Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Getting out of the archives

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  • Phil Lyth,

    Peter, my wife just offers them a choice: tea, coffee or beer.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    @Blair Macca

    The 'probably' was put in there at the insistence of the lawyers who told them that without it a complaint to the advertising standards authority would likely be successful. That is why it was there, not because the organisers were in any way very much doubtful.

    Hope that cleared things up for you.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Did you say fish fork before?

    Yes, but on reflection I don't think I've ever been to a full dress dinner party with a fish course and appropriate cutlery.

    I once used a fish knife. It was for crumbed frozen fish, but I suppose people don't get to get their fish knives out very often.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Isn't it wonderful how we are all so much more enlightened than our god fearing, religiously indoctrinated forebears.

    I'm so pleased that I don't have to participate in a community based, institutionalised religion that dictates moral behaviour, kindness to others and tolerance of peoples differences. Ok so that is perhaps in the ideological purist sense of some religions, and certainly not the reality of this fundamentalist world we live in.

    However, if we must respect these attention seeking people for their active non-belief, surely we have to extend the same respect to those who have belief. Otherwise we are just being bigoted.

    Secular Humanism, which the guy dropped on TV, is a much broader and complex ideology than a slogan on a bus.

    'Secularism in society' is in fact the only way individuals with conflicted belief systems can co-exist without killing each other. Government, social institutions and blogs discussing religion should be secular by definition. But that doesn't give one belief (or non-belief) system a priori (Ok sorry for that but it worked) dominance over others.

    This is all a bit much for 7.45am, but it left me feeling like I'd just read a whole lot of posts by rebellious children who needed to feel superior to their 'god bothering' parents and grandparents. Perhaps we should seek the positive, and enhance it.

    Rapua te pai, akiakitia.

    Arohanui.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Kaipara Possum,

    @TracyMac
    Yes, I have lived pretty much lived and worked all over the world (even a year in Oz). And I know quite well what I'm talking about. Maybe you should check NZ out, as u obviously don't live here. New Zealanders have an amazing ability to simply accept the daily corruption without a whim. That could possibly be because moral values are often non-existent in NZ. Just one example is the hordes of pensioners who have lost their live savings to dodgy NZ companies {who in turn are not even held legally accountable, after they have shipped their booty overseas....strange, hmm?)

    Admittedly, having lived in India for 2 yrs, I would possibly give that it is marginally worse than NZ in that respect (corruption). What’s happening in NZ is exactly what you are saying: Hordes of "respected" businessmen surviving and thriving on the misery of others.

    Please stop marginalizing and justifying the rampant corruption in this country. That's what I'm talking about.
    You want more examples? I get burgled or robbed every other week (4 times in the past 2 months to be exact). Just about everybody else in my community has been burgled at least once in recent months. Personal friends (dairy owners) of mine have recently been held at gunpoint, along with 2 or three other small businesses in a 10 km radius. As this is John F(ucking) Key's electorate, the police area commander, Inspector Keith Brady has, in response to the distress of the locals, recently issued a statement in the Rodney Times (dated Tuesday, 10 November 2009, page 4) which claims there is "no crime wave" in Rodney. In the propaganda letter Inspector Brady does not even mention the absolute flood of burglaries in the area. This is Nazi style propaganda!

    Funny enough, even though JK was somewhere in Europe just before the Copenhagen convention, he announced going there was a mere "photo opportunity" and said he couldn't be bothered. To be fair, he now talks about attending some of the meetings in Copenhagen - presumably in response to national public outcry, that our government still does not concede to the idea that global climate change is possibly a reality).

    Meanwhile the govt has twisted the Emission Trading Scheme in such away that all costs are passed on to the consumers, while the whole idea of the scheme (similar to which have been implemented in Europe since the mid-eighties) should be for the industry(ies) to clean up or at least reduce their rampant pollution, exactly for which they now have no incentive at all. The "commoners" will have to bear the costs in this country. And the Mickey Mouse money we get paid here is a mere fraction of what Australians earn. Almost everybody I know is struggling financially, and this will only get worse

    Oh yeah, John Key flew home to open a local hillbilly garden centre (I know the people, they are retarded rednecks, who can't even count to 5). That was certainly a photo opportunity worth of the PM's attending. (Haha, they all look like real dorks, too. Real dueling banjos material...)

    I personally have acquired 4ha of mature Kauri rain forest, which I personally protect as my personal contribution to environmental protection. I very much doubt that I will receive any "credits" for this, but I believe in it. (Sadly, our Kauri trees are currently dieing due to some introduced disease – so I plant new ones or other species.)

    As another form of protest, I refuse to pay taxes to the current Mafia in power (ok u just can't avoid paying GST, but since I grow 80% of my food, using purely organic methods on my own land, they won't get a lot of that either). I have not owned a car in 10 years and commute by motorcycle that gives me 100mls/gallon (while the government is making environmentally sound transport like that so expensive to run (argument is, that motorcyclists receive more ACC benefits, which is due to them being run over by cars and receiving greater injuries in an accident). OK, I'll switch back to pushbike - even though I have been intentionally run over by motorists a couple of times - just as recently a medical doctor has been intentionally run over and killed by a hillbilly just 4km down the road.

    There is a lot of things, may they be even smallest of personal initiatives, that each of us can do. So people! Get your heads out of the sand and start doing something!

    And TracyMac throw away your pink binoculars (which are obviously more than a little fogged up), make a stand in the place where YOU live. I'm sure if people in Oz would start giving a shit they could do a lot, too.

    And I'm getting really fed up with individuals blaming the Arabs for everything (turns out the Mumbai bombings where at least in part organized by an American - echoes of 9/11?). I've lived and traveled many years in Arab countries, too. Apart from a few uneducated (and therefore easily manipulated) peasants in that region they are sincere human beings and respect others.

    The financial crises was initiated by American companies / government greed and their overseas interests. Get your head around that and start fighting imperialism. Boycott American goods and not starving countries like Iran or North Korea.

    Right, I'll take a breather - but I'll be back!

    Kaipara Harbour / Northla… • Since Nov 2008 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    if we must respect these attention seeking people for their active non-belief, surely we have to extend the same respect to those who have belief. Otherwise we are just being bigoted.

    Bear in mind I gave the campaign $20 because I find it a hilarious (if immature) jape...

    No, the situations aren't equivalent. If I understand you correctly, you seem to be arguing that certain kinds of rationally unjustified belief (religion) should enjoy the same sort of respect as a rationally justified one, and I can't agree with that. The only way your position would make sense is if you thought that atheism is also an rationally unjustified belief -- which I also can't agree with. I don't want to have a big argument about that, because I'm sure we can bore the pants off everyone and it's not as though it's new ground for anyone who's thought about atheism before. But anyway...

    ... if I did grant that atheism and belief are positions somehow equivalently worthy of privilege or respect, well, the country is filled with unselfconscious manifestations of religious belief, which I am expected to tolerate and accept. Some of those manifestations attack me (and believers of other faiths), telling me that I'm wrong, evil, going to hell, sinful, shallow, inadequate...

    By contrast, non-believers don't usually make any particular demonstration -- obviously, since we don't believe in anything, there isn't anything to demonstrate. We are defined by what we don't do.

    ("Hi Stephen, it was great not to see you in church/at the mosque/in the temple yesterday!")

    We're invisible. This is just a little reminder from some of us that we're here, there are quite a few of us and (I mean this lovingly) we think the rest of you are a bit silly.

    My only reservation with the campaign is that it's quite a bit of money to collect for such an abstract purpose when there are lots of people in need, but then again, the same could be said about church tithes and collection plates, only more so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Isn't it wonderful how we are all so much more enlightened than our god fearing, religiously indoctrinated forebears.

    Oh you really shouldn't kick straight in with the sarcasm, it show's you don't have a grasp of a whole range of issue's. Which will put a lot of people off.

    if we must respect these attention seeking people for their active non-belief,

    The idea is to promote discussion on our beliefs as Russell pointed out in the original blog. Which is perhaps now more than ever a matter of urgency. If you think it's just attention seeking for the sake of it, please abstain from taking part in the conversation.

    Otherwise we are just being bigoted.

    Well you seem to have prejudiced view of those of non belief. So perhaps you should examine your own beliefs.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    ...you seem to be arguing that certain kinds of rationally unjustified belief (religion) should enjoy the same sort of respect as a rationally justified one, and I can't agree with that.

    My difficulty with this is far more rational people than I have believed. Should I think lessor of them because of this? Our generation has the 'luxury of disbelief', because it just doesn't seem relevant in this 'world in which we live'.

    And your comment makes your (our) current rational system by rights superior to all those that came before.

    Are we adding Chronological Imperialism (After, and therefore superior) to Cultural, Colonial, Corporate, Dogmatic, Scientific and any other form that already dictates our inability to just 'get along?'

    Of course for the hell of it, give your $20 bucks to a slogan on a bus. I'd rather buy another Stroke CD, some food for the City Mission (Oh, sorry, those religious do-gooders!) or piss it into the toilet after a good night out.

    Each to their own... Oh yeah, now I get it...

    PS What if the slogan said 'There might be a god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life', would it actually be any different? Rationally speaking.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    @Stephen, I can't recall ever giving money for missionary work, but Ministry work definately serves a purpose which is often what the collection plate is for.

    @Peter, I'm a bit of a Catholic and so these types normally leave me alone once I say that. See they don't want me, they want you :p

    I am into Sci Fi and so should find out more about Joseph Smith & the Scientologists.
    What if, Joseph Smith encountered Scientologists in their true form? Tom Cruise as Joseph Smith, so Mormons are latter day Scientologists. Of course Smith was a Mason, cue Dan Brown & this is the Truth of the da Vinci codes!

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Oh you really shouldn't kick straight in with the sarcasm, it show's you don't have a grasp of a whole range of issue's. Which will put a lot of people off.

    Ah, so sarcasm is out. Will remember that when taking on other topics.

    Clearly I have touched a nerve. Sorry for that. You live and learn, with a bit of luck.

    As for having a prejudiced view of those of non-belief, that would mean I'm anti myself.

    As you were. I'll crawl back into my cave and listen to some Manic Street Preachers. Intravenous Agnostic should do the job. Afterthought: At the end of this he says 'I wish I could crawl into a big concrete bunker like J D Salinger, and never be seen again, so I never let anyone down.' Actually that makes me quite sad. But that's another story altogether...

    And since we all need a good laugh, check out this video. It makes a better argument than many, including mine. Creationist Thought

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    As a sometime Catholic, reared by Jesuits, I don't find the slogan on the bus particulary sensible. I know too many atheists who suffer from persistent anxiety and too many theists of all sorts who seem to be enjoying life already.

    Ataraxia is good most of the time but worrying might be a good thing sometimes too: e.g. over climate change.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    My difficulty with this is far more rational people than I have believed. Should I think lessor of them because of this?

    You know, lots of great thinkers believed some really odd stuff -- Newton for example was an alchemist and a mystic as well as being a great mathematician and scientist. I have no trouble both admiring Newton the mathematician and scientist, and thinking that Newton the alchemist and mystic was frankly a bit of a loon.

    Our generation has the 'luxury of disbelief', because it just doesn't seem relevant in this 'world in which we live'.

    No. Many previous generations of our ancestors saw the consequences of violent sectarian strife and created constitutional structures to enshrine freedom of conscience. It has nothing to do with "relevance" and everything to do with not having belief backed by violence or the threat of violence.

    Freedom of conscience is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I know too many atheists who suffer from persistent anxiety and too many theists of all sorts who seem to be enjoying life already.

    Interesting point. If I was a believer I'd probably worry a lot less. The 'fact' - as I see it - that it's all up to us fills me with dread!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    If I was a believer I'd probably worry a lot less. The 'fact' - as I see it - that it's all up to us fills me with dread!

    Word. My husband is all 'you make *your own* meaning! Isn't that exciting?' No, dude. It is not exciting. In fact, it is terrifying. Our utter insignificance in the face of a limitless, uncaring universe is a total fucking bummer.

    (I am pretty pleased with the cupcake I just ate, though. So there's that.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Our utter insignificance in the face of a limitless, uncaring universe is a total fucking bummer.

    Still, Socrates had something interesting to say about that viz "The unexamined life is not worth living"

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Ah, so sarcasm is out. Will remember that when taking on other topics.
    Clearly I have touched a nerve. Sorry for that. You live and learn, with a bit of luck.

    No, not out, its just not a good opening gambit.
    I'm just saying from my experience. Just trying to help out.
    No nerves were harmed by your post.

    As for having a prejudiced view of those of non-belief, that would mean I'm anti myself.

    So why the attitude? Its a public campaign just like any other ignore it if you want. But extrapolating the atheists are a bunch of whiney babies when you consider yourself one.....Well I'll leave that in your hands.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    (I am pretty pleased with the cupcake I just ate, though. So there's that.)

    Cupcakes are evil.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Existential cupcakes though

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I'm fine with the Atheist bus, but then I've never complained about various churches using their tax-free land to put up "Jesus is only true path" billboards. The whole point of a secular pluralist society is that people can believe, and say, what they like in religious terms.
    Like many less/non-religious folk I know, I get a little nervous around the concept a pluralist society, and the espoused opinion of some fundamentalistic folk that they have a moral duty to make others live to their standards. But I also recognize that, in a pluralist society, most people who say such things are just espousing an opinion rather than actually going to make me do anything.
    I likes my pluralism I do.
    In the course of writing this, I couldn't help but imagine an Atheist bus fable told in fundamentalist households- The Atheist Bus that roams the roads at night, running down believers and ferrying the unwary to dens of iniquity (like casinos and universities)

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm fine with the Atheist bus, but then I've never complained about various churches using their tax-free land to put up "Jesus is only true path" billboards. The whole point of a secular pluralist society is that people can believe, and say, what they like in religious terms.

    I'm a bit the same. I didn't mind the "message from God" billboards (created on commission by the man behind the Tui billboards!) because they were quite clever. And I like the atheist bus campaign as a view that's widely held but not often aired.

    The arguments in the comments on the atheist bus campaign website, otoh, give me a headache.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The Atheist Bus that roams the roads at night, running down believers and ferrying the unwary to dens of iniquity (like casinos and universities)

    ... and doesn't run on diesel, but the blood of babies and children.

    I do object to the notion that atheists do not believe in anything (or 'believe in nothing'). Like others, I believe in a moral structure (forgiveness, generosity, equity, the performance of good law, the belief that the majority of people are good but also the existence of bad bastards). I just don't need a doctrine, church,creed or religious representative to tell me these things.

    But, then, I was expelled from bible class at a very early age for questioning some of the very fantastical stories I was being told.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    But extrapolating the atheists are a bunch of whiney babies when you consider yourself one.....Well I'll leave that in your hands.

    Thanks. I like my existential angst served cold. Preferably with a cupcake.
    It's called having an objective outlook on your own subjectivity. These forums are good for that.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Geoff it sounds like you are talking about Manners Mall to me.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2009/12/12/1245d98f32df

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    As a sometime Catholic, reared by Jesuits, I don't find the slogan on the bus particulary sensible. I know too many atheists who suffer from persistent anxiety and too many theists of all sorts who seem to be enjoying life already.

    Yeah, but since you mentioned Catholicism, it's hardly as if all Catholics are a happy bunch of chilled out bunnies, is it? I mean, it's not as if putting the words 'Catholic' and 'guilt' next to each other is exactly unknown, is it?

    Western society swims in Christian religion like a fish swims in water. We are so surrounded by it in one aspect or another that most of the time we don't even notice. Churches, holidays, weddings, funerals and so forth. It's so common that mostly it goes unremarked.

    The assumption by society at large used to be (and to a great extent still is) that more or less cradle to grave you will adhere to some sort of Christian belief system. I can remember going on a school trip (and it wasn't that long ago) and having, along with my parents, to fill in paperwork that included a 'religion' box. There wasn't an option for 'none'.

    My point is, it's subliminal peer pressure on a grand scale. If you're brought up in that kind of all-pervasive atmosphere, it is that much more difficult to break ranks and tell people that you think that belief in their bearded sky god is just as ridiculous as belief in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

    So while I'm not too bothered either way about the atheist bus, I'm far more in favour of it than not, because it does at least publicly and visibly offer a counter-option to the all-pervasive assumption of some sort of belief. I'm quite happy for the seeds of doubt to be planted.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Why is it you can never find an atheist bus when you need one .... given the sorts of arguments I've seen when I've hung out with hardcore atheists atheist taxis might be a better and more appropriate use of the term

    I see that those of us in Dunedin will be missing out .... I wonder if we can take a whip round at the next skeptics-in-the-pub and sponsor and atheist noddy train over the summer ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

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