[FoRK] Brownback defines science
<jbone at place.org> on
Sat Jun 2 14:57:05 PDT 2007
On Jun 2, 2007, at 12:38 PM, Lion Kimbro wrote:
> Are you sure that things are *so bad?*
Of course not. Yet. I'm simply dead-reckoning off the trend, and
discounting the risk appropriately. You have to adjust risk for both
probability and cost of consequences. I.e., even an improbable risk
is worth working to prevent if the costs are astronomical. I think
that religionists collectively pose the largest threat to us missing
"escape velocity" before energy costs prevent us from doing so. Even
*delaying* escape velocity has astronomical costs, cf.
Bottom line: by my measure, the current surge of militant theocracy
and unreason worldwide poses an unacceptable risk to the future of
the species. Given that it is inherently a memetic infection, the
first thing to try to counter this is memetic vaccination.
> As far as I can tell, the vast majority of Americans do not want to
> live in a Dominionist Theocracy.
That doesn't much matter to the Dominionists, does it? Any more than
not wanting to live under the Taliban mattered in Afghanistan.
> I've read your links,
Really? Which ones?
> but I've also read balancing links,
> that argue, "Look, the Republicans have *basically* given them
I know, they whine about this on talk radio every day ---
increasingly lately. That's absolutely *not* encouraging!
> Nothing really substantial has changed on abortion,
> (which is a relatively minor issue anyways, wrt "Theocracy,")
> not a single serious politician is arguing for forcing religion on
> people, gays still roam free, ..."
And the largest mercenary army in the world is a bunch of
Dominionists based in Georgia, and this administration has put
billions of taxpayer dollars in their pockets. And these guys are
armed and trained better than our own ground forces, much less police
and guardsmen. Cf. Blackwater:
Even the non-Dominionist right-wing extremists are advocating a much
more militant response to what they see as the triple threat of
secular humanism, liberalism (meaning anything less than absolute
authoritarianism and nationalism) and the rule of reason over
religion. Consider the very chilling words of arch-harpy Ann Coulter:
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically
intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed
Cf. the obviously pro-Coulter source:
> I'm in favor of fighting the good fight, and arguing for atheism,
> or secularism, or whatever points you want to debate. But I
> don't think impending doom is upon us; I just don't see it.
It doesn't take impending doom to necessitate a response --- just a
reasonable calculation of risk adjusted both for probability of the
catastrophic outcome (low) and the cost of catastrophic outcome were
it to occur (astronomical.) This is simple math, buddy.
Put metaphorically: the lottery is a tax on people that are bad at
math, right? Right --- usually. However, for every lottery system
there is some amount, however large, where the expected return ---
the probability-adjusted payout, given amount of jackpot and odds of
hitting it vs. likelihood and number of people involved in the split
--- is greater than the cost of entry. In those cases, it's entirely
rational to play at exactly the amount indicated by the calculation.
You probably won't win, but that doesn't really matter --- the
possible cost of *not* playing makes it worth the cost of almost
> Maybe I'm reading too much of the Christian Science Monitor,
That would be any amount, IMHO. You can't be taken seriously when
the name of your periodical is an oxymoron.
> but- ... I just don't see it. I've seen Dominionists, but I don't
> they're the majority.
Okay, now I know you've got absolutely no sense of history whatsoever.
When did a "majority" ever accomplish *anything* significant?
The course of world history is often, if not mostly, shaped by small
groups of folks - groups usually considered fanatics by their
First they came for the Jews, but I did nothing because I am not a
Jew. Then they came for the socialists, but I did nothing because I
am not a socialist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I did
nothing because I am not a Catholic. Finally, they came for me, but
by then there was no one left to help me.
-Pastor Niemoller (1946)
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