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Sean Williams
insufficiently defatigable 
07.43 am 23.04.10
dalek & kylie
From a review of the most excellent 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists:

"The whole project probably reaches its reductio ad absurdum when the science-fiction writer Sean Williams explains that he learned to reject supernaturalism in large part from having grown up watching Doctor Who."
 
Personally, I take that as a compliment.

Also, I am sure that the reviewer, David Hart, didn't intend for the paragraph below (his criticism of the New Atheist movement) to be read in an entirely different context:

"I came to realize that the whole enterprise, when purged of its hugely preponderant alloy of sanctimonious bombast, is reducible to only a handful of arguments, most of which consist in simple category mistakes or the kind of historical oversimplifications that are either demonstrably false or irrelevantly true. And arguments of that sort are easily dismissed, if one is hardy enough to go on pointing out the obvious with sufficient indefatigability."
 
As a summary of my conversion experience, from the Church, I reckon that reads pretty well.
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
12.03 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
Indeed. I want a t-shirt that says that.
(Deleted comment)
01.13 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
She certainly knows how to drape, that girl. (It's a little-appreciated quality.)
01.02 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
I'd opt for a t-shirt that reads 'My insouciance is so torpid as to verge on the reptilian'.

It seems to me (not having read the book itself) that the entire review is an exercise in specious phraseology seeking to position itself as cogency.
01.17 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
Yup.

Or, less monosyllabically, and to quote Mark Jones from the comments, "This is the sort of vacuous nonsense that gives faitheists a bad name". Except with "theists", of course.

I would buy your t-shirt.

Edited at 2010-04-23 01:19 am (UTC)
02.03 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
Also, while I suspect it wasn't quite the reviewer's intent, the strong 'back in my day' flavour of his arguments seemed distinctly reminiscent of Monty Python's Yorkshiremen sketch.
05.12 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
Ha! Indeed.

As an aside, one of my stepsons recently referred to "devoured Christians" (instead of "devoted"), which made me nostalgic for the days when people were actively encouraged to feed them to the lions.

Edited at 2010-04-23 05:13 am (UTC)
01.21 pm 24.04.10 (UTC)
How many stepsons do you have now? Are you collecting them? Do they come in matched sets?
01.24 am 26.04.10 (UTC)
Amanda has two boys. They're the ones I refer to when I say "stepsons", and yes, I guess they did come in a set. A mismatched pair. :-)
(Deleted comment)
02.05 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
The hypocrisy is quite dazzling, isn't it?

Edited at 2010-04-23 05:13 am (UTC)
10.47 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
well, it *is* hard to hold so many self-contradicting ideas in one's head for long before they start to fight their way out ...
10.27 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
The world would be a better place if they fought each other and cancelled each other out...
05.20 am 25.04.10 (UTC)
*shrugs*

some might argue this is what is going on.

[others might suggest it has already happened, and we're living in the universe that followed ...]
10.45 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
well, propaganda *is* one of the great institutions of the roman catholic church.

it's amusing to note the lineage from the propaganda, through to marketing. spiralling, in parallel, through the plethora of churches.

which, of course, brings us to the real joy of religious belief: there's just so darn many of them to choose from. somehow they're *all* right, just one's own is *more* right than everyone else's. woo hoo!
07.12 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
If I was ever to believe, I think I'd have to take the Robert Anton Wilson approach and believe in everything at once. It's the only fair way to do it. But that's never going to happen. The Crooked Letter is an attempt to imagine a universe in which everything we believe *is* true. I think it broke my brain.

At least I avoided creating my own religion...
05.18 am 25.04.10 (UTC)
well, about that ... :p

if you did something as simplistic or as reducible as lucas' jedi/sith you might be in with a shot. if you make it too rich, too nuanced, or too complex the sheeple probably won't get it.

i think breaking brains *is* my religion. or perhaps my religious observance ;)
01.28 am 26.04.10 (UTC)
Where I started with the Books of the Cataclysm was the idea that "god" was a predator that ate the souls of humans when they died and went to "heaven". That's kinda simple. The idea I didn't use in the book is that New Age religion has taught people sufficient psychic warrior skillz that the god-predator is starting to go hungry, and prepared to fight back...

I reckon I could turn that into a rather scary religion. What do you think? :-)
04.31 pm 26.04.10 (UTC)
there is a delicious irony involved in that idea of yours ... one every bit as scary as lovecraft's cthulu mythos.
02.15 am 27.04.10 (UTC)
Yeah, I like that irony too. Maybe one day I'll try again...
06.59 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
Why don't these idiot theists get it.

We really only have one argument, when you come right down to it:

"You're wrong, there are no gods and no monsters.

"Now will you kindly fuck off and stop banging on our door, trying to convert our kids, and legislating your rules.

"PS, it would be nice if you put a bit of effort into trying to live up to your own fucking codes - rather than constantly lecturing us on how to live , as some kind of substitute for actually becoming decent human beings yourselves."
07.14 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
Hear hear. Their assumption that they own the moral high ground, simply because they turned off the part of their brains that questions and reasons, is utterly galling. Like being superstitious automatically makes you a better person. If only it were that simple...
11.12 am 23.04.10 (UTC)
As a regular church-going, lay preacher, almost atheist I have to say...

Rejecting supernaturalism via watching Doctor Who is friggin' awesome. :)
12.27 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
Hurrah! I'm glad I'm not the only one. :-)
05.13 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
Add me to the list as well
11.14 pm 24.04.10 (UTC)
On a related note, my co-GMed GURPS Time-Travellers story has had to go through a lot of discussion recently on how to deal with the well-known paradoxes of time-travel (grandfather paradox, free lunch paradox). With a little bit of dealing we've adopted a policy of object independence of items (including people) that have time-traveled, an observer effect for things that have not (very Phillip K. Dick), and the future not being affecting the present.

Yes, we have to worry about these things. :)
01.23 am 26.04.10 (UTC)
It's cool that you do. Someone has to. That won't stop our stoopid race from making a mess of the time/space vortext, though, when we finally get our hands on it...
04.17 am 24.04.10 (UTC)
I ditto your last line.
01.25 pm 24.04.10 (UTC)
You need my t-shirt which says "Devout Atheist".

I've never wished there were a God to pray to. I've often wished there were a God to thank.
- Anatole France (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921, and was blacklisted by the Vatican in 1922. Obviously he was doing something right).
01.26 am 26.04.10 (UTC)
Great quote!

I've always wanted to be officially excommunicated by the Anglican Church (I was confirmed in 1979) but people keep talking me out of putting in the request, and I'm rather lazy, on the whole. Maybe if I do something REALLY bad, they'll do it for me.
04.37 pm 26.04.10 (UTC) - yes, that really is a tree right there. and there you go, dying on it.
excommunication isn't all that, really.

came close with the big daddy church, but i wandered off just a little too early for them to push things through.

i don't mind people believing weird shit. so long as they don't expect that allows them to expect me to comply with *their* expectations of reality.

as for reality. it's got a lousy record of complying with delusional expectations.
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