Sunday School

Sunday School 9th January 2022

This topic contains 52 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 day, 18 hours ago.

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  • #40693

    I have no problem listening to Dawkins when he sticks to what he knows best. He is a leading academic in Modern Evolutionary Theory and has spent his life studying and teaching the subject. He can lecture on it to grad students and also teach it to lay persons via his books in a concise and easily understood manner. He can also speak on the subject of atheism and you can tell that he has given considerable thought to the topic.

    When it comes to Trans issues, I do not believe he “gets it” and I thought about not linking the post but I did not grimace as much as I expected to when reading it, given some past comments by him. However, I link stories to get a debate going (even if I don’t always have time to join in) and in the hope that we all learn something. I am on that learning curve myself. But Dawkins is a being ultracrepidarian in this case. He should stick to what he knows best. It would be better to read or listen to someone like Dan Savage on such topics because you can tell he knows what he is talking about.

    #40695

    Autumn
    Participant

    When it comes to Trans issues, I do not believe he “gets it” and I thought about not linking the post but I did not grimace as much as I expected to when reading it, given some past comments by him.

    The link here makes sense. He’s notable within atheist circles for a reason. I don’t assume links signal an endorsement or categorical agreement with the linked content.

    It’s just unfortunate that so many people assume either that their prior understanding of issues from years gone by is still relevant, or that their surface level understanding of affairs qualifies as insight. There is a frustrating lack of inquisitiveness.

    I can’t blame people for being disinterested in the general subject matter since it doesn’t appear to have much immediate relevance to their lives or particular areas of interest. And if that’s the case for Dawkins, I have no feelings on it one way or the other.

    But there is fascinating conversation going on, and it gets so readily buried by the intellectual equivalent of “If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” Even if one doesn’t care for the content of the emerging conversation, from a memetics perspective, it’s likely a gold mine. Though I don’t know that Dawkins himself ever developed much interest in the subject beyond his early contributions.

    #40698

    Davis
    Moderator

    The link here makes sense. He’s notable within atheist circles for a reason. I don’t assume links signal an endorsement or categorical agreement with the linked content.

    This is well said. Reg, you don’t have to worry so much about how we will react when you post someone who is ambiguous on the social justice scale (or all over the place or bi-polar such as Dawkins). I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your links and thought “ugh…why would Reg post something by that person, from that source or that content”. I would say, only an article that clearly endorses something outrageous or harmful without any obvious “irony”, “critique” or “humour” quality to it. Which of course I’ve never seen.

    I still admire the four horsemen, Peter Boghossian and Nicolas Taleb or at least what they have accomplished in the intellectual and humanist sphere, even though some of them can say or post ridiculously stupid and harmful shit sometimes.

    In fact I was only recently discussing the issue of fallen artistic heroes such as Wagner (anti-semitism), Roald Dahl (various bigoted comments). Rowling (transphobia and her belief that most of her fans agree with her transphobia) and so on. I still immensely enjoy their work and don’t for a second support the idea of throwing away their additions to wordily insight, creativity and artistic enjoyment.

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  Davis.
    #40700

    @autumnor that their surface level understanding of affairs qualifies as insight.

    Good comment. Reminds me of an adage I sometimes use; “what is common sense to one person is special knowledge to another”

    #40701

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I was curious about the Rowling vs trans thing, so I read her posts. I concluded Rowling must believe that trans females are males in a binary world and somehow a threat to females, otherwise she makes no sense.

    I mean really…trans people are like the last group of folks to instill fear in thus world.

    #40703

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I still immensely enjoy their work and don’t for a second support the idea of throwing away their additions to wordily insight, creativity and artistic enjoyment.

    I’m a big fan of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV (“industrial” music from the ’80s) but it turned out that the lead singer, Genesis P-Orridge, was a narcissistic monster and wife-beater.  However, I separate this from the man’s obvious genius and talent.  He was like the Mick Jagger of industrial music.

    #40706

    Unseen
    Participant

    So, what do we think? Is “sexual dysphoria” an actual “thing” or is it a way for intelligent people who know how to use big words to dismiss people who think they aren’t absolutely 100% male or female as mentally ill?

    #40710

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    is it a way for intelligent people who know how to use big words to dismiss people who think they aren’t absolutely 100% male or female as mentally ill?

    Is it dismissing someone, or describing them?  It depends how you see it.

    #40711

    Davis
    Moderator

    Is it dismissing someone, or describing them?  It depends how you see it.

    Simon, if you want to walk down the road of relativism then do so at your own peril.

    #40712

    Unseen
    Participant

    is it a way for intelligent people who know how to use big words to dismiss people who think they aren’t absolutely 100% male or female as mentally ill?

    Is it dismissing someone, or describing them? It depends how you see it.

    I see your point, so maybe a bit more elaborate phraseology, then:

    is it a way for intelligent people who know how to use big words and who are uncomfortable with the idea of nonbinary gender to dismiss people who think they aren’t absolutely 100% male or female as mentally ill?

    #40713

    Unseen
    Participant

    “Male” and “female” function as binary descriptors on a conceptual level but they aren’t opposites like “up” and “down” or “left” and “right.” They are merely what I would call adjectival nouns* (adjective and noun rolled into one) based on generalizing from the role of gender in reproduction. We recognize that an infertile woman or man is still a woman or a man, so we don’t define gender purely in terms of ability to reproduce sexually.

    And while we should respect a person’s self-identification as to gender as a matter of courtesy, harmless in most instances, there are nevertheless times in medicine and various kinds of scientific research where a person’s biological (as opposed to psychological) gender assignation can be important, though extracting this information from people who’ve adopted a gender identity different from their biological gender assignation can obviously be a touchy matter.

    * The term “adjectival noun” means something different in another linguistic context, I’m pretty sure, so my usage here is a neologism.

    #40716

    Autumn
    Participant

    Good comment. Reminds me of an adage I sometimes use; “what is common sense to one person is special knowledge to another”

    That probably needs a corollary of some sort. For many people it’s common sense that you pray for someone when they get sick, for instance. What is common sense to one person is, at times, ‘What the actual fuck?’ to another.

    #40717

    @autumn – Yes, I agree (In general I find it difficult to disagree with anything you have written over the years and I do like to argue with people :-))

    #40718

    Is it dismissing someone, or describing them?  It depends how you see it.

    As Davis noted relativism can lead to one to thinking that reality is the way you look at it.

    The use of big words can lead to a certain amount of opprobrium when someone turns out to be a sesquipedalian. There is no need to be given to prolixity or using pleonasms unless one regards their audience with insouciance. Not that I suffer from allodoxaphobia, well maybe just a little sense of agita at the thought of being shot down in an enfilade of obloquy.  I am not one to bloviate as I am the pauciloquent type, unless I am debating a Knipperdolling.

    #40719

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    dismiss people who think they aren’t absolutely 100% male or female as mentally ill?

    Is it dismissing someone to say that they have a psychological disorder, or is it describing them?  It depends how you see it.

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