This is a Journal entry by Hoovooloo

Shouting at the radio

Post 1

Hoovooloo


Again today. "Thought for the Day". Today, Rhidian Brooke was wittering on for what seemed like a very, very long time about the ridiculous Prince Charles and his half-baked idea that he'd like to be known as "Defender of Faith", rather than the title "Defender of THE Faith", a title that has been good enough for every monarch of this country since it was conferred on Henry VIII.

What made me shout at the radio was that once again a person whose only apparent qualification is that they're superstitious is allowed onto a peak time national news programme and permitted to spout disingenuous garbage about science. In this particular case, Brook described Darwinism as a "belief" that life is "random". Wrong, and wrong.

It is hard to respect a grown man who has an imaginary friend. It's harder still when they say something that proves they're either shockingly ill-educated and ignorant, or a deliberate disingenuous liar.

smiley - popcorn

Time and again I wonder why there's a daily slot for the superstitious in the middle of the news. There's an interestingly narrow range of woo-woo that gets catered for, though. Jews, obviously. Christians of many stripes, from the inoffensive and harmless at one end of the scale, to Ann Atkins at the other. Muslims, Hindus, the occasional Buddhist, and Sikhs (who are unique, in my experience, in that they always speak plain good sense).

I've never heard a single TFTD from a Baha'i, which is apparently quite popular. Never heard a Satanist, a druid, a pagan, a spoonbender, UFO abductee, crystal healer or dowser. The BBC has chosen just a few irrational beliefs to pander to, and I just wonder why.


Shouting at the radio

Post 2

Ferrettbadger. The Renegade Master

smiley - laugh

I tend to avoid it on the grounds that it often leaves me hopping mad.


Shouting at the radio

Post 3

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

Hi SoRB smiley - biggrin

"Never heard a Satanist, a druid, a pagan, a spoonbender, UFO abductee, crystal healer or dowser. The BBC has chosen just a few irrational beliefs to pander to, and I just wonder why."

You wonder why? Oh come on dear SoRB, you can be assured it is not for the want of trying. I know several prominent pagans who have written pieces for that slot and been pointedly ignored.

The Christians get on because they're the state sponsored superstition, and the others because they're the sort that would embarrass the BBC (and the guv'mint) by holding protests that their 'human rights' are being offended.

A few might even do something worse...

Us out here on the fringe don't believe in attacking dear old Auntie for giving our 'betters' their two minutes of fame. We're mostly harmless and thus can be safely ignored.

The more important point though is this: "Time and again I wonder why there's a daily slot for the superstitious in the middle of the news."

There shouldn't be. Nor should there be Songs of Praise or any of its ilk. Religious belief is a personal choice and we theists have no right to expect the Beeb or anyone else for that matter to give us airtime to spout our nonsense.

Uh-oh did I say 'no right', I can hear a lawsuit coming, better yikes myself quick smiley - laugh

Blessings,
Matholwch .


Shouting at the radio

Post 4

Recumbentman

I don't get to hear the Beeb here in darkest Dublin (it's available all right; I just don't get to listen to it.)

On the initial question though, I find myself in sympathy with Prince Charles. There is a distinction to be drawn between those who acknowledge the intrinsic value of faith and those who don't. A figurehead for "faith in general" might not be a bad thing, however impossible it may be to compose a consensus mission-statement.

To be faithism's advocate here for a moment, here is an argument in its favour:

To me, all communication is an act of faith. You have no guarantee whatever of being understood, but you put your smiley - 2cents out anyway, and every day your faith is confirmed.

What does this prove? That it is not really all that rational to attack faith just for being faith.

I don't hereby class Darwinism as a 'belief', nor do I in the least defend woolly thinking. I just remind myself that all communication is an act of faith. And I hope I am not alone.


Shouting at the radio

Post 5

Hoovooloo


Here's the text of what was said: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/documents/t20070917.shtml

Specifically:

"it takes a special kind of intellectual contortion to defend, say, the (widely held) Darwinian belief that we are a randomly evolved collection sub-atomic particles, alongside faith in a creator God who became man."

I have a number of problems with this.

1. The "intellectual contortion" required is simple Orwellian doublethink, and superstitious people do it all the time. There's nothing special about it.

2. Evolution is not a "belief", and characterising it as one marks out the speaker as either an ill-educated idiot, or a disingenuous liar.

3. Darwinism does NOT propound that we are "randomly evolved". This is a common canard trotted out by superstitious people who didn't pay attention in science lessons.

4. Why mention "sub-atomic particles"? He's trying to sound clever, of course. Unfortunately, he's made a category error. In his ignorance, he's conflated physics and biology. We are demonstrably collections of sub-atomic particles, whether we evolved or were sneezed out of the nose of Brooks' personal Arkleseizure. This is a question of *physics*, not biology, and is utterly irrelevant to any discussion of Darwinism.

It's a shame that when they get people on to witter about their imaginary friends, that the people they get are so *stupid*. Objectively, it could lead one to the impression that stupidity is a necessary condition for religiosity. smiley - shrug

SoRB


Shouting at the radio

Post 6

Recumbentman

Well I have to say I agree with all of the above. Serves me right for trying to defend something I didn't hear in the first place. But what does HRH say?


Shouting at the radio

Post 7

Alfster

Indeed, I too would have shouted had I been bothered. Mainly at this line: 'Faith was a gift from God, not something that resulted from human striving.'

I always thought the the whole point of faith was that religion/God/Jesus/resurrection etc just does not make logical sense and gods existence cannot be proven and therefore people have to have 'faith' that their god does exist.

However, todays speaker said Faith is a gift from God. So rather than God giving any cast iron proof he gives everyone the facility to ignore logic and just believe in him because of, generally, a feeling.

Or to put it another way: to believe in God one needs faith, but without god, as stated above, there would not be faith, but without faith there would be no god...oh, was that a puff of logic there? let's avoid those Zebra Crossings.

Todays Though for The Day really was one of the more interlectual vacuous ones.


Shouting at the radio

Post 8

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

Oh, and one more thing...

Has this possible future monarch stopped and thought for a moment that there may be many of us out here in the imaginary friend department who neither need nor welcome him as our defender?

Being a staunch republican I'd rather that the Saxe Coburg Gotha's peddled off back to Germany and left this nation in peace. The continuous dysfunctional soap opera they call a family is nothing but a national embarrassment anyway.

Blessings,
Matholwch .


Shouting at the radio

Post 9

Recumbentman

Logic is harsh on faith, there's no doubt.

My attitude is influenced by Wittgenstein A1024156 who said "I am not a religious man but I cannot help seeing every problem from a religious point of view". Despite being a non-believer he has had quite an influence on theology.

His attitude was that though he couldn't share people's beliefs, he would not dream of disrespecting them. Predestination, he said, is not really a theory at all: it is more like a cry or a sigh than a theory. Something people fall back to when things become unbearable.

My favourite analogy of Wittgenstein's is that religious observance is like someone kissing a photograph. They do it, not in the expectation of gaining something, or influencing someone, or having any effect at all on the photograph or the world or the person in the picture . . . they just want to do it.


Shouting at the radio

Post 10

Hoovooloo


Brook was back on TFTD this morning. I didn't shout, just rolled my eyes. The man really is quite shockingly ignorant of the real world, but then I suppose that's what one should expect of a grown man with an imaginary friend...

SoRB


Shouting at the radio

Post 11

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

Hi SoRB smiley - smiley

The last thing I expected of you was as dumb a generalisation such as:

"The man really is quite shockingly ignorant of the real world, but then I suppose that's what one should expect of a grown man with an imaginary friend..."

Unless you have proof that having an imaginary friend or friends is linked with being shockingly ignorant of the real world that is?

Blessings,
Matholwch .


Shouting at the radio

Post 12

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

Hi SoRB smiley - smiley

Right I missed TFTD this morning so I have been over to the Beeb to check it out.

I really am not sure what you found so offensive? He talks about how we often paper over appalling practices by the use of euphemistic language.

I include as a quote the lat two paragraphs of his talk:

"Could it be that the creeping euphemism is a sign of sickness in our system? One that allows us to accept the twisted logic that defines debt as valuable and where those who can least afford loans pay higher interest. Is the best explanation of this debt that global growth and prosperity are dependent on it and that occasional adjustments and wobbles are necessary? All the time we use evasive terms we are really avoiding the human cost. Many people currently experiencing 'a correction' in this crisis are not reckless gamblers who shift debt or even lenders encouraging the taking of loans, but people simply trying to get by. "

Seems perfectly reasonable postion to me. He may be glossing over many of the complications of international finance but his point is not that but the human cost of its activities.

"Maybe the system needs a different kind of correction: and a different kind of wisdom from the sub prime variety we've been believing these last few years: advise that doesn't use euphemism or hedge its bets but that says what's at stake. Sounds naïve? It's been suggested before: Take this from Exodus: 'if you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, charge him no interest.' And if you take your neighbours cloak as pledge give it back by sunset because his cloak is the only covering he has.' In this financial system lending isn't based on risk but on trust; it's for securing not exploiting. And people quite clearly come first before products."

Here he quotes from his favourite book, describing aspirations that are not just common to his philosophy but to many. Is it the book itself that gets you so riled, it certainly riles me in many places? There again you cannot demy that much wisdom has been slipped into it as well.

Personally I think the euphemism 'collateral damage' is far more appalling, but I doubt that Mr.Brooke could have found a Bible quote to condemn that, given his God's poor history in that regard.

So where did he tweak you? I can't see it.

Blessings,
Matholwch .


Shouting at the radio

Post 13

Hoovooloo


I think what "tweaked" me was the general handwringing sanctimoniousness of it all, wrapped as it was in the usual tissue of god-botherer hypocrisy. The man *has* a mortgage after all, but seems to object to having to pay interest on it.

As for his "people just trying to get by", there's a program on Radio 4 tonight which exposes just how these poor souls "try to get by" - defrauding mortgage lenders by lying on their mortgage applications and inflating their claimed income. Now, OK, they're *advised* to do this by unscrupulous agents with an eye on their commission. However, if you are so benightedly stupid that you don't realise lying on a mortgage application is ILLEGAL, then frankly you don't just deserve to have your home repossessed, you deserve to go to jail. Ignorance is not a defence.

And the point is, it's this bunch of feckless idiots who are *causing* the current problem. It's this bunch of feckless idiots who are responsible for the ridiculous inflation in house prices. Demand and therefore prices are only so high because fraudulent morons are getting mortgages they can't afford.

Now, one *could* blame the nasty capitalist lenders and say they should check incomes. But some people - the odious Brook, for example - simply don't have a regular income like normal people. Now personally I'd be all for a system that simply said "Not got a proper job? Then smiley - bleep off, you're not having a mortgage." However, that would leave a LOT of self-employed people unable to afford a house. (To which I say - good.) Crucially, it would also leave a lot of potential customers untapped - which is why banks etc. do lend "sub-prime".

But here, ironically, is where Brook's point is shown to be at its most ridiculous. The banks' lending in the sub-prime market IS based on trust - they ask you your income, and they trust that you don't break the law by lying to them.

And people - Christians, many of them, I'd be prepared to bet - lie, in their THOUSANDS. And that's what's caused the "adjustment" we're having now. Doesn't affect me of course. I can afford my mortgage. But then I'm not a feckless idiot.

SoRB


Shouting at the radio

Post 14

Recumbentman

>Christians, many of them, I'd be prepared to bet - lie, in their THOUSANDS

It is there in the large print -- a church is not a collection of saints, it is a collection of sinners. They say it every week: "have mercy on us miserable sinners". Do you really expect Christians to behave well because they are Christians?

There is a good case to be made that Christians behave badly because they are Christians; I believe Dawkins has said something like that.


Shouting at the radio

Post 15

Hoovooloo


"Do you really expect Christians to behave well because they are Christians?"

Absolutely not. I *expect* Christians to be venal hypocrites. And quite honestly, I wouldn't mind them being venal hypocrites so much, if they didn't spend so much of their spare time telling non-Christians what terrible people we are and how we need Jesus to "save" us. It's not the venality, or the hypocrisy, so much as the vocal sanctimoniousness which TFTD is just the (to me) most audible example.

SoRB


Shouting at the radio

Post 16

Alfster

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/F135418?thread=4612032 The perfect place for a discussion like this...


Shouting at the radio

Post 17

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

OK SoRB I understand where you are coming from now, and actually agree with most of it smiley - smiley.

The point about Christians and hypocrisy is underlined by the view each of them holds that they are saved and thus not really bound by the same rules as the rest of us damned souls.

One of the reasons I broke from the Catholic Church in my early teens was being lectured regularly by various Priests because I rarely brought any sins to confession. I was just a kid, I had no venal sins to confess, and I was damned if I was going to make them up for a quiet life, like many of my friends did.

Anyway I am tangenting again, my point is that for those Christians who have the confessional to fall back upon, they get instant absolution for the cost of some mumbled prayers. So I lie on my mortgage application form, confess and I'm alright with God. Hey ho!

Obviously as I didn't actually hear Mr.Brookes TFTD I cannot comment on his sanctimonious delivery, so I'll rely on your interpretation smiley - ok

Personally I think that TFTD and all other opportunities for religious types to pontificate should be removed from our airwaves. Religion should be a personal matter, not one you can bore your neighbours with.

At the very least the editors of the Today programme should allocate the opportunity to all philosophical groups in proportion to their membership in the general population. Perhaps then we would hear a lot more Humanists and others being able to balance the views of the Theists.

On the mortgage thing, although there are unscrupulous advisers out there, and lenders willing to give money on a nod and a wink we cannot take the primary responsibility from the borrowers themselves. No-one is forcing them to take out mortgages for six or eight times their income.

One reason that may drive them is the knowledge that the amount of rent-controlled, social housing is diminishing. If they don't buy their own place they may soon find themselves without a place to bring up their kids. This is one for Big Gordie to deal with methinks...

Blessings,
Matholwch .


Shouting at the radio

Post 18

Alfster



It isn;t up to the Today editors who is in the slot it is the religious department that decides, which is why virtually every year someone from that department comes onto say secular voices aren't relevant in the TFTD slot.

...which is why the only thing we can do is constantly highlight the all the major factual and logical problems with the slot which makes it such an anachronism in a program that is all about two way logic challenging debate. It certainly doesn't add balance.


Shouting at the radio

Post 19

Matholwch - Brythonic Tribal Polytheist

"It isn;t up to the Today editors who is in the slot it is the religious department that decides, which is why virtually every year someone from that department comes onto say secular voices aren't relevant in the TFTD slot."

They'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes comrade...


Shouting at the radio

Post 20

Hoovooloo


I'm reminded of one of my favourite jokes, by the inimitable Emo Philips.

When I was a little boy, I prayed to God for a new bicycle. Then a realised that the Lord doesn't work that way. So I stole one and asked him to forgive me.

SoRB


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