Favorite Sam quotes
Posted: 27 December 2004 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Here's mine:

Faith is rather like a rhinoceros, in fact: it won’t do much in the way of real work for you, and yet at close quarters it will make spectacular claims upon your attention.

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Posted: 27 December 2004 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Child: I admit that I have not yet read Sam Harris’ book, but I still support his general view that religions are a major hindrance to progress in our civilization - once I get my hands on Sam’s book, I will pick out a quote to share as well

anyway, based on a review by Daniel Blue of the San Francisco Chronicle, (and one or two other reviews I read or hear on radio), one of the major examples of how religion held back our civilization is the inquisition

my understanding is that Galileo was caught up in the inquisition because he stated that the universe was not geo-centric - this occurred in the late 1600s - however, Copernicus, a polish monk, had already written a book that explained how our universe is heliocentric (or at least our small corner of the universe), as early as the early 1500s - but Copernicus did not share this work with anyone until just before his death, apparently out of fear that he may be excommunicated (or even put to death) by the “church” - to think that the catholic church continues to exist after these horrendous episodes in history, shows that the apparent lack of respect for science by such fundamentalists continues even to this day

however, what is even more horrendous is that the heliocentric concept of our immediate “universe” was already provided by Ptolemy in the first century AD in Egypt (he was greek, I think) - yet the Roman Catholic church SUPPRESSED this valuable knowledge in order to promote their geocentric “theory”, showing their clear lack of regard for science and fact

today’s fundamentalists operate in this very same manner - they “threaten” their “believers” by suggesting that “god” will take away some magical “umbrella of protection” from the USA, if george bush, their hero, would not be re-elected - so the “believers” voted for him and he has another 4 years to squander the rest of our country’s hard-earned resources - what a waste - there ought to be a law to put an end to these fundamentalists and their efforts to stifle progress and to prevent us from improving our lives and the lives of our decendents

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Posted: 29 December 2004 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“Sam Harris”] . . . Faith . . . will not stoop to reason when it has no good reasons to believe. If a little supportive evidence emerges, however, the faithful prove as attentive to data as the damned.


In short, faith is more or less a synonym for trumped up presumption.

He continues:

[quote author=“Sam Harris”]This demonstrates that faith is nothing more than a willingness to await the evidence—be it a Day of Judgment or some other downpour of coroboration. It is the search for knowledge on the installment plan: believe now, live an untestable hypothesis until your dying day, and you will discover you were right.

But in any other sphere of life, a belief is a check that everyone insists upon cashing this side of the grave . . .


This is about authoritarians, who value logic merely as a tool by which to achieve moral comfort and affirmation (when they should be emersed in dissonance). They have no problem with inequities of reason and logic because that’s not what they base their worldview upon. They understand reality according to what the authorities in their lives dictate—period. That’s what they value—submission to the proper authorities. Reason and logic must affirm those dictates/dogmas in order to even register for an authoritarian. If it doesn’t then it registers as meaningless drivel.

That’s why it’s pointless to advocate “The End of Faith” through reason. It would be something like promoting physical fitness through running to people without legs.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 29 December 2004 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Byron,

What is the plan then?  Do you have any hope of changing things?  Of raising the appeal of free thought?  It seems to me that freedom is addictive.  A taste is usually enough to start the ol’ ball rolling.  Or are you saying that the problem is at the top, and we need to cut off the head? 

What are you saying?

BTW, have you read any of Joe Bageant’s essays?

child

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Posted: 25 February 2005 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I notice one thing through out the people’s posts here.

There is a constant attack on faith of people. Everybody pontificates with their points that religious “folk” have faith without reason.

Does this matter at all when it comes to the truth? Could you have faith that this whole reply came together by a matter of chance…most scientists would say something like this is more practical than us coming into existence - even over billions upon billions of years.

In the end, people believe what they want to believe…that doesn’t mean we can’t still search for the truth. Let’s just make sure we do it in the most objective, well meaning way. We’ll find it.

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Posted: 27 February 2005 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=”???”]I notice one thing through out the people’s posts here.

There is a constant attack on faith of people. Everybody pontificates with their points that religious “folk” have faith without reason.

Does this matter at all when it comes to the truth? Could you have faith that this whole reply came together by a matter of chance…most scientists would say something like this is more practical than us coming into existence - even over billions upon billions of years.

In the end, people believe what they want to believe…that doesn’t mean we can’t still search for the truth. Let’s just make sure we do it in the most objective, well meaning way. We’ll find it.

I don’t think Sam Harris is arguing against spirituality or belief in a god or gods.  I think his main thesis is an argument about the damaging ideas of religious dogma.  That is what the problem is here in his eyes.  It’s not the fact that people want to believe.  It’s that they cannot rationally accept criticism or accept changes to any of their questionable religious dogma.  Even in the face of strong counter evidence.  Many religionists continue to accept that certain books as divine even though experience and fact has shown much of it to be false or even hurtful to individuals and/or civilization.  Yes many still maintain that all of it is still true and wholly good.

Harris maintains that religion is a conversation stopper.  Most people cannot critically discuss ideas because of their absolute faith in their religious dogma prevents it.  Every argument begins with the idea that the dogma is true.  That cannot be found acceptable anymore in modern times.  The creates two options: conversation and warfare.  If the first fails the second will more than likely result.

Secularism isn’t free of rigid thinking but in the end there far fewer “sacred cows.”  No ideas *have to be believed* at all costs in the face of convincing contrary evidence.  That is a *key* difference maker here that Harris points to.

He also singles out religion as the primary road block of rational dialog.  No one can have respected beliefs about biology, geography, chemistry, etc without factual basis except when it come to religious beliefs.  He asserts that this is fundamentally flawed thinking.  He blames religious moderates as one of the real culprits for facilitating this idea.  This must change and more frank and honest dialog must begin in this arena.

[ Edited: 28 February 2005 10:22 AM by ]
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Posted: 28 February 2005 01:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Dogma is dangerous, so is faith in a afterlife and a God that will reward you for “works”. 

These are religions of death, not of life.

That is the problem

How can you have a meaningful discussion about the future with someone thinking he is going to be raptured and rule over you because you refuse to believe?  You can’t. 

How can you have a rational discussion about violence with someone that believes he gets 70 houris in Heaven for strapping a bomb on his body?
You can’t.

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