OPEN DISCUSSION – SEPT 2018

Sep 1, 2018

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

Please note it is NOT for general chat, and that all Terms of Use apply as usual.

If you would like to refer back to previous open discussion threads, the three most recent ones can be accessed via the links below (but please continue any discussions from them here rather than on the original threads):

OPEN DISCUSSION – JUNE 2018

OPEN DISCUSSION – JULY 2018

OPEN DISCUSSION – AUGUST 2018

109 comments on “OPEN DISCUSSION – SEPT 2018

  • The September open discussion thread is now open.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  • I am a Sri Lankan Sinhalese person who “lost faith” in my religion quite some time ago, back when I was 15 years of age and now I am 19 years of age. I wish to promote science within Sri Lanka, exactly what a developing nation like our’s needs at the moment. I realize that there are quite a few people championing a skeptic worldview(though mostly not in mainstream media) and I wish to join them in the future, after completing my education. Despite the fact that certain groups of people in the western world look at Buddhism and think of it as a “good religion” my conservative parents have shown me that it isn’t so… by being very close minded and hateful about any group other than the “Traditional Sinhalese Buddhists”. There is much hate towards the west as we were under the rule of Richard Dawkins’s own country, not so long ago. Those who question Buddhism and other respected religions publicly are shunned and thought to be in support of the “evil west” as apposed to the “cultured east”. To make things worse I am also a member of the LGBT community. I guess I now am one of the most hated people in Sri Lanka… despite the fact that not many know about me. Many people in those two communities are disowned by their families, even the police and social workers here do not care for most of the injustice faced by our communities. Everyday homophobic videos spring-up some mocking our community and some bullying people belonging to it. To have no religion is mostly unheard of in most areas except near the capitol in Colombo and those who do have such beliefs, lose even their jobs and friends. As you can see I must keep all of who I am to myself. What can I do to become an activist successfully, when I finally am able to come out and help others like me in a conservative culture like mine?

  • Akila #2

    I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it to others to answer your specific question – if indeed there is an answer. It’s clearly not going to be easy. But I just wanted to thank you for your post and welcome you to RD.net and say how much I hope you’ll stick around and join in the discussions. Sounds as if you don’t get much contact with like-minded people in your day-to-day life, so perhaps simply being able to speak/write freely here will be something of a relief. But in any case, it will be invaluable having your perspective on the topics we discuss here.

    Just one thought – given your concerns about it not being safe to be too open about who you are, I’m wondering if it might be an idea to go to your profile and change it so that only your first name is displayed next to the comments you post? Displaying your full name (assuming it’s your real one) does leave you more exposed, and it sounds as if that perhaps isn’t a very good idea.

  • Akila #2

    Hello, Akila! Nice to have you here at RDFRS.

    First, I agree with Marco that it would be prudent for you to use only your first name here (without the middle and last name), to protect your privacy and keep yourself safe.

    I have no idea of social conditions in Sri Lanka, but you mention that you are nineteen years of age and still to complete your education; which suggests to me that you are at present studying at a university or other kind of tertiary institute. If this is the case, I wonder how much freedom of thought and expression is valued on campus, and whether it is easy to find others of similar mind as yourself there. Perhaps you can form some kind of group or club on campus that promotes a secular, skeptical, evidenced-based approach to the issues of life and politics. As a body of likeminded individuals dedicated to some such cause, you and your associates may be able later on to become a public association that addresses social issues from a secular, rational, evidential perspective.

    Whatever your circumstances may be, it is saddening and salutarily sobering for me to learn of your plight in Sri Lanka. I hope there is some possibility of finding others of like mind with whom you can work to promote more secular humanist ways of thinking in Sri Lankan society. That will require courage (along with much else) and prudence. Do take care. I wish you every success.

  • Hi Akila, a warm welcome from us too.

    We can make the change to your displayed name for you, if that would help.

    The mods

  • Marco #6
    Sep 3, 2018 at 8:06 am

    So many treasures lost, including the oldest fossil ever found in the Americas.
    The fact that there were no effective fire prevention measures in place just makes it all the more awful.

    It seems this results from the sort of goverment economists, who have a “price for everything, and know the value of nothing”!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-45398084

    Brazil museum fire: Funding cuts blamed as icon nearly destroyed

    Officials in Brazil have blamed lack of funding for a huge fire that has ravaged the country’s National Museum.

    One of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas was almost totally destroyed in Sunday’s fire in Rio de Janeiro.

    There had been complaints about the dilapidated state of the museum. “We never had adequate support,” its deputy director said after the fire.

    Presidential candidate Marina Silva also criticised lack of investment.

    “Given the financial straits of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and all the other public universities the last three years, this was a tragedy that could be seen coming,” Ms Silva, a left-wing politician standing in next month’s election, tweeted.

  • I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps. Still to speak of REASON at a platform shouting itself a biosphere reserved for reason is my prick, i cant stop myself.
    Not so pleasing to find most posts about
    ” Bishop Apologizes For Groping Ariana Grande At Aretha Franklin Funeral
    Muslim Court Canes Malaysian Women for Same-Sex Relationship
    Watch This Woman Call Out Her Alleged Mormon Rapist in His Own Temple
    Trump’s evangelical pander: a sin or a violation of law?”
    WHEN
    At the top left hand corner, I see ” blah blah blah FOR REASON AND SCIENCE ”
    I may be wrong . May be those who think they are ambassadors of reason , who advocate to place reason on a higher place in public debate platform (may be right )think that observing and researching into phenomenon of BIG BUSINESS -Religion and its increasing or decreasing effect on its consumers around the world constitute a major study in the field of science and reason.

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

  • Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    Part of the study of “reason”, is examining and analysing examples of flawed and irrational thinking and behaviours! – Just as examining reliability in engineering involves testing flawed prototypes which fail on test – thus revealing the flaws which are in need of correction.

  • Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    What kind of posts would you like and expect to see here?

  • …If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion…

    I suspect you do not live, for example, in the US (let alone in its south-easter side, AKA the “bible belt”), where concerted, systematic attempts to undermine the public perception of Science have been made over the last few decades by presenting religious dogma, often covered with a pseudo-scientific veneer, as a “reasonable” as well as respectable alternative to Science and reason themselves.

    Unfortunately, and very worryingly, this agenda has been partially successful.
    I think it is not too much of a stretch to claim that we are in the midst of a cultural war.

    In this context, it is not enough to just focus on reason and Science alone. One must systematically expose the limits of religion any chance one gets.

  • Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps.

    I think that unlikely, as anyone can make a reasoned argument and quote evidence here without censorship, regardless of personal viewpoints.

  • Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps. Still to speak of REASON at a platform shouting itself a biosphere reserved for reason is my prick, i cant stop myself.

    At the top left hand corner, I see ” blah blah blah FOR REASON AND SCIENCE ”

    I’m not sure how the “blah blah blah” analysis of reasoned deduction works!
    As an example from a self nominated critic of “reasoning”, it seems to be an unconvincing argument!

    I may be wrong.

    . . . . but have not been back to read responses, discuss the issue, or find out.

  • Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry,
    then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    If you prefer discussions on “reasonable and rational inquiry” into the more physical sciences, why not comment on the many science articles presented for comments, available on this site; – and discuss them with the numerous scientists here who have given detailed comments and analysis on so many scientific issues and past discoveries, as recorded in the archives of earlier discussions on the site?

    It seems a fairly futile move, to join in a discussion on the psychology of religious beliefs, and then complain that it is not one of the listed range of scientific discussions on other topics, which you have ignored!

    If you look at the top of the RDFS “News Contents page”, (see link), you can click on the “SCIENCE heading Button”, pick out the list of all the latest discussions on scientific topics, and exclude other topic headings on subjects in which you do not wish to participate.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/news/

    ALL ATHEISM EDUCATION POLITICS RELIGION SCIENCE SKEPTICISM TECHNOLOGY

  • And another thought-provoking article here, this time from The Atlantic:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/what-trumps-supporters-think-of-corruption/568147/

    Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt

    What the president’s supporters fear most isn’t the corruption of
    American law, but the corruption of America’s traditional identity.

    “In a forthcoming book titled How Fascism Works, the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

    Worth a read – personally I find this article more convincing than the Irish Times one I posted above.

  • This (corruption of purity) sounds exactly like one of Jonathan Haidt’s five right wing moral “virtues”.

    If the right wing view is that mankind is corrupted from some ancient more virtuous time, modern laws may seem of little value.

    Of late I am finding, by contrast, particularly in the US, an unusual fetishisation of and trust in the law and legal process. Civil disobedience is shocking to contemplate. This is allowed to pre-empt potentially more moral evolutions. Its making me think this might be gutting the left’s ability to fight back…..

  • Phil #18

    Of late I am finding, by contrast, particularly in the US, an unusual
    fetishisation of and trust in the law and legal process. Civil
    disobedience is shocking to contemplate.

    The same has struck me about the UK, though, too, in the context of Brexit. It’s not so very long ago that there were near-riots in France because Nutella stocks had run too low. Here in the UK, the majority of us (now) see that Brexit will be a disaster for our economy (and more besides) yet, despite feeling passionately about it, the anti-Brexit campaigns are entirely polite and peaceful. It’s no coincidence that it’s a violent backlash from the Right that politicians fear, while apparently feeling free to totally ignore the now more than 50% of the country who have come round to the view that Brexit is a terrible idea. It’s not that I want Remainers to get violent (or that I could do so myself – it’s just not in me). I just suspect we might make more progress if anyone in power were remotely worried that we might.

  • Marco #19
    Sep 9, 2018 at 5:40 am

    It seems to me that what we have is rebels (some with legitimate grievances), looking for champions of their diverse pet causes, and a mixture of politically correct ignoramus rebels looking for causes to lead, plus the usual posing bought stooges and charlatans, who worm their way into politics.

    In the UK it is relatively easy for rogue millionaires and charlatan intermediaries, to fund candidate deposits and media campaigns, so that easy-money, free-story, journalists in the gutter press, and ignorant politicians, can parrot the empty rhetoric of campaign slogans. – Slogans which are then taken onboard in the false balances of heavier-weight media, simply because they are circulating widely – with the stupid ignorant being lovers of the superficiality of “two opposing viewpoints”!
    (eg. Using the claim to use the £multi-billion financial deficit of the “brexit dividend,” to fund the NHS)

  • Marco #19

    Yes!

    This deference to a single data point glorified by the term Referendum is exactly the same problem.

    The left have not only been zero threat to Brexit, they appear pussycats, latterly chasing their own tail, whilst the rats prevail.

    Active talk from more politicians (ideally cross party) of collecting more data points and the referendum as serving its purpose of igniting debate and real fact finding is needed to galvanise a new plan A. Not brexit but a plan to fix the old ills, keeping the baby but not the bath water…

    (I know to stop writing once I hit two metaphors….)

  • NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE AGNOSTIC ATHEIST FREETHINKER HUMANIST SKEPTIC NATURALIST FILM FOR OUR SEMIANNUAL FALL (VS FEBRUARY) FREETHOUGHT FALL FILM FESTIVAL

    Our UU Humanist Group in Annapolis Maryland has been screening appropriate films twice a year
    We posted on RichardDawkinsNet in 2013. Got the following suggestions Do you agree? Can you suggest others?

    2013 SUGGESTIONS:
    TITLE YEAR SUMMARY ROTTON TOMATOES
    “Bedazzled” 1967 Faustian Legend 90% 81%
    “Brazil” 1985 Visionary Orwellian Fantasy 98% 90%
    “Breaking the Waves” 1996 The Power of Love 84% 91%
    “Dogma” 1999 Jay & Silent Bob Prophets 67% 85%
    “Gattaca” 1997 Science vs Humanism 21st C 82% 87%
    “God on Trial” 2008 Auschwitz 83%
    “God Loves Uganda” 2013 Christian Evangelicals 100% 77%
    “Holy Mountain” 1973 Individuals Out to be God 81% 89%
    “La Dolce Vita” 1960 Federico Fellini 97% 90%
    “Life of Pi” 2012 Reality vs Belief 86% 84%
    “Melancholia” 2011 Depression Destruction 79% 67%
    “Microcosmos” 1996 Bug’s Eye View 97% 91%
    “Osama” 2003 Women under Taliban 96% 87%
    “Persepolis” 2007 9yo Girl Iran > Austria 96% 92%
    “Requiem” 2006 Mental Illness vs Possession 86% 66%
    “Serious Man” 2009 Coen Brothers 89% 68%
    “Sleeper” 1973 Woody Allen 100% 81%
    “Solaris” 1976 Reality vs Perception 96% 90%

    2011
    “Avatar” 2009 Human Mind Alien Body 83% 82%
    “Crimes & Misdemeanors” 1989 Woody Allen 93% 91%
    “Decalogue” 1989 Ten Commandments 97% 92%
    “The Gods Must Be Crazy” 1980 Kalihari Bushman and Coke 95% 84%
    “Letting Go of God” 2008 Julia Sweeney 86%
    “Life of Brian” 1997 Monty Python 97% 93%
    “Man from Earth” 2007 Immortality 85%
    “Meaning of Life” 1983 Monty Python 88% 83%
    “Seventh Seal” 1957 Ingmar Bergman 93% 93%
    “Tree of Life” 2008 Terrence Mallick 84% 60%
    “Waking Life” 2001 Arthur Linklater 80% 87%

  • Agora. Alejandro Amenábar (2009)

    Hypatia and the power struggles of rising Christianity and the sack of the library at Alexandria. Noting religion’s indifference to knowledge and asking the question what wisdom may we have already lost through it. (Hypatia very credibly posits a theory 1,000 years ahead of time, before being killed.) Stylish, what if, film rather than historical account.

  • Alan4discussion #15
    This is in response to ALAN4DISCUSSION…
    You say ” If you prefer discussions on “reasonable and rational inquiry” into the more physical sciences, why not comment on the many science articles presented for comments, available on this site”
    Even the name associated with this website, The respected richard dawkins refrain from commenting on the same theory he is originally famous for The Selfish Genes.
    If you think ” and discuss them with the numerous scientists here who have given detailed comments and analysis on so many scientific issues and past discoveries”
    then here’s my doubt- Why Mr Dawkins deliberately leaves over PURSUIT OF MONEY / PURSUIT OF POWER as one of the important factors influencing the spread of Memes?
    When even if dont read a lot of inquiries and experiments as to how ideas spread in a group, I can see around myself that whatever exists in my environment with its source being human, it is something for which somebody in individual or organized, spend money to sell it , popularize it and worked towards its acceptance in a business manner by the members of a group. And that spirit to spread the Idea was not born out of desire to help someone or any group at large, but on the simple business motive to earn monetary profit.

    If the computer through which I am working is available to me, its not simply because it was an good idea and it spread by itself. It’s not here because the makers of computer wanter to help people in general. It is here because businesses who are engaged in making computers are interested in making money.

    Same is with Ideas. They dont spread by winds or by rains. They spread because some organisations profit by the spread of particular Ideas. And the prime beneficiary in the business of Ideas is the ruling group at any place, called the Kings in earlier times and Governments of today.

  • Alan4discussion #15
    I should present an example for an Idea as well.
    Democracy If you agree , the institutions and the public opinion andd behaviour that includes the phenomenon called democracy can be traced back to the idea of Democracry with its definitions.
    Now this idea called democracy doesnt spread from some person or group who thinks it is an useful idea for many to believe and behave accordingly and organization in groups to be arranged according to this Idea.
    It spread and for now, its here to stay because some groups already placed in positions that control power discovered that this idea can be used to hide the actual process of selection of Power over groups by involving people in such a way that remain under illusion that they are the ones who have chosen men in power.
    And these resourceful groups spent money on the spread of Idea, make necessary regulations to modify offices to suit the idea , and into indoctrination of people to accept and behave according to this Idea.

  • Devesh#26

    What you refer to as the ‘phenomenon called democracy’ is regarded by the vast majority of people on our world to be the fairest method of achieving a governing system.

    Can you suggest another (equally fair) way of achieving the same?

  • Erol #27
    Sep 13, 2018 at 4:00 am
    If you read the two threads together, My highlight or probe is not about the best method of governance.
    But about How this perception becomes what you describe as ” is regarded by the vast majority of people on our world”? the process.
    If you assume that you have something to ask , then at least question within the limits of speaker’s content .

  • Devesh #25
    Sep 12, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    I see you need to quote sections cut from earlier comments.

    On this site, these can be highlighted by placing a > at the beginning of the pasted comment, and leaving a line-space before adding new commentary below it.

    here’s my doubt- Why Mr Dawkins deliberately leaves over PURSUIT OF MONEY / PURSUIT OF POWER as one of the important factors influencing the spread of Memes?

    The mechanisms for spreading money and power in complex societies, are memes. (ie. over time, they are replicated and inherited – but with some “mutated” features evolving.)

    The other factor is the distribution of food/resources/energy as part of a complex food chain. There are similar structures in all ecosystems.

    The political – economic structure is about who comtrols these mechanisms.

    Same is with Ideas. They dont spread by winds or by rains.
    They spread because some organisations profit by the spread of particular Ideas.
    And the prime beneficiary in the business of Ideas is the ruling group at any place, called the Kings in earlier times and Governments of today.

    Ideas spread, by humans copying actions from parents or role models, which they identify as successful, status enhancing, or providing solutions to problems. This is sometimes formalised into apprenticeships to particular trades.

    What you are describing is a two part feature of productive ideas being seized upon by tribes, guilds, or corporations, with attempts to monopolise these, and their promotion of particular ideas for profit.

    The basic copying of ideas in tool-use etc. can be observed in young children, and to a limited extent in the more mentally capable social animals – such as Capuchin monkeys.

  • Devesh #26
    Sep 13, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Alan4discussion #15
    Democracy If you agree , the institutions and the public opinion andd behaviour that includes the phenomenon called democracy can be traced back to the idea of Democracry with its definitions.

    Democracy has as many definitions as the number of ideologies which claim to promote it. Many of the definitions and claims are pure deception!
    (A bit like the current Brexiteer claim in the UK, that a second refendum – now the public are more aware of brexiteer fantasy finance, empty rhetoric, and lies, is “undemocratic” when it corrects a vote based on earlier deceptions!
    There were similar ludicrous claims that the parliamentary representatives having a normal, informed vote, on what was finally agreed would be also “undemocratic”!)

    The vague term “democracy” is dishonestly bandied around by sleight-of-hand politicians, who are seeking some badge of endorsement for dubious their schemes!

    Now this idea called democracy doesnt spread from some person or group who thinks it is an useful idea for many to believe and behave accordingly and organization in groups to be arranged according to this Idea.

    Democracy, is essentially a method of input of useful ideas and constructive criticism on those in government or management. That is why repressive dictatorships which do not listen to criticisms, or seek wider inputs of ideas, fail due to incompetence, lack of imagination, and denial of required actions.

    Democratic votes are also a measure of political support in the wider population – as the manipulative propagandists know only too well!

    Many “turkeys”, are easily persuaded to vote for Christmas – with a promise of a spendid dinner in the company of elite celebrities!

    It spread and for now, its here to stay because some groups already placed in positions that control power discovered that this idea can be used to hide the actual process of selection of Power over groups by involving people in such a way that remain under illusion that they are the ones who have chosen men in power.

    There are certainly many forms of perversion of political processes by those seeking power and influence by clandestine means.
    These are enabled by corrupt individuals, nepotism, pressure groups with ideological or finacial interests, and widespread apathy in the wider population.
    Many people make no effort to engage in political processes, have no contact with their representatives, take no interest in what their representatives are actually doing, and many do not even know who their representatives are – or don’t bother to vote at all! The media tends to concentrate on sensationalist stories and publicity-gimmick stunt-men, while ignoring constructive work by more conscientious representatives, on running and improving the functions of government.

    There is also the media manipulated- ignoramus-factor, of opinionated “know-nothings”, chanting garbage propagandist slogans, spoon-fed to them by the gutter press, or ideological or religious fanatics, and then shouting down the expert opinions they should be consulting to form informed opinions!

    In its crudest tribal form, this results in vigilante groups attacking scape-goats on the basis of malicous gossip and rumour, or the slaughter involved in religious crusades!

  • Devesh#28

    But about How this perception becomes what you describe as ” is
    regarded by the vast majority of people on our world”? the process.

    Plainly, because it is the most logically fair method! Each person in a group will have their own point of view about who should govern, and in the democratic system those that have the majority viewpoint will win and elect their chosen candidate.

    Under what circumstances would that not be an acceptable system in your opinion?

  • Currently I am trying to form some coherent legislation to replace the almost unusable near incoherent “hate speech” legislation, which I …er… dislike with a passion. As often framed it is a weapon as usable by the hateful as by the compassionate.

    A legal test for hate is almost impossible to frame without limiting fair comment. An ancient supernatural tribal entitlement used by the near Fascist (IMO) Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the ongoing theft of others’ property, and disproportionate unjudicial killing needs regular and vigorous calling out and to those who could be brave and vote against it.

    (By contrast the brave others have my undying gratitude from Myriam Margolies and Professor Norman Finklestein, very many Ashkenazy and even Hasidic and Haredi Jews.

    As ever this link

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0CulhsQkTA

    Google images of anti-zionist jews.)

    Many other areas are compromised with bizarrely formed terminology like “Islamophobia” seeking, all too often to silence debate with irrational hate testing, hiding the people actually harmed and by what mechanism harmed. “Anti-Muslim-Bigotry”, identifies the harmed, those able to suffer, and the mechanism.

    Once I proposed hate speech legislation be abolished for its almost impossible test and infrequent application as a result, and be replaced by “incitement to violence” very assiduously policed with a much easier testing and chance of conviction. The kinds of inflammatory (and super-judicial) speech we may want to put an end to can be moderated, but the debate of ideas remain unharmed.

    Recently I wanted to hold Pastors and all of shaman-kind legally responsible for the damage they inflict directly or indirectly on children through speech. Their speech is harmful even if it is transmitted via collaborator parents to say pray the meningitis away, shun the blood transfusion. Doctors have professional insurance for the advice they give, and they are held institutionally accountable and bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Pastors have none of these.

    So now I want broader than incitement to violence and call it incitement to bodily harm and a more restrictive version “bodily harm to a minor”?

    Can we see a new overarching principle here? Am I trying to bundle too much together?

    Cheers, mods. Please delete my two posts in the gene mutations thread. Thanks.

  • phil rimmer #32
    Sep 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Currently I am trying to form some coherent legislation to replace the almost unusable near incoherent “hate speech” legislation,

    The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, should confine its efforts to promoting education about the holocaust, instead of discrediting itself by attempts to gain partizan support for Israel in its abuse of Palestinians.
    It is simply dishonest to try to equate holocaust denial with criticism of Israel and Zionists!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Remembrance_Alliance

    The non-legally binding working definition includes illustrative examples of antisemitism to guide the IHRA in its work.
    These examples include classical antisemitic tropes, Holocaust denial and attempts to apply a double standard to the State of Israel.[9]

    This “application of a double standard to the State of Israel”, is a disingenuous ploy! – Claiming that some petty dictators or corrupt regimes, are just as abusive in other countries, is no excuse or justification!

    Likewise asserting that critics who are just as critical of other abusive regimes or cultures, are somehow biased against Jews or Israel, is simply a projection of their own fundamentalist bigotry on to the critics!

    Although internationally recognised by many groups, the working definition of antisemitism has been criticised by some as too broad, and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

    Of couse it has – because as we have seen in earlier discussions here, Zionists will conveniently switch between religious views, political views, and support for the Israeli government, according to the agenda and argument of the day – with the usual expressions of being “offended” by criticism of reprehensible Zionist actions, and the usual attempts to divert the argument away from criticism of the real issues, and into an ad-hominem attack and debate on the (allegedly) “bigoted antisemitic” critic!

    There are clear parallels between this perverted Zionist thinking, and Trump’s labelling of all his critics (economists, scientists, university research teams, independent observers etc.), as “Democrat propagandists”!

  • @#34 – Zionists will conveniently switch between religious views, political views, and support for the Israeli government, according to the agenda and argument of the day –
    with the usual expressions of being “offended” by criticism of reprehensible Zionist actions,
    and the usual attempts to divert the argument away from criticism of the real issues, and into an ad-hominem attack and debate
    on the (allegedly) “bigoted antisemitic” critic!

    Shortly after I wrote this comment, this example emerged!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45517094

    A trade union leader has been recorded suggesting that Israel “created” the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party.

    In a recording published by the Independent, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka suggested the country had created the story to hide what he called its own “atrocities”.

    Labour Against Anti-Semitism said Mr Serwotka had brought the entire TUC into disrepute and he should resign.

    This is the classic “offended Zionist” diversionary ad-hominem attack, and trying to put the critic on the defensive while ducking all the real issues!
    It is to facilitate such attacks, that these dubious definitions of “anti-Semitism” are being promoted and accepted by Israeli stooges, and gullible “politically correct” politicians!

    Perhaps Mark Serwotka should go on to expose “Labour Against Anti-Semitism”, as the bunch of disruptive propagandist Zionist stooges, that they are!

    The Independent reported that Mr Serwokta had told an event organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign at the TUC this week that there was no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour movement.

    “I think it’s unfortunate that the Labour Party allowed a lot of this to drag on, in a way that actually didn’t help anybody,” he said.

    But he cited the controversial decision by US President Donald Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the deaths of dozens of unarmed Palestinians killed by Israeli troops as among the real issues being distracted from by “a summer of asking ourselves whether leading Labour movement people are in any way anti-Semitic?”

    “Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ll tell you what – one of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and to actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party,” he said.

    On Wednesday it was announced that [Mr Serwokta] had been elected TUC president for the coming year.

    “He made the point at the start of the meeting, that we need to oppose anti-Semitism in society and within the Labour movement.

    “But we should not allow the issue of anti-Semitism to be used by people who are attempting to silence Palestinian voices as they legitimately struggle for their rights and a sovereign state.”

  • In her 2016 report into allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour, front bencher Baroness Chakrabarti wrote how the term “Zionist” is “used personally, abusively or as a euphemism for ‘Jew'”.

    This licensed Rabbi Jonathan Sachs to take a reference to British Zionists (lacking English irony) from Corbyn in 2013 as intending all British Jews and thus blatant anti-semitism*.

    This cheap silencing of political complaint, marks the Rabbi as a warmonger, disinterested in Middle East peace by default.

    *”At this event, he was referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding and then criticising the Palestinian ambassador for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank.”

  • Here’s an interesting recent Haaretz article concerning Israel’s history in which these comments appear:

    “Zionist education has instilled in the Israeli consciousness a highly simplistic attitude toward that history: that this land has self-evidently been registered under the name of the Jewish people from time immemorial.

    “But all the talk about “Jewish history” in ancient periods is quite dubious”.

    “It’s important to understand that the scientific study of the history of the Levant in the Iron Age treats the term “ancient Israel” with considerable skepticism. Since the 1990s, many scholars have maintained that it would be best to abandon that term altogether, as it refers to an entity that is meaningless in historical terms. For example, the influential biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche noted in a 2008 article that the kingdom of David and Solomon “nowadays may be considered a fairy kingdom rather than a historical fact.””

    I wonder if Netanyahu knows about Israel’s fairy connection?

  • Phil

    (By contrast the brave others have my undying gratitude from Myriam Margolies and Professor Norman Finklestein, very many Ashkenazy and even Hasidic and Haredi Jews.

    There are a good number of Jews who have the moral chops to stand up for human rights even though it may put them in treacherous territory with their own community. I’ve been protesting for a fair solution for the Palestinians for thirty years now and I can’t emphasize enough how much I admire those Jews who were in the lines with us. This isn’t to say that they think Israel shouldn’t exist, just that the actions and policies of Israel are not in the best interests of Jews everywhere. They wished to distance themselves from the immorality of that state in their cruel oppression of the Palestinians.

    Some of them did state that Israel has no right to exist or no right to exist where it does (other locations were considered) or that if Israel had struck a fair deal right in the beginning and stuck to a two state solution then things would’ve been different and tolerable for all.

    As it stands now, some very bad actions are using accusations of “antisemitism” to hide behind and it’s been working well for quite a long time. Now with Jared Kushner having a carte blanche access to the situation at the highest level of the American government, the situation has become blatantly toxic. In combination with the Saudis, the strategy is to starve the Palestinians into signing away the rest of their former country and submitting to the Israeli/American policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

    Jews are people who have universal human rights. If they’ve suffered harm they deserve compensation and protection.

    Zionism is an ideology. Ideologies have no rights and we have the right and obligation to analyze and criticize them.

    Judaism is a religion. Religions have no rights and we have the right and obligation to analyze and criticize them.

    Muslims are people who have universal human rights. If they’ve suffered harm they deserve compensation and protection.

    People who hate Jews as a group are Jew hating bigots

    People who hate Muslims as a group are Muslim hating bigots.

    Pastors and Priests who hide behind their so called sacred religions to perpetrate crimes and inflict harm on others must be subject to the same legal system as are every other citizen. No more special privilege for religions. Many people in this world are suffering the effects of this special privilege because they’ve been brainwashed and threatened with hellfire, ostracism and other kinds of cruelty.

    The force of this special privilege is still formidable but we can speak out truthfully, defending strong ethical values while defending the suffering and harmed and insisting on a clear understanding of what can and must be criticized and what can and must be defended.

  • Well at least Trump can’t still say prospective SC judge Kavanagh’s accuser is anomynus 🙂

    Oh, my bad, that’s the only way he can say it.

  • I see Theresa May is still beating her fudgist fantasy Brexit drum – with delusions of self importance!
    She still doesn’t get the message that you can’t “have your cake and eat it” . . . . . . .
    or that “non-members can’t dictate terms or alter club rules”, against the wishes of the paid-up paid membership!
    Non- members go cap-in-hand to present their applications! – and disruptive belligerent non-members are shown the door and thrown out!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45586010

    Theresa May’s proposed new economic partnership with the EU “will not work”, the head of the European Council has said.

    Donald Tusk said the plans risked undermining the EU’s single market.

    He was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg where leaders of the 27 remaining member states discussed Brexit.

    Mrs May said her proposals were the “only serious credible” way to avoid a hard border in the Northern Ireland.

    There is still no agreement on issues including how to avoid new checks on the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border.

    And later former Brexit secretary David Davis is expected to label the proposals agreed by ministers at Chequers in July as a “non-starter”.

    In a speech in Munich, he will promise an “alternative plan” with a “more ambitious vision”, saying: “Chequers is devoid of democracy altogether.”

    Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Mrs May must delay Brexit beyond next March if there is not a detailed agreement on future trading arrangements.

    Ms Sturgeon told the BBC that it would be completely reckless to leave the EU without establishing a future relationship.

    She said that taking the UK off the “Brexit cliff edge” without an agreement “would be the most irresponsible thing any PM has done in a very, very long time”.

    Of course Euro-phobic Brexiteers don’t care, as long as their ideological fantasies of deregulation are met!

  • Alan #40

    Of course Euro-phobic Brexiteers don’t care, as long as their
    ideological fantasies of deregulation are met!

    It is one of the tragedies and scandals of Brexit that it has been sold on the basis of making life better for “the common man” but pursued for the purposes of screwing him out of every protection, every safeguard.

    Brexit has always been the wet dream of the Hard Right, the Libertarian Right. Those who fetishize the free market and couldn’t give a shit about those who fall victim to it. And those who are affronted by the provision of public services without a profit motive – those who stand to make huge profits from privatising them.

    It is no coincidence that Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment company has opened 2 new Dublin-based investment funds, promoted on the promise of avoiding the Brexit turmoil.

    Or that Brexiteer John Redwood advised investors to take their money out of Brexit Britain.

    Or that Brexiteer Lord Ashcroft has advised British businesses to relocate to Malta.

    Or that Brexiteer Daniel Hannan has edited the following report, published yesterday, which has received the backing of Brexiteers Liam Fox and Boris Johnson. Not one of the leading advocates and promoters of Brexit will pay the price for it. On the contrary: they and their millionaire buddies stand to make a fortune from it.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/let-american-firms-run-hospitals-urges-free-trade-group-5rxxd9tb8

    Ministers should allow American healthcare companies to compete with the NHS to run hospitals as part of a free-trade pact after Brexit, a think tank recommends.

    The Initiative for Free Trade (IFT) said that Britain should also end its ban on imports of products such as chlorinated chicken and accept American environmental and food safety regulations as equivalent to those in the UK.

    The moves, it claimed, would help clear the way for a UK-US trade deal that would “rewrite the rules” of global commerce and allow Britain to take advantage of trade freedoms offered by Brexit. The IFT has received backing from Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Boris Johnson.

    The report, edited by Daniel Hannan, a Tory MEP, was partly written by the trade lawyer Shanker Singham who has been consulted on free trade by Dr Fox, David Davis, Steve Baker and other ministers since the referendum.

    Its conclusions will fuel suspicions that the think tank is being used as an “outrider” to align Britain with America on standards to secure a trade deal that would not be possible if the government signs a Chequers-style agreement with the EU.

    The report, which was published simultaneously in London and Washington, was a collaboration between the IFT and the libertarian US think tank the Cato Institute.

    (More via the link)

    Politicians claim to worry about public disorder if Brexit doesn’t happen. They would be wise to be much, much more worried about public disorder if it does, because it is, for the most part, the very people who were promised a brighter future who are going to pay the highest possible price for the millionaires’ gains – and the anger they felt before the EU referendum will be as nothing compared with the fury they’ll feel once the full extent of their betrayal begins to hit home.

  • The Plot to Subvert an Election – Unraveling the Russia Story So Far

    For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016
    attack: hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies — and
    President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Times explores what
    we know and what it means.

    The article in full (long read):

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/20/us/politics/russia-interference-election-trump-clinton.html?emc=edit_nn_20180920&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=8669925520180920&te=1

  • Alan4discussion #40
    Sep 20, 2018 at 10:39 am

    I see Theresa May is still beating her fudgist fantasy Brexit drum –
    with delusions of self importance!
    She still doesn’t get the message that you can’t
    “have your cake and eat it” . . . .

    The latest ploy of May and bunch, is to demand “respect” from Europe for her months and years of obfuscation, prevarication, issue dodging, and confused in-fighting within her own party, and her current fantasy assertions of dictating her “red-line rules” to the 27 remaining members!

    Meanwhile I see Farage has re-emerged from under his rock, to announce the need for a “clean break” from the reality of trading (80% of UK import/export business) with Europe – only for brexiteer (no-deal, no-idea, no-grasp-on-reality) Tory parrots, to act as his echo chamber!

  • Hi all.

    At a loss regarding where to place my thoughts on a current, troubling situation I decided to come here in the hope of engaging in some rational discussion. At my wit’s, as a matter of fact!

    A RDFRS member and fellow traveller has been almost single handedly holding the fort on another site. He’s conducted his arguments with a style that’s pleasant, willing to change in light of better information, friendly and without a trace of arrogance. In reply, he’s been met with anger, hostility and a degree of offence IMHO. And yet he hasn’t lowered himself to reply in kind.

    For my part, I’ve done my best in support but I’m restricted in an attempt to retain harmony. As I’ve already been accused of placing ‘acerbic’ comments it’s in my best interests to lie low for the current time. By the way, the original article was on the recent celebration of a gay marriage on behalf of the Uniting Church.

    Cheers Everyone. Hope life has been treating you kindly.

    What do I expect in response to my making a comment here?

    I’m hoping to lure said member back here in order to exchange a few comments away from the public gaze. Whether I’m able to do this surreptitiously is another matter.

  • Hi Phil. Nice to chat in a setting that’s not hostile to my very presence. I don’t know the protocol about this sort of cross pollination but it was an attempt to let off steam in a situation where all other avenues seem to be closed for the moment. Is this the right spot to place such a comment? I’d assumed by its label of “Open Discussion” it would be an ‘off topic’ space.

    The sheer nastiness of the responses has to be endured and yet the slightest hint of retaliation is jumped on as an example of our inherent wickedness. It makes me think that things have not changed despite the fact we’re well into the 21st century.

    Anyway, I hope you’re going well; still think of those pink shirts you’d mention from time to time and still aim to fight for our right to think our own thoughts.

  • Hi Nitya,

    Got you message! Thanks for the support, it hasn’t gone unnoticed. A couple on the site have shifted and become more conciliatory, I have crossed paths with them both in the past and hopefully it will breed some goodwill for the future.

    What I find fascinating and have called out is how many of them assume they can read minds. This is a fascinating aspect of arguing with these people. If I talk about slavery I’m a fundamentalist! If I dare to read or listen to a podcast with Sam Harris I therefore agree with everything he has ever said and am a neocon extremist. Even when you map out exactly where you disagree and agree and you explicitly state your exact position your exact feelings they believe there must be some sinister motive lying behind your actual words. I find it fascinating how we can so compartmentalize our thinking that we can go ahead and just assume the intent of others.

    On the fundamentalism, I’ve tried to explain its hard to hold a fundamentalist view on the correct interpretation of a book I consider to be a work of fiction is very hard. Anyway we’ll see where we go. Perhaps one by one I can win them over 😉 I’ve had comments shut down quite a few times on that site too.

    I noticed you copped a bit from one of the posters as well I was going to jump in but I had already spend all the time I had in that morning responding to another post and wouldn’t have been on time for my classes. I then checked in the afternoon and you responded as well as I could have (certainly more succinctly than I can manage;)).

    Always enjoy your posts by the way. Regards and thanks again for the support.

  • Nitya #44
    Sep 23, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    In reply, he’s been met with anger, hostility and a degree of offence IMHO. And yet he hasn’t lowered himself to reply in kind.

    To the narrow-minded deeply indoctrinated, there are only two viewpoints to any question – Their own and THE wrong one!

    Their views are so weak, irrational, and unstable, that ANY criticism or suggestion of rational thought is a fierce challenge and threat to their “faith” (their status in the congregation, and their after-life).

    When flicking though TV channels, I sometimes come across “evangi-TV” where almost any one minute sample, will have constant stream of repetitive assertions of “interpretations” of bible quotes with “depend on trusting-in-god” to make everything “good”, messages!

    Only the weakest of views and insecure minds, would depend on this sort of constant brainwashing!

    Educated rational people ARE a real threat which scares their god-delusions into motivating panic attacks in their enslaved puppet hosts!

  • Reckless Monkey #47
    Sep 24, 2018 at 4:09 am

    I see your comment has appeared while I was writing mine!

    What I find fascinating and have called out is how many of them assume they can read minds.
    This is a fascinating aspect of arguing with these people.
    If I talk about slavery I’m a fundamentalist!
    If I dare to read or listen to a podcast with Sam Harris
    I therefore agree with everything he has ever said and am a neocon extremist.

    @#48 – To the narrow-minded deeply indoctrinated, there are only two viewpoints to any question – Their own and THE wrong one!

    The fundamentalists usually have no concept of the diversity and range of issues or views, related to the study of subject areas! They just have simplistic, “infallible”, parroted, stock answers, which are preached variations on god-did-it-all-in-mysterious-ways-beyond-human-understanding!

    This is consistent with their “all knowing” projection on to others, of their own ignorant zero understanding, of the mechanisms illustrated in the modern body of scientific knowledge.

    The standard “Dunning-Kruger” confident! – are too ignorant to be aware of their own ignorance, due to an lack of awareness of the existence of the knowledge they are lacking! – with hints of the presence of such material knowledge being a serious threat to their “superior” confidence, in their addiction to their mentally unstable bubble of fantasy pseudo-knowledge!

  • Hi Nitya, Got you message!

    Hi Reckless. Believe me, I had to work in mysterious ways.

    Actually, I’ve been appalled at the degree of venom directed at your comments by three in particular, though there’s a gradation in the level of vitriol. In response you’ve been the epitome of courtesy . Even then, your words have been twisted to say or imply things they have not.

    You’re not the only one of course, I’ve had to shoulder some of the burden myself and I assure you
    I’m also very, very careful with my words. Not that it gets me far mind you; still received a spray that was way out of proportion with what I’d said.
    There was an unbelievably offensive comment made to Ben on the off topic page which I duly reported. It might be a good idea if you reported it as well. You know, weight of numbers may help.; (that is unless it’s been removed already. A distinct possibility). Anyway, I just wanted to say hang in there. Don’t be discouraged your arguments are terrific and you’re the winner because you have not let your response be clouded by unhinged, emotional outbursts and ad hominems.

    I’ll do my best to explain the situation in reply to Alan now, without incriminating other people because I don’t want this to go global.

  • Alan,
    Educated rational people ARE a real threat which scares their god-delusions into motivating panic attacks in their enslaved puppet hosts

    Hi Alan. I’m still trying to get my head around the formatting! Not inferior just different.

    You’ve probably got the drift about what’s been happening from what I’ve said so far. It’s difficult to make any comments privately when every word is available for scrutiny and is liable to be the cause of a flame war going on for twenty comments or so.

    Reckless has been holding up his end in the most persuasive and non-threatening mode of communication, but that only seems to inflame them all the more! I suspect the level of belief is in fact very shaky and the bombardment by reason, couched in non aggressive language has been too much to bear! That’s my bit of mind reading for the day, anyway.

    You’d be amazed at some of epithets that come our way in response to minimal provocation. To me, that signals a lack of conviction rather than the reverse.

    The things we do in order to get others to actually give their views the sort of examination we’re prepared to do ourselves.

  • Nitya

    First of all, I just want to say how good it is to see you back here. You have been missed (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) and I really hope you’ll stay around.

    I’m not familiar with the specific situation you’re venting about here, but it does all sound generically familiar: isn’t that the nature of so much “debate” these days, especially on the internet?

    To be honest, I find a lot of internet arguments a waste of time and blood pressure.

    What worries me more is that the heat and rage and abuse and demonising of dissenters so common online have so clearly tipped over into the political arena too, and so the internet – which started out being hailed as a democratising force because it cut out the middle-man and gave everyone an immediate, public voice – is actually having a coarsening and harmful effect on the public discourse that actually matters, too. So many people now – even those in positions of real power – simply don’t seem to be aware that it’s possible to discuss and analyse and disagree calmly, courteously and thoughtfully, or that it’s possible to come at a question from a different point of view and to arrive at different conclusions without actually being a bad person, an idiot, a traitor, etc. (Which isn’t to deny the existence of bad people, idiots and traitors, of course. It’s just that I rather pine for the days when those things weren’t just synonyms for “people who don’t agree with me”.)

    Humans have always been tribal and partisan and ego-driven and sensitive to perceived slights. But goodness, for all the wonderful things it has brought us, the internet really does seem to have exacerbated all of that and turned them all into badges of honour, rather than traits to be considered understandable but ultimately rather silly. What a difference it would make to our societies, to public life, to democracy itself, if we could all learn to discuss and debate constructively, rather than simply giving way to rage at every turn.

  • Hi Nitya

    Good to see you here as always. No matter how disappointed you may feel on other sites and in difficult conversations you can always come around here for some positive reinforcement!

    Don’t be a stranger!

  • Reckless

    What more could we ever ask our fellow atheists for but to be a voice of reason in support of ethical values in the midst of cruelty and ignorance? Let your calmly delivered reason stand in the face of impulsive tribalism.

  • Marco. What a difference it would make to our societies, to public life, to democracy itself, if we could all learn to discuss and debate constructively, rather than simply giving way to rage at every turn.

    @ #52 . Extremely wise comments Marco. Your words need to be kept and re-read when provoked by these incidents.

    I know that I shouldn’t let the ravings of a few outliers get to me and yet they do. Reckless was the very essence of patience in this case. To give you an idea, over the course of many lengthy exchanges he’d invite debate in a civilised fashion. In each case, the baton was not picked up and his invitation left unanswered. This is a great shame because there is a civilised debate to be had. On numerous occasions I mentioned that these are just differences in ideas and should not involve a fight to the death. Also…I mentioned the fact that I have many religious friends and we still manage to co-exist because we have agreed to disagree on this one aspect.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts Marco. I still spend much time on line and still enjoy discussing religion. I also enjoy robust discussions on politics and films (I’m a bit of a film buff as it happens), but I resolve to drop in more often and not just when I have a problem to fix.

    BTW the prime offenders are not stupid or ignorant people by any means. In fact, there’s one in particular whose opinion I respect because he’s intelligent and well read. Unfortunately religion brings out the worst in people. A bad idea all round!

  • LaurieB.
    Don’t be a stranger!

    @ #53. It would appear that the heat has gone out of the ‘atheist movement’ as such, though I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps the novelty has worn off and people generally feel more free to express themselves. Maybe it will just die out the way it has in the Nordic countries?

    I know that in my kids’ generation it’s not even perceived as ‘a thing’ and they would not give it a moment’s
    thought. Were they to receive the sort of push-back Reckless and I have seen over the past few days, they’d be
    very alarmed and steer well clear of people in their age group expressing themselves so vehemently over something so silly.

    Let your calmly delivered reason stand in the face of impulsive tribalism.

    If an example of calmly delivered reason were to be found, this was it. An exemplar of its kind!

    Take care and speak again later.

  • Hi Nitya,

    There was an unbelievably offensive comment made to Ben on the off topic page which I duly reported. It might be a good idea if you reported it as well. You know, weight of numbers may help.; (that is unless it’s been removed already. A distinct possibility). Anyway, I just wanted to say hang in there. Don’t be discouraged your arguments are terrific and you’re the winner because you have not let your response be clouded by unhinged, emotional outbursts and ad hominems.

    I wasn’t aware of the off-topic thread there until you mentioned it I had a quick look but didn’t find Ben’s comment although there was some discussion on it. Will have a better look.

    First thanks again for the support it’s nice to know you’re out there. For me it’s an interesting exercise in understanding how people think. A lifetime ago as a 19-20 year old I became an instructor for small (ultralights) actually I’m cautious about the exact type because I’m paranoid of doxing myself to my students and my education department. But that’s close enough. Anyway I was there instructing for a club and I was the youngest there by a couple of decades but I could fly and was an instructor. I was passionate about it and I became over time very good at it (It was this that lead me into teaching as a profession). The most shocking thing about it was the fatality rate was extremely high. In Australia at the time there were about 500 people engaged in the sport of which about half were flying and we were losing 2-3 people per year and many many more accidents. I had been lucky enough to be trained by a guy who prior to flying in our little mad home made aircraft had been an air-frame fitter in the air force, and had been the Western Australian Sailplane champion several years running and was a chief flying instructor. On shifting to our mad little contraptions he’s taken his excellent training with him and as a result he was a highly competent instructor in the 20 years of instructing he’d never had a student crash under his instruction let alone kill himself.

    So I was well trained and I knew what I was doing. But I was also young and naive about people. Here were people in their 50’s and 60’s who’d lived a life, raised families and sometimes run their own businesses. And yet they carried on like 8 year olds. I had one particularly stubborn student in his 50’s who was convinced I was holding him back from going solo. “I’m going solo today. you’ve been holding me back” I said something like we’ll see and formed a plan. When we got up into the air and while still close to the ground I waited for him to make his first mistake and then instead of correcting and and instructing him I yelled at him to get it level, he over reacted and made it worse so I yelled at him again “that’s the horizon get it level!” he botched it again and again until we were flailing over the sky like a mad thing. Now we were safe I knew I could get control back in a second but I let him go until he was terrified and close to panic and then “my controls!” and I leveled it off and we landed and I debriefed him. I asked him what he thought had happened and he come up with every excuse in the book, thermals, gusts of wind, the lot everything but considering he might not have been as good at this as he thought. I simply told him I let him have full control and let him fly to the limit of his abilities which was not as high as he seemed to think. I felt like a right bastard doing it but his ego was going to kill him (literally) if I didn’t do something memorable.

    I see some of the same pattern of behaviors on the other site sometimes. Particularly ad hominen attacks. On slavery people should really be able to refute with passage and verse but they refuse to instead trying to characterize me as fundamentalist. One of the posters arguing about whether or not women are allowed to be be sold or given when clearly in context there are all sorts of rules about how to sell your daughter into slavery or how much to compensate for a concubine you’ve sold who doesn’t satisfy etc. or how much to compensate if you soil a female by having sex with her and making her worthless as to sell off. It’s pretty clear that women of that time were commodities. Some of these people of course are very well read some much better read than myself and yet they often fall straight to ad hominen.

    cheers

  • Hi Laurie,

    What more could we ever ask our fellow atheists for but to be a voice of reason in support of ethical values in the midst of cruelty and ignorance? Let your calmly delivered reason stand in the face of impulsive tribalism.

    Ta for that much appreciated and beautifully worded.

  • Hi Nitya,

    just catching up on the posts and missed this the first time

    It would appear that the heat has gone out of the ‘atheist movement’ as such, though I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps the novelty has worn off and people generally feel more free to express themselves. Maybe it will just die out the way it has in the Nordic countries?

    I agree with both of these. My theory is there are a couple of factors. One, we’ve had some wins, for me a big part over the past few years of my push was to push back against factors in society where the religious feel they can push atheists about, so Gay Marriage, Euthanasia and and issues like this, in many places common sense has finally stepped in (in no small part because of atheist activists). There is less to fight about to some degree. There are still issues for me in Australia such as Euthanasia and dealing with pedophile priests in religious institutions which are still major issues but we are making progress so some may feel more willing to be less aggressive on some issues. Also there has been some internal factions forming which have become difficult and as we’re like herding cats if atheists start attacking each other (with vitriol) then I think many loose interest and move on.

    I like poking occasionally (repectfully) as I’ve done just so people don’t forget there are other view points and not to let people who think they should have the right to police sites like the Conversation with their pronouncements rather than being open to dialogue. My hope is I’ll either learn something as I often do with people who disagree with me or I’ll at least have an impact on other readers who follow the thread and are more open. It’s a pity as a couple on that thread are highly educated and know an awful lot about history, much better read than I am and yet often tap dance around clear fact. One we both respect in this sense had a debate with me about Galileo and I mentioned the passages that were read out in the Vatican archives in the Ascent of Man and it devolved into a discussion about Brownoski’s credibility as a historian, I went down the rabbit hole then even though it was really irrelevant the text as read made the case very clear that the church had in fact threatened Galileo with torture for promoting a point of view that could be easily established by anyone who cared to look through a telescope. But it was amazing how much the argument was sidetracked off the fact that the church thought it okay to arrest an old man for saying something the church did not like.

  • Nitya

    It would appear that the heat has gone out of the ‘atheist movement’

    Oh dear, Nitya. If atheists have become quite ordinary and unremarkable in other countries, yearning to expound on the joys of the unfettered godless mind and finding no one to stop in their tracks with expressions of horror, I must view this situation with delight! At this point, in the US, I don’t dare hope I’ll live to see that here in my lifetime. With the Christian fundamentalists salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the vision of another fundamentalist Supreme Court Justice, we need that atheist heat now more than ever.

  • At this point, in the US, I don’t dare hope I’ll live to see that here in my lifetime. With the Christian fundamentalists salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the vision of another fundamentalist Supreme Court Justice, we need that atheist heat now more than ever.

    Hi Laurie,

    I can’t imagine how it must be to live under a Trump Presidency. We had a conservative PM who has had a part in regressive values such as appalling treatment of refugees against AGW science and frankly embarrassingly eating raw onions skin and all like an apple. He has in turn then had a hand in knifing the PM who replaced him and it’s all very embarrassing but I can’t fathom the terror of having a Buffoon like Trump as your leader. How are US Christians dealing with the attempted rape accusations against this judge? How can they hold moral outrage against secular culture while still supporting people like Trump (who boasted of sexual assault) and people like this?

    My Sister lived in the US for the best part of 20 years and I mention Trump to her and her American Husband now living down here and they both visibly shudder.

  • Reckless Monkey #59

    Hi Reckless. I just caught up on the latest diatribes. My goodness! Amazingly your courtesy has gone unnoticed. Instead you’ve been accused of sneering, as well as gish gallops and being the author of ludicrous comments. You just can’t win! No matter how rational, obliging and good natured you are, fault is found!

    I assume these personal criticisms are made because to believe otherwise is to believe in fairies and this is an untenable position for a grown-up to hold, in particular an otherwise intelligent and well read grown up. It’s fairly obvious they’ve never been pushed so far.

    You deserve a medal from my point of view, though you won’t get one. Not even a gold star. Not fair really, but that’s the way the system operates.

  • Thanks, Phil. Was going to ask myself but didn’t want to overstep (perhaps leave a link?). Also, welcome back Nitya.

  • Hi All,

    #63 #64 #65 #66

    https://theconversation.com/after-a-long-struggle-the-uniting-church-becomes-the-first-to-offer-same-sex-marriage-102842#comment_1732269

    This is an unbelievably long thread, so I thought it may better to go back to the last comment by Reckless and then work back. Start at his initial requests and you’ll quickly pick up the tenor of the replies. Bear in mind the most egregious comments have been removed, though those left are bad enough. ( I hope you can click on the link though it appears by my preview, that you may not).

    Not to worry; scroll down till you get to the comments in reply to me (Anita) and you should have us worked out pretty quickly). Good luck with this.

  • #64 Also, welcome back

    Hi Steven007.

    I hope this all makes some sort of sense to you. On scrolling through what’s been said and what has not, it may seem like much ado about nothing. My particular gripe is that Reckless made numerous invitations for a friendly debate, though these have been rebuffed and treated with overt hostility and condescension.

    Although we’re only to willing to admit to the possibility of being wrong, (however remote this may be) no such allowance is made from the other side.

    Anyway, Reckless never loses his cool and deserves plaudits for his composure.

    This is a general statement Steven, though I’ve addressed it to you. 😉

  • Hello,

    My name is Philip Webster and I am a young married man from the United States. I was raised in a non-denominational Christian household my entire life. Recently, after marrying, I have been exposed to new ideas and information, that when gathered, led to my new atheistic point-of-view on life and I would like to first applaud Professor Dawkins on his outspoken view and outreach to youths such as myself and then ask for help from people in this open discussion. My wife is a devoted Christian and whenever I approach the topic from a non-argumentative way, I receive backlash and denial. I have not told my parents of my new-held lack in god and wish to hear support from this community. Is it normal to be this recluse about the matter? Is my marriage hopeless? What is the approach that some of you have taken to express your secular views on life to your families if they have faith. I’m just reaching out because I am in need of help.

    P.S. I apologize for the appalling grammar and sentence structure of this comment.

  • Philip Webster #69
    Sep 27, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Welcome Philip.

    I live in England.

    Is my marriage hopeless?

    My wife is from a Christian family, as was my mother, but both drifted away from active belief, and neither attended church for decades. – apart from the occasional wedding or funeral where we are invited.

    Patience is a great virtue!

    My mother’s secular funeral was conducted by a humanist celebrant, but was attended by Humanist, Christian and Muslim friends.

    My mother’s unmarried sister remained a devout Christian, and was active into old age, as an organist in the churches of two protestant denominations near her home.

    None of my 3 (now adult) children attend churches, although they briefly attended Sunday school as youngsters. They quickly recognised religious stories as nothing more than fairy-tales and moved on.

    What is the approach that some of you have taken to express your secular views on life to your families if they have faith.

    At home, my views are expressed in terms of effects on the family and the community, without any particular reference to religion(s), unless the topic, such as religious groups interfering in political or social issues, abusive priests etc., is specific to particular religions.

    I’m just reaching out because I am in need of help.

    In the UK, around half the population have no religion, with a greater percentage among the younger generation. Here, religion has been declining for decades, – probably as a result of better education and communication of reliable information.
    In many communities, priests are no longer regarded as sources of knowledge or moral guidance. Many churches have closed or are closing.

    Sometimes friends and acquaintances ask me if I am religious, so I simply answer “no”. The conversation usually then moves on to other topics, with any issues or shared interests, discussed on their merits.

    Regarding children, it is good to ensure that they are engaged with wider social and sporting activities, outside of the closed circles of church linked activities.
    That way, they encounter other children and parents, with a range of different viewpoints and attitudes, so avoiding the closed loop of restricted indoctrinated tribalist culture-groups. Secular schooling is also important.

  • Nitya #67
    Sep 27, 2018 at 1:41 am

    Start at his initial requests and you’ll quickly pick up the tenor of the replies.

    Don’t you love the delusional “No true Scotsman”denials, of the association of fascist dictators with the RCC!

    They may have been Catholics, but:- “they were a bad lot so must have been atheists”!

    Hitler was undoubtedly brought up as a Catholic and anti-Semitism was prevalent in the pre-WW2 churches!

    Conveniently for gotten by the faith-blinkered, is Mussolini in exchange for support, setting up the Vatican as a state, and allowing the RCC to dominate marriage and education in Italy!

    https://www.britannica.com/event/Lateran-Treaty

    Lateran Treaty, also called Lateran Pact of 1929, treaty (effective June 7, 1929, to June 3, 1985) between Italy and the Vatican. It was signed by Benito Mussolini for the Italian government and by cardinal secretary of state Pietro Gasparri for the papacy and confirmed by the Italian constitution of 1948.

    Upon ratification of the Lateran Treaty, the papacy recognized the state of Italy, with Rome as its capital. Italy in return recognized papal sovereignty over the Vatican City, a minute territory of 44 hectares (109 acres), and secured full independence for the pope. A number of additional measures were agreed upon. Article 1, for example, gave the city of Rome a special character as the “centre of the Catholic world and place of pilgrimage.” Article 20 stated that all bishops were to take an oath of loyalty to the state and had to be Italian subjects speaking the Italian language.

    By article 34 the state recognized the validity of Catholic marriage and its subjection to the provisions of canon law; nullity cases were therefore reserved to the ecclesiastical courts, and there could be no divorce.

    The state agreed by article 36 of the concordat to permit religious instruction in the public primary and secondary schools and conceded to the bishops the right to appoint or dismiss those who imparted such instruction and to approve the textbooks that they used.

    It was not until 1985, that this was modified! (see link)

    Naturally in god-delusion blinker land, Mussolini allegedly did this to promote atheism!! 🙂

    There is also no mention from theist apologists on the other thread, of a similar handing over of education etc to the RCC, by the fascist Franco Regime in Spain!

  • Nitya #67
    Sep 27, 2018 at 1:41 am

    @#71 – There is also no mention from theist apologists on the other thread, of a similar handing over of education etc to the RCC, by the fascist Franco Regime in Spain!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Spain#Concordat_of_1953

    In the early years of the Franco regime, church and state had a close and mutually beneficial association. The loyalty of the Roman Catholic Church to the Francoist state lent legitimacy to the dictatorship, which in turn restored and enhanced the church’s traditional privileges.[23]

    Franco’s political system was virtually the antithesis of the final government of the republican era—the Popular Front government.
    In contrast to the anticlericalism of the Popular Front, the Francoist regime established policies that were highly favorable to the Catholic Church, which was restored to its previous status as the official religion of Spain. In addition to receiving government subsidies, the church regained its dominant position in the education system, and laws conformed to Catholic dogma.[23]

    During the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and only the Roman Catholic Church could own property or publish books.
    The government not only paid priests’ salaries and subsidized the church, but it also assisted in the reconstruction of church buildings damaged by the war.
    Laws were passed abolishing divorce and banning the sale of contraceptives.
    Catholic religious instruction was mandatory, even in public schools.23]

    In return, Franco secured the right to name Roman Catholic bishops in Spain, as well as veto power over appointments of clergy down to the parish priest level.

    Concordat of 1953
    In 1953 this close cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Franco regime was formalized in a new Concordat with the Vatican that granted the church specific privileges:

    mandatory canonical marriages for all Catholics;

    exemption from government taxation;

    subsidies for new building construction;

    censorship of materials the church deemed offensive;

    the right to establish universities;

    the right to operate radio stations,
    and to publish newspapers and magazines;

    protection from police intrusion into church properties;
    and exemption of clergy from military service.

    Obviously – another “fascist atheist dictator” spreading atheism – but only if viewed through “No-True-Scotsman” self delusion blinkers! 🙂

    Trump/Pence watchers beware! History does repeat itself!

  • Thank you for the link, Nitya.

    I appreciate that much vicious commentary may have been removed. Two things pleased me in the exchanges. One was seeing Quakerism get a shout out to show that being religious doesn’t mean your normal human moral apparatus must always be disconnected as appears in the US. Showing the religious where they might stand, out of the line of fire from appalled atheists, might help build a more effective political consensus over matters moral.

    The second was noting again the invincible power of not taking offence. Resilience is the number one life skill to allow us to keep up the pressure on hateful others, whose only resource seems to be the liberal application of hate.

  • Philip, Welcome!

    Yours is a sad, familiar story. I think Alan’s observations are most astute. Exposure to real diversity of cultures always softens opinions of others.

    My own advice on these matters (based on a little experience) may or may not match your feelings on the matter, but if they do, I have seen this approach usefully change the nature of family disputes (well one for sure now) into something more understanding.

    I chose to declare for atheism as a desire to do morality better, i.e. from the less biased and more share-able substrate of pre-faith. Loved ones reasonably worry about you but too often use rather lame-brain metrics to test for goodness, or more often turning to the dark side, metrics like like the possession of religiosity. Leading discussions not on a loss of faith but seeking a clearer and more pro-active view of what is moral, takes the complaint out of their mouths before it is used. Religious mothers (and those standing in for them) may even feel a sense of achievement.

    Best wishes to you.

  • I don’t know if anyone else is watching the Kavanaugh hearing. I’ve just watched him testycrying for 45 minutes and don’t think he did himself many favours. Lashing out at the Democrats like it’s their fault people from his own past are accusing him.

  • Alan 4 Discussion #71 & #72

    Don’t you love the delusional “No true Scotsman”denials, of the association of fascist dictators with the RCC!

    Thanks very much for all the information Alan. Great to have backup wrt facts and figures. I wonder how the information regarding Spain and Franco will go across. One of their apologists (another Alan as it happens ) is very reliable when it comes to backing up his claims. That’s why I don’t rush in with counter claims because on occasion I’ve found that my own assumptions have been wrong in fact. When it comes to interpretation of texts its another matter.
    So… a bit of copy and paste required by me today. I’m sorely tempted to let sleeping dogs lie, but Reckless should not have to carry this by himself.

    Did you read the original article? I thought there were moves afoot to soften the hardline actions of the churches in this respect and I wish them well. I didn’t appreciate comments predicting gloom and doom though I’m not sure they’ve been left standing.

  • . Phil # 74
    The second was noting again the invincible power of not taking offence. Resilience is the number one life skill to allow us to keep up the pressure on hateful others, whose only resource seems to be the liberal application of hate

    Hi Phil. You may care to read the following exchanges that spilled over to the off-topic page.

    https://theconversation.com/the-off-topic-conversation-168-103594#comment_1729435

    I suggest reading the profile page of the poster BM as his efforts are of a consistently high standard. This illustrates the egregious nature of the response by his opponent. Probably a good thing it’s been left standing as it says a lot!

    Anyway, I had not realised his Quaker background. If ever I felt the need to belong to a religious organisation, this would be the one for me. Just goes to show that religions are not created equal! Some are infinitely worse than others.

    I agree with you regarding the power of not taking offence. This played out very clearly wrt the cast of characters involved. As Hitch says, ‘Religion poisons everything’.

  • Arkrid

    I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the whole thing straight through. It’s excruciating. I’m appalled that this is how we choose our highest judges in this land. It’s a disgusting three ring circus with crying and temper tantrums. Did you see the Lindsay Graham temper tantrum at the end? Apparently, he’s maneuvering for the job of Attorney General once Sessions is shitcanned after the elections. Public opinions are divided sharply on party lines. My phone has been dinging all day with my friends expressing outrage over the process and in support of the accuser. My family members (FOX news fans) are outraged that a good man is being destroyed by “some woman who came out of the woodwork obviously prompted by the Democrats”. If this guy gets shoehorned into the highest court in the land I can’t think of how the Supreme Court can avoid a loss of esteem in the eyes of most Americans. Their authority rests on this trust and esteem and now between the Gorsuch debacle and now this Kavanaugh bastard, I just don’t know how this will stand. A short term immediate zero sum win is in their sights but are they even slightly capable of imagining the long term consequences?

  • Laurie

    I was popping in and out of my house during the testimony as I was doing a clothes wash and the machine is in the garage but I did watch most of it. Yes I saw Graham, playing to Trump like a good little soldier with his mock indignation and mock purple face. Before the hearing he said that nothing Professor Ford could possibly say would change his mind. That’s what theists say when you ask them what evidence they could be shown would cause them to change their mind about believing in god. They’ve already made their minds up and don’t want no pesky facts or evidence getting in the way.

    It was all a farce, played for the cameras and the deplorables and Trump. The Democrats in the room thanking Ford so profusely for coming forward and not asking her any questions, the Republicans in turn ranting for Kavanaugh and not asking him any questions.

    A proper investigation could probably pin down the house and the date. Mark Judge’s own book says he worked at the Safeway store during the exact period Ford says she saw him there looking ill about 6-8 weeks after the party. He says he was hungover every day there. One entry in Kavanaugh’s calender matches a possible party date and says where. The police or FBI could take Ford to the house and see if she remembered it. Someone else at the party might surface and confirm the story.

    I think Kavanaugh is a sociopath or psychopath like Trump. I think he lies easily and frequently although not very well. He was evasive and unconvincing during questioning. His opening 45 minutes of testycrying was a paranoid rant about the dems out to get him and the Clintons getting their own back on him because he was on Ken Starr’s team in the 90s. He wanted to question Bill Clinton savagely back then. Even more savagely than Starr actually did. He said the enquiry would be failing in its duty to the American people if it didn’t pin him down hard on what he did in the Oval office with Lewinsky. He wants none of that now he’s the one being accused of course. The allegations aside, such paranoia begs the question that if he were to be put on the SC how could he possibly be unbiased to Democrat petitioners when he is so rabidly anti them for allegedly persecuting him and “ruining his life”?

    American politics is a partisan mockery now. This fake hearing should convince no one that any sort of real investigation was ever done. Even the female prosecutor the repugs brought in to make themselves look more sympathetic said the 5 minutes at a time forum for questions was no way to get at the truth.

    I believe Ford and her co-accusers entirely. I suspect Kavanaugh may be a monster in human shape who lurks just under the radar most of the time pretending to be a caring family man as he tries to control his sociopathic urges.

  • The Republican Party is rapidly squandering any credibility it once had:

    “Yet the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee has not forced Judge to appear, and it hasn’t said it will allow two other women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, to publicly testify.” Link here.

  • It obviously does matter, very much, whether Kavanaugh is guilty of the accusations made about him.

    But the purpose of these hearings isn’t to establish guilt or innocence, it’s to establish his suitability (or otherwise) to be a Supreme Court judge.

    In any sane world that would mean, to establish whether he is totally committed to truth, however unpalatable to himself. Whether he believes the law should apply to everyone, regardless of gender, or political allegiance, or personal convenience. Whether he believes everyone has the same rights under the law, regardless of gender, political allegiance, or personal convenience. Whether he has the necessary intellect and personality to consider and weigh up claims dispassionately and scrupulously, leaving his own preferences entirely to one side. Whether he has the ability to keep his emotions in check when confronted with arguments he personally dislikes or disapproves of. Whether he has the necessary maturity and gravitas and indisputable integrity that should be associated with such a position.

    Well, yesterday’s hearing established clear answers to all of those questions, didn’t it? Even if he were wholly innocent of the accusations (or believed himself to be: there’s some interesting stuff here about the nature of memory, but that’s another story), the Supreme Court bench is no place for a man given to the kind of behaviour he displayed yesterday: the weeping, the wailing, the shouts of “not fair”, the histrionics, the raging, the political biases, the hedging when faced with questions he didn’t want to answer.

    Was that the behaviour of a man cut out to be one of the most powerful judges in the land? It clearly was not.

  • Kavanaugh is clearly emotionally labile much like his sponsor only weaker. Childish and immature. Clearly unsuited to the position.

    He sure as hell can’t think on his feet. Judges at this level should have IQs up over 140…

    This guy’s an idiot.

  • Phil #84

    I saw a tweet that said something like, “Having seen Kavanaugh’s behavior today, I can only conclude he’s another very stable genius.”

  • There was a comment made by one senator during the hearing that prosecutors say if a defendant lies on one thing you can consider him untruthful on all things. He made sure that Kavanaugh understood him which as a judge of course he did. Kavanaugh claimed he didn’t watch Ford’s testimony becauses he was busy preparing his own opening statement. Then when giving it he said he wrote it all the previous night and people have now come forward to say he did indeed watch Ford on a monitor in his waiting room.

    He lied on one thing at least then, he’s also lied about emails in a previous hearing by the looks of it. I think his worst answer under questioning after he admitted maybe sometimes he’d drunk too many beers was when he was asked “what’s too many?”. Suddenly he realised his danger. He couldn’t say so many that you black out or so many that you start to rape someone or so many that you can’t remember the previous night so he came out with the pitiful “whatever the alcohol charts say”, whatever the hell that means. Drink driving limits? Weekly recommended units? I dunno. Then instead of answering one questioner he fired back “well how much do you drink then?” which was entirely unappropriate, defensive, evasive. During a recess he must have been told how badly that had played and to say sorry.

    For a prosecutor and judge it was a pretty piss poor performance but it really only boils down to one thing. He and Ford told diametrically opposite stories so one of them had to be lying. Do I think it was Ford? No I do not. She came across as the only person in the room with grace, honesty and courage. Things that not a single Republican at least has a shred of left. She had nothing to gain from lying. Kavanaugh had everything to gain. She was calm, helpful, direct, measured despite her fearfulness of the occasion. He was histrionic in a very bad actor kind of way, evasive, despite his years of experience on the bench. His performance is only going to convince those people who were on his side to start with. It cut no ice with me.

    I don’t think we’re done with this though. Even if the Repugs refuse to have a police or FBI investigation there will be investigative journalists all over this like white on rice trying to find the house and any other party guests there who can say that Ford and Kavanaugh definitely were in the same house at the same time. Just one of those and his goose may be cooked. We may yet get to see a Supreme Court judge being led out of his own court in handcuffs. I hope so.

    Women in their millions are going to be noting all this though when it comes to the midterms and 2020. Grassley doesn’t have a shred of decency and never intended this hearing to be anything other than a sop and a pantomime. Nothing much has been learned since Anita Hill except that rich white privileged men still protect each other and that Repugs care only about winning by any means.

    Dems need to learn from this. The worst thing about the Obamas was they are too fucking nice and honest. Michelle’s “when they go low we go high” is admirable but useless. When they go low we need to go lower and kick them in the fucking nuts. When they bring a gun we need to bring a fucking cannon not a soup spoon. If they can gerrymander then so can we. The security of the country and the world is at stake. Dems also need to win by any means necessary.

    Decency and honesty and non-partisanship can come back if and when there is anyone worth being that with on the Republican side. At present there isn’t. Until then this is a war.

  • phil rimmer #84
    Sep 28, 2018 at 6:14 am

    He sure as hell can’t think on his feet. Judges at this level should have IQs up over 140…

    This guy’s an idiot.

    I thought that was a qualification requirement to achieve a Trump nomination!! 🙂

  • When they go low, we go high.

    is the strategy to win long term and heal the country. If that’s what it takes, then that’s what we need.

    I think there is a large enough white religious middle ground that can be shamed to this understanding also

    Repugs and their witless hordes of the god-fritzed can roll in their own shit and get as stinky as they want, it just makes the future disgrace and contempt all the more terminal when it happens.

    The real danger is kleptocrats, not their zombie hordes, and their almost limitless capacity to buy influence.

  • Arkrid

    Women in their millions are going to be noting all this though when it comes to the midterms…

    You bet we are! Every time I see Kavanaugh’s face and hear his whining voice, an image of every guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer comes to the front of my mind.

  • LaurieB #80

    I’m appalled that this is how we choose our highest judges in this
    land. It’s a disgusting three ring circus with crying and temper
    tantrums.

    Agreed ! I’m grateful that he won’t be my Supreme Court judge, and can only regret that we let you colonists go, back there in the 18th century, without first showing you how to assemble a judicial system with proper independence and integrity.
    (With tongue now removed from cheek) my take on yesterday’s proceedings was that Ford made a persuasive case in recounting her experience, while Kavanaugh presented as an unstable character, unpleasant in attitude, disgracefully partisan, condescending, dodging and filibustering questions with the assistance of the incompetent and equally partisan GOP chair of the panel, and frankly an overgrown boorish frat-boy ‘jock’ bearing the sense of entitlement seen all too often in those with his privileged upbringing. In short, wholly unsuited for appointment to the SCOTUS. The fact that he was Trump’s pick of course speaks for itself.

    Interestingly, Kavanaugh had his rating by the American Bar Association (one of his own selected references) downgraded back in 2006. It was observed that his oral presentation in court was “less than adequate” that he was “sanctimonious,” demonstrated “experience on the level of an associate”, that on occasion “Mr. Kavanaugh did not handle the case well as an advocate and dissembled”, and that he was “immovable and very stubborn and frustrating to deal with on some issues.” Hardly a ringing endorsement, then.
    In the over 10 years since then, he has “written almost entirely in favor of big businesses, employers in employment disputes, and against defendants in criminal cases,” according to blog Empirical SCOTUS, which broke down Kavanaugh’s nearly 300 rulings in the seat last year.

    One moment that stood out was the unintentionally comical intervention at the end from the Senator for HillBilly County, the one who looks like former England Football Manager Roy Hodgson and sounds like Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard – I think his name was Kennedy.
    ” Do you buhleeve in gaaahd ?” was the question, as if it was the gold standard of integrity. Oh the irony! There must be thousands of catholic priests – believers in god to be sure – implicated in all manner of sexual abuse. Kavanaugh is catholic.

  • Here’s a recent article (with associated comments) concerning the apparent irrationality of atheists!

    ….and written by a university research fellow (in Religious Studies) funded from the John Templeton Foundation.

  • Erol #91

    All kinds of stupid and dishonest in that article.

    The facts are

    Atheists produce children with the most variegated set of beliefs. Fundamentalists with the least.

    All early education amounts to indoctrination.

    Choosing to emphasise critical thinking skills before levering in uncorroborated concepts as facts is the decent and respectful and empowering approach, so

    Some parents take the view that their children should choose their beliefs for themselves, but what they then do is pass on certain ways of thinking about religion, like the idea that religion is a matter of choice rather than divine truth. It’s not surprising that almost all of these children – 95% – end up “choosing” to be atheist.

    leaves me speechless and outraged. Which divine “truth”? All of them?

    (95%, incidentally, is unfounded in the light of earlier research. As I recall it is more like 65%.)

  • Phil#93

    Totally agree with you. She also states:

    “But the good news for all concerned is that rationality is overrated. Human ingenuity rests on a lot more than rational thinking. As Haidt says of “the righteous mind”, we are actually “designed to ‘do’ morality” – even if we’re not doing it in the rational way we think we are.”

    Presumably she implies that human ingenuity and morality are ‘designed’ by a creator and are spiritually manifested!

    She closes by stating:

    “……none of us get by without irrational action, nor without sources of existential meaning and comfort.”

    Clearly her express desire for ‘existential meaning and comfort’ are further evidence of her theistic bias.

  • Erol

    She’s quoting Haidt backwards.

    We are evolved to do morality. Innate mutualism is one powerful reason for our species success. The religious mode merely incorporates the mutualist feelings as a just-so-story and then most often corrupts it with spuria. The rational account discovers mostly the virtues that evolution discovered but adds extra material that delivers on other virtues than mere reproductive success and feeds these into a cultural evolutionary process.

    The religious get it with (mostly) no rational help. The irreligious get it with post hoc rationalisations that are mostly…er…rational.

    Haidt’s “Righteous Mind” is not too sophisticated a model, though it does reveal a lot about broad political stances. Real minds have much more finesse.

  • The WaPo has an article on the truthfulness of Kavanaugh’s senate testimony starting with the same point as I started my own analysis above: falsus in omnibus, if false in one thing, false in all things.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/28/heres-where-kavanaughs-sworn-testimony-was-misleading-or-wrong/?utm_term=.1b7711fba064

    Fairly damning and all that came out of the senate’s pathetic 5 minute per person fiasco. Imagine how a trained interrogator would tie Kavanaugh in knots over a prolongued interview.

  • Oh yeah baby. Senator Jeff Flake was accosted in an elevator by a victim of sexual assault and now Kavanaugh is going to be investigated by the FBI before he votes yes. About time. Dirtbag gonna go down hard methinks.

  • Arkrid Sandwich #96

    The WaPo has an article on the truthfulness of Kavanaugh’s senate
    testimony……

    There’s an interesting little side story here in relation to one aspect of the Kavanaugh ‘year book’ entries. There is a reference made to ‘Devil’s Triangle’, which Kavanaugh on being questioned claimed was a drinking game (comparing it to ‘quarters’, where quarters have to be flicked into a drained glass).
    In fact, this is known to be slang for a sexual threesome : two men on one woman (which coincidentally matches precisely the cast of personnel involved in the events to which Professor Ford testified).

    During the afternoon, it was revealed that someone on Capitol Hill, operating from a congressional IP address, decided to amend Wikipedia to include an entry for “Devil’s Triangle”, a popular drinking game enjoyed by friends of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”
    Even by the standards of, say, the GRU, that’s a pretty clumsy hack.

  • The Urban Dictionary certainly confirms with a 2008 entry the MFM triangle definition.

    Recently added definitions for brett and Kavanaugh, kavanaughed etc. Quite a list.

  • rogeroney #98
    Sep 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Also “boofing” which Kavanaugh claimed just meant farting. Google says it either means to have sex or to take drugs or alcohol anally. In short Kavanaugh was lying his tits off all through that hearing. We have yet another ridiculous artificial deadline with the FBI only being given one week to investigate all this but maybe at the end of that week they’ll say they need more time or just carry on by themselves after reporting to Congress.

  • Arkrid Sandwich #100
    Sep 29, 2018 at 4:07 am

    We have yet another ridiculous artificial deadline with the FBI only being given one week to investigate all this but maybe at the end of that week they’ll say they need more time or just carry on by themselves after reporting to Congress.

    .. . . .. Or maybe they have deliberately been given a one week deadline, in the hope that they don’t have time to find evidence or witnesses or write a proper report, and the Repubs can claim in the media, ” the FBI found no supporting evidence”!

  • It’s been interesting hearing Professor Ford’s account of the party she alleges she was assaulted at and how she doesn’t know where it was or how she got there or got home afterwards. Repugs have been making a lot of this as though it’s some sort of damning indictment of the truth of her story. I’m minded of a piece of my own history. I have the vaguest of recollections of a party when I too was about 16. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t 15 because I had no contact with females at all at that age at an all boys school and from 17 on I had a girlfriend.

    All I recall is about 15 seconds of the event. I was dancing with the birthday girl herself and she was smoking hot, blonde and we were dancing very close. At 16 with little control over certain bodily functions when in close proximity to hot females the inevitable happened so I had my hips turned a little bit away from her so she didn’t feel what had occured. Then nightmare time. The music got turned off, the lights got turned up and her parents were there with a birthday cake and presents. She left me to go to them and I was stuck in the middle of the room with a huge bulge in my trousers and wishing the earth would open up and swallow me. I stuck both hands in my pockets to try and conceal things and sidled to the edge of the room. That’s the last of the memory.

    I have no idea who the girl was, her name or how I met her or got invited. I have no idea where the party was other than a vague idea it was somewhere between Northwood and Ruislip on a road called Duck’s Hill Road. I have no memory of how I got there or how I got home. Probably on my moped at that age. All I recall is those few seconds of embarrassment and then it’s blank both before and after. That would have been 42 years ago in 1976 so not a dissimilar timeline to Ford’s. I don’t even remember where I lived at that time.

    Our memories are not video recorders. We forget stuff.

    Oh yes and the bulge was actually really huge. My hands may be small but there are no problems down there. I promise you. [Trumpmode off]

  • Arkrid

    Scientifically – if your hands are small, you can’t be ‘yuge’! It’s evolutionary forbidden!

  • Erol #105
    Sep 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Arkrid

    Scientifically – if your hands are small, you can’t be ‘yuge’! It’s evolutionary forbidden!

    Oh I have the inauguration photos my friend and I can tell you, you can trust me, this bulge was the yugest bulge of all times and in the next 18 months together we achieved more than almost any other bulge in history. Oh, I wasn’t expecting that reaction, but that’s ok. You’re laughing “with” me, I can tell.

  • Arkrid

    I’ve heard that you also forcefully try to convince people that you’re the most humble person that anyone can possibly meet – and are surprised when they turn away from you in disdain. You would seem to have a credibility problem?

  • It looks like depite Trump’s protestation that the FBI can investigate Kavanaugh without restriction the WH is actually trying its hardest to restrict them in case they find anything damaging out. There are limits on who they can interview and what they can ask. Dr Ford says they haven’t contacted her at all yet.

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