Starbucks cup quote on ID/evolution

Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution.
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Starbucks cup quote on ID/evolution

Postby ShellyD99 » Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:49 pm

Hey all. I read this quote on my friend's Starbucks coffee and did a double take: "Darwinism's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty." From Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. :shock:

I've read a little about IDer (and Moonie) Wells in Michael Shermer's Why Darwin Matters. I had three reactions to this quote: One, it can be reworked like this: "Christianity's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Christianity's connection with slavery, the Crusades, the Inquisition, antisemitism, homophobia and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty." Two, let's say for the sake of argument that every social evil Wells lists does come directly from Darwinism. Does that make evolution false? Three, doesn't this illustrate the reductio ad absurdum fallacy?

I'm just giving my response here. What do you all think? (BTW if you want to respond on Starbucks' forum, the quote is #224 and the site is http://www.starbucks.com/wayiseeit)

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Postby sparks » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:12 am

Starbucks: They sell pretty good coffee at outrageous prices. They should bloody well stick to what they know. (Damnit, I wish I'd bought stock way back when!)
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Postby snooziums » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:22 am

But eugenics, abortion, and the justification for racism and seeing it can also be found in the Christian Bible, along with other religious texts.

Oh, and I am not seeing that quote from the link. It runs from #174 up to #219 and then cycles back to #174 again.
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Postby snooziums » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:33 am

Here are some interesting other ones:

The Way I See It #187
Life is a school for angels. Love is the Teacher, so do your homework without fear. Death is merely graduation.
-- Jeffrey Kuehl
Starbucks customer from Wilmette, Illinois.


Probably not someone from these forums that submitted that one.

The Way I See It #192
Many people lack a spiritual belief system and fill that void with obsessions about celebrities. The celebrities are raised to the rank of gods, and these earthly gods will always fail the expectations the masses have set for them. The cycle runs thusly: adoration turns to obsession, obsession turns to disappointment, and from disappointment it is a just a short emotional jump to contempt.
-- Donna Phillips
Freelance writer. She lives in Claremont, California.


Hmm... I guess this author feels that there needs to be some "spiritual belief" system to exist.

The Way I See It #202
With every generation of children comes the hope for a better world – but only through the provision of education for all. The millions of children who never see the inside of a school are a loss to all humanity.
-- Charlie MacCormack
President and CEO of Save the Children.


A argument for the thread "home-schooling for religious reasons."


The Way I See It #216
A very bad (and all too common) way to misread a newspaper: To see whatever supports your point of view as fact, and anything that contradicts your point of view as bias.
-- Daniel Okrent
First ombudsman of The New York Times and author of Public Editor #1.


So true.


But here is a good one:

The Way I See It #195
Always question the powers that be.
-- Helen Thomas
Hearst columnist and dean of the White House press corps.
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Re: Starbucks cup quote on ID/evolution

Postby NeroXIV » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:17 am

ShellyD99 wrote:"Darwinism's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty."

Darwinism's impact on social values is utterly irrelevant to its value as a scientific theory.

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Postby Paul Anthony » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:38 am

...and Organized Religion's impact on social values has been a whole lot worse!
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Postby St. Jimmy » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:07 pm

snooziums wrote:
The Way I See It #192
The cycle runs thusly: adoration turns to obsession, obsession turns to disappointment, and from disappointment it is a just a short emotional jump to contempt.
-- Donna Phillips
Freelance writer. She lives in Claremont, California.



"contempt leads to anger, anger leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads... to the dark side. Believe in the Force you must."

And how is that a cycle? It doesn't come back to it's starting point!
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:50 am

It's funny how ID advocates claim to be politically incorrect. The "Politically Correct" view of biology is this:

Evolution's just a theory, & we should be more open-minded to other theories of biological development. Teach both sides of the story in schools & let students decide for themselves.

This kind of counterfeit common sense, 9Phrase invented by me) gives real scientific innovation a bad name.
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Postby snooziums » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:55 pm

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:It's funny how ID advocates claim to be politically incorrect. The "Politically Correct" view of biology is this:

Evolution's just a theory, & we should be more open-minded to other theories of biological development. Teach both sides of the story in schools & let students decide for themselves.


So true. We should teach evolution and the theory that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or perhaps evolution and that the world was created by a giant turtle of which the world rides on its back.

So the question becomes, which creation theory?
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Re: Starbucks cup quote on ID/evolution

Postby Martin Brock » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:04 am

ShellyD99 wrote:I've read a little about IDer (and Moonie) Wells in Michael Shermer's Why Darwin Matters. I had three reactions to this quote: One, it can be reworked like this: "Christianity's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Christianity's connection with slavery, the Crusades, the Inquisition, antisemitism, homophobia and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty."


Are Moonies Christians? Wells could agree with you here.

ShellyD99 wrote:Two, let's say for the sake of argument that every social evil Wells lists does come directly from Darwinism. Does that make evolution false?


No. We need more context to know Wells' point; however, calling the ideas "Darwinism" is questionable. I've seen no evidence that Darwin himself advocated racist eugenics. Many atheistic followers of Darwin in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (like H. G. Wells) certainly advocated it, and some still do. These people might more accurately be called "Wellsians", but your Wells might not like this use of his name.

ShellyD99 wrote:Three, doesn't this illustrate the reductio ad absurdum fallacy?


No. Reductio ad absurdum begins with a premise that is not obviously false and deduces an obviously false conclusion from it, thus falsifying the original premise by the rule of contrapositive (if P implies Q then not Q implies not P).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

Wells doesn't claim that Evolution by Natural Selection is false in your quote. If he wants to reach this conclusion, his reference to eugenics and the rest is a red herring. Attributing these ideas to Darwinists is a straw man or guilt by association.

Wells seems to suggest that immorality implies falsehood, but there is no such relationship between ethics and logic. Many unpleasant things are true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_consequences

Wells could argue that widespread belief in the theory of Evolution has terrible consequences, even if the theory is true, and that we should therefore discourage people believing it. This argument is plausible. The truth of a theory implies no ethical benefits from its acceptance.
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Postby Thorn » Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:19 pm

Even so, just because reality is unpleasant, doesn't make it right to not accept it. Denial of reality could have far worse reprucussions than acceptance of it, no matter how bad it may seem.
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:49 pm

Darwinism advocates Nazism about as much as Relativity advocates nuclear war or moral relativism. A scientific theory, unlike a religion, cannot be held accountable for its social impact since it doesn't advocate anything.
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Postby Martin Brock » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:13 am

Thorn wrote:Even so, just because reality is unpleasant, doesn't make it right to not accept it. Denial of reality could have far worse reprucussions than acceptance of it, no matter how bad it may seem.


Denial of reality is a very broad notion. Denying one aspect of reality might be beneficial while denying another is not. Denying reality is never justified in my skeptical way of thinking, but this way of thinking is a moral absolute, a first principle of an ethical system I accept. It is my religion. I can't prove its utility in general, and I certainly wouldn't impose it on others. If denying reality in one form or another satisfies others, I'm in no position to preach at them.

I'm reasonably convinced of my mortality, for example, but I don't belabor the point. Various beliefs in immortality do support the common social framework. Possibly, this framework could exist otherwise, but it doesn't exist otherwise in fact, and I have no compelling evidence that it could.
Last edited by Martin Brock on Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Martin Brock » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:23 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Darwinism advocates Nazism about as much as Relativity advocates nuclear war or moral relativism. A scientific theory, unlike a religion, cannot be held accountable for its social impact since it doesn't advocate anything.


Relativity had little to do with nuclear weapons development, but scientific research more generally certainly did. Nuclear science doesn't compel anyone to create a nuclear weapon, but the desire for a nuclear weapon unquestionably motivated development of the science. Advocates of nuclear weaponry, including Einstein, did spur the development. The forms of a scientific theory don't advocate anything, but this fact is trivial. Physicists are responsible for the consequences of their actions like everyone else.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:00 pm

Martin Brock wrote:
Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Darwinism advocates Nazism about as much as Relativity advocates nuclear war or moral relativism. A scientific theory, unlike a religion, cannot be held accountable for its social impact since it doesn't advocate anything.


Relativity had little to do with nuclear weapons development, but scientific research more generally certainly did. Nuclear science doesn't compel anyone to create a nuclear weapon, but the desire for a nuclear weapon unquestionably motivated development of the science. Advocates of nuclear weaponry, including Einstein, did spur the development. The forms of a scientific theory don't advocate anything, but this fact is trivial. Physicists are responsible for the consequences of their actions like everyone else.


Einstein later regretted signing the letter to Roosevelt. I'd refute your point, though, that my point was a'trivial point.' Nuclear science itself is not evil, & it certainly isn't evil in the same way that ideologies like Chritstianity, Islam, & Marxism are evil.

I'd also refute your other point. A scientist isn't responsible for what other people choose to do with a piece of knowledge. Are Newton, Goddard, & von Braun responsible for the rocket technology that enables the speedy delivery of nuclear weaponry around the world, or is it the leaders that launch the weapon? Are chemists responsible for the poisons that their science makes possible? Is the inventor of the gun responsible for all the deaths & injuries caused by the gun?

Certainly giving the wrong knowledge to the wrong people bears responsibility, but what society does with a certain piece of knowledge doesn't make that knowledge evil, & is certainly not the responsibility of the scientist who shed light on the knowledge. At some point responsibility shifts upon the individual who uses the knowledge.
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Postby Martin Brock » Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:50 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:Nuclear science doesn't compel anyone to create a nuclear weapon, but the desire for a nuclear weapon unquestionably motivated development of the science. Advocates of nuclear weaponry, including Einstein, did spur the development. The forms of a scientific theory don't advocate anything, but this fact is trivial. Physicists are responsible for the consequences of their actions like everyone else.


Einstein later regretted signing the letter to Roosevelt. I'd refute your point, though, that my point was a'trivial point.' Nuclear science itself is not evil, & it certainly isn't evil in the same way that ideologies like Chritstianity, Islam, & Marxism are evil.


This comparison depends on where you draw the boundary around "nuclear science". You could also, like Hillel, reduce the Torah to "Do unto others" and relegate the rest to "commentary", but you would relegate much evil this way.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:I'd also refute your other point. A scientist isn't responsible for what other people choose to do with a piece of knowledge. Are Newton, Goddard, & von Braun responsible for the rocket technology that enables the speedy delivery of nuclear weaponry around the world, or is it the leaders that launch the weapon? Are chemists responsible for the poisons that their science makes possible? Is the inventor of the gun responsible for all the deaths & injuries caused by the gun?


von Braun was a German weapons scientist before coming to the U.S. The pioneers of nuclear science are inextricably linked to nuclear weapons development, and nuclear scientists today continue the tradition. I don't need to judge the outcome of their research to recognize this fact, and I gain nothing by denying it. If we credit science with the benefits of modern medicine, travel and communication, we must also credit it with nuclear weapons and the rest. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are inseparable from nuclear science.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Certainly giving the wrong knowledge to the wrong people bears responsibility, but what society does with a certain piece of knowledge doesn't make that knowledge evil, & is certainly not the responsibility of the scientist who shed light on the knowledge. At some point responsibility shifts upon the individual who uses the knowledge.


Reminding people of Moses' atrocities doesn't make the Bible evil either. Some followers read the tradition as blessing the atrocities while others read it as historical tragedy, but retaining the atrocities in the tradition is precisely the opposite of the denial involved in divorcing Hiroshima from blessed "nuclear science".
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:12 pm

If a text like the Bible advocates something evil, then the beliefs are evil. Racism, for example, is a belief that we would consider evil, even when there's no action attached to it.

Nuclear science doesn't advocate anything one way or another. The argument that we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because evolution is "immoral" is sheer rubbish for the simple fact that evolution doesn't advocate a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.

A scientific theory as an idea doesn't have any blood on its hands, so to speak, since it never advocated anything. A religion, as an idea, on the other hand, can have blood on its hands since it can advocate an evil.

Basically, a scientific theory cannot be attacked as an idea for being evil since it never advocated anything, but a religion or political ideology can be attacked as an idea for being evil because it does advocate certain things.
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Postby Martin Brock » Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:06 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:If a text like the Bible advocates something evil, then the beliefs are evil. Racism, for example, is a belief that we would consider evil, even when there's no action attached to it.


The Old Testament is a record of the acts of Hebrew prophets and kings and laws governing Jews in the past. Some of these laws I call "evil", but we needn't call the record or the creed preserving the record "evil". Judaism is evil only insofar as Jewish people act according to ancient laws that we now regard as evil.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Nuclear science doesn't advocate anything one way or another. The argument that we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because evolution is "immoral" is sheer rubbish for the simple fact that evolution doesn't advocate a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.


Here again, you simply define "nuclear science" as not advocating anything one way or another, so when nuclear scientists advocate constructing a nuclear weapon, this advocacy and construction are not "nuclear science". You could as easily incorporate the motivations of nuclear scientists and their employers into "nuclear science", but you don't.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:A scientific theory as an idea doesn't have any blood on its hands, so to speak, since it never advocated anything. A religion, as an idea, on the other hand, can have blood on its hands since it can advocate an evil.


If you want to distinguish "scientific theory" from the bloody consequences of applying a scientific theory as well as the motivation for developing it, then you are tautologically correct.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Basically, a scientific theory cannot be attacked as an idea for being evil since it never advocated anything, but a religion or political ideology can be attacked as an idea for being evil because it does advocate certain things.


Science can be attacked as such and has been attacked as such. Again, if we want to reduce the Torah to "do unto others", we can lift it above reproach as well. Sacred "science" is no different.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

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Re: Starbucks cup quote on ID/evolution

Postby skepticNY » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:40 pm

ShellyD99 wrote:Hey all. I read this quote on my friend's Starbucks coffee and did a double take: "Darwinism's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty." From Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. :shock:

I've read a little about IDer (and Moonie) Wells in Michael Shermer's Why Darwin Matters. I had three reactions to this quote: One, it can be reworked like this: "Christianity's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite "the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Christianity's connection with slavery, the Crusades, the Inquisition, antisemitism, homophobia and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty." Two, let's say for the sake of argument that every social evil Wells lists does come directly from Darwinism. Does that make evolution false? Three, doesn't this illustrate the reductio ad absurdum fallacy?

I'm just giving my response here. What do you all think? (BTW if you want to respond on Starbucks' forum, the quote is #224 and the site is http://www.starbucks.com/wayiseeit)


Hello ShellyD99

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I haven't researched this as of yet so I am only reacting to your post. At first blush I would hope it is some kind of joke or at least a way to show the absurdity of Johnathan Wells. Isn't Wells the author of Icons of Evolution? If so, then he is the Moonie who has been bank rolled by Sun Myung Moon with the mission to undermine evolution by natural selection. It is in fact his life's work. Evidence and reason as tools are far down the list for his mission. Attacks such as these are common for Wells and most with his mind set.

It appears to me that many reactions so far have missed the point that Wells is making a general statement on Darwinism. Implication is the belief in creates the behavior of. Problem is that Wells in fact argues against his intent by not showing this is in fact still the case. He even says "distance themselves". In part I think Wells is correct, but he has twisted reality with a single word. There has been discussion of Darwinian thought and its impact on rationalizations for eugenics (still is, same with stem cell research, animal rights, scientific research into origins -- fits the thread local) abortion (another thing I am in favor of if someone wants one, and yes I am Darwinian), and racism (little doubt about that). But racism was around before Dariwinian theory obviously but the connection with folks such as Spencer is undeniable. Social Darwinism is worth distancing ones self from. It is also something still being used to justify irrationality and needs to be confronted. Darwin himself had spoke of Wallace, the co discoverer of evolution by natural selection, as more Darwinian then himself. Wallace rationalized his belief in spirituality and racial disparity using evolutionary theory. There are many contradictions to Wallace's ideas on such matters. Though his views on race would seem racist now, he advocated a form of equality.

I enjoy your rewording of Wells' remarks.

"Two, let's say for the sake of argument that every social evil Wells lists does come directly from Darwinism. Does that make evolution false? Three, doesn't this illustrate the reductio ad absurdum fallacy?"

Yes, absolutely. Reducto ad absurdum. His argument is based on "traditional social values". There is no mention in the quote of what these values are but it is safe to assume that eugenics, racism, and abortion do not fit with these and by extension are false or negative values since he uses the word baleful (baleful implies sinister, or even deadly by its modern usage). It is a perfect word for the impact the author obviously intends (unless one has lived under a rock). So, he is saying there is a contradiction to these "positive" (my word for "traditional social values") values and Darwinian theory. This is wrong for several reasons. Darwininian theory is not false in the schema of "traditional social values". If the list Wells provides is negative values then what else does Darwinian theory tell us of a correlation between human devised value systems and to oposite or "positive" values. All we need is one to prove Reducto ad absurdum. The one would be racism. The word commonly used by racist to describe themselves is "racialist". Race is a supportable theory derived from naturalistic science. It tells us there is a differences inherent between humans that can be classified as "races". Darwinian theory also tells us that this is a natural occurrence and we are at the same extent descended from a common ancestor. So therefore Darwinian theory informs us through the advancement of naturalistic science (the only one) that there are race differences that branch (bush, not tree) out from a common ancestry. The impact of this knowledge is to disparage Social Darwinian interpretation for a more rational acceptance of who we are as humans, equals to the very core of our being.

Edit: After writing the above I had remembered an article in Skeptic magazine of long ago. I do not recall the article but there was a brief discussion of the origins of the word "sinister". "Baleful" is not a word often used, in fact it is rarely used these days. Baleful and sinister are synonymous. But, I believe using the word "sinister" would have undermined the usefulness of Wells' intent, I think he understands this. So, what are the origins of these words?

Sinister--I will leave out the "left-handedness" (though very interesting-as in a left-handed comment). But, the idea of sinister equaling "evil" actually shows up around the fifteenth century I am told. Baleful according to Online Etymology is "bealu-full, from bealu "evil, malice, misery".
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Postby skepticNY » Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:06 pm

From Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.


It is very common these days to argue from the perceived "politically incorrect" framework. It has many affects that an individual who uses such a phrase wants to convey. It is used mainly to say that the opposite view of the user of the phrase is using a "politically correct" argument. This is to convey that it is negative and subject to pressure, as well as unneeded euphemisms. It is also used to show one to be standing up against the the prevailing ideology. To be on the outside and so more objective.

So, in essence the person using the phrase "politically incorrect" or referring to an opposing view as "politically correct" may be trying to add legitimacy to their argument and disparaging their oppositions. It's basically meaningless. Why would anyone need to debate if they are using a "pc" argument. Is my support of abortion "pc" or is just that I am possibly a liberal who supports abortion that makes my argument "pc"? If I say I am pro-choice am I being less "pc" then someone saying they are pro-life? Are these euphemism other ways of saying , pro-abortion and anit-abortion? Is much of these debates just recognizing you can't escape politics easily?

The term "politically correct" has seen a huge rise in usage since Rush Limbaugh has mentioned it extensively on his show. It flourished I believe after the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think thank got a hold of some liberal think tank memorandums, though there was no secrets involved like the cloak and dagger ideal first promulgated in the early nineties. It was viewed by these liberal think tanks, perhaps it was one, the details have been blurred over the years, that it was not financially feasible to advocate/lobby for every favorable piece of legislation, or social action. Something was termed in the short hand of being "politically correct" if appropriate to garner resources for.

When researching right wing "racialist" organizations I had run into a supposed history of the term/idea. This new theory is derived from a "bolshevic" history. This paper is popular, but I have just noticed that the group I had first investigated which has a web site http://www.westernrevival.org has taken the essay down. ?? There was a small group in Ohio that was running this paper through the internet every where they could. On the Phora forums there was a discussion of this for a time. Anyway here is the essay.

http://www.freecongress.org/PC_Essays/C_chapter_two.pdf

Also, here are the Phora forums. The term PC is used like a weapon here.

http://www.thephora.net/forum/
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:41 am

Martin Brock[quote="Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Nuclear science doesn't advocate anything one way or another. The argument that we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because evolution is "immoral" is sheer rubbish for the simple fact that evolution doesn't advocate a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.


Here again, you simply define "nuclear science" as not advocating anything one way or another, so when nuclear scientists advocate constructing a nuclear weapon, this advocacy and construction are not "nuclear science". You could as easily incorporate the motivations of nuclear scientists and their employers into "nuclear science", but you don't.[/quote]

When I talk about nuclear science, I'm not talking about an organization or the social aspects, I'm talking about the literal &/or technical definition of nuclear science. Your arguements so far seems to be more semantical than anything else.
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Postby Martin Brock » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:21 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:
Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Nuclear science doesn't advocate anything one way or another. The argument that we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because evolution is "immoral" is sheer rubbish for the simple fact that evolution doesn't advocate a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.


Here again, you simply define "nuclear science" as not advocating anything one way or another, so when nuclear scientists advocate constructing a nuclear weapon, this advocacy and construction are not "nuclear science". You could as easily incorporate the motivations of nuclear scientists and their employers into "nuclear science", but you don't.


When I talk about nuclear science, I'm not talking about an organization or the social aspects, I'm talking about the literal &/or technical definition of nuclear science. Your arguements so far seems to be more semantical than anything else.


I point out that your argument is semantic. Your distinction between "nuclear science" and the political motivation and engineering of nuclear weapons is a semantic distinction. No law of nature or history divorces theories of nuclear interactions from these related matters. You divorce them rhetorically. You don't similarly divorce the evils of religious movements from "religion", because you don't sanctify religion here. You sanctify science instead.

Science is not out there beyond the artificial world in the realm of rarefied virtue and beauty or even in the realm of strict neutrality. Science is constructed by scientists for specific purposes.

Again, according to Hillel, the Golden Rule is the essence of the Torah and the rest is commentary. I can certainly read the Torah, and where I find acts and declaration consistent with the Golden Rule, I can declare "the Torah". Where I find evil, I can declare "commentary". You do the same with "nuclear science". Where you find nuclear weapons, you declare "vulgar application", but history doesn't divide nuclear weapons from textbook theory so neatly.
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:45 am

Since it's not getting to you that you're missing the point of my arguments, I'll argue on your level. If you really want to think of it as a purely cause & effect situation, then advanced military technology has saved alot more lives than it has taken.

Let's start with nuclear technology. The bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki were actually necessary because a land invasion would've resulted in alot more lives lost on both sides. Over half a million allied troops would've died, which was why we dropped the bombs, & the allies would've had to kill so many Japanese forces in the ensuing battles that more Japanese casulties would've resulted from a land invasion.

In the Cold War, M.A.D. was a great deterrent. If not for the threat of total annhilation, the U.S. & the U.S.S.R. would've faced off in a devastating WWIII. So nuclear bombs both saved countless lives in the Pacific Theatre, & they prevented WWIII.

Moving on to conventional military technology, the incredible accuracy of modern weaponry has resulted in far fewer civilian casualties. In WWII, carpet bombing resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people on a single bombing mission. Now, collateral damage is much lower.

As for the battlefield, because of advances in technology, conventional wars are shorter & the days of the massive battles resulting in horrendous casualties are over. Geurilla warfare cannot be attributed to advanced technology, since geurilla forces are not a new phenomenon, rebel forces in the American Revolution being one example.

In the future, weapons will be more accurate, conventional wars will be much shorter & robotic technologies will take the human soldier off the battlefield, resulting in virtually zero casulties.

So, from a purely cause & effect point of view, advanced weaponry has been a blessing, not a curse.
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Postby Martin Brock » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:41 pm

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Since it's not getting to you that you're missing the point of my arguments, I'll argue on your level. If you really want to think of it as a purely cause & effect situation, then advanced military technology has saved alot more lives than it has taken.


I understand your argument. I explicitly stated that you are correct insofar as we distinguish nuclear weapons and the rest from "nuclear science", but the distinction is purely semantic. Theory and practice are not distinct historically.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Let's start with nuclear technology. The bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki were actually necessary because a land invasion would've resulted in alot more lives lost on both sides. Over half a million allied troops would've died, which was why we dropped the bombs, & the allies would've had to kill so many Japanese forces in the ensuing battles that more Japanese casulties would've resulted from a land invasion.


You don't actually know any of this. Many historians maintain that Japan was on the verge of surrender, and we didn't need to occupy Japan in any event.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:In the Cold War, M.A.D. was a great deterrent. If not for the threat of total annhilation, the U.S. & the U.S.S.R. would've faced off in a devastating WWIII. So nuclear bombs both saved countless lives in the Pacific Theatre, & they prevented WWIII.


I agree that MAD worked as expected, but you have no idea what would have happened without it. We could have fought WWIII with the Soviet Union immediately after WWII, when we had nuclear weapons and they didn't, but we had no reason to fight WWIII with the Soviet Union, and military supremacy didn't defeat the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's own economic inefficiency ultimately defeated it. Corporatism and central planning created the inefficiency, not the cold war and its arms race.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Moving on to conventional military technology, the incredible accuracy of modern weaponry has resulted in far fewer civilian casualties. In WWII, carpet bombing resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people on a single bombing mission. Now, collateral damage is much lower.


I suppose more accurate weapons are preferable to less accurate weapons.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:As for the battlefield, because of advances in technology, conventional wars are shorter & the days of the massive battles resulting in horrendous casualties are over. Geurilla warfare cannot be attributed to advanced technology, since geurilla forces are not a new phenomenon, rebel forces in the American Revolution being one example.


I don't know what a "conventional" war is, but wars are not briefer these days.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:In the future, weapons will be more accurate, conventional wars will be much shorter & robotic technologies will take the human soldier off the battlefield, resulting in virtually zero casulties.

So, from a purely cause & effect point of view, advanced weaponry has been a blessing, not a curse.


I doubt that war will be free of human casualities any time soon, but we're all free to construct technological utopia in our imagination.
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:31 pm

The Soviets wanted to build an empire, & without MAD, it's very likely that the U.S. & the Soviet Union would've gone to war. We were on the brink many times throughout the Cold War, you don't think this would've been different without MAD?

What I mean by conventional warfare is a war without geurilla tactics involved. The invasion of Iraq was very short, it's the occupation that's taking so long.

EDIT-I'd also like to counter your point that Japan was on the verge of surrender. "Many historians" is not a historical consensus. Plus, the Japanese were preparing civilians, including children & old people, to fight to the death against the Allied forces.

Now, I don't have a link because the library computer I'm currently using is very difficult to deal with, but I can say that I remember a History Channel program about bizarre weapons that the Allies were developing. One weapon in development, ready to be deployed by the end of the war, was a bomb full of bats with small fire bombs attached, & when dropped the bats would fly into dark crevices & ignite structures all over a city. At the Air Base where it was being tested, the bats managed to escape from where they were being held & devastated the Base.

Imagine if this (low-tech) weapon had been unleashed upon the Japanese. There was also an unsuccessful plot among top Imperial Officers to kidnap the emporor & stop him from declaring a surrender, so I really doubt that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender.
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Postby Martin Brock » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:04 pm

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:The Soviets wanted to build an empire, & without MAD, it's very likely that the U.S. & the Soviet Union would've gone to war. We were on the brink many times throughout the Cold War, you don't think this would've been different without MAD?


I clearly don't know how history would read without a nuclear stalemate between the Soviet Union and the U.S., but I believe the Soviet Union would have crumbled ultimately regardless. MAD doesn't prevent empire building. It only prevents the use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. is still building an empire.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:What I mean by conventional warfare is a war without geurilla tactics involved. The invasion of Iraq was very short, it's the occupation that's taking so long.


Right. Baathist Iraq was already defanged before the invasion. Resistance gradually intensified after the invasion, because we're fighting forces assembled largely to resist the invasion, i.e. we created the war we're fighting.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:EDIT-I'd also like to counter your point that Japan was on the verge of surrender. "Many historians" is not a historical consensus. Plus, the Japanese were preparing civilians, including children & old people, to fight to the death against the Allied forces.


I have no idea when or how Japan would have surrendered without occupation, but I also know that you have no idea how costly a surrender would have been without Hiroshima. Germany surrendered without a nuclear assault.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Now, I don't have a link because the library computer I'm currently using is very difficult to deal with, but I can say that I remember a History Channel program about bizarre weapons that the Allies were developing. One weapon in development, ready to be deployed by the end of the war, was a bomb full of bats with small fire bombs attached, & when dropped the bats would fly into dark crevices & ignite structures all over a city. At the Air Base where it was being tested, the bats managed to escape from where they were being held & devastated the Base.

Imagine if this (low-tech) weapon had been unleashed upon the Japanese. There was also an unsuccessful plot among top Imperial Officers to kidnap the emporor & stop him from declaring a surrender, so I really doubt that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender.


I don't know about the bats, but I wonder how many historians believe that the emperor would have been dethroned before surrendering.
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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:42 pm

Iraq was a mess of our own making, which had nothing to do with advanced technology, & everything to do with a military blunder on the part of an administration that grossly mismanaged the occupation. I have no disagreements there.

The Soviet Union would've collapsed eventually, like, let's say, forty to fifty years after WWII, which is what happened. That's a large window of time for an aggressive regime to start an armed conflict, or many of them. MAD was a deterrent against both nuclear war & conventional war; the tension created by MAD was so great that both nations were afraid to execute a conventional military strike against the other nation because of the slight chance that it would provolke a nuclear retaliation. If there hadn't been such a climate of tension & fear deterring both powers from striking each other, we would've likely seen alot more than indirect conflicts like Vietnam & Korea.

& Yes, the Germans surrendered without a nuclear strike, keep in mind that the German & Japanese cultures are two very different animals, so to speak. Coup or no coup, the Japanese culture at the time was so fanatical that they weren't afraid of death.
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Postby Martin Brock » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:19 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:The Soviet Union would've collapsed eventually, like, let's say, forty to fifty years after WWII, which is what happened. That's a large window of time for an aggressive regime to start an armed conflict, or many of them.


I'm very much a libertarian myself and not at all sympathetic with state socialism and fascism, but the Soviet Union wasn't much more aggressive than the United States in the twentieth century. Socialist revolutionary movements were common and reflected genuine political aspirations however misguided. The Soviet Union supported these movements, just as the U.S. supported liberal democratic movements, and the two power thus fought wars by proxy. Two hundred years ago, the world hardly knew either.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:MAD was a deterrent against both nuclear war & conventional war; the tension created by MAD was so great that both nations were afraid to execute a conventional military strike against the other nation because of the slight chance that it would provoke a nuclear retaliation.


The two were continually at war if not directly on one another's soil. We had no reason to occupy the territory of the Soviet Union militarily. For better or worse, Yalta prevented it and should have and likely would have prevented it without a nuclear stalemate. Regardless, the stalemate didn't prevent empire building throughout the cold war.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:If there hadn't been such a climate of tension & fear deterring both powers from striking each other, we would've likely seen alot more than indirect conflicts like Vietnam & Korea.


We could have squandered even more lives and treasure in wars with the Soviet Union and its allies. Russia and China still have nuclear weapons, and they have stopped us squandering lives and treasure incredibly in Iraq.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:& Yes, the Germans surrendered without a nuclear strike, keep in mind that the German & Japanese cultures are two very different animals, so to speak. Coup or no coup, the Japanese culture at the time was so fanatical that they weren't afraid of death.


This statement is a gross over-generalization. Nazism was as fanatical as a movement has ever been.
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Postby snooziums » Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:48 pm

Martin Brock wrote:...but the Soviet Union wasn't much more aggressive than the United States in the twentieth century...


What is interesting is that the Soviet Union kept more treaties than the United States did during the Cold War. There was one occurrence where the soviets were building weather stations near the Alaska border, and the U.S. said they were violating treaty. The soviets removed them without much complaining.

However, the "Star Wars" project was a direct violation of treaty. And there was a treaty that no nuclear warheads would be aimed at the capitols (Washington D.C. and Moscow), yet the United States violated this as well by having some warheads aimed at Moscow.
Reviewing the massive amount of unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims, testimony, non-validated observational data, and philosophical studies, they actually suggest the existence of such an entity as the "soul." Although it cannot be determined what it is or if it is factual or not, it is my personal belief that there may very well be something there, and that it is worth looking into.

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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:23 pm

I would normally continue arguing, but usually political arguments go on forever, so I'll get back to my main point.

Martin Brock says that the difference between scientific theories & religions in their responsibility for crimes committed throughout history is just a semantical difference. A gun cannot be held accountable for its use in crimes because it doesn't advocate anything oneway or another. The same thing goes with a scientific theory. These are both tools, & the responsibility for a crime falls upon the individual who used the tools for the crime.

If a general, dictator, politician, or another kind of leader leader gives an order to their subordinates to commit a crime, they bear resbonsibility for the crime even though they didn't directly commit it. Even if you merely encourage a crime, you bear some responsibility for it.

A religion as an idea alone, can be evil, while a scientific theory cannot. A religion can encourage acts of evil, while a scientific theory cannot. Mr. Brock would have us believe that this is just a trivial difference. The ability to be either good or evil sets a religion very far apart from a scientific theory, & that's a BIG difference! The ability to bear some responsibility for actions done on its behalf sets a religion very far apart from a scientific theory, & that, too, is a BIG difference!

In short, a scientific theory is just a tool, while a religion is an ideology that can advocate, encourage, & can have definite positions on a large number of ideological issues, & that, alone, is, a very, BIG difference.

Now, because science is just a tool, it cannot be praised as virtuous for the gifts it has given us. But what can be praised as virtuous is reason, because reason is the basis for both science & ethics, among other things. I can't remember the exact quote, but I recall Carl Sagan speaking of the dangers that arise when 'the fruits of science fall into the hands of unscientific minds.' My point exactly.
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Postby Articulett » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:02 am

I had been meaning to post on this. I get so sick of this false analogy promoted by people like Ann Coulter and others on the religious right. Basically it associates evolution with darwin with godlessness with "social darwinism" and then Hitler and EVIL (sometimes "commie" is thrown in--or "liberal").

Not all who understand and accept evolution are atheists--nor are all liberals--nor are all atheists liberal--nor are they all evolutionists (though most are.) Social Darwinism has nothing to do with Darwin--it was not something he coined, nor did he coin the term "survival of the fittest" (that was Huxley). Darwin did not extrapolate his biological observations (which have been abundantly proved by science to political ideology. Moreover, Hitler was a Christian--Catholic...as were most of the Nazis. They killed atheists--and, although many promote Hitler's policies as an "ethnic cleansing"--Jews are not just an ethnicity...they are a religion. The Nazis also killed Homosexuals--they were doing a "moral cleansing". Moreover, most, if not all, white supremacist groups consider themselves Christian even if some Christians don't consider them Christian. Christian is a self described term--like atheism. Shall we blame Mendelev for the Atomic Bomb? (He designed the periodic table). I don't think Hitler was a big fan of Darwin. These deceitful people will also accuse people of worshipping Darwin or "believing in" evolution. In science, we have heroes, not gods--and we ACCEPT evolution, the way we accept gravity and the fact that the earth is spherical and that matter is comprised of atoms.

I've recently heard a couple of great podcasts on this very subject that I recommend for anyone interested-- I am disgusted at the dishonesty with which the religious right twists facts to spin it's lie, but what can one expect from people taught that there are great truths in one of the most barbaric texts ever written...

http://www.atheist-experience.com/archi ... php?full=0

(#489--mentions Ann Coulter and her similar quote on this exact topic).

http://geekcounterpoint.net/files/page0.xml

(#43--about "Social Darwinism" vs. Darwin himself and the twisted message of creationists.)

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Postby Martin Brock » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:54 pm

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:I would normally continue arguing, but usually political arguments go on forever, so I'll get back to my main point.

Martin Brock says that the difference between scientific theories & religions in their responsibility for crimes committed throughout history is just a semantical difference.


You write "Martin says" followed by words I never wrote. I said that your distinction between "nuclear science" and the development of nuclear weapons is semantic.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:A gun cannot be held accountable for its use in crimes because it doesn't advocate anything oneway or another. The same thing goes with a scientific theory. These are both tools, & the responsibility for a crime falls upon the individual who used the tools for the crime.


"Nuclear science" is not a gun. It is a category of activity and ideas. The boundaries of that category are a matter of common usage. If I ask random persons on the street if nuclear science is responsible for nuclear weapons, I expect a large proportion to answer "yes". You clearly construct "nuclear science" differently, but the difference is semantic.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:If a general, dictator, politician, or another kind of leader leader gives an order to their subordinates to commit a crime, they bear resbonsibility for the crime even though they didn't directly commit it. Even if you merely encourage a crime, you bear some responsibility for it.


Generals, dictators and other leaders are not "religion", but nuclear scientists clearly develop and encourage development of nuclear weapons. They are responsible for their actions.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:A religion as an idea alone, can be evil, while a scientific theory cannot.


If you want to define all of the evil out of "scientific theory", you may, but you aren't fundamentally different from people defining evil out of "religion". "True religion" is "not evil" by definition.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:A religion can encourage acts of evil, while a scientific theory cannot. Mr. Brock would have us believe that this is just a trivial difference. The ability to be either good or evil sets a religion very far apart from a scientific theory, & that's a BIG difference! The ability to bear some responsibility for actions done on its behalf sets a religion very far apart from a scientific theory, & that, too, is a BIG difference!


A scientific theory can describe material interactions enabling incredible destruction, but you choose not to hold the science responsible.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:In short, a scientific theory is just a tool, while a religion is an ideology that can advocate, encourage, & can have definite positions on a large number of ideological issues, & that, alone, is, a very, BIG difference.


A particular religion can advocate anything, just as a particular scientific theory can be developed and employed solely to create nuclear weapons.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Now, because science is just a tool, it cannot be praised as virtuous for the gifts it has given us. But what can be praised as virtuous is reason, because reason is the basis for both science & ethics, among other things. I can't remember the exact quote, but I recall Carl Sagan speaking of the dangers that arise when 'the fruits of science fall into the hands of unscientific minds.' My point exactly.


Ethics is just a tool. Philosophy is just a tool. Theology is just a tool. What people do with these tools is praiseworthy or not. Anyone can play this word game.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:41 am

(Yawn) I give up. You keep on confusing nuclear science with the political/military movement that sought to posess WMD's & use them for military & political power. & I never said that generals & dictators were literally a religion, it was an analogy.

Enough's been said, & people will be able to look at the debate & decide for themselves. I'm done with trying to demonstrate the moral difference between a scientific theory & a religion or political ideology.
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Postby Articulett » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:22 am

Martin Brock wrote:
If you want to define all of the evil out of "scientific theory", you may, but you aren't fundamentally different from people defining evil out of "religion". "True religion" is "not evil" by definition.



I would say "true religion" is an oxymoron. None have been proven true or to have truths--divine or otherwise. Religion is about faith in an ideology. Science is about facts. You can use ideology and facts in committing atrocities--but facts are just facts. Ideologies are tools of influence. The Nazis are more akin to religious authoritarianism than the the fact that life forms evolve from other life forms via natural selection. Darwins illumination of the facts is on par with Copernicus.

I don't know why you are ever the religious apologist, but facts don't have morality associated with them. Ideologies do. Ideologies are used to purposely unite and sway people. Facts can be used as well, but the facts are just the facts whether people know about them or not. This blaming Darwin for the Nazis is so backwards and hypocritical...it's the same way atheists are blamed for all that is wrong in the world and god and religions get credit for all that is right. I don't care what good religion may have done--it isn't true...and it tells you faith and loyalty is a gift to be rewarded. That sounds like a recipe Hitler understood quite well. And I don't think he got his lessons from Darwin. Read Mein Kamf. He uses a lot of biblical quotes and platitudes...specifically Christian teachings in his opus.

It would be more honest for people to say that the horrors of Nazism as well as eons of human suffering have been done by men who believed they were working for a "higher good"--an "ideal". A groupthink mentality coupled with the feeling of being chosen is a scary thing indeed.
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Postby Martin Brock » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:09 pm

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:(Yawn) I give up. You keep on confusing nuclear science with the political/military movement that sought to posess WMD's & use them for military & political power. & I never said that generals & dictators were literally a religion, it was an analogy.

Enough's been said, & people will be able to look at the debate & decide for themselves. I'm done with trying to demonstrate the moral difference between a scientific theory & a religion or political ideology.


I'm not confusing anything. "Nuclear science" is a pair of words. You want to distinguish this pair of words from nuclear weapons development, because you want to purify "science", but I doubt that most people using the words accept your distinction.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

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Postby macros_man » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:20 pm

I think Martin has a point with his "X is just a tool" speech...

Although nearly all of us here laud science, and abhor religion, the truth of the matter is that in the right context, even religion could fathomably be a positive force.

You might have some primitive and violent civilization, for example, who are not yet sophisticated enough to grasp or appreciate scientific concepts... but if you were to take these same people and teach religion to them, it just might be the perfect medicine to build sociological cohesion between the people, and to encourage co-operation and organisation amongst the people, until they can develop to where they no longer even need religion.

We are fortunate to live in times where we have a sufficient bedrock of civilization, technology and research, that despite still living busy lives, we can understand science and appreciate it, without devoting our entire lives to it.

But somewhere, on some distant planet, there may actually be a species far more advanced and civilized than us, but who nonetheless care nothing of science. Perhaps they have evolved to the point where they can be extremely successful simply because of their extreme physical suitability, or because their behaviourisms are extremely adept at manipulating their environment... even though they have no deep understanding or appreciation of physics and mathematics.

For example... we could imagine a colony of insects... where each individual insect has very little intelligence - but the colony, as a whole, may be extremely successful at surviving in any kinds of environments, and even have a kind of hive intelligence, which makes it very flexible, so that it can even travel out into alien planets and be successful there. This species may have equivalents to our emotions, such as joy... but would know nothing of science, and perhaps even have no sense of it.

We happen to value knowledge, even above all else in some circumstances, and it appears evident to us that having more knowledge about reality can only be a good thing... and is the best way, if not the only way, to gain ultimate success in this universe, and as a living organism... But can we say that valuing knowledge is an objectively good thing? If we had evolved in such a way that knowledge was superfluous... could we live, be 'happy' and be successful, even while having virtually no knowledge at all? Or what if everything we know is wrong? What if everything seems consistent with our knowledge of the universe... but we simply haven't evolved the capability to clear the metaphorical sludge out of our eyes... and see the world as it really is... how can we ever know that what we know is objectively true, even if our truths appear axiomatic and self-evident from those other things we take for granted.

So from our perspective, and at this time... we see these things that run counter to science as 'bad'... but that is a normative assertion... and we are certainly within our rights to make that assertion, for ourselves... but we should always recognize the relativity of these assertions.

It may in fact be an objective property of the universe, that species who have the most accurate knowledge of the universe and its operation are those who have the greatest potential to be successful. Certainly, this would seem to make the most sense, since we believe that knowledge facilitates control, and that control leads to the most effective actualization of our desires... and further, we believe that actualization of our desires leads to success. But what if our desires are the things that will destroy us? What if knowledge will ultimately destroy our entire species, and lead to the destruction of earth and every living thing... where had we not sought knowledge so fiercely, we may have survived for billions of years longer than we would have otherwise, and may have eventually evolved the capability to be far more successful in the long-term, and to enjoy far greater experiences that we ever could in our current form.

So we are well within our right to assert that science and knowledge are to be valued above all else... but even doing in that, we should recognize that we are not necessarily guaranteeing our success by doing this. And if we decide that we will value 'truth' even above the success of our species... then we still need to recognize that truth itself may be relative... and that we may never be able to objectively know the universe or anything in it.
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Postby Martin Brock » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:29 pm

Articulett wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:
If you want to define all of the evil out of "scientific theory", you may, but you aren't fundamentally different from people defining evil out of "religion". "True religion" is "not evil" by definition.



I would say "true religion" is an oxymoron. None have been proven true or to have truths--divine or otherwise. Religion is about faith in an ideology. Science is about facts. You can use ideology and facts in committing atrocities--but facts are just facts. Ideologies are tools of influence. The Nazis are more akin to religious authoritarianism than the the fact that life forms evolve from other life forms via natural selection. Darwins illumination of the facts is on par with Copernicus.


Religions differ from one another, and various authoritarian ideologies promoting atrocities are not religions. Some are atheistic, and many revere science, because science is useful to an authoritarian state. The Nazis valued science very highly, far more highly than they valued traditional religion in reality. Hitler was a politician and made plenty of public pronouncements about his religiosity. So did Bill Clinton. Privately, according to Goebbels' diary, Hitler compared Christianity to Bolshevism (which he detested). Lenin was more honest, but he didn't rise to power in a largely democratic process before assuming totalitarian control.

Articulett wrote:I don't know why you are ever the religious apologist, but facts don't have morality associated with them. Ideologies do. Ideologies are used to purposely unite and sway people. Facts can be used as well, but the facts are just the facts whether people know about them or not. This blaming Darwin for the Nazis is so backwards and hypocritical...it's the same way atheists are blamed for all that is wrong in the world and god and religions get credit for all that is right. I don't care what good religion may have done--it isn't true...and it tells you faith and loyalty is a gift to be rewarded. That sounds like a recipe Hitler understood quite well. And I don't think he got his lessons from Darwin. Read Mein Kamf. He uses a lot of biblical quotes and platitudes...specifically Christian teachings in his opus.


I'm not ever the religious apologist. I've said many unflattering things about many religions in this forum. I'm not ever the religious critic either. I've read the salient sections of Mein Kampf, but Hitler's religious pronouncements there are hardly more meaningful than a Clinton campaign brochure.

Articulett wrote:It would be more honest for people to say that the horrors of Nazism as well as eons of human suffering have been done by men who believed they were working for a "higher good"--an "ideal". A groupthink mentality coupled with the feeling of being chosen is a scary thing indeed.


True enough, but it is grossly misleading to attribute the horrors of Nazism to Christianity generally and even more misleading to attribute them to Catholicism. German anti-Semitism is more attributable to Luther.

Nuclear science is not just another fact isolated from any context any more than the design of a particular nuclear weapons system is just another morally neutral fact. The Nazis committed many atrocities, including atrocious human experimentation, in the name of science. Some of these experiments might have produced very interesting and useful results, if the collectivist ends justify the individual suffering.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Postby Philosophical Skeptic » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:11 am

Martin Brock wrote:
Philosophical Skeptic wrote:(Yawn) I give up. You keep on confusing nuclear science with the political/military movement that sought to posess WMD's & use them for military & political power. & I never said that generals & dictators were literally a religion, it was an analogy.

Enough's been said, & people will be able to look at the debate & decide for themselves. I'm done with trying to demonstrate the moral difference between a scientific theory & a religion or political ideology.


I'm not confusing anything. "Nuclear science" is a pair of words. You want to distinguish this pair of words from nuclear weapons development, because you want to purify "science", but I doubt that most people using the words accept your distinction.


I'm not confusing anything. "Firearms" is a pair of words. You want to distinguish this pair of words from evil, because you want to purify a combination of metal & explosive powder, but I doubt that most people using the words accept your distinction.

Yes, guns are evil, & so is nuclear science.

& That "X is just a tool" speech sounded more like something a lawer would say than anything else. If ethics is just a tool, then I guess people are just tools too. Art is just a tool for pleasure, & people are just tools for not feeling lonely. Recreation is just a tool for happiness. Damn it, philosophy's not just a tool! Tools only apply to pragmatic concerns.

Religious apoligist or not, it looks like you're just one of those enlightened "Moderates" coming to the rescue to save us all from "Extremists." The Few, The Proud, The Middle-of-the-Roaders. & If you can't grasp the definition of "Tool," then I don't know what to do. Aw, {!#%@} it, I'll just put you on ignore.
"If you see life as anything more than pure entertainment, you're missing the point." -George Carlin

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"Darwin's theory of evolution is one of the most uncontroversial & highly uncriticised theories in all of science. Now, the theory of random coming togetherness, that's quite a hot topic. It's hated by creationists & Darwinists alike! But Darwin's theory? Very few have ever criticised it." -Me



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Postby mysticdreamer » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:25 am

Although nearly all of us here laud science, and abhor religion, the truth of the matter is that in the right context, even religion could fathomably be a positive force. ******marcus man*******


you make it sound like the reverse is the norm. My dad is like that. is Religion *most* of the time a negative force??? I don't do religon. Seems i would agree with you aloooooooooot. is the reverse for non relgious people automatically ***positive***? seems on average maybe better--wrong word???-- like murders lower for nons, but so are th e # of nons. you know what i mean. -- im sure you do, kind of a speach habit----- but wheres the big test... my A& P pro would jump on this, like beating us with **homeostatisis** just seems must be some leveling out, cant be the *ab*norm for religous or else we d all be dead :) :)
On the spiritual theory, man consists essentially of a spiritual nature or mind intimately associated with a spiritual body or soul ...........
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Postby Martin Brock » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:10 am

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:
Philosophical Skeptic wrote:(Yawn) I give up. You keep on confusing nuclear science with the political/military movement that sought to posess WMD's & use them for military & political power. & I never said that generals & dictators were literally a religion, it was an analogy.

Enough's been said, & people will be able to look at the debate & decide for themselves. I'm done with trying to demonstrate the moral difference between a scientific theory & a religion or political ideology.


I'm not confusing anything. "Nuclear science" is a pair of words. You want to distinguish this pair of words from nuclear weapons development, because you want to purify "science", but I doubt that most people using the words accept your distinction.


I'm not confusing anything. "Firearms" is a pair of words. You want to distinguish this pair of words from evil, because you want to purify a combination of metal & explosive powder, but I doubt that most people using the words accept your distinction.

Yes, guns are evil, & so is nuclear science.


I nowhere ever suggest that nuclear science is evil. I suggest that nuclear science is part and parcel of nuclear weapons development. I don't even say that nuclear weapons are evil. "Evil" is your word and your word alone. "Good" and "evil" are human constructs. I construct the notions along utilitarian lines myself.

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:& That "X is just a tool" speech sounded more like something a lawer would say than anything else.


"X is just a tool" is your speech with "science" replaced by "X".

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:If ethics is just a tool, then I guess people are just tools too. Art is just a tool for pleasure, & people are just tools for not feeling lonely. Recreation is just a tool for happiness. Damn it, philosophy's not just a tool! Tools only apply to pragmatic concerns.


Science is a human enterprise. Scientists are human beings, and human beings are responsible for the clear and deliberate consequences of their actions in my way of thinking. Nuclear weapons development is clearly and deliberately a consequence of the nuclear science enterprise. Naming an assembly of information "science" doesn't absolve the practice of sin, even if some prefer to make "religion" the root of all evil while strictly distinguishing "religion" from "science".

Philosophical Skeptic wrote:Religious apoligist or not, it looks like you're just one of those enlightened "Moderates" coming to the rescue to save us all from "Extremists." The Few, The Proud, The Middle-of-the-Roaders. & If you can't grasp the definition of "Tool," then I don't know what to do. Aw, {!#%@} it, I'll just put you on ignore.


Recognizing that nuclear science is historically inseparable from nuclear weapons development hardly makes me an apologist for religion or any sort of "moderate". I have never called you an "extremist", so this conclusion is entirely yours. Ignore whatever you like. I don't need to ignore you.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.


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