Friday, May 6, 2011

Comment Highlights 5/06/2011

Another great week for thoughtful comments!

From Cognitive Dissenter on No, I’m not happy that bin Laden is dead:
It's analogous to the death penalty. There are people in this world who do horrific things.   But celebrating anyone's death is also horrific.
We all know what kind of man Osama bin Laden was and that he committed atrocities.  What disturbs me more than anything about the jubilant celebration of his death -- indeed the party atmosphere -- is what it says about us.

From FreeFox on the same post:
I think not only the celebrations but the killing itself is utterly appalling.
I do not really doubt that Osama bin Laden was a criminal. Especially sceptics make a big thing of the value of the objectivity achieved by the scientific method. I think that Due Process is a civilisatory achievement designed to remove bias and with it revenge from a system meant to deliver justice. Just like with the Guantanamo bay prison, or the treatment of Bradley Manning, I cannot see any special circumstance in this that even begins to counterweight the casting aside of such a basic and important tool.
It's not the gut feeling of revenge displayed by so many that frightens me - that I can understand - and I do not think that it is that in which we should differ from the unenlightened theoratic masses: Humans are human, and vengefulness is a common human trait. But the point of Enlightenment was that Government, to be of benefit to humanity, has to rise above this human irrationality. More important than the seperation of Church and State is the seperation of Gut and State. And in a Democracy we, the people, are the appointed guardians of that achievement. To give up due process is a HUGE step towards true barbarism, in fact, it embodies barbarisms true soul. Allowing this, celebrating this, demonstrates our failure in this appointment.
So in death Osama bin Laden is indeed victorious over the West. We HAVE become him.
From Tachyon Feathertail on “Why do you still like religion when you don’t believe in it?”
I'm definitely with you, in that I also became an atheist and then felt like something was missing. In my case, though, it wasn't attending religious services, it was having a personal spiritual connection with the divine.
I finally had to let go of trying to define my goddess and just let her be herself, and as soon as I did I had a profound spiritual experience that made a huge difference in my life. But I still face derision from fundamentalist atheists, because apparently I'm not allowed to have the kind of experience. (It's either that, or "Oh, I get the same feelings in nature / spending time with family." Good for you, now stop trying to tell me where I should be getting them from. Assuming we're even talking about the same feelings to begin with, which neither of us can prove.)
Feathertail also had a great blog post exploring the ideas in this comment in more detail.

And one more announcement, Tristan Vick, Bud Uzoras and Mike Doolittle have joined forces and are now writing a blog together called Three Skeptics. Check it out!

Happy weekend!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.


  1. Cognitive DissenterMay 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Thanks Leah! I read a thoughtful post on the OBL thing just this morning from Decrepit Old Fool (I just linked to him on my blog via my blogroll). He makes some insightful observations.

    Love this quote for example: "And yes, Osama is dead. He could never have acquired a following and become powerful if we did not have a strategic need to control the oil supply. We want to think of him as evil - desperately need to think of him as evil. And he was evil but our need to see him that way is blinding us to some other things we ought to see."

  2. Aw, thanks, Donna! Having great thinkers for readers helps too. :-)

  3. Remove first the beam from your own eye, eh?


Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism