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Scott Adams Suggests Bill Gates For President 1224

gerrysteele writes to point out a recent post to the Dilbert blog, in which Scott Adams discusses the atheist ascendancy in America and rationalizes the need for an atheist leader. From the article: "Ask a deeply religious Christian if he'd rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don't seem so bad lately. I think that in an election cycle or two you will see an atheist business leader emerge as a legitimate candidate for president. And his name will be Bill Gates."
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Scott Adams Suggests Bill Gates For President

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  • Re:Oh, the humanity! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doctor proteus ( 1028902 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @06:46AM (#16912236)
    Yeah talk about improving America's image overseas. But hey, he could mount one hell of a campaign.
  • Re:neighbors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Das Modell ( 969371 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @06:52AM (#16912274)
    Atheism does not make you predisposed to any particular behavior, or increase your likelihood of doing or not doing something. The same cannot be said of Islam.
  • End of faith (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @07:26AM (#16912496)
    Anyone interested in the possibilities of a world without faith could so worse than read the book "End of Faith" by Sam Harris. This book puts forward a powerful argument against all religions whilst putting forward insightful ideas for an alternative way to add value to our lives. It also has interesting views on radicalism within religion, primarily that the only true believers of any religion are the fanatics as they take the entire bible/koran/whatever at face value and live it whereas more moderates cherry pick the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't (stoning the neighbour for eating fish on a tuesday, nah, ignore that one. Hate gays? yup, tick) resulting in the vast majority of any given religions followers as basically failing that religons requirements.
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @07:31AM (#16912518) Homepage Journal
    It is interesting to me that the USA is one of the worlds most influential christian nations, and one of the few countries on earth with a constitutional separation between church and state.

    By comparison my own country (Australia) is almost athiestic, yet our constitution bars anybody who is not a member of the church of england becoming head of state.

    Is it possible that this is a passing phase for the USA? Is the religious right being supported by people who will be dead in 10 years? Or does this run right down through the younger generations?

    I get the impression that religion, like support for guns, is just one of the symbolic markers which politicians use to stake their territory. Perhaps because the language of economics is too complex for most people so they have to base their campaigns on simple things.
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @07:45AM (#16912604)
    The atheist religion (sic) has a bizarre tendency to justify itself through accusing various prolific hand-picked figures over history of being atheist.

          Wrong. Actually the nice thing about being an atheist is that you don't have to justify yourself to anyone at all!

          -An atheist.
  • Re:Not compatible (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WiFiBro ( 784621 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @08:07AM (#16912722)
    Sticking your head in the sand may be great pr and landslide elections, but the climate nor the oil stocks are impressed by your bullshit.

  • by darekana ( 205478 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @08:15AM (#16912780) Homepage
    We don't need an atheist leader...

    We need an INTELLIGENT leader.

    I propose a community service requirement, simple speech writing, debate, basic geography and IQ tests for potential presidents.

    If we have tests for becoming a lawyer or doctor why isn't there a fricking test to become president.

    Why do applicants to med school need 100 hours of community service and impeccable marks while Bush don't need shit.

    We can't continue having senile or stupid people running America.
  • Opponents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday November 20, 2006 @08:41AM (#16912940) Homepage Journal
    I don't know what Bill's views are really but let's say he's on the democratic ticket. Wouldn't that be funny if he ended up running against Arnold Schwarzenegger (assuming if the law were to be changed). Now that would be an interesting election.

    World's richest man vs. World's strongest man. Begin!
  • Re:How is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by utlemming ( 654269 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @08:47AM (#16912978) Homepage
    I realize that I will most likely be modded down for this post, but oh well...

    I can think of two reasons why it might be on Slashdot. The first being that cover it yesterday. And as of right now it is holding as 2nd place for the hottest topic.

    The second reason is probably related to online sources from MSNBC, Slashdot, Reddit and other forums, as well as the New York Times best selling list that have included elements of anti-religion and anti-god media. Reading Slashdot's tone on some articles, those who defend faith and faith-based beliefs are modded down, while those that advocate atheism or include anti-faith commentary are treated somehow as the insightful ones in the forum. At least, two books, #7, Richard Dawkins book, and #17, A Letter to a Christian Nation, have atheist overtones. Right now, generally speaking those with faith are thought of as uneducated and unenlightened.

    To answer your question, I believe that the editors included it because, the general tone of Slashdot is anti-religion.
  • Re:Athiests... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrChris007 ( 523454 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @08:49AM (#16913008)
    If "religion" means "set of beliefs" then actually everyone is not athiest, in fact everyone is "religious" including athiests (in this case their belief is that they don't believe in God). For an interesting read on the state of our "perfect science" that can not be questioned I found this on the internet a while back: The Case Against The Nuclear Atom []
  • Re:How is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:09AM (#16913160) Homepage Journal
    Does it offend you that certain books and articles express an opinion contrary to the very popular, widespread, and policy-shaping beliefs held by many highly vocal Americans, and that certain communities on the internet are largely populated by people who share such contrary opinions?
  • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beige ( 81376 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:14AM (#16913214) Homepage
    Right now, generally speaking those with faith are thought of as uneducated and unenlightened.
    Prejudiced as it may sound, there might be something in this idea: ligence#Religiosity_and_education_in_the_United_St ates []

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MooUK ( 905450 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:16AM (#16913244)
    I've heard worse plans for dealing with rapists than that.
  • by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:22AM (#16913302)
    That's a common misconception. The US Consitution does NOT specify that there should be a separation of church and state - various laws and court decisions in the past have upheld that philosophy, however. After all, Christmas is a national holiday, and our currency says "In God We Trust" - hardly a separation of church and state. True, there is constitutional protection to practice whatever relgion you choose - but that's as far as it goes.
  • Re:How is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OriginalArlen ( 726444 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:45AM (#16913486)
    Depressing that people in the US think this is such a crazy, laughable idea :( (Disclaimer, as a smug Euroweenie I and most of the rest of us regard it as pretty incomprehensible that mass religion still holds such a force in US society.)

    As well as the Dawkins book ("The God Delusion []", for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic -- I guess it's been supressed as "unAmerican" over there) this is a good, interesting, authoritative and rather depressing read: American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury [].

  • Re:God (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:54AM (#16913574) Homepage
    Riiiight. Why doesn't Scott Adams team up with someone like, say, Elton John, and they can advocate banning religion completely [] or something like that?

    How very, very droll.

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:55AM (#16913580)
    ..."God has choosen to folish to shame the wise"...

    (or something along those lines, not bothering to look it up right now...

    God has chosen the most gullible.

    If Joseph Smith could fool people into thinking he'd talked to an angel. If L Ron Hubbard could fool people into thinking he could make them into gods. If Mohammed could fool people into thinking he'd talked to Allah. If all of these people were liars, there is every reason to suspect that the Bible is equally fraudulent.

    (posted as AC to avoid fatwah)
  • by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:57AM (#16913606) Homepage
    Is it possible that this is a passing phase for the USA? Is the religious right being supported by people who will be dead in 10 years? Or does this run right down through the younger generations?
    Most likely, it's cyclical. The USA goes through periods of heightened religiosity every 50-70 years or so. They are widely recognized by sociologists as "Great Awakenings". See here [] for a brief article on the current (fourth) one, and links to previous ones. The Third Great Awakening of the late 1800s was probably the one with the greatest impact, as many important American protestant denominations had their starts during that era. It also had its biggest impact at the opposite side of the political spectrum - for America, the Third Great Awakening provided the moral force for the Progressive movement. Child and woman labor laws, compulsory elementary education for all, prohibition of alcohol and a whole host of other progressive causes were largely the outgrowth of that religious revival.

    Some of this is no doubt due to the separation clause in our Constitution, but probably not in the way you're envisioning. The separation clause, I think, gives both sides enough latitude to swing too far - when the religious frenzy gets to be too much for sensible folk, the pendulum gets pushed back hard the other way. When secular excess seems to go too far (big changes in sexual mores and capitalism run amok), people start streaming back into churches. An establishment church, where everyone is required to give at least lip service to the church, appears to have a societal calming, but enervating to faith, effect. No one gets too worked up about the church (it's at some level compulsory, after all), but its widespread reach allows its hierarchy to speak with some authority long before the "pendulum" starts moving too fast. You end up with societies formed of irreligious believers - which is a nice, cozy place to be.

  • by jsiren ( 886858 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @10:06AM (#16913712) Homepage
    Personal opinions ahead
    Danger of collision with popular beliefs

    A strange notion seems to have gained popularity about a human being that is always completely self-sufficient, rational, and objective - or at least most of the time. I've yet to meet such a person. I certainly know myself well enough to tell you I'm not one. This notion is bubbling under theories of alternative economic theories that are based on individuals buying everything they need on a perfectly-functioning private market, with money they somehow always have available, and theories about large portions of the population being able to function without their spiritual side. (I remember reading that there's a specific area in the brain for spiritual experiences. Make of it what you wish, but try disabling one function of your brain - not fun.)

    We have this thing called science specifically because people are frequently not objective and rational, and we need a process to ensure that research, which is done by people, is. Science is a good thing; so is religion, and I don't see any need for them to collide, since they answer two different problems.

    It's a function of the human mind to find excuses (sometimes very convoluted ones) for anything it wants to do, i.e. rationalize. I've done this myself (and hated myself for it), and seen others do it (and hated them for it). It has nothing to do with religion; atheists are fully capable of it, just as are religious people. Both can be open about it, or try to hide it. Rationalization is very often just a way to do what one wants and get away with it; it can be almost or completely unconscious and mostly harmless, or carefully planned to maximize advantage and profit at others' expense. It takes a considerable amount of self-discipline to look at one's actions from an outsider's point-of-view instead of just rationalizing from a selfish perspective. (The name Kant [] springs into mind. See also Categorical Imperative [].) This, in turn, is one way to get along with other people, which is one of the problems most major religions are trying to solve (with varying defitions of "other people"). (Another problem is keeping a community together.)

  • Re:God (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @11:13AM (#16914734) Homepage Journal
    atheists do not have the capacity for morality

    Interesting theory. Apparently the "Christians" you spoke to didn't take any philosophy and morality classes. Most "sinful" activities have logical, non-religious arguments against them, especially when taken in context of the times a religious constraint was enacted by a religion's leadership.

    I suggest the atheist in such cases is actually more moral than the religious faithful. They're consciously thinking about what they're doing, the ramifications and impacts, and choosing their actions instead of blindly following rules.

    Interestingly enough, that was one of the goals of Christ's teaching in a Jewish community. Get people to think about and live their faith instead of blindly following checklist rules. Without honest effort and intent, an act is not "good", it's just an act.

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Acer500 ( 846698 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:07PM (#16915692) Journal
    There's at least one believer with mod points :P

    Although it is flamebait-ish, he raises a valid point IMO. I'd rather mod him up and spur discussion than mod him down (mod him up Interesting if you don't believe it's Insightful, or don't mod him at all).
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:15PM (#16915858) Homepage Journal
    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots."

    George H. W. Bush, August 27, 1987.
  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:16PM (#16915870)
    Such a site is an attempt (amongst others) to bring such people together.

    I call bullshit. I would equally call bullshit upon Whitebuntu, Blackbuntu, Straightbuntu, Transsexualbuntu, and whatever else someone wants to come up with. Not that I'm exactly a fan of the Ubuntu project itself (I like my Kubuntu, but not enough to use it on a daily basis anymore, and the people in the project piss me off), but last I checked, Ubuntu's thing is bringing people together, not such people. So why are you taking off on their name and project? ...Right, thought not.

    Also, it may help with technical issues unique to gay people and sites. For example, if you run a gay matchmaking site, you may face unique confidentiality issues due to the need of protecting identities of those wanting to take part in the site, but "still in the closet".

    Bullshit again. It's no different from me keeping privacy records on customers, or the identity protection on those billion-and-one camsites on the Internet.

    Or you may be particularly annoyed at KDE's tendency to yank you to the desktop where a popup just happened (imagine what happens while gayromeo just pops up its "you've been disconnected from the site due to inactivity" window while you showed a coworker some java code in another window...

    Bullshit just reached waist level. Here's a novel solution. Don't surf pornographic sites when at work. Le fucking gasp.

    These aren't "gay-specific" technical issues, and you know it. I don't really care one way or the other what you do, but I really hate bullshitters.
  • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:27PM (#16916072)

    Actually, transsexuals too are welcome on gaybuntu. As are straights by the way.

    I like my Kubuntu, but not enough to use it on a daily basis anymore, and the people in the project piss me off

    Whooo on you! How dare you support Kubuntu! Ubuntu is supposed to be a Linux distribution, not a platform to push the agenda for a particular desktop. After all we don't have a FvwmBuntu, a FluxboxBuntu or a TwmBuntu either!

    I really hate bullshitters.

    And I really hate bigots. If this site bothers you so much, then please do fricking ignore it. It doesn't take anything away from you. And with your attitude, we'd rather not have you there anyways. If it bothers you, the small sigvertisement wasn't meant for you.

  • Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:21PM (#16916930)
    Why? Considering some folks at Oral Roberts University (using the term "university" very loosely here) are hiding their involvement with "Christian Ubuntu" ( it's quite clearly not flamebait.

    BTW, there's been some talk about how a few base packages have different hash sums than what they should have. Don't know if that was done by accident, by design, what was added or what was removed. Also "Christian Ubuntu" has no bug or security flaw tracking service, updates or information.

    Flamebait? No.
  • Re:God (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:27PM (#16917032)
    Where does an atheist draw the mythical line in the sand, and can they give a "logical" reason that is any better than any other mythical line in the sand.

    I draw the line at one year after birth because up to this point, there is very little distinction between a baby and an animal and it's legal to kill animals so long as it is done humanely.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:34PM (#16917148) Homepage Journal
    Most examples we've seen of communism so far have just been modern versions of feudalism, with little in common with actual communism
    You may be missing my point: the actual examples seen in history are the actual examples of communism. I offer the unwillingness of communist adherents to accept the reality as proof that communism is more or less a religion. The system is novel in the abstract, but goes feudal (or fascist) when combined with Real Live People: it models the human spirit poorly on a good day.
  • Re:Justifications (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Woldry ( 928749 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:45PM (#16917320) Journal
    So instead of basing your morality on a fear of divine retribution, you base yours on a fear of societal retribution?

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.