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August 08, 2007


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Nihilists like her only seek to establish selfish epistemology, specifically her selfish epistemology: Screw the truth and all that jazz about needing evidence and logic, I want everyone to believe in what I personally find comforting for no reason.

And she just inserts some "rational"s here and there to cover her tracks.

Sorry. Kind of a weird bipolar day for me: It's been both funny and frustrating. Couldn't get to sleep because McCarthyism popped into my head.

The big mistake is to see religion and reason as polar opposites.
Gosh, I hope she's not Lutheran, given that Martin Luther said precisely this, and often. "Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason," and whatnot.
Darwin's theory of evolution - which sought to explain how complex organisms evolved through random natural selection - also accounts for the origin of life itself.
She goes so wrong so frequently that it's hard to single out any one mistake as glaring and terrible, but before she goes railing off against what Dawkins and Darwin claim, she really ought to know something about those clams. Specifically:
[F]or the umpteenth time, natural selection is the very opposite of a chance process[.] --Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion p. 214

It doesn't take much looking to find natural selection defined with the word "nonrandom" in the definition, such as "the nonrandom survival of randomly mutating replicators." But I guess fact-checking is beneath a consummate reporter like Melanie.

Speaking of checking things, she really ought to get an editor who can tell her "honey, your column is internally inconsistent" and "you don't have a goddamn clue what 'rational' means."

Read her wikipedia entry
She has often written anti evolution stuff, as well as articles linking MMR vaccine with autism. She's also a global warming skeptic(but I'm with her on that one :) )

Read also "The danger of Melanie Phillips" by Jonathan Freedland in the Jewish Chronicle

It's the Daily Mail FFS.

why are you getting so worked up about an article in the Daily Mail you fools?!!?

'Cuz a lot of us are compulsive in that we can't let idiocy this large go unchallenged.

Anyway, it's not about the article: It's about an overarching attitude held by so many woos out there. This is just one compact dose of it that makes it easy to focus the attack.

Actually, most of the people I've met who were interested in "alternative" medicine were pious Christians (and strangely enough, Republican.)

why are you getting so worked up about an article in the Daily Mail you fools?!!?
Hey! I've got a son who's working for the Daily Mail. It's a steady job...

No, nevermind, I already did that joke in PZ's thread.

Dawkins says nothing of the sort when it comes to evolution explaining the origin of life. In fact he specifically says that evolution doesn't explain it - she clearly hasn't bothered read any of his books.

You know, I'm so used to evolution being described as a 'random process' that I didn't pay it any attention at first. Must watch that.

Agreed with all you wrote Richard. However she is right to a certain degree. I suspect this has to do with why she is writing it at all.

Here is what I am thinking:

People, thankfully, seem to be casting off the ropes of organized religion. Its slow. Its painful to watch, and it is causing a lot of strife in the world, but my optimistic mind is seeing it.

The problem is that most of these dorks are just replacing it with something else. The Secret, Deepak Chopra, power crystals, scientology, i could go forever.

I think her motivation for writing something this obtuse at all is because people are leaving her religion and she is writing about it. She is wrongly blaming science as if these poeple are leaving in favor of something scientific (if only that were the case). In fact it is the lack of teaching science that is causing the embracing of woo.

Demon haunted world should be mandatory reading in high school.

You actually wrote about a similar topic on a TCS daily post. That guy was an atheist who was wishing the new age folks would just stay with organized religion if they are going to go off replacing it with other nonsense.

I agree with you TechSkeptic, Demon Haunted World should be mandatory reading for all high school students!
Of course this will never happen under the current system. (Don't want the kiddies to question authority to much)

I don't know if people are necessarily abandoning religion for newage mysticism; quite a lot of the people who are into newage are still practicing religionists. Heck, for every new newage concept, you're guaranteed to find a supplemental book about how Christianity supports it, such as "There is More to the Secret."

Now, granted, it's not the fundamentalist hardcore theists who are swallowing newage, it's the more liberal churchgoers. And they certainly aren't the only ones going for it; there's plenty of Wiccans and quasi-Buddhists out there to eat this up. But more than a few Secretards and Crystal-Gazers have crosses on the wall.

you know, it occurs to me that this woman (and sooo many like her) blames science for the exodus of people from organized religion to woo simply because so much of woo claims science as its source.

Look at Chopra, The Secret, the great global warming swindle and purple tesla pill. all of them claim something about quantum mechanics, energy, and what not. They will even quote Einstein, or use physicists in their movies.

so this chick sees that and says, "God damn you Science! you are taking all my friends!"

Actually, most of the people I've met who were interested in "alternative" medicine were pious Christians (and strangely enough, Republican.)

Actually, most of the people I've met who are interested in "alternative" medicine are far hyper-left wing, protest the Authority, Bush hating liberals. Woo does not confine itself to a particular political ideology.

Ignorant people always want to believe in something. That's why we're saddled with religion. The problem with this day and age is that ignorant people can communicate their ideas to other ignorant people very easily without any sort of crap filter blocking the way. Welcome to the internet. Google has paved the road for thoughtless souls the world over to appear well-informed and educated about nonsense. I've met several people who got sucked into "What the Bleep" and "The Secret" and 9/11 and moon landing conspiracy theories based upon crap they got off the internet from supposed "informed sources." There was a mechanical engineer in a writing class that I had to take last summer that was dead-set on 9/11 being a Bush administration conspiracy because he hated Bush and wanted to believe the worst and because some website provided him with a few tantilizing ideas that helped make the idea true in his mind. I'm not advocating censorship, but I feel that we are paying the price in the information age of not teaching kids at a young age to discriminate between what they want to be true and what actually is true.

In my opinion, liberals are not more rational or skeptical than conservatives, they just have different reasons to believe in crap that is as bad as or worse than crap believed by the rest of the human race.

·Hey! I've got a son who's working for the Daily Mail. It's a steady job..."

Posted by: Tom Foss

but he wants to be a paperback writer,paperback writer!. :)

Do I detect cases of inverted bigotry here.
The whole case against religion is based on the fact that it is involuntary.
It is fed to kids in one form or other from and early age.
There is no democracy in religion- you can't add your two pence to it. There it is- thats what God( whoever yours is) says, told us and we have to live like that otherwise we will go to hell.
It's nothing to do with rationalism but a CONTROL game that we have slowly come to realise is bullshit.
No, give me Dawkins, Crick & Watson,Darwin and Copernicus any day of the week.
Try and have a rational argument with the zealous and bigoted religious.
No science makes no claim to knowing all, unlike religion which lays claim to having all the answers. Put the Bible in the same basket as the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Great post by the way. thanks a million.

Please note that the Daily Mail is the UK equivalent to the National Enquirer. Don't worry too much about anyone who writes there says.

you look like my anus

For the win!

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