[FoRK] Brownback defines science

Jeff Bone <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.

	http://www.nickbostrom.com/astronomical/waste.html

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
>  nothing.

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:

	http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_USA

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  
too."

Cf. the obviously pro-Coulter source:

	http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/coulteriffic.php

>  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  
certainly losing.

>  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  
> think
>  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  
contemporaries.


jb

---

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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