132 Comments

Totally agree. I love creation myths and ancient rituals and traditions, but they have no place in the science classroom.

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Totally. I disagree with some of Dawkins' anti-theistic sentiment, but I do agree that creation stories which are not substantiated by scientific research belong in religion, history, or art classrooms--not science ones, for the same reason why we don't cover the Pythagorean Theorem and Shakespeare in the same class. They are two completely different topics.

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Indeed.

You both may remember reading his "The God Delusion" where he defends "Religious Education as a Part of Literary Culture" [pg. 383]. Included is a list over several pages of Biblical passages "of outstanding literary merit", "from great poetry to hackneyed cliché, from proverb to gossip".

Rather important not to be throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

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The entire episode reflects on the dismal level of scientific understanding among politicians in many countries - the US especially included. Science is poorly taught in our schools, as a cathecism, a litany of assertions to be memorized, making it subject to being undifferentiated from cathecisms of other ilk. A basic grounding in science should focus on Karl Popper's "Science as Falsification", then built out with an understanding of the experimental method. This is something that even a politician could learn over a weekend.

It is also sad to see the process played out as a zero-sum game, in which the enfranchisement of one group necessitates the disenfranchisement of another. It need not be that way.

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This is really too bad. Adern looked amazing on the global stage for a hot second, especially when world leaders were reeling during the pandemic, frozen, unable to do figure out a sensible course of action. Now, I'm not saying she didn't benefit from the size of her nation and its relative geographic isolation--NZ surely did--but I am saying that she was cool and (mostly) impressive at a time when almost nobody else was.

No matter the source or motivation, superstition has no place alongside science. None.

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nice comment, Andrew 🙏🏼

i'd like to put my recent post — about friendship in the age of AI — on your radar.

https://opentochange.substack.com/p/friendship-in-the-age-of-ai

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Well said. New Zealand is a total joke in all conceivable ways. Please, everyone stay away - the more our government realise how ridiculous we look in the eyes of the world the more likely things will change.

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I'm in NZ too, and my friend in the US now tells me that while many of his friends (in their 60s) always had NZ on their bucket list, increasing numbers are being put off by the tribalism that's occurring here now.

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I am a retired academic that taught molecular virology at the Otago University, not only is Māori science being promoted but the University is changing its name and motif to be a Treaty compliant institution.

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And your point is?

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Maori science is being given equal status to Science science. It is being mandated that the Maori view be included in the various science courses that are being taught at the University of Otago.

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I decided to test whether your comment was true or based entirely on an opinion that resembles casual racism. So, here's what I found:

Subject Areas:

Animals and life sciences

Engineering, land surveying and urban design

Healthcare and medicine

Language and global cultures

Business, accounting and finance

Environment, climate change and sustainability

Health and biomedical sciences

Mäori, Pacific and indigenous studies

Education and teaching

Government, politics and law

History, philosophy, people and society

Media, literature, communication and performing arts

Let's choose the first, since it's representative of Science.

Subjects

Biochemistry

Bioethics

Botany

Chemistry

Ecology

Genetics

Marine Science

Neuroscience

Plant Biotechnology

Zoology

OK. So, Biochem seems relevant to this thread.

Foundations of Biochemistry

Cell and Molecular Biology

The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

At least one of:

BIOL 112 Animal Biology

BIOL 123 Plants: How They Shape the World

CHEM 1 11 Chemistry: Molecular Architecture

HUBS 1 91 Human Body Systems 1

HUBS 192 Human Body Systems 2

Statistical Methods

Introduction to Biostatistics

Molecular Biology

Proteins in Industry and Medicine

Cellular Biochemistry and Metabolism

Advanced Protein Biochemistry

Advanced Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics

Molecular Basis of Health and Disease

Research Perspectives in Biochemistry

Not one mention of Maori science.

Nah, just casual racism.

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CORRECT, no Maori science at present, but the mandate is that this must be "corrected".

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So, I'm guessing your comment and the hysterical response from Dawkins can both be considered jumping at shadows. An alternative approach is to do what Vince Lee did at Rapa Nui with the Maoi, treating the 'myth' with respect and discovering, by experimentation, what those ancient people had done, thus affirming that myth can have a scientific payload.

If you find yourself respecting myth more, just don't tell Dicky Dawkins lest he mock you relentlessly.

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YES, it is the ability to hold two seemingly contradictory points of view together -- the right-hand hemisphere -- the left-hand hemisphere as described by Iain McGilchrist, to get that precious insight.

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Dr. Dawkins perspective seems to be built upon the assumption that obtaining new knowledge should obviously be our goal, and thus whatever method of obtaining new knowledge is shown to be the most effective should be declared a "one true way".

Instead of just chanting his "one true way" dogma over and over again for years, it would be more interesting if Dr. Dawkins would inspect and challenge the assumption at the heart of his argument, that obtaining more knowledge is obviously the appropriate goal for humanity.

How much knowledge does Dr. Dawkins feel we can successfully manage? What powers should we have, and which should we not have? At what rate can society successfully absorb new knowledge and manage any social disruptions which may be caused by it?

Obtaining new knowledge is a desirable goal only if we can successfully manage the obtained knowledge and the power that flows from it. If we can't manage the knowledge being developed by science, then science is not a glorious "one true way" but a threat to the survival of the modern world.

Try this thought experiment if you will.

If I was walking around all day with a loaded gun in my mouth and was too bored by the gun to bother discussing it, would you do your best to hand me more power? Would doing that be rational?

This is who we are people. We have thousands of massive hydrogen bombs aimed down our own throats, and we're typically too bored by this ever present existential threat to the modern world to bother discussing it. This is the species whom the science community is determined to give ever more, ever larger powers, at what seems to be an ever accelerating rate.

To put it more simply....

1) The science community are NOT experts in the use of reason.

2) The science community can not be considered objective regarding questions such as how much science we should be doing.

3) When the science community start doing the "one true way" dance, we should refer to them as the "science clergy".

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"This is who we are people."

Yeah. ICYMI, a quip by a famous biologist, E.O. Wilson:

EOW: "The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall."

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9770741-the-real-problem-of-humanity-is-the-following-we-have

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A quip from me, merely a flea beside EO Wilson. "Despite having Palaeolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology, 99.99% people manage to tame their emotions, work around institutions and can't even use technology as it was intended. Nothing quite like using nuts and bolts in an IED to stop the mightiest military in the world."

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The God Delusion seems tame compared to the hydra-headed monster of multiculturalism. I enjoyed reading the God Delusion book when it was first written (and had the delightful opportunity of discussing it in person with Dr. Dawkins when he visited my city). However now we see that some delusions are more helpful than others, if indeed they are delusions. The God Hypothesis at least kept evil in check. Without the belief in a benevolent God our culture has become degenerate and depraved. Some people can live good lives without a moral compass, but others need some help along the way. A spiritual vacuum left by the absence of the Christian God has been filled by the malevolent monsters of a pagan past, and science has become a victim of that new religion.

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Can't agree with the idea that it takes a benevolent God for humans to have moral principles and to care for others. Medieval Europe, very, very much into a God culture, was hardly a bastion of morality and compassion witness the inquisition, a vast population of serfs, the chopping off of hands for theft, the depravity and greed of the church--imagine making up indulgences to sell and trick people into thinking that this would get you into heaven. The list goes on. Today's world is not nearly as depraved as you paint it. God is not necessary for human decency and we are no kinder or well-behaved because of it.

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I don't think it "takes a benevolent God for humans to have moral principles" or that belief in such a God negates all iniquity. But the experiment has been run and the empirical data is in. God was metaphorically killed and we are worse off for it. Don't take my word for it--read David Silverman's excellent Substack on Reality's Last Stand. He helped create woke atheism and now he is fighting to destroy it because he is honest enough to acknowledge that it created the opposite of a rational atheist utopia.

https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/reflections-of-a-firebrand

Traditional religion has been replaced by wokeism, which is a racist religious cult that denies objective reality, undermines science, practices child genital mutilation, and reduces its victims to drug addicted homeless street criminals who sack and burn cities. I don't have to reach back to the Middle Ages to demonstrate the moral depravity that you blithely overlook.

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Do you mean transition surgery for trans kids, when you say child genital mutilation or are talking about Jews or Muslims? I'm not aware of too many cities that have been sacked and burned recently. Can you name some? Perhaps you're thinking of a few fires during BLM demonstrations? Not exactly the same as the Crusades. Are there problems today? Of course, but you proposed a depraved world without God. I'm just pointing that with God it was pretty depraved, too. What time are you imaging that was so good? Perhaps the 1950s?

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Thank you for pointing out the similarity between the Old Religions and the New Atheism. The Old Religions had circumcision and you have "transition surgery." The Old Religions were less barbaric. You aren't aware of cites recently sacked and burned? I lived in Portland, Oregon when it was looted and set ablaze every night all summer in 2020. I walked through the boarded-up post-apocalyptic streets of that once beautiful city that was destroyed by your "few fires." No not the Crusades, but something unspeakable that happened to me in recent memory as the social cohesion of our past disappeared. You wouldn't be aware of it because the New Atheist News reported it as mostly peaceful protests ("a few fires"). As you noted depravity is not new, but it has returned with a vengeance in the 21st Century as the belief in a common morality has eroded. The line between sociopathy and the New Atheism is vanishingly thin.

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I'm going to stick my neck out here and reflect that you are probably American, since you think Portland represented "post-apocalyptic" conditions, without even the slightest hint of the irony of not mentioning, say, Vietnam. or Dresden, where 10000 people were incinerated by US bombs.

Since you were complicit in creating an underclass in Portland, I'm really struggling to feel sympathy for your plight.

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Jul 11, 2023·edited Jul 11, 2023

I didn't create an underclass in Portland. You and your insane Orwellian Marxist ideology did that. Portland was a thriving prosperous place with hardly any underclass. It was one of the safest cities in the country until the Marxists started yelping about fake diversity and equity issues that promoted drugs, violence, crime and the mutilation of children in the name of the Marxist madness. Then the lunatic Marxist BLM/Antifa came along and reduced the city to rubble and poverty. As for irony, Marxist maniacs have the deaths of a hundred million innocent people on their hands from Stalinist purges and Maoist atrocities. I do not condone the violence in Dresden and Vietnam, or even Ukraine. Death and destruction of beautiful cities like Dresden or Portland is always a tragedy. But I no know that the most malevolent religion ever devised is the brutal, Orwellian Marxist madness that reduces everything and everyone it touches to poverty and ugliness. I have no need for your sympathy and only contempt for your smug hypocrisy that projects your own guilt on to the victims of your depravity.

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To compare medieval Europe with any other era, you need to compare it with the past, and the aftermath - particularly the enlightenment, which came with accelerated colonialism and the horrors of the early 20C.

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I like the Stoics and Buddha, too. (What I know of them)

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So let us lie for the public good? The question is “Does God exist?” The answer is “no”. The idea that we should teach and believe something we know is false for the public good is barking mad. You can’t believe something you know is false. Unless you’re crazy. And if instead some people dishonestly teach it to the “masses” for their own good, then we have a class of deceivers in charge of a class of deceived. Thoroughly corrupt and open for abuse. People need education not coercive lies like God. You’d better reread The God Delusion. You evidently missed the point

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Your argument would have had some merit 20 years ago before the New Atheism won and metaphorically killed God. That victory did not give rise to a rational atheistic utopia. It instead gave birth to Wokeism, a racist cult that denies objective reality, demonizes dissent, undermines science, insists that everyone comply with its bizarre edicts, and reduces many of its victims to drug addicted homeless street criminals who sack and burn cities in the false name of the new god of Social Justice. Dr. Dawkins acknowledged the madness of the wokeism he encountered on his trip to New Zealand. Did you read David Silverman's honest acknowledgement that the New Atheism won the "booby prize--the religion of wokeism."

https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/reflections-of-a-firebrand

You can't keep going down the same destructive rabbit hole, unless you are crazy or prefer a post-religious world that equates indigenous superstition with science. I am not suggesting that anyone "lie for the public good." I only propose that people have some humility about the limits of their own worldviews, and stop blindly insisting on imposing them even in the face of their disastrous consequences. Beware of becoming the thing you hate.

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Vaccines are one of humanity's greatest achievements, in my opinion, and I'm truly grateful for what science has brought us. But it wasn't "science" which eradicated smallpox. The discovery of the smallpox vaccine came from Jenner picking up an "old wive's tale" about dairy maids, trying it out on a sample size of one (an eight year old boy, who he presumably regarded as expendable if his old wive's tale turned out to be wrong) and then publishing the results himself because the Royal Society rejected his paper. If you are trying to make an argument against paying attention to indigenous knowledge, you've chosen a poor example.

(Science did play a great role in the eradication of smallpox, in creating better vaccines, in scaling up production etc, but it didn't do everything. It wasn't "science" who negotiated with people to accept vaccination, sometimes facing down armed men in the process. It wasn't science who occasionally resorted to coercion and sometimes forcible vaccination to achieve the goal.)

In the case of polio, it's a better example as it was science which developed the vaccines that we have today. But actually running an effective eradication plan, in countries where people have absolutely rational reasons for not trusting vaccines? That requires empathy. It requires the ability to step back from your own desire to be right and see the bigger picture. Things that aren't science.

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I'd love to read more from you, Melanie, but it appears that I must pay. This retiree just can't afford that.

Your comment is perhaps the most thoughtful and coherent of all the comments in the thread.

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Thank you so much Andrew.

Almost all my content is free. I'm passionate about making the science behind important issues accessible to everyone, so only a small number of articles have a paywall.

If you look at the articles here, the only ones which aren't free have a little padlock symbol on them. Let me know if you want to read one of them and I'll happily send those which are to you as emails if you'd like.

https://theturnstone.substack.com/

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I'm a 'newb', so I didn't quite understand. A link took me direct to a prompt to pay. But I now have access and I am looking forward to reading. No doubt, I will appear in your comments.

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“The true reason science is more than an origin myth is that it stands on evidence: massively documented evidence, double blind trials, peer review, quantitative predictions precisely verified in labs around the world.”

Given current conditions, do you still have faith in peer reviews?

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"To grasp government intentions requires a little work, because every third word of the relevant documents is in Māori."

I am no fan of the current NZ government and virtue signaling, but what an arrogant, insensitive and possibly offensive comment to many Maori people in NZ. The English colonists deliberately almost erased the Maori language over a period of two to three generations. They punished Maori for speaking their language.

The government of NZ decided to make amends for this cultural holocaust in 1987, when the Maori language was declared the official language again in Aotearoa. So, it has nothing to do with current woke virtual signalling or white guilt.

It was an important gesture and a necessary step to bring the people of NZ together as one people. No country in the world I know of has managed race relations more successfully in the past 30 years than NZ.

I lived there during that time. I know how it was when I arrived in 1992- radical protests, mistrust and misunderstandings and a lot of resentment and grievances. Maori has a much bigger part in NZ culture, and many white NZ embrace and love Maori culture now. Tensions have eased significantly. And many young Maori, stigmatized and discriminated and angry in 1992, now hold their head up with pride and confidence. Part of that was the language program.

And yes, they integrate more and more Maori words into the mainstream. If you can't understand them, that is your problem, not theirs, and being condescending about it only reveals your intolerance and lack of sensitivity. But to be considerate and sensitive is probably not part of the scientific curriculum - hence the state of our world.

Once again, get your facts right, Mr. Dawkins, before you start typing. Do you think promoting and trying to resurrect the Maori language is wrong? And how long do you think it should take? Why do you think it took almost 35 years to get 186.000 people to speak Maori fluently again? Because all the way since 1987, NZ had insensitive, arrogant, racist rednecks like you fighting every step of the way against it.

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The Māori just might be the ones who save humanity from the WHO and Globalist Fascist Oligarchy.

MAORI vs. PLANDEMIC

An international team of attorneys and scientists joined with the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand. They will start legal proceedings to bring those who are responsible for the covid plandemic to justice.

The justice system of the independent Maori people from New Zealand is ideal to start these lawsuits, because they are beyond the control of the western financial establishment. These western elitists have corrupted most of the worldwide judicial system to ensure they would never be held liable for

their crimes against humanity.

The upcoming legal proceedings will set a judicial precedent for the rest of the world as the evidence that will come to light can be used in any other court. Attorney Dr Reiner Fuellmich explains more in this interview with Stop World Control.….

https://stopworldcontrol.com/maori/

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The rot that transgenderism has wrought -- so to speak -- is pervasive, pernicious, and pathological. And nowhere more evident than in New Zealand's "Statistics Department's" prognostications on sex:

NZ Stats: “Sex reassignment occurs where a person has undergone the necessary treatment to permanently change their sex.

https://aria.stats.govt.nz/aria/?_ga=2.135330993.1433053733.1593671441-939313310.1593671441#StandardView:uri=http://stats.govt.nz/cms/StatisticalStandard/FrytLv0KtGf6RhVY

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Science is science, things like pseudo-science, religion etc are not science because they are false. If something works and is true it will be adopted under the label of science to replace its original name if it was something before. There are aspects of science like chemistry or biology but they are not alternate science which there is no such thing.

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Since the official and current curriculum for New Zealand schools stipulates that "Evolution" be taught under "Science" and "Maori Ways of Knowing" be taught under "Social Sciences", is it possible that the controversy on teaching both is a storm in a teacup?

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Stop bringing facts into this discussion. <irony>This thread is exclusively for colonial prejudice. </irony>

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Here's a little thought experiment which might shine some light on the science community's relationship with knowledge.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: What if some very clever scientist were to come up with a way to prove BEYOND ANY DOUBT that we are being visited by forms of higher intelligence? And what if this proven BEYOND ANY DOUBT discovery caused the public to look to these higher intelligence visitors for answers, instead of looking to the human science community?

Would the science community still be in favor of acquiring ever more knowledge as fast as possible if it was THEIR world that was disrupted by the acquired knowledge?

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Ardern was a disastrous cul-de-sac in NZ politics. Achieved quite the opposite of everything she campaigned on (lower house prices, lower cost of living, redistribution of wealth in NZ etc). Deserves a bin bag, not a gong.

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Adern was an idealist. She couldn't achieve anything because NZ is steeped in neo-liberalist capitalism. It's disingenuous to simply label those failures as attributable to Adern.

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