Monday, July 18, 2005

The modern Humanist

It's interesting what they are saying and how soft they are going in some ways. I remember debating them in the 90s and they were not like this. (I found it on uncommon descent.)

...the number of debates I have engaged in has diminished to a trickle over the years, reflecting a change of heart I have had about the whole approach. Once again, Genie Scott was right...debating head-to-head against creationists is a bad idea because most debate formats favor sound bites, and sound bites are easier and more effective for people who wish to attack science than for those who want to defend it. It is relatively easy to throw hundreds of apparently damning questions to a scientist in the span of a few minutes; it is very difficult for a scientist to seriously address even a few of those or, more importantly, to explain to the public how science really works (as opposed to the caricature presented by creationists).
I.e., "We just lost a lot of debates and we got tired of it. I still like to think that it has to do with being scientific or somethin' though. Why, I feel downright scientific saying so right now! Yeah, I've still got it baby. I'm still scientific, yay!"
...the best strategy we have is to talk to the public directly, on our terms, and using the arsenal of tools available to science educators.
If you lose a debate then problem is with you or your incorrect position and not with the public or how scientific you are being. I'd hate to see what they'd do if they actually won debates or found much empirical evidence to support mythological narratives of Naturalism.
So, please, don't call me again for future debates, OK?
It seems that some little fellows are running back into Mother Nature. I guess she can only select for them to argue about how scientific they are, naturally enough. That doesn't do one much good when the issue being debated is origins.
Lastly, let's talk about this "Brights" thing. As some readers may know, the Brights are a recently emerged movement within the general area of freethought. Brights decided to call themselves that way because they (rightly) realized that most other terms (e.g., atheist, skeptic, etc.) tend to carry negative connotationsthat can stigmatize non religious people and justify discrimination against them.
So that was serious!

But there they go again, the Left keeps discriminating against my Discriminating People.

You know, the good thing about Discriminating People is that they can discriminate between dumb and dumber. The Gay© business of the 90s was dumb and this Brights business is dumber. Yes, yes, we know the propaganda! Mother Nature selected your entire life for you, naturally enough. So Gays© are just the hapless Victims of their environment and genetics while the main argument of Darwinists is that all things are selected by Mother Nature anyway. Why are they the same type of arguments and why is there such an affinity between them? Why didn't "America conquer its [supposed] fear & hatred of Gays in the 90's"? He goes on:
So, the proponents of the Brights movement said, why not emulate the success of the Gay community and use a positive word to describe who we are?
A few of the successes of such identity politics:

"The very experience of acquiring a homosexual or bisexual identity at an early age places the individual at risk for dysfunction. This conclusion is strongly supported by the data."
(G. Remafedi, “Adolescent Homosexuality: Psychosocial
and Medical Implications,” Pediatrics 79, no. 3 (1987), pp. 331—37)

" . . For each year's delay in bisexual or homosexual self-labeling, the odds of a suicide attempt diminish by 80 percent."
(G. Remafedi, J. A. Farrow, and R. W Deisher
“Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay
Bisexual Youth,” Pediatrics 87, no.6(1991), pp.869—75)

But nevermind, that is empirical evidence and for all the talk about how much the Left loves its Gays©, they love their own moral vanity more.
The initial response from many authors (including myself, in an earlier Rationally Speaking column) was very positive, even enthusiastic in the case of Dan Dennett and Richard Dawkins. The problem, of course, was pointed out immediately, and even the brave proponents of the Brights movement themselves acknowledged it and wrestled with it: going around affirming one's "Brightness"...isn't exactly the best way to diffuse the image of intellectual snobbery that afflicts skeptics and freethinkers (the latter being another word of questionable usefulness in this context).
Generally you'd need a much better identity, marketing campaign, and a better understanding of how to manipulate human psychology. So, that's true. It would actually be possible to use the Bright idea if science geeks had a better sense of style, a sense of image and image control. I suppose he could try reading the writings of Gay© activists and then he'd understand it better. You use what you have and not what you don't, and the weak minds all bundle together in a Herd anyway. Those stuck in Plato's cave (i.e. the womb of mommy Nature) focus on images, so image control is key. Something said of Nazism was that it was the triumph of the image over the word. I.e., it is an attempt to put the perceptual before the conceptual and the deed before the thought, a triumph of the will, if you will.
Indeed, I have never actually introduced myself as a Bright to anybody. .... As Carl Sagan once put it, be careful not to be so open minded that your brain falls out!
Yet the average Leftist mind does seem to be open enough that almost anyone can come along and put some crap in it.

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