[FoRK] Brownback defines science

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Sat Jun 2 09:05:51 PDT 2007

BTW, apologies to Bill for a hatchet cut-n-paste job;  Lion's the  
source of the quote I'm responding to, obviously...

On Jun 2, 2007, at 10:25 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:

>>>  I do think, though, that regardless, atheists as a group could  
>>> stand to give
>>>  some critical attention to their messaging.
> YMMV, but for my part, I think that approach is long overdue.

Let me expand on this a bit.

Christians have this saying from their Big Book:  "As you sow, so  
shall you reap."  (Somewhat amusingly, the full passage is "Do not be  
deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will  
also reap."  (Galatians 6:7.)  Neener neener, Big Boy!)

Christians have sown a lot of animosity, quite in defiance of another  
of their Big Book's dictum's, namely "Therefore all things whatsoever  
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this  
is the law and the prophets."  (Matthew 7:12)  Also "And as ye would  
that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke  
6:31.)  It seems only fitting that, fulfilling their own homily, we  
who do not believe should respond in kind and allow them to reap the  
harvest of their own creation.

But, you say, shouldn't the admonishment to treat others as you would  
be treated mean that we should all tolerate and respect each other?

I have several responses to that.

First:  for the religious to tolerate and respect the non-religious  
would entail embracing secularism.  The religious in this country  
have over the last two decades become a very powerful political force  
*against* the very secularism this country was founded upon;  they  
have, if you will, reworked our own national creation myths to  
dispense with the very idea.  Ironically that original secularism was  
rooted, partly, in a desire for universal religious tolerance on the  
part of the founders;  that very secularism and tolerance has created  
the cultural medium in which the seeds of its own downfall have been  
sown, unless we act to prevent it.

Second:  I believe in a modified version of the Golden Rule, stemming  
from game theory.  Assume that life is an uncertainly-long ---  
perhaps infinite --- game of iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.  The  
optimal strategy for that game is "Tit for Tat" starting with  
cooperation.  The religious who are seeking a less secular public  
sphere and governance have "defected" first.  Indeed, those among  
them that truly have the courage of their convictions --- the  
evangelicals, not to mention the Dominionists --- are *required* by  
their faith, if they are honest about it, to "defect" from the course  
of secularism and mutual tolerance non-interference.  They *are  
compelled* by their beliefs to save those that can be saved, to force  
their morality on everyone else, and they're quite loud and annoying  
about it.

They have defected.

Tit-for-Tat requires --- demonstrates that the optimal strategy is  
for --- the nonbeliever to mimic the defective behavior of the  
religious opponent until such a time as the opponent unilaterally  
chooses to start cooperating again, at which point the nonbeliever  
can begin cooperating again.

Now consider Islam....


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