Wow

Find the Richard Dawkins shows from Channel 4 in the UK. It is a two part series. It is called The Root of all ? Extremely well done and extremely informative. The only problem is that the only people that will watch it will be the people that already understand it. The section about people that come out as Atheists being persecuted for not being illogical and attempting to be rational.

From what I read he was upset over the fact that the title had a question mark at the end of it. I think he wanted it to be a statement.

It is truly amazing how destructive every religion is.

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11 Responses to Wow

  1. Matt says:

    I agree. An awesome show. I find Dawkins very interesting.

  2. maxx says:

    I don’t think ‘religion’ is destructive. I think the overzealous (also misinformed, misogynistic, or sometimes outright deceitful) evangelists are to blame for the destructiveness of religion.

    Consider that virtually every book held to be ‘sacred’ by a religion preaches lessons in morality, virtuous living, social welfare, community structure, and so on – stuff that I’d say comes under the umbrella of ‘common sense’. And because human beings are generally unwilling to perform all of the above on a regular basis for reasons they don’t understand, there is an implied reward ‘at the end’.

    Usually what happens is that some zealots following the religion decide that this message of moderation isn’t good enough – and they start preaching. The problem with preaching is that it eliminates ‘personal’ interpretations, and establishes the new preacher as the authoritative interpretation, rendering all other interpretations heretical and the interpreters, apostate.

    But this isn’t the fault of religion – it is the fault of people. Just like the ‘guns don’t kill people’ argument being refuted by the “well, take away all guns and the violence goes away” over-simplification, I think this too is a fallacy. Religion, at least the existence of it, isn’t the cause of these problems. It is the simple minded idiots who blindly follow whatever interpretation someone else has packaged for them because they are too incompetent or lazy to think for themselves that is the issue.

    I think people that are -truly- religious (as opposed to the ones that jingoistically wear religion like they did the flag after 9/11) don’t make a big deal about it, aren’t bamboozled by the bullshit of intelligent design, do not dispute the existence of dinosaurs, do not expect to ascend to heaven (or get the virgins or whatever), aren’t interested in trying to keep score of their good vs bad deeds, and don’t use a bully pulpit to badger other recalcitrants into thinking like them. Religion is a personal thing – like your time on the john. It doesn’t get shared, there’s no reason to report good or bad events, sometimes it stinks, but most of the time it is a time for calm reflection and doing what makes sense (to you).

  3. Brent says:

    At one time I (have) would agree with you on this. Not any more. First off part of this program is about that very aspect of religion. It talks a lot about the aspects that you are saying are bad as well.

    If you look at the Bible, it promotes rape, torture, killing, and bigotry just to name a few. God is a spiteful, jealous, child who sees nothing wrong with killing children in far worse ways than any abortion. The Jesus fable is a little better in that it takes a little bit more milder approach, but it still advocates killing and torture in several places. As stories, read without interpretation, they are not the moralistic fables everyone thinks they are.

    Then there is the aspect of hope that comes with religion. How many people every day spend their time praying for some divine intervention from Jesus/God/Mary/Pope/Pink Unicorn/Cosmic Teapot? All of that without having one shred of evidence to support ANY prayer ever being answered. How many people with severed limbs pray to have then restored? How many has that worked for?

    The logic from the site, http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/ is sound. People go around looking for magic in their lives and it is a waste of time and energy. Millions of people travel to these holy sites where people see the virgin Mary hoping to have something happen. At one site they have had millions of people show up and they have had 66 accepted miracles in that time. That is a really piss poor percentage. Some would say that it is pretty much just the percentage that you would expect if you attributed to random chance. Of course that is 66 miracles accepted by the people that are looking for miracles too, so no doubt if looked out by a scientist they might come to a different conclusion.

  4. maxx says:

    Lets address the miracles issue first-
    66 out of 1,000,000 is a piss poor percentage, I agree. Thats about the odds of winning the lottery, becoming a stellar QB, starting up a tech company that will go public and produce the next Bill Gates, etc. etc. And yet, people aspire to these goals (some dubious, some worthwhile) on a daily basis. Any scientist would agree that these odds are poor enough to avoid aspiring to them altogether.
    This is no different than prayer. So while I agree that prayer might seem like a waste of time, I think thats a subjective opinion. If prayer does nothing for you personally, then you’re absolutely right – it would be a waste of YOUR time. But for someone else it might be an opportunity to clear their head or just spend moments in quiet reflection – in which case it is NOT a waste of THEIR time. This ties into what I was saying earlier about religion being a personal issue – and not a blanket that covers all and sundry.

    As regards the Bible promoting rape/torture/whatever-
    All religious books existent today were handed down via word of mouth, usually to people who passed them on. The children’s game (where you have a line of kids and have them repeat a single sentence, by the end of it things have become mangled consderably) shows us that repetition is always fraught with interpretation, social turmoil, personal events in the life of the scribe, political agendas, and much more. Add to this the problem of translation. Look at the chaos generated by simple translations today – http://www.engrish.com – and now lets think about going from Aramaic all the way down to modern English. There is no way the book is an accurate translation; and more than likely there have been revisions, additions and subtractions – all in the name of religion. Once again, this leads us back to interpretation, which leads us back to my original point that the problem is not religion – but rather, the people that come between religion and individuals.

  5. Brent says:

    Ok, lets boil it down to the barest of levels.

    You don’t think that it is a bad thing to believe in something so strongly that you disregard all available information in order to hold on to your belief? Because that is what modern religion is.

    There are countless facts that completely negate the ideals of any god worshiping religion, and no _fact_ that supports it. Still people believe. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing to you?

    If there were people out here now that still believed that lightning was caused by Zeus, we would make fun of them, because we know what really causes lightning. Why is it not considered normal to make fun of the people that think the earth is only 7000 years old, or that God created Dinsaur bones as a test for us and put them in the ground?

  6. maxx says:

    I didn’t say that I’d disregard all available information to hold on to my belief.
    Look, religion is based on mythology. Mythology is NOT based on ‘scientific information or proof’, it is just a story that makes it easier for people who need a crutch to… well, have one. And the only parts of religion that matter to me (or to anyone with a clue) are the parts I described above that come under the umbrella of common sense. The people that believe literally in the six days of creation and Eve being created from Adam’s rib and the eternal damnation and the virgin birth and all of that are (sadly) simple minded automatons who don’t understand the difference between mythology and facts.

    And I never said anything about ‘worshipping’ God either.
    I think the god-and-human thing is a relationship, something that provides stability for some, a sense of purpose for others, preserves mystery for still others, and promotes a sense of accepting that human beings are not the ultimate. The early Romans called their ‘pagan’ gods ‘numina’ – meaning literally ‘spirits’ (of nature) – and I think this is pretty close to what all religion intends to promote.

    Just like modern Conservatives have hijacked the Republican agenda, I think modern Zealots have hijacked Religion. By all means, make fun of the people that cling to their beliefs – I’m not suggesting you should stop. I’m just saying that assuming everyone that is religious is automatically a simple minded person who blindly believes is an erroneous conclusion.

  7. Brent says:

    “everyone that is religious is automatically a simple minded person who blindly believes”

    Sans “simple minded” I think this is almost the definition of religion. Because you cannot have a religion if this doesn’t occur at some point. If at some point this doesn’t happen then you don’t believe in religion. Faith, which is a key part of religion, is defined as believing in something without proof.

  8. maxx says:

    Nahh, I disagree. Religion also confers tradition, a sense of connectedness with the past, with something that stretches back into antiquity.

    There used to be a group of like-minded individuals who started a club. These people believed in something, for which there was no proof. They got other people to appreciate their vision, and ended up with a bunch of people working towards realizing it. Now unbeknownst to the original set of people (or maybe they were just naive or shortsighted), the new people weren’t -all- in it for the same reason. Some were in it because they were social outcasts and this seemed like as good an opportunity as any to be a part of a group. Some were looking for an opportunity to pad their resumes. Some were just in it for the 25 cent wings on Tuesdays. The focus started to change, and as newer members came and older members left, the group started to become something completely different. Ironically, at some point the original goal of the original group was realized – but that vision had long been relegated to the trash heap of history – so no one really noticed or gave a damn.

    What I’m talking about is painfully obvious to both of us. And certainly I’m not comparing WKU-Linux to a religion. But the parallel is there, because I believe that most all religions got their start specifically because someone (a prophet) got people to follow his vision, and the vision was pretty straightforward and based on common sense. Then other people came along and the message slowly changed, until it wasn’t about common sense and all about dogma, or ‘doing things in this specific way’. Eventually, things got to a point where the dogma was so ingrained that no one even gave a crap about what the original vision was, and what they were doing at the time became the whole point.

    To go back to my example from above… by your logic, there should have been blind belief at some point that Linux would be a commercially viable alternative or that it was possible to have a career in a field of computing based on the intimate knowledge of an operating system. And I can tell you first hand that wasn’t true. And so too for religion, it isn’t the case. Like I said above, the difference between mythology and fact is pretty vast, and there’s no need to believe mythology to be fact in order to espouse religion. You can call it faith if you like, but I think thats a bullshit label that people have glommed onto because it sounds both fashionable and vague. Personally, I prefer the word ‘religion’.

  9. maxx says:

    On an unrelated note… man, I am tired of being the only one who comments on these unpopular subjects! Everyone else gets the easy ones… bitching about the Adaptec RAID card, talking about computer gear… I always draw the short straw and have to debate religion and politics – two things that are supposed to be the bane of social conversation!

    Maybe thats why we’re such good friends 🙂

  10. Brent says:

    Man I have to give you two point just for analogies. So far in this topic you have related religion to WKU-Linux and taking a crap. Your skills with the analogy are unequalable.

    No one else has the password to get in here now. Plus you and my dad are really the only common browsers. Everyone else is just drive bys. Hell, even Lamont did the drive by the other day.

    Man wordpress needs a system to assign security to accounts or something.

  11. maxx says:

    Yeah, I agree on the WordPress security thing… or at least they should change the ‘user level’ feature, so that if a level 7 person posts something, level 8 and above users can read it – but not 6 and below. This would make the user level thing -very- useful to individual bloggers like you and I.

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