[FoRK] Re: "Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them."
Stephen D. Williams
<sdw at lig.net> on
Mon Apr 23 11:36:28 PDT 2007
Don't have such a thin skin. And that's not being cruel by FoRK
standards... that's being funny.
That thread might be a little ... threadbare. But you have some
interesting ideas to add to FoRK in our salad.
I would just comment that it is better to pare arguments down to
ultimate, core concepts as soon as possible.
We made some interesting points in the recent thread, but few will ever
slog through all of that to get them. A good move would be to produce
an absolutely minimalist summary of concepts, agreement, and
disagreement that fairly summarizes everyone's or most everyone's position.
o Couching rationalism / humanism / science in mystical /
religio-marketing / ... can help sell it and transition the masses
o This is what it would look like...
o This is like....
o Examples might be...
o Any mysticism / confusion / religious trappings are bad because:
o Not needed
o Not helpful
o Slippery slope, can be coopted
o There are better ways
Lion Kimbro wrote:
> I'm sure you've enjoyed books that have used dialog
> to make points.
> But you don't really mean what you're saying.
> You're being cruel, because you don't think it'll work to
> just say, "Lion, you don't really fit in here, and I'm
> requesting that you leave." There's no telling what
> you have to say to someone, to get them to leave, right?
> You've got to pick SOME method, no?
> Fine; I can accept the request, no matter how it is
> Take care,
> "A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe
> as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of
> reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or
> later, such a religion will emerge." -- Carl Sagan
> On 4/23/07, Joe Barrera <joe-fork at barrera.org> wrote:
>> Now that you've descended to arguing with yourself, do you think
>> you could create your own mailing list (or blog, perhaps) and do
>> your arguing there instead?
>> - Joe
>> Lion Kimbro wrote:
>> > On 4/22/07, mattj at newsblip.com <mattj at newsblip.com> wrote:
>> >> Quoting Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com>:
>> >> > "The universe is the womb that bore me, and "the universe is my
>> >> body."
>> >> >
>> >> > Both of these are, quite literally, scientifically, true.
>> >> No. "Literally", a womb is an organ of a female mammal. You are
>> >> a metaphor. The appropriate word here is "figuratively", roughly the
>> >> opposite of "literally".
>> > You're right; It's not literally true. It's a metaphor.
>> > You caught me mis-speaking.
>> > The universe doesn't have a womb, except for all of the instances
>> > where there are wombs.
>> > But it is true that the universe made us, and this is a literal
>> > Wait-- that's not true either... Because, "made," you know--
>> > factories, people putting things into place, assembly lines, or
>> > putting things together with their hands, or ...
>> > It looks like slippery slopes, as far as the eye can see.
>> >> You also wrote, regarding "Born With A Bang: The Universe Tells Its
>> >> Story"...
>> >> > The book doesn't say that the universe has an independent
>> >> > consciousness-- it says that the universe has become conscious,
>> >> > and that scientists (who we presume are telling the story to you)
>> >> > are telling its story to you.
>> >> Er, no.
>> >> I just got the book from the library. It is *all* first-person, told
>> >> by a loving Universe. It begins:
>> >> "My Dearest Earthling,
>> >> You may not know me. We haven't talked before. I am the Universe and
>> >> it's time for us to get to know each other.
>> >> [and later,]... Mind you, my dear Earthling, your Milky Way is only
>> >> tiny neighborhood in my vast expanse. Even though your galaxy is
>> >> special, I care equally for all my galaxies!"
>> > This is fair criticism.
>> > Evolutionary spirituality, the Great Story, are not about a sentient
>> > universe in the sense that the book portrays. This book then,
>> > is clearly out of step with message.
>> > However, I will cite the top Amazon reviewer:
>> > ---------
>> > Some parents might also object that treating the Universe as a person
>> > reeks too much of New Age nature-worship pantheism. Such a criticism
>> > would be unwarranted - Morgan, after all, knows that the Universe is
>> > not actually a human being, and even young readers should be able to
>> > see this as simply an engaging storytelling device. Any child who
>> > enjoys watching talking planes or a purple dinosaur on TV, while
>> > knowing that neither is real, can appreciate Morgan's narrative
>> > approach. This book should be of value to any family, regardless of
>> > religious or philosophical orientation, who possess a serious interest
>> > in science or nature.
>> > ---------
>> >> Taking to heart Jeff's comment about precision, meaning, and slippery
>> >> slopes, I think I'm done with this thread. Cheers,
>> > Sadly, we cannot scold Carl Sagan for his misleading statements:
>> > "We are a way for the universe to know itself."
>> > I'm sure we had to see it in context.
>> > In the interest of precision, I'll state that I don't feel the cheer;
>> > Rather, I feel the disappointment.
>> > However, if you are to take Jeff's comments about precision, meaning,
>> > and slippery slopes to heart, you have a challenging task ahead of
>> > you will need to interpret the universe, without interpreting.
>> > Re-read this,
>> > -------------
>> > You come to grips with the fact that the only
>> > purpose of life is what you make of it; that the world is a cold,
>> > hollow, soulless place, and that no --- you are not a precious
>> > fucking snowflake.
>> > -------------
>> > ...asking yourself: "Is this an interpretation of scientific facts,
>> > or a scientific reality?"
>> > Since we must interpret, since we have the freedom to choose
>> > the interpretation, and since the interpretation we choose will
>> > ultimately shape our own lives and the lives we influence--
>> > I believe it simply MUST be a positive interpretation.
>> > The facts are what the facts are. But the interpretation of
>> > the facts is yours to create and live by.
>> > "A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe
>> > as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of
>> > reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or
>> > later, such a religion will emerge." -- Carl Sagan
>> > Take care,
>> > Lion
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