Breaking the spell 44

We very seldom quote from a Leftist atheist site.

Today we do.

At Patheos, Shem the Penman writes in praise of Daniel Dennett. (You can find the whole thing here.)

We won’t discuss his contention that Dennett writes better on atheism than Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, all of whom he apparently despises (although all of them were to some degree, or at least for a certain time, on the Left). We have given our opinion of their writings elsewhere. (See eg. our reviews of some of their books under Pages in our margin.)

It is something he says that Dennett says that we choose to examine.

He writes:

It may not be as popular on nonbeliever reading lists, or as packed with quotable quips about religion as God Is Not Great or The God Delusion, but Daniel Dennett’s 2006 book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon gives us a scheme for a scientific study of religion: how it developed and what it means to society today. Even on my first reading of it, I recall being impressed with Dennett’s thoroughness and seriousness in his task, which was much more subtle and empathetic than the standard demolition of religion delivered by cheap polemicists like Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins.

Such a study is important, Dennett knows, because religion represents a significant investment by believers in time, effort, and resources. Whether we think religion is a good thing or not, we have to come up with some sort of explanation for its development and survival throughout human history. In Darwinian terms, it has to justify its cost at every step of its evolution. …

Nowadays, the custodians of religion have come up with ways to ensure its survival that represent defense mechanisms for the meme complex. The first is the “spell” Dennett refers to in the title: the admonition against examining religion the same way we’d examine other human phenomena like sexuality or language. But there’s a more significant way that religion perpetuates itself in our era, and that’s through the belief-in-belief. In other words, whether people believe in the deities and tenets of their religion, they profess belief that the belief in them is a good idea. Religion perpetuates itself not by the belief it inspires, but by the behavior it motivates. Professing religious belief, in particular, is a behavior that significantly contributes to the perpetuation of the meme complex of religion.

This is the feature of Dennett’s thought that distinguishes him from a critic of religion such as Dawkins: while Dawkins focuses on the literal beliefs of religious people, Dennett points out that from the meme’s-eye-view, there’s no difference between a Muslim who prays five times a day because he truly believes in Allah and the truth of the Koran, and a Muslim who prays five times a day because that’s what Muslims do. …

There is a difference. The difference is as stated – that the one truly believes and the other merely conforms. And it is a fairly significant difference, because there is a better chance that the conformer can be dissuaded from his conformity than that the believer can be dissuaded from his belief.

In sum, what Dennett is saying (according to the writer) is that religions continue through the ages because they become conventional in this or that society.

True, and not a revelation.

In most societies, throughout the Third World, the notion that ideas can and should be critically examined did not arise. Only the West was taught this marvelous and simple exercise; first very early in its history, by Socrates in the 4th century BCE, and then, after hundreds of years of dogmatic Christian tyranny, by the Enlightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries CE.

With the Enlightenment, religion in the West began to die. To quote from our own Articles of Reason: Many a belief can survive persecution, but not critical examination.

It did not happen that everyone who was told to reason became a rationalist. For many who preferred to feel rather than to think, religion was replaced by Romanticism. But almost everyone came to accept what Science revealed and what its child, Technology, put to use. Almost everyone, that is to say, who was taught some science and whose lives were transformed by technology; those  who were TOLD about those ideas, who experienced their effects.

Sure, there are still millions in the West – mainly in America – who learn some science, use technology, and nevertheless continue to believe that their religion is true. But their number is dwindling.

Religion must be argued against. Especially, now, Islam must be argued against. Argument is the best weapon in our arsenal to use against Islam – without excluding any others – precisely because so many Muslims pray five times a day for no better reason than that “that’s what Muslims do”.

That is why Muslims fear critical examination, so much so that they are trying to get it banned by law in Western countries, and by the UN, where they have a bullying majority.

We quote a few passages from the essay Tell them listed in our margin under Pages

Why do millions of Americans “think” that economic equality is morally desirable? …

Why do millions of university students in America admire intellectuals who hate America, such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and make an icon out of the sadistic mass-murderer Che Guevara?

Why? Because they’ve been told to. They’ve been told that good people do and “think” these things. They want to be good. They believe what they’ve been taught. …

Now millions of conservatives are waking up and are asking, how did this happen? It happened because people patiently, energetically, persistently planned it and made it happen.

What can we do about it, they ask themselves and each other.

What they have to do about it is change the minds of the believers. First they must be sure that they want the free republic the founders established; that they want to maintain free markets; that they don’t want a welfare state; that they do want to preserve national defenses; that they want indoctrination in the schools to stop; that they want to forbid the application of foreign law; that they do not want to go on funding an institution – the UN – that consistently works against their interests. Then they must decide that their political philosophy is right, uniquely right, and must be implemented at any and all costs. Then they must start teaching it. With energy, persistence, patience and fiery enthusiasm. It will take time. But that is the only way. Teach, preach, argue, use every method that works.  …

How badly does the conservative right want to win [and hold on to] power in America? How important is it to them that they should?

If it is important, tell the voters, tell the children that the free market is the only means of creating general prosperity, and why. Tell them that central planning of an economy cannot work, and why. Tell them why competition is good for everyone, producers and consumers alike.

Tell them what profit is and why it is essential for ensuring abundance.

Tell them that only where people are free can there be discovery and innovation, improvement in everyone’s daily life, better technology, the advance of civilization. Explain why. Show them the proofs of history.

Tell them the truth about life in the Third World. Not politically correct sentimental drivel, but the actual awful facts about life in most other countries.

Tell them why impartial judgment is the only means to justice; why all sane adult citizens must be treated equally by the law; why people must be judged by their actions, not their intentions or feelings.

Tell them why government should be kept small and its powers limited. Tell them what the essential tasks of government are: protection of the nation, of the individual, of liberty, of the rule of law itself. And why governments should not be allowed more power and money than it needs to fulfill its few essential functions.

Shout down the shouters.

Tell Muslims what is wrong with their creed and why American secularism is better. Don’t allow them … to shut out criticism of their absurd and savage beliefs.

Tolerate only the tolerant and tolerable.

It will take time. Start now. … Tell them.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 19, 2018

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Hamas, Abbas, PLO – good-bye to all that? 1

Yet another badly needed change has been accomplished byPresident Trump, one that will change political alignments and actions all over the world – for the better. 

DebkaFile reports:

The White House has decided to quietly withdraw from all its ties with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas.
DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that the Trump administration has resolved to scrap all ties with the Palestinian leadership in retaliation for its campaign against US President Donald Trump and his Jerusalem policy. Several warnings to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of what was in store if he did not desist from castigating the US president fell on death ears.
Last week, two Arab crown princes, Saudi [Crown Prince] Muhammed bin Salman and UAE Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed, summoned Abbas to their capitals and urged him strongly to back away from his attacks on President Trump. He got the same advice from the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, who conferred with Washington on the subject – all to no avail. The Trump administration has therefore set out an eight-point program of sanctions, which is first revealed here:

  • The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan under preparation in Washington will not be submitted to Ramallah – only to Israel and the relevant Arab governments.
  • US-Palestinian interaction is to be suspended – not just at the senior levels but in day-to-day interchanges. The administration has notified Palestinian and other Arab parties to stop addressing queries on political and economic matters to the US consulate in Jerusalem, because they will not receive answers. The status of the PLO office in Washington will be reevaluated with a view to shutting it down.
  • Palestinian officials will no longer be invited to Washington by the US government, including the State Department and Department of Treasury.
  • Above all, they will not be welcome at the White House or the National Security Council where US Middle East policy is designed. Senior US officials congratulated the senior Palestinian negotiator Saab Erekat, who also holds the PA’s American portfolio, on his recovery from illness, at the same time warning him that he would no longer be received at the White House. [That’s witty – ed.] 
  • The Trump administration will not make any public announcement of the cutoff of financial aid to the Palestinians. Since the funds are mostly earmarked for specific economic projects, each allocation will simply be held back on the pretext of the need for a “reappraisal”.
  • The US will halt its contributions to the UN Work and Relief Organization, an estimated one billion dollars per annum.
  • The US administration moreover intervened with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar with a request that they freeze or slow their economic aid to the Palestinian Authority.
  • According DEBKAfile’s sources, Palestinian officials in Ramallah were devastated by news of the sudden cutoff of the main sources of the PA’s revenue. Even the Qatar ruler, whom Abbas visited last week as a last resort to save the PA from economic meltdown, refused to release any more funding.

 

(Hat-tip Cogito)

How Trump deals with an insolent Saudi prince 5

Judging by this, President Trump will have no difficulty conducting US relations with foreign powers:

The poppy Ezra Levant is wearing is the British symbol of mourning for their soldiers who died in the two World Wars, commemorated today, November 11.

 

(Hat-tip for the video to our reader and commenter Cassandra)

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 11, 2016

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Hail the Hillary! 2

To enlarge on the post immediately below:

Let’s take a look at Hillary’s America. How it will be. Just a glimpse, an outline. A rough guide to the Hillarian Tomorrow.

It doesn’t matter what Hillary says she will do. She is a liar. What we have to look at is the agenda of the Left. That tells us what she will do.

These are the objectives. They will not all come about at once, most will take time. But she will have time. Once she has power, she will not relinquish it. Hillary-ism will be entrenched. Her successors will be as she is. The age of the Hillarys looms ahead.

Republicans who say they will do nothing to stop her coming to power, or will even vote for her because they despise Donald Trump, speak of “the Republican brand”. They think they can endure 4 or 8 years of Hillary’s presidency, and then one of their noble breed will replace her and implement what they believe to be true Republicanism. That will not happen. Hillary will not allow it to happen. Hillary and Hillary-ists will be in to stay. There may not even be any more elections. Or if there are, the candidates will all be on the Left. In 2020 you will be able to choose from a list of Democrats. After that, the reigning Hillary alone will choose her politburo.

The Left wants to destroy Republicanism. Anything said in defense of Republican ideas – individual freedom, America-the-melting-pot, small government, low taxes, strong military, free market, secure borders – will be called “hate speech”. And the First Amendment will be amended to except “hate speech” – shortly before the Constitution is discarded altogether as an outdated and immoral document.

To come to specifics:

Education. The schools will raise the generations to be Social Justice Warriors on the right side of history. Everyone will go to a university. The universities will groom the Hillarians of the future. The students will chose their own courses. No one will ever fail.

Health. There will be a full national health service, with the state as single payer. Private insurance and private medical practice will not be permitted. Indeed, private medical practice will be criminalized. What treatment you may have will be decided by committees – appointed by the Hillarys – according to your age and your actual and potential usefulness to the community.

Money. Starting with much higher taxes and total confiscation of all assets on death, there will be a transformation of the economy until all money will belong to the state. You will receive an income judged to be sufficient to supply your needs, as defined by the state. The Left argues that it now no longer needs the signals that a market economy provided; it is possible to computerize demand and so adjust supply centrally. No one (except the Hillary in power and her aides) will be allowed to “hoard” money (what used to be called saving). You will have no extra money to use for developing your own ideas. Innovation will be ended. Pursuing real science will be impossible because …

Global warming will be the only “science”, and the threat of it will be held over your head as a perpetual terror – the equivalent of Christian Hell – so you will do whatever the Hillarys say you must do to “cut down your carbon footprint”.

Energy will be provided by wind, sun and seawaves only. It will be intermittent and extremely expensive. Such pocket money as the state will allow you will not be sufficient to provide you with warmth in winter or coolness in summer. But you will not, in any case, have your own home to heat or cool.

Agenda 21 will be fully implemented. You will occupy a unit of measured space deemed by the Hillarys to be adequate for your needs. You will be allowed to ride a bicycle, but not own a car. You will have to depend on public transport. But you will not have to travel far to your work – which will be assigned to you. Your living quarters will be conveniently close. Moving out of your district will require a permit.

There will be no more police. Only the Community Watch. Its business will be to enforce conformity.

The people in charge will be chosen not for their qualifications but for their ethnicity and gender. White men have been privileged for too long. It is time they were demoted and given only the most menial jobs.

There will no longer be a principle of equality before the law. The idea of objective judgment will be abandoned. Evidence will not be considered important. Judges will judge according to their feelings about a defendant’s “narrative”. If he/she/other belongs to a class or race that has been subordinate in the past to white male domination, he/she/other will not be held culpable for what used to be called crimes.

Reproduction will be licensed. If you fall pregnant without a license to reproduce, your embryo will be aborted. Many will be sterilized, because the world population needs to be reduced to save the planet. If you are allowed to have a child, a committee will decide its sex. It can change its sex to anything it wants once it is old enough to choose. It will be taken from you as soon as it can walk and talk, to be brought up by the community.

The country will have completely open borders. The Hillary will work with like-minded leaders of other countries towards a borderless world. World government is the ultimate objective. Then the whole world will be run on the lines outlined here for America. Certain states (Israel) will be wiped off the map.

The only change to this regime will come about when the Muslim Brotherhood takes over. They could simply buy America from this first Hillary in the near future. But they are more likely to wait for a few generations until world government is established. Then the law will be sharia universally. A description of what life will be like under sharia is not needed. The model is already in place as the caliphate of ISIS.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 12, 2016

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Stop bringing them in 3

Ann Coulter is a creationist and for that we laugh at her. But she is also witty, and uses her wit to expose political follies. For that we laugh with her.

She writes:

In the 14 years since Muslims killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, this country has admitted another 1.5 million Muslims. So we’re xenophobic, bigoted racists if we don’t make it 2 million? Three million? When will we have enough? How many murdered Americans is an acceptable number before we can shut off the spigot of Muslim immigration?

The amazing thing is that no one (except the American people) wants any pause in Muslim immigration – even after more than a dozen Muslim terrorist attacks on our soil in the last 15 years.

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he will refuse to consider cuts to Muslim immigration, saying, “That’s not who we are”.

Republicans are … furious with Trump for suggesting we take a break from importing Muslims.

The hysterical demand for never-ending Third World immigration has gone beyond the rich’s need for cheap servants and the Democrats’ need for voters. It’s a mass psychosis. …

We don’t owe citizens of other countries anything. …  They owe us. America runs around saving other countries from tsunamis, earthquakes, pirates, disease, starvation, warlords, dictators, Nazis, communists – then their citizens show up full of grievances, as if we owe them.

Angry Muslims have been popping up all over TV to denounce Trump and complain about anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S. …

Given the devastation caused by only two Muslims in San Bernardino, eight Muslims in Paris, two at the Boston Marathon, one at a Chattanooga military recruitment center, one at Fort Hood, 19 on 9/11, etc. etc. – it’s really irrelevant whether “most” Muslim immigrants are peaceful little lambs. It doesn’t take a lot of them to create havoc.

I don’t know why we need any.

While it’s fantastic news that most Muslim immigrants aren’t terrorists, as Samuel Johnson said, “A horse who can count to 10 is a remarkable horse, not a remarkable mathematician.”

The relevance is dubious, but we like what Dr. Johnson said.

We want remarkable Americans, not immigrants whose selling point is: “hasn’t blown anything up yet”. What’s the upside of admitting 250,000 poor, culturally backward, non-English-speaking Muslims every year? When are we allowed to talk about what’s good for America?

San Bernardino shooter Syed Farouk’s mother described his father – the original immigrant – this way: “My husband is mentally ill and is on medication but is also an alcoholic and drinks with the medicine.” Fantastic. So glad we got him. …

The senior Farouk didn’t come here to work in some highly complex technical field, like nuclear physics or cell extraction biology. He’s a truck driver. So one American lost his job as a truck driver and 14 Americans lost their lives because of Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act.

How else have the 1.5 million Muslims admitted since 9/11 made our country better? Their massive welfare use? Overburdening our schools and hospitals? The machete attacks? The clitorectomies? The honor killings? The occasional terrorist attack?

Currently, there are more than a thousand active investigations of ISIS in all 50 states. Here’s an idea: Instead of paying for an ever-expanding federal workforce to track, wiretap and investigate immigrants with possible terrorist sympathies, let’s stop bringing them in! 

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 10, 2015

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The gagging of America 1

Pat Condell speaks freely – with brilliant withering sarcasm – in anger and sorrow for the passing of free speech.

(He calls on “God” to bless America, but he is in fact a firm atheist.)

 

(Hat-tip our reader Stephen Stern)

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 6, 2015

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The Obama & Jarrett detective agency discovers who the terrorists are 2

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Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 9, 2015

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More scenes of Muslim savagery 2

Leaders of the Western world, including Obama talking from his behind, want us to believe that Islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion.

Here are scenes, pictured or described, showing how beautiful and peaceful Islam really is. –

Musicians punished for making music. Wonderfully made musical instruments smashed to pieces.

Boys killed for watching football.

Men killed for breeding pigeons.

Homosexuals hurled from the top of tall buildings.

The words and pictures come from the Daily Mail:

Islamic State religious police have been filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment for playing an “un-Islamic” keyboard.

The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled the electric keyboard was “offensive to Muslims”.

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria.

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State's religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed 'offensive to Muslims', according to pictures posted online

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State’s religious police playing an electric keyboard …

Pictures show the men being beaten on their backs and legs by tribal elders in a public square believed to be in Bujaq, a town to the north east of Aleppo

Pictures show the men being beaten on their backs and legs by tribal elders in a public square believed to be in Bujaq, a town to the north east of Aleppo. …

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be 'un-Islamic' by ISIS's fanatical religious police

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be “un-Islamic” by ISIS’s fanatical religious police …

After the men had been beaten the instruments were destroyed. ISIS has been enforcing a terrifying vision of Sharia law across its so-called Caliphate, including executing people for breeding pigeons

Earlier today, it was reported that at least 15 pigeon breeders in eastern Iraq were rounded up after ISIS ruled the sport distracted them from praising Allah.

Three of those held by the group in the eastern province of Diyala have reportedly been killed, according to a security official.

Abu Abdullah, a farmer, said a total of six gunmen barged into his home earlier this week and dragged away his 21-year-old son. Mr Abdullah’s son is just one of the 15 young men – all aged between 16 and 22 – who have reportedly been captured in the province for breeding birds.

Yesterday it was reported that 13 youngsters were killed by firing squad in Iraq’s second city of Mosul for watching an Asian Cup football match between Iraq and Jordan.

Activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which operates out of Syria, reported that the teenagers were shot in public and their bodies left there as their parents are too afraid to go and get them.

The boys’ ‘crime’ – breaking religious laws by watching football – was read out on a loudspeaker before their executions.

It came just days after ISIS released a video showing two men being thrown off the top of a tower block in Raqqa, Syria, for being gay.

A masked Islamic State fighter announced the charges against the accused using a small handheld radio, before declaring them guilty of engaging in homosexual activities.

He said they should be punished by death, in accordance with Islamic State’s radical interpretation of Sharia law.

The men were then bound and blindfolded before being pushed off the 100ft tower block to their death.

Just a few days ago footage emerged showing men being thrown off the top of a 100ft tower in Raqqa, Syria, after being accused of being gay by ISIS police

Why the CDC is short of money for an Ebola vaccine 8

Where did the tax-payers’ money go when it was entrusted to the Centers for Disease Control, leaving insufficient funds for the development of an Ebola vaccine?

This information and comment come from Newsbusters:

For years, government watchdog groups have chronicled numerous instances of waste and abuse at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its National Institutes for Health (NIH).

An establishment press corps doing its job, upon hearing the director of the National Institutes for Health claim that “if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine” for Ebola by now, and especially upon hearing leftist politicians then claim that it’s all Republicans’ fault [for “making cuts in public expenditure”], would look into whether part of the problem might be poor bureaucratic stewardship. But they’re not doing their job.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000.

The NIH budget [is] at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as:

  • diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000)
  • sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million)
  • a study that will send text messages in “gay lingo” to meth-heads ($509,840)
  • a study on “Massage in Rabbits” ($386,000)
  • numerous studies exploring the effects of meditation (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each)

The CDC –

  • dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta even though it already had one
  • bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters
  • spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots
  • granted $702,558 for a study of the impact of televisions and gas generators on villages in Vietnam
  • granted $175,587 to the University of Kentucky to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail
  • granted $55,382 for a study of hookah smoking in Jordan
  • granted $592,527 for a study to determine why chimpanzees throw objects

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 18, 2014

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The economist who was right 33

One man, Peter Schiff, an Austrian School economist, stands alone against an onslaught by Keynesians.

They sneer, they mock, they try to laugh him out of court.

But, as we all know now, HE WAS RIGHT.

Will those who mocked and derided Peter Schiff ever admit they were wrong? Apologize? Will any of them “sign a letter saying he/she was wrong”? Could they change their minds as to which school of economic thought – the Keynesian or the Austrian – has proved to be right in the real world?

Almost certainly, no.

Ben Bernanke, current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, hasn’t changed his mind, although (in the video) he claims open-mindedness when Ron Paul asks him what it would take to persuade him he was wrong.

 

(Hat tip Don L for the video link)

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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