House Rules Re: [FoRK] The drum beat continues

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at > on > Thu Nov 16 18:02:17 PST 2006

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
> Hi Stephen,
> On Nov 16, 2006, at 1:03 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> The ones that I might come closest to despising are those that 
>> secretly are Atheists but find themselves promulgating religion for 
>> their own or their group's own gain.  Being a hypocrite is just a 
>> sign of weakness.  Being a hypocrite that forces a known error on 
>> others is one of the ultimate sins.
>>> See, from where I sit the immorality and narcissism of religious 
>>> leaders is indistinguishable from that of Dawkins and his ilk. I'm 
>>> sure it is very comforting for him -- or them -- to think that all 
>>> the evil in the world is because of "those other people".
>> I can't see that Dawkins benefits like religious leaders benefit.  I 
>> can't really see them as equal but opposite.
>> From:
> Um, I think we're talking about different things (and not just because 
> Dawkins also benefits, in ways important to him 
> <> 
> :-)
> Maybe I'm misreading you, but it sounds like you think that religious 
> leaders who oppose various are (perhaps like Ted Haggard) pure 
> hypocrites who pretend belief in order to acquire or retain the 
> symbols of power.
Some are, some aren't.  I suspect many are.  At least in some religions, 
they see too much of what goes on behind the curtain in manipulating 
others to be able to hold belief themselves.  I've seen and heard 
anecdotal evidence that backs up this impression.
> I disagree.  In fact, I think the (shared) problem is quite different 
> than that, but still within the definition of narcissism:
>>> The terms Narcissism, Narcissistic and Narcissist are often used as 
>>> pejoratives <>, denoting 
>>> vanity, conceit, egotism or simple selfishness. Applied to a social 
>>> group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to 
>>> the plight of others.
>> I fail to see how Dawkins is displaying immorality or narcissism.  
>> He's speaking out precisely to help people by freeing them from one 
>> belief through understanding of his belief and the scientific method 
>> itself.
> The sad truth is that most of the most inflammatory and hurtful 
> statements by Christian leaders are from those who  sincerely think 
> they are "speaking out precisely to help people by freeing them from 
> one belief through understanding of [their] belief."
Of course, that's true of many.
> You might respond that because Dawkins does it on behalf of "the 
> scientific method" rather than "God" that makes him "better", but I 
> really don't see how.  From where I sit, they (like me) fall prey to 
> the elitist assumption that *we* are the ones who think clearly and 
> understand all truth, and those who disagree with us are immoral, 
> unenlightened, and need wiser people (like us) to smack them around 
> until they wake up.
True enough.  I think that avoiding being based on faith is not just a 
tiny difference, but fundamental and pervasive, but on top of that the 
mechanisms of discourse are pretty much the same a fair amount of the time.
> Kinda like House. Yeah, sometimes it is what people need. But 
> sometimes he uses and abuses people just to satisfy his own ego, 
> regardless of "truth" or "right."  And I don't think he always knows 
> which is which.
Possibly.  It's hard to say.  The writers delight in making it look that 
way all the time and then at least part of the time revealing that he 
had perfectly good intentions and was not squeamish about making others 
uncomfortable and challenged to get there.

I think that "just to satisfy his own ego" needs to be deconstructed a 
lot more.  There is plenty of evidence that House wants and needs to be 
right.  There is a lot less that he does so for recognition (pride, 
narcissism, etc.).  For instance, they go to pains about the "kids" 
publishing and his nemesis publishing questionable papers, but nothing 
about House publishing any of his breakthrough diagnoses.  I interpret 
his drive as needing to make a positive difference, to demonstrate his 
value to himself by being right and saving people, and making maximum 
benefit while essentially preventing plaudits.  Note how he either hides 
from patients or pushes them off by being brusque.  Someone prideful and 
craving attention would give patients plenty of time to swoon.  House 
seems embarrassed in some cases, so he is rude which often has the dual 
purpose of trying to redirect their behavior and pushing them away.
> If you don't think House or Dawkins is susceptible to that, I bet you 
> don't think you are either.
Oh, now we're talking about me!  ;-)  I'm pretty simple in my goals, but 
complex in my reaction to things since I try to understand others, 
alternatives, to finesse/game situations, and creatively respond to 
problems.  I want to make a difference, and to a certain extent I 
measure my success by whether anyone notices or cares.  (Pretty much no 
one that I know of.)  On the other hand, I often skip opportunities to 
draw attention to myself.  I never could bring myself to put out a press 
release even when I realized I should have.  I'm the semi-official 
company photographer partly because that means I'm never in any of the 
> "There is one vice [Pride] of which no man in the world is free; which 
> every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of 
> which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are 
> guilty themselves. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, 
> and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the 
> more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others."  -- 
> C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I feel like I should reference some Thomas Paine (often thought of as 
the real father of the US) and Bertrand Russell.
Ok, since this is quoted on Amazon:
"" argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving 
medicine to the dead." -Paine"

> *Most Important Founding Father - outstanding one-volume edition of 
> his writings!*, July 22, 2006
> Reviewer: 	John P. Irish 
> <> 
> (Katy, Texas United States) - See all my reviews 
> <>
> <> 
> Thomas Paine was the most consistent and important of all the American 
> Founding Fathers. He consistently spoke up in favor of liberty and 
> freedom; for example, his opposition to the institution of slavery 
> (which he argued was immoral and un-Christian and thought it quite 
> contradictory to claim to be a Christian on the one hand and support 
> slavery on the other hand) - Paine also spoke up in support of women's 
> rights, freedom of thought, the poor, etc.
> The important thing about Paine is that he practiced what he preached, 
> as opposed to just about every other founding father (e.g., Jefferson 
> saying all are "created equal" but owning slaves, or Adams 
> "dismissing" his wife's assertion that they too should be included in 
> the political process). I don't think we ought to condemn those 
> individuals for the beliefs that they had, indeed they were products 
> of their time period - and they are worthy of study. However, I also 
> believe that we should praise those who were able to step out of that 
> period and see things as they are, this is what Paine was able to do.
> If you doubt Paine's importance in the history of American 
> independence, consider the following; probably no other phamphlet 
> brought the idea of independence to the mind of the colonists like 
> Paine's "Common Sense" did and it was Paine's "Crisis #1" that was 
> read to Washington's soldiers before they prepared for the biggest 
> fight of the American Revolution. Paine's defense of the French 
> Revolution in his "Rights of Man" sparked off a publication war that 
> has yet to be matched and his "The Age of Reason" delineated the 
> philosophical ideas that most of the founding fathers had with regard 
> to religion (regardless of what the religious right would have you to 
> believe).
> Paine's mistake was not believing what most of the founding fathers 
> believed, that the "common man and woman" was not intellectual enough 
> to handle the arguments that he (and the others) were advocating. It 
> was his consistency which brought about his downfall - this is a 
> shame, because he is one of the most important thinkers to come out of 
> the Revolutionary Period in American history.

Nice lists and references:
> -- Ernie "Humble, and Proud of It!" Prabhakar

sdw - not humble or meek, but setting tough goals and happily screwing 
up and falling short of my own expectations about every other minute and 
diligently trying to point out my own faults before anyone can beat me 
to it.

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