god, because that might hurt some deluded soul’s feelings,” think about how you’re being roped into the great conspiracy and muddle through. Together, we can topple the religious exception from criticism.
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