Late Late Show

Dr Raskolnikov
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Location: "In the beginning there was the word, and the word was "word up biatch""

Re: Late Late Show

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:52 pm

aiseiri47 wrote:The first problem is that most religious people will have heard of Dawkins before they've ever read or seen anything by him. And the general public know him more as an "atheist crusader" and author of The God Delusion moreso than a scientist with a passion for truth. The second problem is that most people shy think to disagree with someone or question them is rude (I merely think that it is, in certain scenarios, counter-productive), and that religion is something to be respected even if you don't believe in it. Richard Dawkins does not abide by either of these "social norms". And people are too busy reacting to the broken taboos to take in that he's actually being quite open and polite. Plus, people take his lack of respect for religion as a lack of respect in general; they don't realise that his lack of respect for religion is equal to the lack or respect most people have for Scientology or cults in general.

Contrary to what you might have picked up above, I deeply respect Richard Dawkins. I've just observed the unfortunate fact that his methods do offend people, and there are situations where that needs to be avoided.
Good points all! :)

Dawkins himself has pointed out in some of his books, including the God Delusion, that he is consistently called "strident" simply because he dares to ask questions on a subject that is somehow ring-fenced from criticism. One of his stated aims in writing that book was to raise consciousness / awareness of the fact that we enable and prop up these ideologies whenever we allow an unsupported claim to pass unchallenged. Our mis-guided tolerance of religious world views allow them to survive and carry on their intolerance of others.

This is also a philosophy I've adopted in relation to any kind of superstitious statement, e.g. "it'll work out, touch wood", and "I'm a total perfectionist, like all Virgos".

It's not a great way of making friends though! :mrgreen:
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
DaithiDublin
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Location: Bray, Co. Wicklow
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Re: Late Late Show

Post by DaithiDublin » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:53 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:This is also a philosophy I've adopted in relation to any kind of superstitious statement, e.g. "it'll work out, touch wood", and "I'm a total perfectionist, like all Virgos".
I was driving with a friend recently and I said something like "I hope this goes well today" and he said "touch wood". There wasn't any wood near us, he just said it as if the power of the words themselves meant something. He's not overly superstitious, his reply was automatic. It simply bypassed his critical faculties completely.
Sometimes in such circumstances the person I'm with will touch wood on my behalf, as though the magic works by proxy too! So I set them up by innocently asking "what good will that do?", and when they tell me it's for good luck, I can tell them about a carpenter I know who had his van stolen recently! There's also the Easter Islanders, who touched every piece of wood they had and it was the death of them.
As yet I have not found a single case of a terrestrial animal which fertilises itself.

- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
(he obviously never went to Bray)
aiseiri47
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Late Late Show

Post by aiseiri47 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:25 pm

This should probably go in the lapsed atheist confessional thread, but I say "touch wood" occasionally. I think it adds nice cadence to a sentence. It is extremely odd that I say it because I don't know anybody else that does, and I spent most of my life trying to figure out what it meant. Sometimes I also say "Bless you" because it feels awkward not to say anything when someone sneezes, and forced to say "Gesundheit".

Then again, I also say "Goodbye", and that means "god be with you."

Though, when family members start talking about horoscopes, or anything else superstitious they actually seem to believe, I stop listening and murmur a heavily disinterested "yeah". (When non-family members do it, I just tell them it's nonsense.)
Dr Raskolnikov
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: "In the beginning there was the word, and the word was "word up biatch""

Re: Late Late Show

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:28 pm

DaithiDublin wrote:
Dr Raskolnikov wrote:This is also a philosophy I've adopted in relation to any kind of superstitious statement, e.g. "it'll work out, touch wood", and "I'm a total perfectionist, like all Virgos".
I was driving with a friend recently and I said something like "I hope this goes well today" and he said "touch wood". There wasn't any wood near us, he just said it as if the power of the words themselves meant something. He's not overly superstitious, his reply was automatic. It simply bypassed his critical faculties completely.
Sometimes in such circumstances the person I'm with will touch wood on my behalf, as though the magic works by proxy too! So I set them up by innocently asking "what good will that do?", and when they tell me it's for good luck, I can tell them about a carpenter I know who had his van stolen recently! There's also the Easter Islanders, who touched every piece of wood they had and it was the death of them.
I'm having those responses, thanks Daithi! :)

I wonder if there is a correlation between reliogiosity and general non-specific superstition? I can understand how such things may have had adaptive features in a "meme" context, e.g.

- Don't walk under ladders (you might get a hammer dropped on your head)
- Don't open umbrellas indoors (it's messy and you'll get the carpet wet)
- Don't break mirrors (they can be expensive to replace and you might cut yourself)
- Don't pass a woman on the stairs (it's not polite)

But some of the more arcane learned behaviours are more of a mystery to me, e.g.

- If you drop a glove, you're not allowed to pick it up - someone else has to do it for you
- Lots of inoccuous events are supposedly harbingers of good or bad "luck", like sightings of certain birds, cats etc.

Who or what exactly is going to enforce these doses of good or bad luck? Leprechauns? :roll:
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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