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  Topic: overmining “secular materialism”< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2006,12:34   

Quote


Comment #69232

Posted by P.S. on January 9, 2006 05:33 PM (e) (s)

All of this parsing is really irrelevant anyway, because we know, from the wedge document and all the other facts, that the real goal of the IDEA Center and its organizers and funders is to undermine “secular materialism”.



Was a recent post at Panda's Thumb. And it made me think, what are the things we're doing to promote secular humanism? What are we doing to advance what the DI is trying to undermine? Any responses from noncreationists are appreciated.

   
truth machine



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2006,13:22   

Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 09 2006,18:34)
Quote


Comment #69232

Posted by P.S. on January 9, 2006 05:33 PM (e) (s)

All of this parsing is really irrelevant anyway, because we know, from the wedge document and all the other facts, that the real goal of the IDEA Center and its organizers and funders is to undermine “secular materialism”.



Was a recent post at Panda's Thumb. And it made me think, what are the things we're doing to promote secular humanism? What are we doing to advance what the DI is trying to undermine? Any responses from noncreationists are appreciated.

Quote
And it made me think, what are the things we're doing to promote secular humanism? What are we doing to advance what the DI is trying to undermine?


I think you are confused; the "secular materialism" that DI is trying to undermine is the naturalism that is the basis of science.  Secular humanism is something quite different, a worldview or philosophy with metaphysical and political components.  One need not promote secular humanism in order to defend science.

  
Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2006,14:16   

I gotta agree. The sheer unbridled success of the scientific method generally (do what works, figure out why it works so you can do other things that work) is doing too good a job of promoting itself. Among people generally, who attend school and know that the really really smart people go into science and NONE of these people go into the clergy, and who enjoy a standard of living that doesn't seem to have anything to do with prayer, it's clear how to bet.

People LIKE being comfortable in this world, science has found a whole lot about this world that makes us even more comfortable, and has found no sign of any afterlife. Science does all this by simply ignoring the supernatural as though it doesn't even exist. The sheer numbing irrelevancy of institutionalized superstitions gradually soaks in on people because they're simply ignored. Nobody spends much time sitting around denying the gods; why bother?

Even worse, the evil materialistic worldview makes a better life available directly; there's no magic rituals, no priesthood. Ecclesiastical stuff has no pride of place; it's just as available on the buffet of life options as anything else, competing on even terms and ultimately offering very little. Gradually people understand that they DO have a choice, they CAN sample what's offered, and compare. I really don't think the religious folk like a fair game, where you can only win on your merits. They fall distinctly short in the merit department...

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2006,15:48   

No, I know the difference between the two, although I admit Secular Materialism is a bit redundant. The DI is opposed to Materialism or Naturalism or however you want to call it, and I was not asking what we're doing to promote merely methodological naturalism, but rather the whole Enlightenment freethinking rationalist epistemology. As far as using secular humanism as a synonym for that, I feel fine.

As to Flint's point that Materialism is wildly successful, you couldn't be more wrong. There are 5 theists in America for every atheist/agnostic. That's not overwhelming success.

   
Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2006,16:45   

stevestory:

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As to Flint's point that Materialism is wildly successful, you couldn't be more wrong. There are 5 theists in America for every atheist/agnostic. That's not overwhelming success.

While we will probably have to agree to disagree on this one, I stand by the point I tried to make. Over the decades (am I really getting old? Dang!;) I've noticed a polarization in intensity of theistic belief? worldview? degree that supernaturalism informs one's take on life? Whatever I call it, my sense is that while most Americans profess faith in God, most profess it on Sunday and spend their day-to-day lives without their faith really even crossing their minds. Conversely, their material concerns (with income, taxation, technology, convenience, retirement, relationships, etc.) are the stuff that occupies their brains full time.

And there's probably a minority who have reacted against this relentless secularization rather violently, by becoming fanatical in their belief, babbling about gods and magic books all day and fighting to deploy civil force against the unbeliever.

And so, more and more, I see hostility between those who are Sunday morning Christians, and those who consider themselves True Christians and the other variety fakers.

I'd argue that our culture basically forces this kind of polarization. When I was young, I think only a tiny minority of today's movies would have been makeable, or even cross the minds of the moviemakers. The scandalous books of the day would be completely innocuous by today's standards.

But it's much deeper than this. A book written about Jack London's attempt to sail single-handed around the world written when I was born had nearly nothing to say about London's background, or his route, his supplies, his boat, etc. Instead, the book focused entirely on whether London's motivation for doing so was Righteous (to prove himself worthy in God's eyes) or Sinful (to cash in on the publicity). Today, nobody would even think to raise the issue, which wouldn't be relevant anyway.

And this "Jack Londonism" (to coin a phrase) used to permeate the views of every commentator on everything. So over the decades I see a sea change from a default view where God informed our lives, to a default where we are (except for the fanatics) no longer offended all that much by the books we read, the websites we visit, the movies we watch (we certainly watch!;), and we are only reminded about, oh yeah, it's Sunday, sure, we believe in God, why ask? Who are the Giants playing today?

Yeah, there are 5 theists for every anti-theist or atheist, but theism ain't what it used to be. The march of technology has sucked the intensity out of most of it, and I see the creationism as a last-gasp, rearguard attempt to recapture a time that will never come again. YMMV.

  
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 10 2006,03:29   

Yeah, I agree with that to some extent. I'd say half of the religious people around are rational and don't really take it seriously. But we need to be promoting secular values as secular and valuable.

   
Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 10 2006,03:56   

As far as I can tell, the best way to promote secular values isn't through preaching them explicitly, but by having them gradually pervade the culture, as has been happening. More and more, people want both convenience and justice NOW, not in the afterlife.

Maybe we need to clarify what "secular values" really are. To me, they imply living in comfort, having access to real knowledge (and recognizing the utility of knowledge), seeking rewards and fulfillment while I live. But maybe there's a lot more to it that I haven't run into any need to study? I regard the Golden Rule as a good solid secular rule of thumb.

  
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