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February 02, 2008



All "As are B" does not imply "all not-As are not-B".

Exactly !
By the same logic, not all, may I say very few?, attacks on capitalism are logic neither.
Maybe the same word 'capitalism', used in this way, is emotionally charged, just as 'religion' is when used as you mention.


Williams is a silly old fart. Cruel, but true. P.S. his god doesn't exist.


Your sense of proportion seems a bit skewed here Chris. Are you suggesting that Drink Soaked Trots [gives] "... the impression that the only (or even major) irrationality is religion" and that it "protects the illusion that mangerial capitalist society is rational."?

Taking a pop at a large swathe of the left that is prepared to act in alliance with Islamists and adopting opportunistic 'anti-capitalist' positions would be a more accurate reading.

And, as a Marxist, it might occur to you that there is a fairly close correlation between people with money and people with power. The 'classical liberal blogs' that you cite, for the most part, don't seem to have any intention of doing anything to criticise this kind of power.

I understand your argument that managerialism has replaced ideology, and that managerialism is irrational, incompetent, and a source of income for worthless shitheads of the highest order.

But if you really think that people with clipboards exercise more power than people with money, I'd suggest that it's time to take your arguments back to the drawing board.


"Dawkins and Hitchens and their followers help (inadvertently) to perpetuate the idea that secularism and rationality are correlated."

Don't know so much about Hitchens, but Dawkins doesn't 'inadvertently perpetuate' said idea in The God Delusion, he is forthright in making that argument, rejecting the idea that religion and science belong to separate non-overlapping domains (NOMA) and arguing essentially that religion is irrational. I am of the opinion that, certainly when it comes to the three main monotheistic religions, he is right.


Reading your post again, I think your definition of "rational" might be different to mine! How can a society be rational or irrational?


The sound of a prosperous and socially secure voice claiming unlimited freedom both to define and to condemn the beliefs of a minority grates on the ear.

It doesn't grate on my ear at all. Not one jot. Freedom of speech is available to all of us no matter who we are. That is the principle of freedom of speech. Membership of one group or another is irrelevant.

Indeed, Williams would do just that; restrict the freedom of speech of those who would disagree with his particular club. It isn't on. Freedom of speech is too important for that; vastly more important than his belief system or that of any other religion.

Peter Risdon

This is a very good example of how the Marxist emphasis on capitalism can drive good people to support appalling causes. It's just this sort of thinking that has created the alliance between Marxists like the SWP and Izlamist extremists.


I'd heard that Oxford teaches you not to read those things that you reference, but this takes the piss.

Let's see what your 'classical liberal' blogs are saying today:

From DK: 'Good. Get eye-witness accounts, hunt these fuckers down and deport them. If they are, in fact "British", then we need to set an example: send them to prison, for life. No parole, nothing. If that doesn't send out a strict enough message, then we can start beating them every day, too. Publically.'


DK makes a good point.


"If I can say what I like, that is because I have the power and status to do so."

which is of course precisely the problem with Rowan Williams. If he had to work to be heard, he might be a little less keen to spout bilge at every opportunity.


I thought that Dawkins and Hutchins were arguing that Religion is not only irrational, and more importantly non-empirical, but it is also given more respect than it ought, given that it is largely talking nonsense. Yes, that could also be the case with some other ideas, but they are not given a special conventional protection from criticism.



But then, of course, your 'empirical' is, to others, at best biased but more likely deeply irrational.

The idea that any philosophy, or worldview is 'rational' is for the birds. The vast majority of life, behaviours, judgements and pretty much anything else involve a fairly hefty leap of faith.


Hmmm - judging from the comments this hasn't been one of your best received argument. There are good reasons for this. What got my attention was this line:

"Almost all secular life - including the pursuit of mammon - is infested with countless cognitive biases."

I'm not sure I know what 'secular life' is. Secular *states* are those that, at bare minimum, distinguish between what is a crime and what is a sin. These is superior to ones that don't because they give more freedom to pursue one's ends, whether 'rational' or not.

"If I can say what I like, that is because I have the power and status to do so."

As someone who is the head of England's oldest nationalised industry - a minority affair that controls around a quarter of the schools in the country - I suppose he should know, eh?


"These is superior"

Channeling Ali G there.


>At least the former are attacking (one of) the right targets - those in power

I dunno, Chris. Of those you cite, I'm only familiar with two. Tim, fair enough. But t'other spends much of his time doing exactly the kind of thing you say grates just a couple of pars above. I can't imagine those in power are likely to feel much effect.


"At least the former are attacking (one of) the right targets - those in power [in the Western world]."

Whereas the later are too loud in attacking the those religiously empowered in the Islamic world?

By accusing any attackers of religion of being "objectively conservative" you infer that the power structures of Muslim religiously involved dictatorships are less "objectively conservative" than the power structures of a secular capitalist democracy. Perhaps some evidence supporting this stance could be provided.

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