Wednesday, May 13, 2015

General Thoughts - 5/13/2015

* Massimo Pigliucci has gone on record as disavowing the 'atheist movement', such as it is. Apparently the straw that broke the camel's back was Sam Harris' performance with Noam Chomsky, which Harris and his fans saw as an embarrassing non-attempt by Chomsky to engage with Harris' studied views about war, and everyone else saw as Harris acting like a jackass. I admit, I've been skeptical of Harris' transcendental meditation crap, especially his insistence that he's peered deep inside and found no 'self', but admittedly the Chomsky affair at least supports the claim that the man has no self-awareness.

* Christianity down, irreligion up in the latest Pew Forum poll. One prediction of mine seems to have been borne out, namely that the spread of irreligion is primarily taking place among the less educated portion of the population. That's the dirty secret of the New Atheism: it largely attracted idiots. Unfortunately, idiots are a pretty sizable population bloc.

* Amused by the GOP as usual, who cannot declare immigration, abortion, gay marriage and everything else as 'lost causes' fast enough, but holy hell, they will go to bat for "free trade" even after going down in flames. It's not even a bitter surprise anymore.

* Are people going to recognize yet that Hillary Clinton is not the inevitable president in 2016? She has a shot, but let's face it - if she was unstoppable, she wouldn't have been stopped in 2008. People don't seem to realize that while Bill Clinton is a master bullshitter and good at building support, that ability doesn't get transferred to Hillary by marriage.

23 comments:

bbigej said...

What the hell are you talking about? Christianity is dying in educated parts of the world, and quickly rising in third world countries where ignorance is prevelant. If anything is drawing in the ignorant masses, it is clearly Christianity.

Graham Marley said...

As someone on the older end of the Milennial age spectrum, I can say the irreligion thing fits my expectations for my generation perfectly. Whatever has been said about millennials, from my perspective, the most notable thing about them is their existential confidence. Not only is everything going to be fine, they are going to MAKE everything fine. My comfort is in their children: even if their kids don't return to the Church, the millennial obsession with an obnoxious legalism is primed to be rebelled against by youth who will find it intolerable.

I watched the HBO documentary on Kurt Cobain the other day, and it was fascinating to be reminded about the pressure he faced as "the voice of a disillusioned generation." That's pretty much gone now, the cycle is starting over. It's just a matter of time before a good chunk of future young people say "This cannot be all there is." I keep reading poor Rod Dreher and the guy sounds like he's having a nervous breakdown with at least four "the sky is falling!" klaxon articles. My problem is the sky isn't falling fast enough for my liking.

GoldRush Apple said...

>>People don't seem to realize that while Bill Clinton is a master bullshitter and good at building support, that ability doesn't get transferred to Hillary by marriage.

Because sexism and ageism.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>One prediction of mine seems to have been borne out, namely that the spread of irreligion is primarily taking place among the less educated portion of the population. That's the dirty secret of the New Atheism: it largely attracted idiots.

BenYachov's Law: Reasoning is a learned skill. Just because you deny the existence of God or gods doesn't automatically make you rational.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

You've got to remember that these are just simple college kids. These are people of "science". The common clay of the new Atheism. You know... morons.


Steal from the best I always say.

Mel Brooks forever!!!!

Crude said...

bbiegj,

Hi there! My, you seem irate. Let's see why!

What the hell are you talking about?

New Atheism is popular among absolute rubes and the ignorant. Y'ever notice they hardly influence anyone but 'the really young and naive'? Even statistically this is borne out.

Now, irreligion - usually of a non-atheist bend - is popular among the educated who aren't masturbating up a storm over gay marriage or the like. But then again, so's Christianity and theism generally.

But New Atheism's big schtick was to start slinging out bumper sticker slogans and cheap entertainment for the rubes. It was attractive to the sort of people who thinks that they can literally raise their IQ by calling themselves atheists.

Graham,

My comfort is in their children: even if their kids don't return to the Church, the millennial obsession with an obnoxious legalism is primed to be rebelled against by youth who will find it intolerable.

I think we're starting to see this now, much to people's chagrin. What gets forgotten is that one reason people were turned off from Christianity is because they found it stifling. Lots of rules, lots of expectations, and lots of homework to do. People wanted more freedom than that. But lo' and behold, the people who urged them to rebel simply want to stifle them even further, in fact worse than Christianity ever did in the modern west.

It reminds me of how you had those guys who were big fans of PZ Myers' hate-rants against Christianity... and then were shocked beyond belief when Myers started going after them too. The world didn't work out the way they hoped.

It rarely does.

Goldrush,

Because sexism and ageism.

Yeah, funny how 'she's incompetent' never makes the list. The woman can't even lie convincingly. That's one way to break gender stereotypes, I admit.

bbigej said...

And as long as we're speculating as to causal forces, could it be that non 18-29 demographics are abandoning religion at a slower pace because it becomes more difficult after decades of indoctrination? This is basic human psychology. As they say, science only progresses when the old guard dies off.

Syllabus said...

It always amuses me to see atheists selectively consider level of religiosity amongst the highly intelligent a sociological phenomenon when it suits them (as with the majority of great scientists/philosophers until basically the mid/late 19th century) and as the result of unblinkered reason when it plays into the "atheists=brights, theists=teh stoopid" narrative.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I know one particular young person (I'm related to her) who has recently*** grown very hostile to religion in general, and has unfortunately started to engage in gnu-speak (e.g., "imaginary sky-fairy", etc.). And as far as I can discern, the sole reason for her going over to the Dark Side is solidarity with the "gay rights" movement (and the consequent mis-identification of religion with "bigotry").

We are setting ourselves up to be blindsided by this trend if we fail to acknowledge its incredibly strong hold it has over the youth. Personally, I have no good**** suggestions as to how to combat it. Rational argument does not work, because reason was not the cause for the loss of faith. This needs to be engaged at a much deeper level.

*** Definition of "recently": over the past 5 years or so.

**** Definition of "good": something that works.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@ bbigej


PEW: RELIGIOUS ‘NONES’ TEND TO BE UNDEREDUCATED, POOR, WHITE MALES

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/14/pew-religious-nones-tend-to-be-undereducated-poor-white-males/


Yep!

Wow my rip of of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles quote turned out to be prophetic!

Crude said...

And as long as we're speculating as to causal forces, could it be that non 18-29 demographics are abandoning religion at a slower pace because it becomes more difficult after decades of indoctrination? This is basic human psychology.

Why do the guys who say 'This is basic (X)' always give the impression that they've never so much as read a book about X.

More to the point - do you realize that 'We make sure to get them young and stupid' doesn't particularly speak against my claim of 'they're getting the young and stupid'?

Now, this is the part of the New Atheist script where the Gnu goes, 'Yeah but they have the TRUTH', and don't notice the similarity they bear to the sadder, bargain-basement religious evangelists.

Will you follow the script?

Crude said...

Bob,

We are setting ourselves up to be blindsided by this trend if we fail to acknowledge its incredibly strong hold it has over the youth. Personally, I have no good**** suggestions as to how to combat it. Rational argument does not work, because reason was not the cause for the loss of faith. This needs to be engaged at a much deeper level.

I've been saying as much for years. More than once on this blog I've said, look, Aristotileanism is great - I accept classical theism, I think the arguments are powerful - but they are for a certain, high-end class of thinker to even properly consider (regardless of their views on the matter.) People are persuaded on a more primal level than that.

In fact, I am likewise skeptical of the 'loss of faith'. I think the beliefs still linger - saying 'I'm (not) religious' is, as near as I can tell, often far less the result of deep intellectual or even spiritual commitment, as opposed to a statement of loyalty.

People don't mean the things they say, even to pollsters.

Crude said...

Yakov,

Did I call it, or did I call it?

Syllabus,

It always amuses me to see atheists selectively consider level of religiosity amongst the highly intelligent a sociological phenomenon when it suits them (as with the majority of great scientists/philosophers until basically the mid/late 19th century) and as the result of unblinkered reason when it plays into the "atheists=brights, theists=teh stoopid" narrative.

Yeah, it's predictable. My favorite one is 'Newton/etc were probably all just PRETENDING to be religious'.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Great minds think alike brother Crude.

lotharlorraine said...

I am no big fan of Chomsky who can be often carried away by political correctness.
Yet, he earned his reputation of public intellectual by writing brilliant articles, developing innovative theories and holding fast to his commitment to justice.
In other words, he's truly an outstanding person with respect to his rational skills.
The same cannot be said about Harris. He's become famous through his HATEFUL, aggressive and apocalyptic tone.
His arguments are pretty unsophisticated in comparison to those of good atheistic philosophers.
He really does not deserve our respect.
He's just a bigot who got where he's now through hate- and scare-mongering.
Cheers.

Crude said...

In other words, he's truly an outstanding person with respect to his rational skills.

Meh. All I know is he seems soft-spoken, thoughtful yet forceful, which means I can tolerate him. I vaguely recall he paints everything in black and white.

Syllabus said...

Yet, he earned his reputation of public intellectual by writing brilliant articles, developing innovative theories and holding fast to his commitment to justice.

Weeeeell, his legacy as a linguist is certainly pretty solid, in that he started (AFAIK) the trend of computationalizing grammar and language more generally. But his more extravagant claims of stuff like universal grammar or what have you have been mostly either backed off from or else tweaked so far as to be neutered over the course of the last 50 or so years.

But, yeah, Syntactic Structures was influential. His political stuff, though, is pretty damned silly. His opposition to Vietnam, for instance, was on the basis of thinking that we were engaging in cultural genocide against the Vietnamese people. Which seems to me to be a totally goofy argument of all the ones he could have used. And then there's his (as far as I know continued) support for the Khmer Rouge.

bbigej said...

Well, now I see why you screen comments...so you can curate for yourself a nice little echo chamber. Suit yourself. I'll just head back the Adult's Table.

Crude said...

Well, now I see why you screen comments...so you can curate for yourself a nice little echo chamber.

I screen comments for many reasons, but I haven't screened a single one in months. Including during multiple heated debates, your own comments, and comments from a guy whose blog I purposefully ditched.

Now by all means, head on over to the Kid's Table - a place like Coyne's or Myers' blog, where the echo chamber is fierce and nasty stuff, and the policing to maintain an echo chamber is quite real.

B. Prokop said...

Hey, crude, did you ever think that you and I would be singled out by Loftus as "uneducated unintelligent and obnoxious people" who need to be banned from DI?

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Well, now I see why you screen comments...so you can curate for yourself a nice little echo chamber. Suit yourself. I'll just head back the Adult's Table.

Well that is not fair.

This criticism would have teeth if Crude refused to post any response of yours to a particular issue.

You could complain here and at your own blog in public if he ever did that too you.


But he hasn't has he?

Crude said...

Bob,

Me, yes. He's asked for this before, on multiple sites. Because, really - he's an empty suit, and he knows it, and I point this out.

You? I don't think he's speaking of you. He likely means Ilion, as originally. But I could be wrong.

Crude said...

But he hasn't has he?

I haven't.