1.08.2009

"Consciousness Raising." Good Reporting. Classic Dawkins.



I will keep my comments limited to dialogue. What do you think?

8 comments:

  1. I don't know what the advertising scene is like in England, but in the Midwest, you don't have to look too far to find religious billboards promoting Pro-Life politics and Christianity in general. By comparison, this bus campaign seems pretty innocuous. It's also a gentler, more inclusive message than the one on the atheist-sponsored sign in the Washington state capitol.

    Frankly, I don't understand why someone would be offended by the ad; I'm not offended by reading things I disagree with. That's just a mindset I don't get. And even if these people are actually offended, what does that have to do with the rights of persons and groups to promote their points of view?

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  2. I think it's hilarious, and even needed, to a certain degree. And you're right - classic Dawkins.

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  3. Go Richard Dawkins - The evangelicals of England salute you! Seriously, I would much rather deal with skepticism than apathy.

    Maybe we can get him to do some of these in Indianapolis.

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  4. It is a conversation starter indeed. Contra-apathy for sure. That is surely one of the best things to come from the Outspokens. Dialogue should definitely be spurred.

    I would rather see "think again" ads than soft-porn and "wear this and you'll..." splashed all over.

    Eric, I agree man, it's unfortunate to silence "opponents" and/or proponents of other beliefs or views.

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  5. What's interesting is what exactly the sign/message is also presupposing. Hidden beneath the message is an idea of a god that instills anxiety, worry and/or fear and hence robs humanity of enjoyment in life.

    Who ever actually created the sign is giving us a good picture of probably not a very uncommon view of God and humanity.

    Dawkins says, "...think for yourself...don't listen to what a priest..mullah..rabbi tells you...think for yourself."

    Is this possible? Can we think outside of a tradition? Dawkins himself is a proponent of a belief perhaps more aligned with a rationalist-empiricist view. What of that? How can we measure, "to think for our selves?"

    I think the idea is good. And it's serving its purpose here in this discussion.

    Glad to have you guys share some thoughts.

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  6. For me, growing up in a conservative branch of Christianity, religion was certainly a source of anxiety, worry, and general devaluation of this world and this life. My apostasy has been a wholly positive experience (at least personally; I still hate that it hurts people I love). For people in that position, I think a bit of "consciousness-raising" has the potential to do some good. That said, I also know Christians who find religion to be a positive force in their lives, and who have managed to fit their beliefs into a broader, more pluralistic worldview, and I'm all for that. I would say that, if you're a Christian who is not nagged by doubts and anxieties, this ad probably isn't directed toward you. Dawkins himself has positive things to say about liberal Christians (more fuel for the conservatives, perhaps?). I guess my point is that no ideology is worth being miserable over, and any shift away from that kind of life-debasing fundamentalism is a step forward for humanity.

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  7. Can we really think for ourselves? Yes and no. Obviously there are forces genetic and cultural that influence our view of the world, and in that sense, we can't truly have an independent thought. But where science and rationalism differentiate themselves from religion and other "traditions" is in the appeal to common experience and the built-in mechanisms to help shield findings from bias and manipulation. Religion ultimately has to fall back on personal experience and revelation. We all have to appeal to authority at some point, since we can't know everything about everything, but at least with science we can appeal to people who have reasons beyond "thus saith the Lord." Science/empiricism/rationalism may be one "tradition" among many, but belonging to a category does not automatically put it on equal footing with every other member of that category.

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  8. I would like to see more outspoken proponents engaged on the exploration of the nature of knowing as it pertains to the scientific and religious community. (Perhaps I should say between both of these 'faith communities'.

    I think the dichotomous relationship between reason and revelation is an unfortunate flaw in our knowing process. It seems to me that we are in a time where we are hearing more and more a desire for greater integration in disciplines that attempts to extend or rather be open to removing the bifurcation between scientific method proper (by this I mean the empirical method alone) and metaphysics. Perhaps this has to do with the wider influence of now pervasive pluralistic influences.

    I am not so sure that there is any community/tradition that doesn’t have some kind of awareness towards having intellectual integrity towards maintaining ‘objectivity’ (as much as is possible keeping in mind the situated nature of knowing) and avoiding aggressive impositions of bias and manipulation. The shift from a "naive realism" to a "critical realism" towards scientific theories is telling of this I think.

    Eric you said, “We all have to appeal to authority at some point, since we can't know everything about everything, but at least with science we can appeal to people who have reasons beyond "thus saith the Lord."

    I agree that in science proper there is inherent reasoning as a method . However, though I do recognize a qualitative difference between testimonial dependence on man and reason alone and on God and his revelation, ultimately we do have an inevitable dependence on some kind of testimony i.e., our authoritative and ‘reliable witness’ to reality.
    I think that science proper is an inadequate ‘foundation’ if you will to account for reality as a whole because of it’s failure to take into account cosmology, ontology and teleology.

    Eric, regarding your ‘apostasy’ from the conservative Christian background you came from allow me to suggest a really fascinating read that I am going through currently. I think you might find it very interesting. The book is called,"“Finding Faith, Losing Faith: Stories of Conversion and Apostasy.”"
    The book is something of a sociological and anthropological consideration of the nature of paradigmatic shifts in belief systems. More specifically it takes on the more common religious beliefs in North America.

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