A freedom-denying petition

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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby andy_shill » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:42 am

Ian Lowe wrote:I'm getting might sick of your two faced behaviour on this forum, Michael.


That's not very charitable Ian! Anyway it won't bother Michael as he has clearly said he doesn't take any notice of anything anyone says on BCSE. I guess his only surprise is that BCSE is still here in view of his following quotes submitted to Anderson:

"I expect BCSE (BSE?) to be fatal and soon disappear."

"Many of their articles are both shoddy and strident."

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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby andy_shill » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:55 am

Timothy Chase wrote: Interestingly, this is not how Richard Dawkins understood it not too long ago.


Thanks for the link Timothy - though I found it a bit discouraging! To think that one of the most brilliant minds of our generation (Dawkins) struggled to properly understand the 23 words of a petition and now acknowledges he should have read it more carefully. (A bit embarrassing that he gave it big publicity on his website though) I wouldn't have thought it was that taxing - even taken with the 53 word clarifying statement. Still Mike seems to have misunderstood it too!

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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Kekerusey » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:48 am

Peter M J Hess wrote:Kyu, you are being tendentious at best. There are many Christians (including this one) who would reject your straw-person caricature of "Abrahamic doctrine." Even if there are troglodytic Christians and Muslims who would ridiculously consign non-believers to "hell" (whatever that archaic word means), please don't tar us all (including your allies in the fight for sound science) with the same brush. Regarding your last statement, if there is no God, how is theism any more a waste of time than any other belief system, or any other activity? A "waste" according to what criterion of importance?


Tendentious? Blimey I had to look that one up! Biased! OK!

Perhaps so but I never denied that I had a personal point of view however that doesn't make it any less true ... as Dawkins says, when 2 people have points of view the truth doesn't have to lie at a halfway point in between, it is entirely possible that one POV is right and the other wrong. Indeed I would say it is more likely that one POV is wrong and one right ... the question is, which POV?

The following are facts (hopefully uncontested) about UK society:
* We live in a multi-faith society
* Each faith typically claims their particular position is correct usually to the exclusion of all others
* Although it is a learning process, children are generally not held to be responsible enough to make "the big decisions" until they are 16 or 18.
* The question of the existence of god is one of monumental importance.

This one is worth stressing ... for reasons already stated, whether god exists or not is a hugely important concept it therefore CANNOT be something that is dealt with lightly ... whether wrong or right it is a BIG issue (and I don't mean a newspaper). I know some would deny this and the only reason I can possibly see for doing so is that each faith has a vested interest in getting to youngsters before they can make the decision for themselves.

I'm not for one moment advocating that kids are brought up as atheist (and I use that to mean antagonistic to god/s or religion) ... I'm simply suggesting that they are given all the necessary information so that they can make an informed decision at a point in their lives where one would normally expect a young adult to start making such decisions.

Tell me please what is wrong with that?

On your questions ... no of course religion isn't a waste if one can demonstrate that there is something else one gets out of it without the god bit and maybe that's true. I used to go to a CofE church when I deluded myself into believing it would be a good thing for my oldest daughter ... I miss some aspects of the sense of community, atheists don't seem to get anywhere near it. I am convinced however that such a sense of community doesn't have to be centred around a church and I would have serious reservations about keeping something going for that sense of community if the core belief was based around a lie.

I specifically chose the Abrahamic religions because I am a recovering ex-Catholic (34 years free now and still ****ed up by them) and so the Abrahamic religions are really all I know (and I really only know Christianity at all well).

I would also point out that straw man is where one sets up a version of an argument, defeats it and declares another one wrong by the same reasoning without actually dealing with the original argument (I might have got that a it wrong but broadly speaking that is what a straw man is) and I'm sorry Peter but I didn't do a straw man ... I may well have used some other kind of fallacious reasoning but it wasn't a straw man.

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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Jaf » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:00 am

On Fri, 12 Jan 2007 02:48:22 -0600, you wrote:

* The question of the existence of god is one of monumental importance.

A false assumption, IMO.
The question is of no importance whatsoever, when it comes to teaching Real
Science in schools science classes.

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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Kekerusey » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:33 am

John Flemming (Jaf) wrote:A false assumption, IMO.
The question is of no importance whatsoever, when it comes to teaching Real
Science in schools science classes.


True it's of no importance to science teaching UNLESS a god did start it all going, perhaps even taking a direct hand in creating species as he went along. If that is true then it is important that science confirms it as far as possible, if it is untrue then it is perhaps even more important that science confirms it. I, like Dawkins, do not accept the idea of two non-overlapping magisteria.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe a word of it but the question itself has to be important because it is possible that atheists like me are wrong. Moreover it is possible that only one religion is right.

I know you could argue this isn't on topic but first Michael raised it (I disagree with some remarks made to the effect of him being a troll, I think he's a smart bloke who, like me, like you, has a personal POV ... IIRC he's a rev too isn't he?) and secondly in my view whether or not there is a god is relevant to science.

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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Ian Lowe » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:02 am

I know you could argue this isn't on topic but first Michael raised it
(I > disagree with some remarks made to the effect of him being a troll,

Because you haven't seen him do this over and over again Kyu - Michael
has been stirring the crap like this for months.

He constantly whitters on about the BCSE being too atheistic (but
refuses invitations to help resolve this, or to indicate where there is
a problem), and has clearly posted this simply *because* he wants to see
an atheism vs religion discussion.

The question as posted is such an obvious debating trick, it's almost
painful.

IIRC he's a rev too isn't he?) and secondly in my view whether or not
there is a god is relevant to science.

It may well be - it is also, however, a way to cause division and bad
blood between people who would otherwise work together against the
creationists.

Michael has, in the past, written a thoroughly unpleasant email about
the BCSE to David Anderson (he got a mention on his wacky little attack
blog).

I'm afraid that I see starting this conversation in the way he has is
nothing more than an attempt to draw BCSE members into a pointless
argument, because when it comes down to it, he would rather we didn't
exist!

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Postby jon_12091 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:08 am

As a very wise man once said anyone who says they have the entire truth is either a fool or lier.

The wording on the petition IS bad, at FIRST reading, I took it at face value. Placed in an educational context it makes only marginally more sense.

While atheism is by very definition NOT a religion it seems perfectly able to develope the same strident whine, with anti-pluralist undertones, that in religious fundamentalists makes me want to vomit up my spleen.

Oh, and if atheism is the default setting why is human history littered with so many religions (the often harsh punishment handed out to unbelivers not withstanding)? [edit] this is a personal opinion and a rhetorical question that should not be answered - see below!

And can we stop having this hoary old argument (in any of its many guises):
(a) every thread like this seems to cause the forum IQ to drop by several points
(b) it feeds the trolls (as evidenced by the appearance of at least one poster...)

[edit] a new thread can be utterly ignored and allowed to sink out of sight in the forum stratigraphy!
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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Dave Oldridge » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:54 am

On 11 Jan 2007 at 14:11, Michael wrote:

Surely this petition is against freedom, pluralism and
democracy

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make it
illegal to indoctrinate or define children by religion before
the age of 16. In order to encourage free thinking, children
should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching or be
allowed to be defined as belonging to a particular religious
group based on the views of their parents or guardians. At the
age of 16, as with other laws, they would then be considered old
enough and educated enough to form their own opinion and follow
any particular religion (or none at all) through free thought.


******
Surely this will deny parents the right to convince their
children of atheism as well?

If it's interpreted honestly, it should. That's one bone of
contention I have with the young-earthers in these parts. They
CONTINUALLY accuse the school system of teaching atheism simply
because it doesn't teach any religion. But the fact is, if any
teacher actually taught atheism, they would be all over it in
court and would likely win.

In short, they're bearing false witness about this. But it works
on the rubes, who don't really understand the difference between
evolutionary biology and atheism.


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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Dave Oldridge » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:56 am

On 11 Jan 2007 at 14:35, Gwynne wrote:


Michael wrote:
Surely this will deny parents the right to convince their
children of atheism as well?


? what makes you think atheist parents proselytise to their
children? The absence of any overt form of worship or grovelling
before a deity during their impressionable years is all it takes
to protect children.

Quite a few that I know do not. But others definitely do. All
Michael is saying is that what is good for one side in this
controversy ought to be good for the other as well.


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IL: Understood!

Postby Kekerusey » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:58 am

Ian Lowe wrote:
Kyuuketsuki wrote:I know you could argue this isn't on topic but first Michael raised it (I disagree with some remarks made to the effect of him being a troll


Because you haven't seen him do this over and over again Kyu - Michael
has been stirring the crap like this for months.

He constantly whitters on about the BCSE being too atheistic (but
refuses invitations to help resolve this, or to indicate where there is
a problem), and has clearly posted this simply *because* he wants to see
an atheism vs religion discussion.

The question as posted is such an obvious debating trick, it's almost
painful.


OK, thougt I think it debatable about the question itself, I've only been here a month or so and, with no other info at my disposal, I defer to your evaluation.

Ian Lowe wrote:
Kyuuketsuki wrote:IIRC he's a rev too isn't he?) and secondly in my view whether or not there is a god is relevant to science.


It may well be


OK ... then we are not worlds apart on our views :)

Ian Lowe wrote:I'm afraid that I see starting this conversation in the way he has is nothing more than an attempt to draw BCSE members into a pointless argument, because when it comes down to it, he would rather we didn't exist!


You're the Mod and I guess on SJS I might do the same.

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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:50 am

andy_shill wrote:

I think to limit "education" to schools you actually have to mention schools in the wording of the petition.

"Education" is *not* "upbringing".

Is it helpful for the BCSE (a single issue group) Chairman to state his desire for the secularisation of schools on the BCSE forum?

A very good question, actually, and one which makes my post seem at odds
with previous messages of mine. So let me clarify my personal view. I
have no objection to religious education classes at all; what I do not
necessarily like is a school telling a child "this is the only proper
faith". And that I have no objection stating: it is outside the remit of
the BCSE organisation to ensure creationism is kept out of the science
classrooms.
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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:50 am

andy_shill wrote:
However, I'm not sure what this has to do with BCSE.

None, really.

BCSE hasn't signed it

And, of course, will not.
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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Jaf » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:06 pm

On Fri, 12 Jan 2007 05:54:31 -0600, you wrote:

it is outside the remit of the BCSE organisation

, which is

to ensure creationism is kept out of the science
classrooms.

That's better, says the pedant in me.
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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Timothy Chase » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:26 pm

andy_shill wrote:Thanks for the link Timothy - though I found it a bit discouraging! To think that one of the most brilliant minds of our generation (Dawkins) struggled to properly understand the 23 words of a petition and now acknowledges he should have read it more carefully. (A bit embarrassing that he gave it big publicity on his website though) I wouldn't have thought it was that taxing - even taken with the 53 word clarifying statement. Still Mike seems to have misunderstood it too!


It is somewhat ambiguously stated - and as is pointed out, given the British context, lends itself to being interpreted one way, although in logic would seem to imply something more. Upbringing can be understood as a type of informal education - surely it you teach your children a great deal at home. Likewise, "Sunday school" would seem to be a form of education as well. Moreover, when someone who is religious brings up their child in their religious beliefs as a Protestant or Catholic, their child is Protestant or Catholic, and this is before the child has reached the "age of consent" mentioned in the petition itself.

As for Dawkins, I am quite fond of him, but I suspect that politics isn't his strong suite, and this is a suspicion I have entertained for some time. Then again, I believe Einstein was rather weak in this area. Everyone has their limitations, and every individual will be much more limited in some areas than others.
Last edited by Timothy Chase on Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Gwynne » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:13 pm

Timothy Chase wrote:Upbringing can be understood as a type of informal education - surely it you teach your children a great deal at home. Likewise, "Sunday school" would seem to be a form of education as well.


I would contend that this is a different 'kind' of education. What we're talking about here is not about learning facts or the three 'R's, it's not even about whether there is a deity or not but about model building. It's about children gaining the frames of reference from which they can build a world view that is broadly compatible with ie allows them to interface with the consensual reality of wider society. The problem I see with any kind of indoctrination, religious or otherwise, at an early age is that it creates reference points which are at odds or in conflict with large sections of the world that reside 'outside' that particular framework. Devisiveness and an 'us and them' mentality becomes the basis on which they have to interface with all the other consensual realities that they will come in contact with during their lives.

IMO, children should not be taught a particular metaphysical construct from which to judge the world but rather that there are many such constructs and which one you choose, as an adult, should be of no consequence to your ability to function amongst your fellow human beings.
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