James Randi coments on Sam Harris

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Joined  17-12-2006
30 June 2007 13:21

[quote author=“eucaryote”]
On the other hand, some technology, especially much of what we have learned about design, can be very elusive and take a great deal of trial and error to get the nuances right. Witness all of the flying machines that were tried before Orville and Wilbur got it more or less right. It is those nuances that fascinate me about design.

This shows up even in experimental physics.  People in one lab may get some sort of experimental result and other labs just can’t reproduce it for a while until they visit the first lab and work with the equipment directly and get their own feeling for how to set things up exactly right.

Total Posts:  6660
Joined  20-02-2006
03 July 2007 14:20

Superstition as Wu-Wu (capitalized).  Christianity as the worship of Wu-Wu.

Webster says of ‘superstition’:

1.  An irrational low or servile (abject) attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God, proceeding from ignorance, unreasoning fear of the unknown or mysterious, a belief in magic or chance, or the like.

For our purposes here, I see several problems with this definition.  Notice that ‘God’ is lumped in with nature, as though both were FACTS that the superstitious person has an irrational attitude toward.  Also, what does Webster mean by a belief in ‘chance?’  Maybe that the average superstitious person is more likely to buy lottery tickets than James Randi?

To the rational, ‘scientifically minded’ person who acknowledges that nature is profoundly marvelous and mysterious and fundamentally without explanation, Christianity is common superstition for hundreds of reasons.  For example, are the following not supersitions?

-  a person’s thinking and memory will continue after the brain dies.  (Christianity would not exist without this ludicrous idea which is based on greed and fear).

-  by asking for things mentally or verbally a great mysterious being will (perhaps, if you’ve been good, and say certain ‘magic’ words, and believe that your thoughts and memories are going to continue after you die etc. etc.) will grant your wishes, or perhaps, instead, cause all your family to perish in a hurricane in order to teach you a valuable lesson about life -  (instead of ‘spoiling’ you by giving you what you asked for.  After all, this great mysterious being knows what you need before you ask, so why are you asking?  DUMMY!)

-  it is possible for a child to be born from a virgin mother - an aberrant talent or mutation that would certainly raise hell with the male ego.  No doubt latter day Amazons have been trying to figure out how Mary did that.

-  it is possible for a corpse to come back to life.  As we’ve said, this is a favorite theme of Hollywuwud.

-  it is possible to walk on water.  (yes, Champ, I know water spiders can do it.)

-  it is possible to change water into wine.

OK, this is petty old material, but surely it is clear that Christianity fits the definintion of superstition.

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Joined  20-08-2006
04 July 2007 08:36

[quote author=“unsmoked”]Superstition as Wu-Wu (capitalized).  Christianity as the worship of Wu-Wu.

OK, this is petty old material, but surely it is clear that Christianity fits the definintion of superstition.

That’s ok unsmoked, sometimes we just gotta get it out!
It is strange to be part of such a minority. People who are fascinated with observation but completely fail to believe.
It’s like Sam Harris talks about being surrounded by people who not only believe in witchcraft but may persecute you for not believing in it.

Total Posts:  6660
Joined  20-02-2006
04 July 2007 09:56

It seems to me that the Christian God doesn’t mind what his name is as long as it is acknowledged that he is the ONLY god.  Yaweh, Jehovah, God, etc.  I suggest that his name be changed to WU-WU.  Then there could be a church called, ‘WU-WU Witnesses’, or ‘Church of WU-WU,’ etc.

I mean, for atheists, this would be like calling a spade a spade, and it would be much easier to get along with the Champs and Frankrs in the world.

Atheist:  Who do you worship?

Christian:  WU-WU.

See what I mean?  It makes perfect sense, and then there’s nothing to argue about.