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An American Embarrassment

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With election season in full swing, I find myself much more hypnotized by the political rhetoric than I normally would be. Mitt Romney’s comment, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I will fix it”, during Soledad O’brien’s interview was a jaw-dropping moment for me. Initially, I could not believe that he said it, but then it occurred to me that it was probably one of the more genuine, although despicable, comments of his campaign.

Think about it. Mitt has lived a life of privilege; he has never known a day when he has gone hungry, he has never suffered the morale shattering effects of downsizing or outsourcing, and certainly has never lived paycheck to paycheck, just one catastrophic event away from losing his home. Mitt is not alone in this, many individuals delegated to represent us in government enjoy this same privileged lifestyle. Lets face it, until you have walked in someone else’s shoes you can’t know what they are going through.

Whether Mitt knows it or not, there are more and more formerly middle class Americans who have fallen into poverty, lost their jobs, lost their homes, and are living on the streets. Those who are not living on the streets may have some form of employment income, which is hardly enough to live on, but is too much to qualify for the safety net programs Romney talks about. These people on the fringe are one step away from being counted in the ranks of the “very poor,” and it appears that he doesn’t care about them.

To illustrate: yesterday, I was listening to a radio program discussing this very topic, the plight of the very poor, when a caller arrogantly exclaimed, “Those that need a safety net should go to their local church and it should be an individual’s choice whether he/she wants to assist the poor or not.” This was then followed by the obligatory, “This is America, everyone can better their situation if they want to. They should pick themselves up by the bootstraps and change things.” This, of course, is paraphrased but it is an accurate account of what was said. The caller’s comment was met with a resounding, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” by the host and his guest; clearly expressing their disbelief in what the caller had just said. My contention is that this is the same ideology that most Republicans and especially Tea Party conservatives continuously regurgitate as the gospel.

Friends, and when I say friends I am including Republicans and Democrats alike, this is no longer your father’s or grandfather’s America. The world has changed if you haven’t noticed. Jobs which once provided comfortable livings for our citizens, have gone to China, India, or one of a hundred other developing countries all in the name of globalization. Foreclosures are at historic highs. Whether due to deregulation of the banking industry, deceptive loan practices, or flat-out greed, one can’t deny the fact that the American dream of home ownership is at the least dying, if not already dead. Satisfaction with congress and the president is at an all time low. The ideological division between the two political parties is the worst that I have ever seen. They seem to be in an eternal deadlock. Nothing is getting done, and the American people are the ones who are suffering.

At the top of the list, in my view, is the enormous divide between the rich and the poor, which is currently the widest this country has ever experienced. While our middle class, which both parties claim to want to help, continues to deteriorate at an ever increasing pace, the rich continue to get richer. Whether people who call themselves conservatives realize it or not, they are supporting the continuation and acceleration of this cycle, and are likely to become victims of their own ideology themselves, unless they happen to be counted among the top one percent of Americans economically.

A statement that President Obama made yesterday morning at the annual prayer breakfast sums up how we as Americans and human beings should view our fellow citizens, especially those who are the most in need, “Treating others as you want to be treated. Requiring much from those who have been given so much. Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper. Caring for the poor and those in need. These values are old. They can be found in many denominations and many faiths, among many believers and among many nonbelievers. And they are values that have always made this country great; when we live up to them, when we don’t just give lip service to them, when we don’t just talk about them one day a year. And they’re the ones that have defined my own faith journey.”

While I do not advocate socialism, I do believe that to have a vibrant society, a government which represents all the people must provide social programs for those citizens who most need them. These programs should not just offer the bare minimum of physical sustenance, but provide a means to better both the individual and the family and thereby take them off the welfare rolls. A president must, and I underscore must, represent all the people: rich, middle class, and poor alike. Saying you don’t care about one group or another in any context is unconscionable.

Maybe it is time to rethink our version of capitalism. The 1980 version of it that conservatives are championing no longer applies in this 21st century global economy. This time let’s include everyone, not just the one percent.

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About Dominic DiFrancesco

  • jamminsue

    Nice job, Dominic.
    In Sociology 101, I think it was, it was explained in a Capitalistic country, there would always be a certain portion of the population that would be “marginally attached” to the workforce, working during times of boom, and unemployed other times. It was up to businesses to keep those “marginally attached” people safe and healthy during the downturns so they would be ready to go back to work when needed again.

    This is a pretty cold-blooded way to look at things. However, it seems to make sense based on the history of this country as I know it.

    But, when we seem to have many people permanently out of work, that is a very bad problem, and one we seem to have had for some time. Add to that the witches’ cauldron of too few people controlling the bulk of the wealth, things could get rather ugly, soon.

  • Igor

    As our society increased in productivity we should have progressively reduced the work week so that the work to be done would be spread around more (and people would have more leisure time). But instead we chose to spend more, especially on things that no one needs, luxury goods. Which cannot go on forever. The system will break down, one way or another, so it would be better to plan and control the denouement.

    But we have set our feet on that path (ever increasing consumption) so it looks as though our doom is assured.

  • Arco Conservadora

    “Think about it. Mitt has lived a life of privilege; he has never known a day when he has gone hungry, he has never suffered the morale shattering effects of downsizing or outsourcing, and certainly has never lived paycheck to paycheck, just one catastrophic event away from losing his home.”

    The same is true of Obama and Obama’s political rhetoric about the poor is not born of some concern for them but rather a desire to buy votes and support to facilitate his political ambition.

    The so called poor and very poor have been enabled by the government in this nation to cannibalize the middle class.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Really, Arch? Obama’s lived a life of privilege?

    Methinks you have ZERO clue about what it’s like to live in a third-world nation (like Obama has – and his family was NOT rich), what it’s like to live in a place where everyone – everyone – looks different from oneself (like Obama did), what it’s like to be largely rejected by one’s natural father and then had a dad who’s a different race (like Obama and my oldest son did), what it’s like to see one’s natural father only once in his life (like Obama did (I never saw my own after I was two))…

    …and THEN instead of taking a VERY high-paying position at a high-powered law firm like Obama COULD have done (because that’s what the ones normally do who are elected as president of the Harvard Law Review), what did he do? He worked with the POOR!

    Oh, but wait! Let me guess! You’re Absolutely Sure that Obama didn’t work with the poor because he actually cared for them, right? He only worked with them and got paid a whole lot LESS because that was all part of his secret plan, see, that was was his path to power, see?

    Arch, next time, actually DO some research instead of assuming that someone must have this or that kind of trait or experience just because you don’t like them, will ya?

  • Arco Conservadora

    Obama lived in Indonesia until he was 10 and then grew up in Hawaii with his grandparents where he went to private school. yeah his father left him but as far as sob stories of the poor and downtrodden go, Obama’s is not very compelling.

  • Zingzing

    Archie, Obama was in Hawaii until he was 6, then he was in indonesia for about 4 years. he got a scholarship to the private school. what’s with the misinformation? Ignorance? Or are you getting all birther on us?

  • Arco Conservadora

    Yeah ignorance, stemming from the apathy I feel toward learning anything new about Barry Sotero.

    I know all I need to know about him already and the point is that he is just as out of touch as Mitt Romney.

    Barack Obama’s approach to economics ie “social justice” is neither one that I subscribe to nor is it one that is any way beneficial to one who is willing to do for themself.

    As I’ve often said I am no fan of Mitt Romney but I will be voting for him and looking forward to watching him beat Sotero like a rented mule.

    Now if those of you that post on here more often than you blink will excuse me, I have a real life and need to do some chores around the house before my Patriots beat the Giants like a rented mule.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Archie, what do you think it says about Mitt Romney that after the death of his father-in-law, who was an atheist and strongly anti-religion, Romney had him posthumously baptised into the church he is a member of, the church of latter day saints, aka Mormons?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I like the rented mule turn of phrase, though.

  • Igor

    Rented mule? As in, Forty Acres and a Mule, the empty promise to freed slaves?

    Why the violent metaphor?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Arch displays his animosity.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I have a real life

    Is that why you’re the only person I “know” to incessantly refer to Barack Obama as “Barry Sotero?”

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    “before my Patriots beat the Giants like a rented mule.”

    So you are equally versed in many subjects. Not a surprise

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Archie once again demonstrates his unparalleled powers of prediction…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It could go either way, but surely there was no rented mule on the field as far as the eye could see, nor trashing of any kind.

  • Clavos

    @#8:

    It says more about his wife, the man’s daughter that she went along with it. Besides, what difference did it make to the old man? He was dead.

  • Clavos

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Chris, but when I die, whomever gets stuck with disposing of me can sell me to the dog food factory; I won’t know the difference or care.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Tell me, Arch – how long have you lived in a third-world nation? Especially one where everyone looked really different from you and spoke a different language? If you actually looked where it was he lived there, you could hardly call it ‘privileged’.

    Ah, but if you actually looked and did some honest research, you might actually call into question your assumptions, and your assumptions are SO much more comforting to you than the truth is….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sure he had. In third-world nations, rented mules abound.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As well as plenty barren, forty-acre lots.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, although I was asking Archie, your answer doesn’t surprise me but it does appal me.

    You’re not bothered that a possible candidate for the presidency has a total disregard for the passionately held opinions of someone? I find it totally unacceptable behaviour and a real reveal of the character of this guy.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Your remark about dog food is irrelevant; that wouldn’t be a betrayal of your core beliefs.

  • Clavos

    The man was dead, Chris. Not only were his beliefs no longer passionately held, they weren’t held at all.

    What if it had been the other way around? What if the old man had been a devout Catholic and Mitt had had him buried in unconsecrated ground with no religious rites,or worse yet, cremated him without Catholic rites?

  • Clavos

    The point is Chris, once dead you’re just meat.

    When I was in high school. my girl friend’s father owned a sausage works, and I worked for him for a couple of years. The family had moved to Florida from Detroit, where the father had owned and operated a funeral home. One day I asked him how he had happened to transition from undertaking to sausage making. His reply was, “meat’s meat.” It shocked me at first, but I was 17 and at the point in my life where I was seriously questioning the religious beliefs under which I had been raised. After I though about the answer for a few days, I realized the old guy was right; once we cease to live, there’s nothing there but meat.

  • Clavos

    There’s an old maxim in the funeral business, again according to my girlfriend’s father:

    Funerals are for the living.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    If it had been the other way round, it would have been just as bad, Clavos.

    This is about respect for other people, which should be at the core of any political system.

    The high school story you tell is equally bad and totally wrong. The guy was not right at all and it just sounds like a glib answer rather than anything profound.

    You are reducing life to a very harsh and brutal level that I am not willing to accept. There is far more to life than just meat, and I hope that you understand that at some level at least.

    Of course funerals are for the living, it is a part of the process of coming to terms with devastating loss but that doesn’t mean that respect for the deceased is not important.

    When I die, I want to either be buried in non religious ground or at sea. The thought of being buried in a religious space or being cremated is horrific to me and although I won’t be there, I really hope those who survive me will respect my beliefs and wishes.

    Romney clearly had no respect for his father-in-law or his beliefs and that to me shows a terrible disregard for the views of others that would make it impossible for me to vote for him if I was an American. If he would do that to his father-in-law, what would he do to the country?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I have decided that atheism is as much about belief as religion. It just seems to bow to a different sort of ‘god’. I am once more agnostic having given up faith in either version of ‘truth’.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    You can decide to believe whatever you want to, Cindy, that is your right, but I would like to see you try to justify that statement that you just made, which I think is nonsensical…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @26

    Romney has always been about Romney, that’s rather plain to see.

    @28

    Cindy may have point there, Chris, so don’t take it personal. Clavos believes that once dead, all is meat, you object. The saying, “man doesn’t live by bread alone …” has many meanings: disbelief in one realm will rear its head in some other form belief in another. Your disbelief in the personal god is replaced by your belief in evolution, your brand of spirituality, and the need to treat human beings with certain respect.

    Though I must admit that Cindy’s presumed stance, of sitting on the fence, must be a temporary one, impossible to maintain in the long run.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    No, Roger, you are missing the point. Clavos believes that Romney showing a total lack of respect for what his late father-in-law lived by is okay; his meat argument was just a part of his argument to support that.

    If Cindy does indeed have a point, then let her expound upon it.

    To clarify your other points, it isn’t a question of belief in evolution; evolution is a fact, just as it is a fact that the planet we are on orbits the sun.

    I don’t have a “brand” of spirituality but I do believe that we should respect others beliefs and not piss on them in the way Romney has done.

  • tro ll

    …in what sense is the statement, ‘I don’t know if there is a god or not’ nonsense?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not a fact, Chris, it’s still a theory. “Facts” don’t bear that level of complexity as theories do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And even it I were to grant you it’s a “fact,” yesterday’s facts can become tomorrow’s falsehoods.

    Even facts aren’t the bearers of the kind of certainty you’re looking for.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Okay, Chris. I will give the reasons for why I currently hold my position, which may change as Roger points out. For clarity and expediency, I will take some time to get a few references that relate.

  • Zingzing

    clavos, in respect to obama’s “clinging to guns and bibles” thing, you said that a presidential candidate should have respect for others’ beliefs. Yet here, it doesn’t matter. Why the double standard?

  • Igor

    27-Cindy: then perhaps you’ll become a nontheist’, like me.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    troll, a) that wasn’t what Cindy wrote; b) it wasn’t what I was referring to.

    What she actually posted was “I have decided that atheism is as much about belief as religion. It just seems to bow to a different sort of ‘god’.”

    Roger you are absolutely 100% wrong; evolution IS a fact, not a theory.

    Cindy, I look forward to reading why you hold that “…atheism is as much about belief as religion. It just seems to bow to a different sort of ‘god’.”

  • Deano

    Actually if you follow along the probable path of Romney’s belief system he was being consistent.

    Romney probably saw it as an opportunity to “correct” the old man’s disbelief and “save” his soul from eternal damnation, whether this is due to a love of family or just a arrogant desire to impose his own will/beliefs is unclear.

    Romney very probably thinks he did the man a tremendous favour by steering him towards salvation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @35

    Has to do with holding the office, zing.

  • Zingzing

    he wasn’t holding office at the time. and it’s got more to do with who said it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    he was running for one, though.

  • troll

    Chris #37 – a)what she actually posted was, “I am once more agnostic having given up faith in either version of ‘truth'”. I paraphrased this –

    b) good to see that you weren’t responding to her agnosticism as a nonsense position based on your atheism

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger, as is his wont, is hopelessly confused, this time between “fact” and “theory”. There is a clear distinction between the two.

    The following are facts: the Earth orbits the Sun, it does so in an elliptical fashion, and it maintains an average distance of about 93 million miles. The reason these are facts is that they have been directly observed.

    Newton’s laws of motion are the theory which explains why all this is so.

  • Zingzing

    Roger, #41, so’s Romney… Hence, etc.

  • Clavos

    Evolution by natural selection, the central concept of the life’s work of Charles Darwin, is a theory. It’s a theory about the origin of adaptation, complexity, and diversity among Earth’s living creatures. If you are skeptical by nature, unfamiliar with the terminology of science, and unaware of the overwhelming evidence, you might even be tempted to say that it’s “just” a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is “just” a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. That’s what scientists mean when they talk about a theory: not a dreamy and unreliable speculation, but an explanatory statement that fits the evidence. They embrace such an explanation confidently but provisionally—taking it as their best available view of reality, at least until some severely conflicting data or some better explanation might come along.

  • Clavos

    #45 is from National Geographic

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @37

    When you say “evolution is a fact, not a theory,” of course I understand you, but it’s a rhetorical, emphatic use. If you insist it’s anything other than that, then you’re ignoring the complex relationship between facts/observations/evidence and the underlying theory. As I said, the level of certainty one attaches to any statement of belief (i.e., a statement with a propositional content) is not the valid criterion here to make this kind of distinction. It’s a sound conceptual distinction, one which even the most rabid positivists haven’t been able to blur.

    Additionally, it’s a feature of any statement with a propositional content (i.e., subject to the truth-value function) not only that it’s possible to doubt it but also that in can be false. So to take up your example of evolution, creationism is another account; and the “chariot of the Gods” another narrative still.

    On the other hand, to say “I’m in pain” is nonsense for no other reason that there is no room for doubt, because we wouldn’t understand what doubting comes to on the part of the speaker (Wittgenstein). To affirm any proposition, with however great certainty, can only be meaningful (i.e., not nonsensical) in an environment in which its falsehood is possible). Even the most simple facts, like “Here is a hand,” (G. E. Moore) are subject to this stricture.

    You might want to look at the following:

    (1) Philosophical Papers, in particular, the article “Unfair to Facts”;

    (2) “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.”.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think you are suffering from reading comprehension, Dreadful. But once you regroup, perhaps you should be making your points to Chris, not to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t talking about Romney, zing. Should I have?

  • Zingzing

    well, I was referring to clavos’ shifting opinions on respecting others’ beliefs when presidential candidate Obama does something versus when presidential candidate Romney does something.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger, you’re correct that Chris is being rhetorical when he says “evolution is a fact”, but that doesn’t make him wrong.

    Evolution is first and foremost a theory to explain how life on Earth came to be the way it is, but it accounts so completely for what we observe, is so robustly supported by evidence, and is so manifestly without any sensible opposing theories, that for all practical intents and purposes it IS a fact.

    Trying to apply Wittgenstein in this instance is a bit like using Keats to argue that nightingales cause heart attacks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I see what you’re saying, double standard. But Clavos doesn’t think much of Romney either.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Didn’t say I didn’t understand what Chris was saying, as a speaker of language, speaking emphatically to boot. It was a speech act on his part (John Searle). But the very fact you’re making the qualification, “for all intents and purposes,” says the ordinary meaning and usage are stretched. But why stretch it? There is no need to. Theories do not suffer from any disrespect, especially if they’re sound.

    And I didn’t bring up W to shed light on theories, only to sketch the necessary linguistic environment if even our most simple propositional (truth-value) assertions are to be intelligible.

  • Zingzing

    Well, it’s readily apparent clavos bases his opinions on who a person is (are they, or are they not president Obama, most likely,) rather than what they do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I’ll let Clavos craft the response.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    To correct both Doc D and Roger, I was not being rhetorical and evolution is FACT. It is the processes of evolution which are theoretical.

    Creationism is just a theory because it is not proven by any evidence, only conjecture.

    And Roger, you may think your philosophical ponderings help our understanding and perception but I would expect you are in a minority there…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    That’s precisely what I said, Chris.

    Roger is just splitting what appear to be hairs but which he has no way of proving are not just figments of his imagination.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Chris,

    Disclaimer: Not all, or necessarily even most, atheists will fit into my comment above. It is mainly the vocal ones I have encountered.

    I have further reasoning and support for why I find the atheist argument as uncompelling as the theist ones and how science seems to have taken on godlike qualities for some. I will post that separately.

    So, to start:

    Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, among others, have led me to question my own willingness to associate myself with a label that says I am certain about things none of us can be certain about. After setting down most of my thinking, I discovered this article, entitled, ‘How Dawkins converted me from atheism to agnosticism’ wherin this science-minded, former atheist had laid down most of the same reasons as me. It might clarify my meaning.

    Atheism, for me, was a personal rejection of the belief in a deity(ies). Having watched certain vocal atheists for a few years and I find many are cocksure and full of hubris and they seem to want to convert the world to their own views even more passionately than any evangelical I have ever encountered. In fact, with the exception of a few Jehova’s Witnesses, my contact with Christians has never included any attempts by them to convert me to their personal beliefs. I have witnessed many atheists, on the other hand, being abrasive and rude and I find their behavior in their zeal to convert the world to their own beliefs, a menace to civility and sisterly love.

    Atheists and theists both present arguments for their positions. One may find certain arguments more compelling than others or even as compelling as say, the theory of special relativity (wink). But there is no proof. None. There are merely arguments and theories. Atheists I have encountered who seem to have joined the cult-like Richard Dawkins ‘movement’, strike me (much like the skeptics I have encountered) to be joining a social order where there are right and wrong beliefs and ways of thinking and everyone presents the same argument. I find compelling, Lynn Margulis’ excoriating criticism of Dawkins’ perspective on evolution science. Considering that I now believe Dawkins’ is wrong and that his own glaring biases are inadvertently promoted as science, it makes me cringe even more to think of him as a sort of ‘leader’ of the atheist ‘movement’ for lack of a better description.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I will begin with a quote:

    “Therefore, to those who claim that the very idea of a Big Bang violates the First Law of Thermodynamics (also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy) that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, proponents respond that the Big Bang does not address the creation of the universe, only its evolution, and that, as the laws of science break down anyway as we approach the creation of the universe, there is no reason to believe that the First Law of Thermodynamics would apply.”

    Three points from that:

    1) “…the laws of science break down anyway as we approach the creation of the universe”

    2) Science does not speak about the creation of the universe; it is beyond the scope of science.

    3) The best current theory for even the evolution of the universe offered by science requires a violation of one of its own laws.

    Thus, if the laws of science break down as we approach the creation of the universe, then any possible discovery regarding the creation of the universe would have to have a radical effect on the nature of science as we understand it.

    4) Things are not always what they seem. What if we can only interpret our world in ways that make it impossible for us to comprehend aspects of reality which do not lend themselves to our scrutiny–at least for the time being. We can show innumerable examples of our ancestors doing just that. I am not sure there is any evidence that our ancestors were any less sure in their ‘knowledge’ than we believe we are.

    For example, after 107 years as a sort of ‘truth’, we now know special relativity theory to be wrong. This means we can be wrong about very big things and things we have been pretty certain of.

    I think science probably cannot ever reveal the whole ‘truth’. To therefore presume science can answer questions it cannot is to become a ‘science fundamentalist’ and thus become the other side of the same coin as a religious fundamentalist.

    I like what Bernard Beckett said (from the same link as my preceding):

    I respond well to what I read of Immanuel Kant’s idea that the world as we see it is absolutely a function of the way our brain works. In the modern parlance, it’s an evolved machine that we carry with us. The very ideas of space and time are human inventions and we organise the world according to these ideas.

    Kant said, whatever the true reality is beyond that, we can’t know because our brains aren’t up to it. Our world is limited by the machinery we carry. It’s very different to the 18th and 19th century Enlightenment scientists who were mostly men of God and thought it was their quest to uncover God’s great plan.

    I think there’s a bit of a hangover of that in modern science, that beneath it all there’s this great truth that we can understand. And I see no reason at all why our brain would have evolved for deeper understanding. It evolved for survival. Some things will always be beyond our ken.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @57

    Nothing to do with proof, Dreadful, not when what’s at stake are terms of ordinary language. And even if there was one, I wouldn’t waste my time wasting it on you. If you want to be a fuzzy thinker and a fuzzy speaker, that’s your decision, so don’t let me stand in your way.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The best current theory for even the evolution of the universe offered by science requires a violation of one of its own laws.

    No it doesn’t.

    How can something that doesn’t exist yet have “laws”?

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I am rather astonished by your post. I was really hoping for something better than this.

    To summarise, you find arrogant or pushy atheists offensive; you can’t accept that over 6,000 years after the rise of the concept of monotheism, the complete lack of any evidence that said deity exists is more compelling than “we can’t be certain”; you don’t like a lack of “civility or sisterly love” in some sections of the atheist spectrum; you find the argument of a high school teacher who isn’t a scientist but uses the arguments of an 18th Century philosopher against science to justify his position compelling; you find it odd that people who don’t believe in the existence of a god are also opposed to the religions that exploit that belief; and you don’t like the fact that there is no “proof” that gods don’t exist. Is that it?

    I am actually staggered that you present this motley crew as the reasoning for your change of position. A distaste for behaviour you dislike, a non-scientific argument against science, and the lack of proof for the unprovable?

    Are you trying to be funny here?

    In an attempt to remain civil, I will not remark further on this appalling and extraordinary ragbag of, I don’t know what to call it, so let’s go with stuff…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    My goodness, Cindy, you’re taking an unnecessarily metaphysical turn, though I understand of course.

    Why not just say that there’s nothing to mediate between our language and our world, that the limits of our language are the limits of our world?

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, as the arch obfuscator, you have no right at all to ever describe anybody, let alone Doc D, as a “fuzzy thinker and a fuzzy speaker”. Unbelievable!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @61

    You know what she was referring to, Dreadful, the Big Bang hypothesis is itself unaccountable in terms of the subsequent laws (so it was unfortunate phrasing). I suppose a Steady-State theory would be free of that limitation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Chris, Dreadful was being “fuzzy” in conflating theories with facts. Of course, he was being fuzzy on purpose, as you can readily surmise from his #43, which is ample proof that he knows better. So my take it, he was trying to humor you, Chris, nothing more. Just a case of people playing their games.

    Sorry you got caught in the crossfire, it wasn’t my intention. But then again, you’ve got no one but yourself to blame for stepping onto the minefield. There were warning signs all over.

    Have you availed yourself, by the way, of the links I provided up thread? Just wondering.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, as a general but not absolute rule I never follow any links you post as when I do I find that a state of less rather than enhanced clarity and understanding ensues, much like many of your own comments…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not my fault, then, Chris. It was for your edification, but you know what they say about leading the horse to the water.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I don’t really see you as someone I would turn to for edification, Roger; from you I get and expect entertainment or confusion, sometimes both!

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    As for leading a horse to water, I see people such as the Doc and I as the ones holding the reins…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Chris,

    Well, I will thank you for being civil.

    But there are ‘real’ scientists who are not atheists and also those who would agree with me and who would also agree with Kant. Your choice is not to address the content–that’s fine.

    As to the ‘length of time with no proof’ argument: I could make a similar argument regarding the length of time that there was no proof that anything traveled faster than the speed of light or for nearly the same percentage of time, there was no evidence of anything scientific at all. Yet now, in the minute number of years of existence, there is science.

    Besides, I think we could easily imagine an impassable division between realms of existence. So, for me, the ‘we haven’t had any proof thus far’ argument doesn’t work.

    Dr.D,

    Very clever! But apparently, the universe did exist, since the big bang does not describe the origin of the universe, only a part of its evolution. I admit you can say that the rules changed when the universe changed. But that seems to me to be consistent with what I am saying. Science itself and its laws and its facts and its theories could be subject to change, based on the circumstances. And the failure of the 1st law of thermodynamics to apply pre-expansion is at least evidence for the truth of that statement, if prior to the big bang, other laws and facts applied.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am going out. Will check in tomorrow.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, just because we don’t yet know what was (a misleading word in itself, since time did (again, sorry) not exist either) going on prior to the Big Bang doesn’t mean we never will.

    A conscious creator isn’t necessary for a universe to spring into existence: that’s a human conceit. (i.e. we create things, therefore…)

    I will admit that I do see indications in the way the universe works that it has the hallmarks of being designed. Whether this is nothing more than my own prejudice as a member of a species that designs stuff, or whether it is a designer recognizing design when he sees it, is open to debate.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    And I will add to the above that even if the universe does or did have a designer, it doesn’t follow that he/she/it/they should be worshipped, nor that he/she/it/they would want or expect to be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @69, 70

    Sure you would Chris, view my comments as contributing to general confusion and corrupting the innocent and the simpleminded.. But I should expect no better from trying to unfetter a chained mind.

    But seriously now, your quest for certainty is uncanny and is your greatest stumbling block. If you could only divorce it from your unshakable belief in science as the be all and end all and try take things in stride, you’d be on the way to recovery.

    Man is the measure of all things, Chris, not science. It is man who made science, not the other way around. Develop some perspective, for crying out loud. Mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    B

  • Igor

    #43-Dr D.: excellent post. Thank you.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, the fact that there are real scientists who are not atheists, whilst true, is irrelevant to your argument.

    Similarly, we can imagine all sorts of things but that doesn’t make them true, so I still don’t see any logic or coherence to your shift in position, just a reaction against some things you don’t like.

    And as Doc D has pointed out, just because we don’t (yet) know something doesn’t mean it is okay to simply make stuff up.

    There is zero evidence that the so called creator god of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic conjectures exists whilst there is plenty of evidence, and more every day, of the natural processes that shape our universe.

    Roger, your conceit really is rather breathtaking. You lack skills in reading, writing and comprehension yet have the arrogance to assume, with zero foundation, that you are in a position to be able to help anybody, let alone “unfetter a chained mind”. In that latter regard, you would be better trying to achieve that for yourself…

    To correct only your latest false presumptions, I am not on a quest for certainty (to say nothing of it is unclear how a quest could be in any way uncanny), nor do I have an “unshakable belief in science as the be all and end all”. Your constant invention of irrelevancies and untruths only belittles you.

    Please keep your platitudinous and irrelevant advice to yourself, where it might best do some good or at least no harm.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @76

    And by #43 he was correcting whom?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @77, the latter part

    Chris, rest assured that I think of you in no less superlative terms.

    But you knew that already.

  • Costello

    I like what I heard Penn the magician say though I may be quoting it wrong. He said when asked if he believed in God, he was an atheist. When asked if there was a god, he was an agnostic.

    Anyone else amused by how Chris and Roger constantly go at each while unaware of how much they are alike?

  • zingzing

    i think we can all tell that their dicks are of similar size.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, unfortunately the one thing you aren’t doing is thinking.

    Costello, thanks for re-confirming how nuanced your perception is.

    zingzing, your comedic skills never fail to amuse!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger’s main failing is his having convinced himself that reality is a philosophical construct. His conclusions are therefore usually contradicted by, um, reality.

    Chris’s main failing is that he believes his opinion on any subject is invariably the correct and rational one. This despite the fact that he supports Manchester United and wears Spanish leather boots to bed.

  • zingzing

    i watched the second half of the chelsea-man u match the other morning. it was 3-0 chelsea at the time and i thought it would be nice to watch man u getting smacked around a bit. but noooooo. god, i hate them.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    zing, did you catch the Man U-Man City game earlier this season? That one would have fixed you up for a good long while.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I do my best, Doc D, I do my best.

    It was a rather good come back against Chelsea, wasn’t it?

    I still feel sick when I think about that derby game, even though we have beaten the sky blue scumbags since then!

  • Zingzing

    I did read about that game. 6-0, right? Mmmm. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a man u game where the lost. Tis a pity.

    One of the penalties man u got in the Chelsea game seemed like a bit of dumb luck, which is what pisses me off. But them’s the rules.

    Still, after watching the recent couple of usmnt friendlies, it’s nice to see a team playing like they’ve met each other before. That last goal was pretty pretty. I gave a little cheer before I remembered what I was doing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    God forbid, Costello. You’re either showing naivete or lack of discernment.

    Moi and Christopher Rose alike? You surely must be saying this only for effect. The only similarity between us has to do with the level of conceit, but mine is justified, whereas Chris’s, I have no idea where it came from, but I’m certain we shall hear it from the horse’s mouth.

    As to you, Dreadful, you’re the least qualified person to be giving anyone lectures on the nature of reality, especially since you’re being inattentive to the nuances of your own language. But don’t let that stop you because you know what they say about opinions. Everyone’s got them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @81

    Bet you one thing, Zing, mine is way thicker than his. Chris’s strikes me as a pencil kind, his bark always bigger than his bite.