'Many dead' after truck crashes into Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France

I was talking about the last part, specifically, but okay. But I was agreeing with you that modern liberal secular society can be rather intolerant.

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“Tolerance is our paramount value. Unless you think differently from us”


Yes. I agree with that. It’s why I’m not a huge fan of the new atheism movement, generally speaking. Enforced secularism is no better than enforced faith. I don’t want enforced anything.


Going off-topic a little (and sorry it’s in this thread) but what you say touched me.

I’ll admit to having made a deliberate choice to switch from quiet agnosticism to what I think you mean be the “new atheism” movement.
Or more specifically the anti-anti-science movement, which is pretty close.

I have made up my mind that ‘tolerance’ of certain beliefs does not belong in the 21st century, and biting my lip in the face of vaccine woo, dangerous homeopaths, climate change denialism and other archaic and harmful beliefs (including “cultural” and “religious” ones) is now an ethically wrong behaviour for myself. “All that is required for evil to triumph…” etc.

Yes, this can make me a prick at parties - but I feel that calling out someone whose words and beliefs make the world a worse place - and telling them their opinion is not acceptable is now a social duty. Just like we should regret not calling out a racist, sexist, homophobe or other bigot in the same context.

I do want enforced something. I’m a strong believer in enforced education.

(I’m opening up here and sharing, not challenging you - I just used your personal share as a jumping off point to share my own, different moral position)


I agree, to an extent. Some people do this specifically so they can feel morally superior to the person they are calling out (not that I’m saying you’re doing that, but you know what I mean).

I sort of feel like we’ve ended up (as a society) in this downward spiral of ever trumping morality. We constantly have to show everyone else around us how much better, more correct, more… whatever… we are than THOSE people over there. Often we don’t even actually try to find out about THOSE people, just make assumptions. We all do this, because we’re human, and fallible, etc.

I’ve never found that rolling my eyes and calling out another’s real or perceived stupidity has been helpful. The constant reminder makes others pretty antagonistic towards us, and hence unwilling to figure out a way to accommodate the modern world in some way (which most faiths have ways of doing, as evidenced by the way that they historically have).

But then again, I too, value education, free thought, and the ability to call out bad behavior in others, including those behaviors which, as you rightly point out, can be dangerous for others. But it’s a fine line between calling out and being actively exclusive of theist belief systems.

Specifically, the new atheist movement (Dawkins, et al) has had a recent tendency to be employed as an actively Islamophobic movement rather than just a movement promoting secularism/atheism. It has this very evangelical tendency which turns me off. But that’s not all atheists, obviously.

So, I don’t know… It’s a rather difficult subject. I agree we should call out bigotry and work to have a society that rests on democratic values and inclusiveness - but where do you draw the line? Do we actively shut out those who wear their faith on their sleeves (or in their dress)? And if we do, aren’t we just making assumptions based on outward appearances? But what about when doctrine contradicts our efforts to be more inclusive?

[ETA] Let me also add that the modern, secular world was built on the dismantling of the old one, meaning that the ways that individuals used to interact with their society and work out modes of well being have been dismantled, often by force (either of the state or through the brutality of the market). This has never been an easy or uncontested process. While this meant the end of the old, feudal order, and freeing up people to make new choices, it created a lot of instability, too. I think this is part of the reason why we still have religion, because it’s a connection to the past, a support system, and a means of creating meaning in a world that now rests on something that can be hard to understand. So there is that aspect, too.


#FightforWesternCivilization is trending on Twitter. ISIS can blow up a major holy site in Mecca and stick mainly to killing Muslims and people’s first instinct is still flocking to tribalism like flies to shit.



Great idea. Let’s start a holy war. This will end well.


Nope, and it’s a narrow edge to walk, but I do try to make a point of clearly phrasing the difference between ‘this is not actually true’ and ‘you’re a dickhead’. :slight_smile:

As some of the “advice for arguing” posts I’ve seen recently suggest, after a certain point you are just debating for the benefit of the audience. Though it sounds vain - I think that sort approach did work (over time) in getting loud racists & sexists to pull their head in in mixed company. I may not convince the target of anything today, but maybe making them think twice about bringing up toxic stuff again will help slow its spread.

I try (though can’t say I always succeed) to leave the non-harmful stuff alone. I don’t go out of my way to pick on believers until they touch genuinely harmful stuff. I don’t sneer at the churches when viewed as just a social club or anything. Heck, even the current pope seems like a mensch. But I’ll go toe-to-toe with a Bronze-age literalist who is going against modern scientific medicine or fact.


It’s like you can say this over and over again, and you still get this stupid shit. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m really not.


But let me restate that is not the real problem here. In fact the West, both left & right, needs to own up to the fact that much of the world does not share its ideals or think or operate along the same lines.

One can look at Arabs dressed in jeans and rapping and make the error that the share western values but it’s better to know what they are saying and who they are saying it to.

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Probably it comes as no surprise but this here is more often than not a social weapon wielded towards the very group I identify with. But I’m gonna figure that’s not what you meant there.

Why? Why even fucking bother? If people had any sense of epistemic responsibility we wouldn’t be having these problems in the first fucking place. People are doing an excellent job of turning a Huntington essay into everyone’s personal fucking nightmare. And why? Because making the problem simple means never having to reflect on your role in it. It means not having to consider difficult compromises and complex solutions. How does knowledge compete with ignorance that fucking convenient?


And this notion is imperialist, in my view. Assuming that there is a singular way of existing and insisting that everyone be that way is indeed the problem.

I don’t disagree here. People employ hip hop because it gives them a language that speaks to their condition, not because they are on board with American culture/values - hip hop was developed in the heart of American oppression. They embrace it, because it’s a criticism from within, a criticism of what they see as a racist force in the world.


When Huntington died, one prof I had that semester said “Bye-bye” in class. No love lost for that fucker. But he now is going to be seen as a genius by some.

Human beings have problems with complexity, especially when it comes to thinking criticially about their own thought processes. I’m with you on the drinks…


Thankyou for the benefit of the doubt there.
Yes, I am painfully aware that this sort of “but I’m right” attitude is itself one of the most toxic parts of the whole evangelism trip. :thinking:
My own boundaries therefore include “is it hurting other people (yes, including your own children) or the environment” and “is it scientifically, demonstrably wrong”.

It’s not perfect, but the world this year has come to the point where I believe it’s sometimes better to speak up than let certain shit continue to spread.


People employ hip hop because it gives them a language that speaks to their condition

Horse hockey. Damn near every culture has its long standing version of “blues music”. Rap is just another kind of western pop that ports well to some other languages. Arabs rapping about killing western crusaders and Jews is just that.

To be fair, simply identifying that folk have different world views does not necessarily contain a value-judgement call.
And acknowledging that folk are different is an important step towards co-existence.


But that tight there is the stuff people use against traditional Jews.

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(reads Wiki)

Oh, that guy.

I only just twigged that he was the inspiration for this Jared Diamond piece: http://bama.ua.edu/~sprentic/607%20Diamond%201987.htm

Huh. Interesting.

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OK, if that’s so, then we stand on different sides of that line. And I simply don’t think that “but it’s traditional” is an acceptable defence.
I’ll take that debate if someone threw it at me in person. Though probably not in this particular news thread.


I can assure you Arabs have other things to write blues music about and that we are capable of finding catharsis without resort to homicidal screeds.