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Comment Re:A real shame (Score 1) 278

Buddhism is also often considered a philosophy and not a religion. But many strains of Buddhism also contain clearly supernatural beliefs and I would consider the concept of karma and rebirth, which is afaik shared by all strains, to be supernatural. At least current scientific theories do not provide any mechanisms for that.

Comment Re:A real shame (Score 1) 278

Dawkin's viewpoint is not as dangerous as the religious version that you put forth, because his is based on the lowest common denominator

Lowest common denominator? Dawkin's viewpoint is hardly something that is shared by everyone or least most of them.

since different religions can't all be right (according to their own internal teachings, each is the only correct viewpoint), all but one of them must be wrong, and there's no evidence saying the last one is right, either.

First: If you look at polytheistic religions you will notice that "(according to their own internal teachings, each is the only correct viewpoint)" is not true. But this is not the main problem with this argument. Your idea of an religion being wrong is "There is at least a single teaching that is not correct." However even if that is true for all religions a huge number of their teachings can still be correct. Many religion also agree on some teachings and some also acknowledge this.

Since science agrees with the viewpoint that there is no explanation for the world that requires the supernatural, this just includes the last religion in the group of "must be wrong."

Uh, no. This is wrong on so many levels:
1. Even when it is possible to explain the world without the supernatural, that does not mean the supernatural does not exists. Occam's razor is useful heuristic for building scientific theories, but it is not a proven property of the real world. So even if you have a simple and natural explanation for something and a complex and supernatural explanation for the same thing, it is way more likely that the first explanation is true but it is still possible that the later one is true and the first one is false.
2. There are clearly explanation for the world that require the supernatural. I think you confuse this with "There are no observed facts, that require a supernatural explanation."
3. Science does not agree with anything. It is a process not a person who can agree on something.

And religions are anti-social. This is evidenced by the many variations of exclusion they preach, ranging from the gentle: "he who believes in me and is baptized shall be saved" (which translates to the anti-social "we exclude non-believers from our version of an afterlife");

There are many religions that have some concept how non-believers will be saved in their afterlife, e.g.: See the "baptism for the dead" practiced by Mormons. But even without that, the religious teachings can be right: Maybe there is an afterlife and maybe not everyone will get it. Not the believers exclude anyone from the afterlife then, but god does. You can then complain about God being anti-social.

But even if we go by the hypothesis that all religions are wrong, calling them all anti-social is still wrong. Religions are very efficient at bounding groups together. They will bound together huge groups passing barriers provided by nations and languages.

Even if we divide religions into "always gentle", "mostly gentle", and "violent", and decide that we can tolerate one but not another, then we're saying that one is "more right" than the others, perpetuating the problems that any supernatural viewpoint brings.

No, we are not saying they are "more right" than others, we are just saying that we can tolerate them. One religion can completely disagree with known facts but can still be easy to tolerate, because it teaches non-violence and other nice values. While a different religion can have no disagreement with known facts but impossible to tolerate because it seeks to kill everyone who is not a member.

Comment Re:A real shame (Score 1) 278

If you're talking about Soviet repressions overall, then (where the reason above does not apply) it's also about religious whackjobs - it's just that their religion was called "communism".

Communism is not a religion, it does not contain any kind of supernatural believes. If you want to call "communism" a religion you need to call "new atheism" or "humanism" religions as well. Communism mirrors some aspects of religion, like providing a system of values. But that is true for "new atheism" or "humanism" as well. Mirroring some parts of religion is just not enough to be call a religion. A reasonable definition of religion always must include a believe in the supernatural, otherwise there would be no difference between religion and ideology.

Comment Re:A real shame (Score 1) 278

You can not tolerate people who would kill over an insult, yes. But the insult is still also a problem, a much smaller one yes, but still a problem. An insult does not help a discussion in any way, it will not get anyone the revise their world view to the better. It may even make people more fanatic.

But compared to what Dawkins says, that is really just nitpicking. Tolerating or even holding supernatural beliefs does not make you tolerate people who would kill over an insult. It also does not make you a person who would kill over an insult either. And not holding or not tolerating a beliefs in the supernatural does not prevent you from becoming such a person or tolerating people like that. Dawkins just ignores that there most believers in the supernatural would never kill anyone over an insult. He also ignores that killing humans over a disagreement is something that happens everywhere and has nothing to do with the supernatural. He prevents that the real problem is fixed, because he makes people believe that this is an problem that would go away if no one would believe in the supernatural. He also prevents the building of alliances between believers and non-believers against fanatics.

His point is to start from the viewpoint that everyone who believes in the supernatural is defective, and should be fixed instead of tolerated.

And here it is where it starts to get really dangerous. This viewpoint is just as bad as "Everyone who does not believe in god is defective, and should be fixed instead of tolerated." It justifies taking away human rights from believers and can even by used to justify killing believers: "They couldn't be fixed, so we needed to kill them, otherwise we would have been forced to tolerate them."

Comment Re:Key theft != cracking encryption (Score 1) 268

Not really, even if you power off, the memory will still hold its contents for many minutes. Some bits may flip but that is not such a problem, because even with some flipped bits you can still recovery the key. Most of the time the memory image contains not just the key, but also an AES key schedule which is an expanded version of the key with huge amounts of redundancy. Even if a little bit more than 70% of the bits contain random values instead of bits from real key schedule the real key can still be recovered within a few minutes: Applications of SAT Solvers to AES key Recovery from Decayed Key Schedule Images

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 412

Yes, it is often confusingly lumped in to atheism.

Exactly and everyone knows that this meaning of atheism also exists. And like every word with multiple common definitions it is usually easy to determine the meaning of the word "atheism" from the context. Both believers and atheists like using this kind of meaning of the word atheist. This articles headline does not say: "Antitheist blogger Sentenced To 3 Years in Prison For Insulting Islam". But if we use your favored definitions the headline should have been this. Because it is pretty clear that he was not sentenced to prison because of his missing belief in god but because of his vocal antitheism. Precise definitions are good, but to not be bigot people have to use them everywhere and not just were they like them. And not at one place say stuff like 1."Atheism is just disbelief in god, nothing else. For this reason atheism alone can never be the reason for any foul dead." and then at next place when someone mentions that atheists in the soviet union killed a huge number of people answer with 2."These were not atheists, they were following a political religion." If atheism is just disbelief in god and nothing else then it just does not matter if people without a belief in god were also subscribers of political religion, they are still atheists as long as they do not believe in god. There are reasonable definition for atheism where 1. is true and there are reasonable definitions where 2. is true. But there is no reasonable definition of atheism where both 1. and 2. are true.

This is why I'd imagine we would agree that precision makes way more sense, and to attach single word descriptions to complex things is not a great idea.

Precise definitions are a good thing, however they should not be abused to make discussions about topics very hard. If someone is using a bad definition, but the context clearly allows determining what kind of definition is used, then please just suggest a better word and still answer the argument, arguments are not void, just because they could have been more carefully worded.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 412

It is also often labeled "atheism", e.g.: when Dawkins and others came to fame for their antitheist writings, this movement was not labeled "New Antitheism" but "New Atheism". "State atheism" is not just a missing believe in god by a state, but the active promotion and thus antitheism by a state. Or see the "American Atheists" also clearly an organisation that promotes a certain worldview and not just active disbelief. Here is a snipplet from Madalyn Murray O'Hair opening speech at the supreme court:

An atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it, and enjoy it. An atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.(...) An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 412

Accepting that atheism can have at least two meanings (active disbelief or simple lack of belief), the notion that atheism is a religion has been debunked so many times.

The problem is that atheism has not just two meanings but at least three. There is also atheism as a term for a specific world view which does not only include disbelieve in god but also stuff like "religion is (always) bad for people", "it would be good if everyone else would also subscribe to a atheistic world view", "if you can not gather positive proof for something then it does not exist", "there is no supernatural, no afterlife, etc."
This kind of atheism is basically a religion minus the supernatural.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 412

Religious motivations are also not strictly theistic. It basically does not matter if people believe in god or the supernatural, neither is going to stop them from following violent and dangerous ideologies. People are good or bad with or without believing in god. It really does not make a difference. If the 20. century shows anything then that atheists are just as easy to trick into commiting horrible crimes as believers. Maybe even easier than believers.

Comment Re:This this not evolution (Score 2) 253

Evolution can occur on things that are not coded in DNA, but Software is mostly "intelligent design" not evolution. Software engineering does not introduce random mutations into the Software and then selects the mutations that made a the Software a little bit more useable, but instead it introduces more or less intelligent changes that are believed to increase the fitness of the software for the given tasks.

Comment Two different kinds of secular (Score 1) 477

The JPL is not connected to any church or religion. It is secular in that sense of the word. But the JPL is not an organization formed to promote a secular (non-religious) world view. If it were such an organization, they could fire someone for promoting religious ideas or other ideas contrary to the view they are promoting. But then they also could not receive government money. The Establishment Clause works both ways: The state can not spend money on promoting religion, but it also can not spend money on inhibiting religion.

Comment Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (Score 1) 862

But the soviets never suppressed religion itself, even though they certainly discouraged it. You are confusing religious belief and religious institutions

Not really true. Teaching at state schools and stuff done by the state sponsored League of Militant Atheists aimed at suppression religion itself. Also almost all religions require some kind of institution. So we have brainwashing and measures to make practicing religious belief nearly impossible. What else could they have done to suppress religious belief?

Comment Not that simple! (Score 1) 862

Evolution is basically a local optimization algorithm. You are right about that it will start running under the conditions you list. But even with these condition met, complex organisms do not necessary evolve. You will only get more complex organisms, if that complexity is beneficial in that environment. It is quite easy to imagine environments where less complex organisms are fitter than complex ones.

But even if complex organisms would in theory be fitter than simple ones in that environment under some conditions they will never happen. Remember that evolution is "local". Evolution to more complex organisms is only going to happen if there is a way from individuals of your current genpool to more complex ones where almost all steps increase fitness.

E.g.: If you have a rather harsh environment where only super simple or very complex organisms can survive, then evolution from super simple to very complex will never happen because there are no "medium complexity steps" in between that allow for evolution to very complex.

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