Quote of the month? year? century?

The obsessions of the village atheists aren’t a good basis for doing history.

Jim Harrison in the comments at EvolutionBlog



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4 responses to “Quote of the month? year? century?

  1. Heh.

    I just saw that. Nicely done, wasn’t it?

  2. Don’t tell me you’re turning into anti-Illuminati?
    I’m actually a sceptic about the religious motivation, having found proof absolute that d’Ailly’s planning was in furtherance of his intention to re-establish the Papacy as cock of the political walk (plotting started in 1400, came to fruition in 1435, 15 years after his death).
    What I’m slowly angling towards is a quite outrageous suggestion he may actually have had some old technology backing up his plan – so old as to have become legendary, or even mythological, but which yet existed in fact. Fret ye not, there’s a documented case to be made.

    The starting point on this thread is to recognise that the Royal Society had their own axe to grind, not least in establishing their own survival. That gives rise to such arrant nonsense as BBC 4’s Chemistry – a Volatile History where Battersea Polytechnic’s Prof al-Khalili (well, they call themselves the University of Surrey now, but that doesn’t change much in the face of someone who can come up with a line like “C19th alchemists questioned whether…” – on the iplayer trail, but will probably disappear within a day or two.) who spouts some of the most appalling xenophobic guff I’ve ever heard – it’s history straight from 1910, where Lavoisier is barely recognised and no other foreign chemists exist at all, indeed nothing was known of before 1670 – according to him. OK, a passing reference to Paracelsus, but that’s striaght out of the Masonic gospel, fictitious though it is.
    Even though he’s about to publish a study of Caliphate Chemistry (as an Iraqi, it’s to be hoped he knows something worthwhile) he never gave it a mention. And that proves my point – the UK can still be so appallingly jingoistic it shoots itself in the foot. So, guess which self-proclaimed atheist I propose as a founding member of the list? Prof AK, the room is yours…

  3. Jeb

    I am not suggesting this is my claim to the crown.

    It does not have the terse short sharp sweetness of
    Jim and a b movie production by comparison. Far too wordy.

    I would like though to suggest a term to go a long with the village atheist.

    The zombie sceptic. Posting that just contains a standard formula of words and no evidence of any original thought. A meme in the classic sense.

    I should note in may instead be the result of my crap communication. In which case its a b movie production of Zombie sceptic meets the dyslexic twat. I was up rather late spreading a landmine meme.

    But even if in this case it’s partly my fault I think such a creature does exist and creeps up in a few places

    Its at the end of the comments here


  4. Hm, sounds like an argument in the reductio ad absurdum line: multiply all arguments by zero and you always end up with a truth, regardless of how invalid the starting point was. Randi plays such games to counter them being played on him: it doesn’t give him credibility either.

    As a matter of fact, you’re talking to someone who used to support the real people demining Croatia. Those boxes aren’t the first time someone’s sold snake-oil, and won’t be the last: what should happen to the salesman is he should be put in a locked cell with food just outside, and an equally virtual key passed to him through the hatch so he can release himself to feed. Or sent into a real minefield with his equipment to show how well it works.
    That tends to concentrate the mind: you don’t find may atheists in such circles.

    Bill Thompson is, I presume, the computer commentator. He may know about logic bombs, but I doubt whether he knows about mines, demining, or the like. He certainly doesn’t know that the RE are proud about the definition of an Engineer officer as “Mad, married and Methodist”, and having been attached to 225 Field Squadron for a year, I confirm there’s some truth to it.

    And so thoughts of using Zombie Atheists as a touchstone in such circles are pretty insulting, unless you’ve been there and done so yourself. It certainly doesn’t work with the values of pre-Enlightenment academic standards, which were capped, as I’ve said a few times before, by Theology. It’s got to be kept in context, though, and here nihilistic arguments get us nowhere.

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