View Thread

Atheists Today » Easy Reading » The Rant Room
Who is here? 1 guest(s)
 Print Thread
Liberals lost their reason to be.
catman
Max: Welcome back!

It is quite true that some Islamic women wear burqas because they want to. I regard the reason given for why they should wear them as absolute rubbish, extremely offensive to my way of thinking. But. hey, if they want to, it's up to them. I can only hope that they eventually realize how silly it is. On the other hand, until Muslim men's attitudes change, perhaps it's a good idea to wear one if one is a woman in an Islamic country.

I'm afraid I don't understand why you find Pat Condell to be anything but fascinating. The humor is a fringe benefit (with the caveat that not being a resident of the UK, I can't grok the situation there precisely).
Edited by catman on 10/17/2009 02:17
 
Max
catman wrote:
Max: Welcome back!

It is quite true that some Islamic women wear burqas because they want to. I regard the reason given for why they should wear them as absolute rubbish, extremely offensive to my way of thinking. But. hey, if they want to, it's up to them. I can only hope that they eventually realize how silly it is. On the other hand, until Muslim men's attitudes change, perhaps it's a good idea to wear one if one is a woman in an Islamic country.

I'm afraid I don't understand why you find Pat Condell to be anything but fascinating. The humor is a fringe benefit (with the caveat that not being a resident of the UK, I can't grok the situation there precisely).


Thank you, Catman, and it's splendid to see you.

Quite right. I don't understand why they would want to wear it. To me it's like the chastity belts and corsets women used to wear. I think as Muslim women become more used to living in the Western world, the burka will go the way of both the corset and chastity belt, but they can't have that forced on them, they have to do it themselves.

I can agree with what most of Condell says, but his smarmy attitude really puts me off him. I agree with the basic message, but I think he's too used to answering Muslim and Christian zealots to notice that there are more shades of color than just black and white. He seems to have a double standard where he complains that any criticism of Islam is racist, yet any criticism of him is put forth by lefty multiculturalism, or sharia apologists. I don't disagree with the majority of what he says, but his manner of addressing things is not always my cup of tea.
 
derF
Max, no hard feelings about any previous postings we all do and say things that probably should have been left dormant. You yourself seem to not take notice of the fact that you enjoy speaking for other people. But it's more amusing than annoying.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
JohnH
My response to the original post was based on two things.

First I am one of those "ultra liberals". I found the implied equating of liberalism and shiria law and the wearing of a burka (forced or otherwise) illogical and ludicrous. There is no way that this equation can be made without very tortured and wrong logic. That "liberals" may find reason to accept that there are in fact cultural (I am not sure I should have used this word in the first place but will continue for simplicity) differences between peoples does not mean acceptance of all of those cultural differences. I pointed out the Hopi tribe because it is one I have some familiarity with. I could also have pointed out that there are many christians whose socio/political views I agree with and many atheists whose socio/political views I have strong disagreement with.

Second we ignore our own prejudices at risk of making uniformed decisions on their basis. One of the problems with prejudices it they often contain sufficient grains of truth that there is a justification to have them. I have said before here that if I were to judge the capacity of world religions for evil I would certainly put Islam near the top (I would suggest that christianity would probably be higher but would not guarantee it). That has never been my issue. My issue is that care must be taken when making political decisions based on preconceived notions of who is correct and who is not. I think an obvious example here is the ready acceptance in the west of Israeli violence and the generally blanket condemnation of Palestinian violence. I believe this is related to various elements in western culture not the least of which is a preconceived notion of who is right and who is wrong and no amount of observed fact will alter that preconception.

No matter what the provocation I continue to submit that the attacks on and occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq would not have occurred if those were christian countries. The argument can be made that whatever provocations that occurred would not have if those counties were christian. The counter argument could also be made that those provocations occurred because our previous treatment of those counties led up to the provocations and that treatment was significantly altered because they were not christian.

I have seen no outcry here or elsewhere about the significant and destructive (not always) dominance of the catholic chuch in South and Central America. This dominance has very negative impacts on both the peoples, particularly the women, of those countries and on the US in the economic pressures that lead to illegal immigration.

As an important aside, it is my understanding that the position of women in Afghanistan has been made worse by our occupation.
 
Max
derF wrote:
Max, no hard feelings about any previous postings we all do and say things that probably should have been left dormant. You yourself seem to not take notice of the fact that you enjoy speaking for other people. But it's more amusing than annoying.


I don't recall doing that. Feel free to point out where I did.
Edited by Max on 10/18/2009 02:09
 
catman
JohnH: I don't understand why you seem to equate the attitudes of those here with the attitudes held by the general public. As an example, neither I nor many here condone Israeli violence. I abhor the violence on both sides, with a recognition that the Palestinians were there first. The state of Israel was imposed upon them, so I can understand their ill feeling without approving of its manifestations.

Certainly the Catholic Church in Central & South America has been significant, and with its disapproval of sensible birth control, quite destructive. There are so many things that we could mention which are repellent that isn't surprising that they aren't all mentioned. I think this one has been mentioned, perhaps on the old site, under the topic of overpopulation.
Edited by catman on 10/22/2009 00:28
 
JohnH
Catman, My reaction was specifically to the video. I did not state that others on this website exhibit the same attitudes that I questioned. I only, again, warn that care should be taken to understand what may have been ingrained in oneself by the culture they are a part of. Simplistic demonizing of a religious/ethnic group can lead one/nation to actions that are not beneficial.

I think specifically people on this website are much more accepting of negative generalizations about muslims than they are about christians. I would point out the characterizations of the Westboro Baptist Church as wacko's, not a general representation of christian belief. I would offer that WBC is far more representative of christianity than most would care to accept.
 
Cynic
Max wrote:

Well, linguistics and language is still my goal. I am trying now to get the General Education courses out of the way so I can focus on my major. I really love to translate and read other languages. I'd like to try a Russian or German course soon. I am no where near an expert in language or linguistics, so I'm sort of plodding slowly along. I hope your family is okay. Last I heard, you had a wife and two daughters, correct?


Yep. My oldest started kindergarten this year! Scary. Good luck with the languages. I'm sure you'll be fine, since you have the desire there. A lot of people insist on "passion", but I think it's enough to be able to maintain some interest. Thinking about being a translator?
 
catman
JohnH: To be fair, I don't think the WBC represents Christians in general. I think the militant side of Islam is in about the stage that Christianity was in the days of the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, Crusades, and other barbarism perpetrated in the name of the religion. They are cut from the same cloth, but fortunately much of Christianity appears to have mellowed out a bit.

I would like to see the mainstream members of both religions speak out more against the actions of their respective lunatic fringes. Perhaps they are afraid to, or else the radicals are doing what they themselves would do if they had the cojones.
 
Max
Cynic wrote:
Max wrote:

Well, linguistics and language is still my goal. I am trying now to get the General Education courses out of the way so I can focus on my major. I really love to translate and read other languages. I'd like to try a Russian or German course soon. I am no where near an expert in language or linguistics, so I'm sort of plodding slowly along. I hope your family is okay. Last I heard, you had a wife and two daughters, correct?


Yep. My oldest started kindergarten this year! Scary. Good luck with the languages. I'm sure you'll be fine, since you have the desire there. A lot of people insist on "passion", but I think it's enough to be able to maintain some interest. Thinking about being a translator?


Sounds like your family is doing well, good to hear it.

I thought I'd be a translator, teacher, or interpreter. I am a long way off of being any of those at the moment, but any of those jobs, or possibly all three, would be wonderful to me.
 
comfortable
Cynic wrote: I reference none other than your own contention that there is no such thing as altruism, that all impulses of concern for others are inherently selfish.


All good points, Cynic....

I wouldn't necessarily say you are 'wrong' on any of them. Just a different point of reference, I guess.

However, I would like to clear up your interpretation of what I'd said earlier - because it is wrong (your interpretation). What I'd said and still maintain is that there is no "totally selfless altruism" (for volitional acts).

Darwin's model predicts altruism and self-sacrifice. I merely observe that when people claim to be selfless, they are not honestly examining all of the motives involved.

If I give my life for my granddaughter, I do so with a huge personal reward, whether I admit it or not.
It has been my observation that all (normal) humans crave significance. Such a hunger for significance underpins much of the religious impulse, at least in Xtians, because "I am special, a part of God's plan; God's plan for the entire universe !". That would make me very significant indeed.

So as I tell my family, and let the doctors know to go ahead and remove my liver to save my grandchild, I gain significance, self-esteem, and the sympathy of others. All worthy and much-sought-after rewards in most human lives. Many people, including Muhammad Atta, believe they are gaining something worthwhile when they sacrifice all. Those that claim they are "totally selfless" are either dishonest, or not willing to examine their motives closely enough.

I hope that clears up the issue for those who misunderstood my claims.

Cheers (thanks, NeilMarr, wherever you are)
.
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
comfortable
derF wrote:
I submit this link as a favor to a former member of AT and still a good friend of mine. This was the message he w....


Wow.

What a rant.

I haven't seen any of this fellow's other vids or posts (knowingly), but wow!

I hope his blood pressure medicine holds up.

It's hard to know what he's selling....He must have something cogent to say there, underneath all that vitriol, name-calling, and labeling.

If he wanted to get someone such as myself to understand whatever point he was trying to make, he lost me when he started name-calling and became way too over-wrought over some e-mails he took umbrage with.

Whew!

Oh well, everyone's allowed to let off steam and show personal weakness from time to time, but I don't recommend it as a method for convincing others to re-consider a point of logic or philosophy.

Labels, labels, labels. I thought we left all that behind in the '60s.

It's "us vs them". Ho hum. Been there, done that, (but then came some measure of maturity and rationality).

I wonder what's his business model. Is he asking for donations? If so, I can't give until I can wade through the vitriolic defensiveness to find out what, exactly, I would be supporting.

Let me know if he ever posts anything that isn't so saturated with specious, fatuous labels; ("multi-cultural appeasement lobby", "self-hating lemmings", "enlightened liberal intelligentsia", etc) and vitriolic generalizationsl ("clouds of self-righteousness", "deep irrational hatred of America", "cringe-worth cowardice", "you people have", etc)...

I'll donate $20 towards tuition fees for this poor guy if he'll sign up for Logic-101, or a certified class in anger-management.

"clouds of self-righteousness" ? Okay, I'll throw in my donation if he'll buy a good-quality mirror.

"I'd rather drive a garden fork through my foot" than watch another rant like that. (Or maybe, glue my radio dial so that the only station I can get would be Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.)


Cheers
Edited by comfortable on 10/18/2009 15:09
.
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
derF
Neil Marr, Willie (I think( and quite a few others who no longer post here much, JDHURF included, still read most of the posts made at this site. F Y I
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
Max
derF wrote:
Neil Marr, Willie (I think( and quite a few others who no longer post here much, JDHURF included, still read most of the posts made at this site. F Y I


If that was directed at me, once again please cite where I attempted to speak for other people.
 
Cynic
I don't know how anyone can find the time to read sites they aren't participating in. I can barely keep up with threads in which I'm active!
 
JohnH
Comfortable, I have allowed your comments on altruism to fester for a few days before I commented. I tend to agree that many acts of altruism stem from a person wanting to gain something themselves out of the action. You do neatly posit a circumstance under which the personal gain is obvious.

I think however there are actions that people take that do not have any personal gain attached to them and can safely be described as altruistic.

There are many documented cases in warfare where individual soldiers commit an act that can only be described as suicidal to protect the lives of other members of their army. One can make what one wants of a posthumous metal of honor for example but it would be difficult for me to find that as a conscious thought in the person committing the act.

We in the bay area recently observed the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. In the immediate aftermath of that earthquake many ordinary citizens near or on the so called Cypress structure helped victims to safety. These kinds of actions are in fact typical of natural disasters. Those who are not immediately in danger themselves tend to help those who are. The only thing I can see in this type of response that is not altruistic is the hope by the actor that if circumstances were changed they would also be helped by strangers.

One could argue that the examples I have made only point out that humans, on some level, have a tribal instinct that can influence them in times of duress. I would argue that actions like that, even if influenced by a tribal instinct, fit the definition of altruism.
 
derF
derF wrote:
Max wrote:
derF wrote:
Max, no hard feelings about any previous postings we all do and say things that probably should have been left dormant. You yourself seem to not take notice of the fact that you enjoy speaking for other people. But it's more amusing than annoying.


I don't recall doing that. Feel free to point out where I did.


Max, look at any culture in the world. The women of India adorn and go to extremes with makeup to make themselves attractive. They like to look attractive. All women do. It is in their nature. Apply the same sentence to women in China, Japan, Korea, Scandinavia, South America, all of Europe and some African women go to even more extremes in an effort to make themselves look beautiful. In fact show me any other place on Earth where women are forced to keep them selves covered from head to foot. If it was so great and desirable why isn't it prevalent all over the world? Beauty is one of the few physical advantages women have with which to manipulate and attract men and mates. Now, you are going to speak for the thousands upon thousands of Muslim women who are forbidden to show even the tiniest bit of themselves without putting themselves in danger. Some are even forced to conceal their eyes behind a gauze or film that has to limit their vision. And then you are going to speak for them and tell us that they like and want to wear these cumbersome garments. But then all of a sudden you can't recall ever speaking for them and telling us how much they enjoy wearing them. I apologize for using the term ultra liberal. In your case the proper term might be ultra conservative. I sure hope for her sake that you are not married.

I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
comfortable
JohnH wrote:
Comfortable, I have allowed your comments on altruism to fester ... fit the definition of altruism.

Thank you for the thoughtful post.
Your words are well considered, cogent, coherent, and non-inflammatory.
I will point out, however, that they are off-point.
I never claimed that altruism did not exist.

Let's examine what I did claim.

Comfortable wrote: there is no "totally selfless altruism" (for volitional acts).


It has been my observation that humans have a deep need to feel good about themselves.
Whenever they choose (the volitional part) to perform an altruistic act, they are satisfying that need.

In war stories, where the soldier throws himself on top of a hand-grenade, acting in a split-second, there may be room to argue that such an act was 'selfless', at least in a fore-brain, consider-the-consequences sort of way. That's why I said 'volitional acts'. If an act was a 'reflex', then it was not 'volitional'. The two terms are mutually-exclusive. I wouldn't count reflexes as heroic. Now the soldier who prepares himself, over the course of 5 minutes, after weighing the odds - and then goes ahead and sacrifices himself - is heroic in my dictionary (but still not totally selfless).

Comfortable wrote: Darwin's model predicts altruism and self-sacrifice. I merely observe that when people claim to be selfless, they are not honestly examining all of the motives involved.


I am not claiming, nor have I ever claimed that 'altruistic acts' are not praiseworthy and to be admired for the self-sacrifice involved; only that they are not entirely without their self-serving component.

- If you give up your seat for an old lady on a bus, you lose your seat, but feel good about yourself (and receive appreciation).
- If you give up the last slice of cake, you feel good about yourself.
- If you give up lots of money to the girl you love, you feel good about yourself (and usually expect appreciation).
- If you rush into traffic to shove a little girl from in front of a bus, you feel good about yourself - and took a chance that you would be maimed or die (it was not certain death) - and receive appreciation (if you live).
- If you give up your life knowing full well you will never wake up from surgery, you feel good about yourself until the anesthesia kicks in. (and no doubt had days or weeks of appreciation and adulation before hand).
and lastly
- If I read your next post and reply that you are right and I was wrong, I will feel good about myself for having 'given' you the satisfaction (even though I may believe that you are utterly wrong). Strange? Not at all. I've developed the habit of feeding my ego by giving in, instead of insisting on winning arguments. It makes me feel that I'm 'the bigger person'.
Isn't that insufferable arrogance? You betcha. You should try it. It really lowers the blood pressure.
Wink
Edited by comfortable on 10/22/2009 09:57
.
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
catman
comfortable: You certainly have an airtight way of looking at things. I don't think it's possible for people to completely eliminate the 'feeling good about themselves' component when they do something 'altruistic', but I don't think they always consciously consider it.

With my 'negative attitude' (which has been expounded upon innumerable times by others), I tend to look at it in terms of feeling guilty or bad if I don't do something 'altruistic' when the situations calls for it.
 
JohnH
Comfortable, I am right and you are wrong, because you gave me the opportunity and it was fun.

I will accede to the use of "totally selfless" by your definition. Essentially no human actions are totally anything. I think I was mostly troubled by what I perceived to be a negative notion about human behavior. Rereading I still find your perception a little too negative for my taste if essentially realistic.

I will take exception to the use of the term self-serving. 15 minutes with my Websters 2nd did not really help much so I reverted to the internet and got some confirmation of my feeling about the word. I understand that serving oneself does not necessarily harm others. I will say that most, and specifically myself, do and will continue to use the term self-serving to describe acts that harm others for personal benefit.
 
Jump to Forum:

Similar Threads

Thread Forum Replies Last Post
Romney invokes church as reason for not releasing taxes Election 2012 (US) 2 08/26/2012 09:21
Lobby Day for Reason: March 23, 2012 Secular Activism 1 12/10/2011 11:17
One reason why people are distrustful of government U.S. Politics 12 09/23/2010 21:39
Say hello to X woman, your long-lost cousin Evolution 7 04/02/2010 13:03
Are liberals and atheists smarter. Why atheism? 13 03/04/2010 07:37