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Apocalyptic Climate Reporting Completely Misses the Point | The Nation
Meanwhile, the IPCC is screaming, page after page: For God’s sake, pay attention to the damn social system and all the ways it can change! (I’m paraphrasing.) Why not make that concrete and visceral?
climate  pessimism  optimism 
5 weeks ago by yorksranter
"Humankind is unique in its incapacity to learn from experience" | New Humanist
Your new book claims atheism is a “closed system of thought”. Why so?
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Because atheists of a certain kind imagine that by rejecting monotheistic beliefs they step out of a monotheistic way of thinking. Actually, they have inherited all of its rigidities and assumptions. Namely, the idea that there is a universal history; that there is something like a collective human agent; or a universal way of life. These are all Christian ideals. Christianity itself is also a much more complex belief system than most contemporary atheists allow for. But then most of these atheists know very little about the history of religion.

Particularly, you argue, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. What is your disagreement with them?
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They treat religion as a kind of intellectual error; something only the crudest of Enlightenment thinkers believed. Not every human being has a religious sensibility, but pretty much all human cultures do. Neither Dawkins or Harris are interesting enough to discuss this at length.

Dawkins is really not worth discussing or engaging with at all. He is an ideologue of Darwinism and knows very little about religion, treating it as a kind of a priori notion, rather than the complex social, and anthropological set of ideas which religion usually entails. Harris is partially interesting, in that he talks about how all human values can be derived from science. But I object strongly to that idea.

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You are hugely critical of modern liberalism: what is your main problem with the ideology?
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That it’s immune to empirical evidence. It’s a form of dogmatic faith. If you are a monotheist it makes sense – I myself am not saying it’s true or right – to say that there is only one way of life for all of humankind. And so you should try and convert the rest of humanity to that faith.

But if you are not a monotheist, and you claim to be an atheist, it makes no sense to claim that there is only one way of life. There may be some good and bad ways of living. And there may be some forms of barbarism, where human societies cannot flourish for very long. But there is no reason for thinking that there is only one way of life: the ones that liberal societies practice.
news  org:mag  religion  christianity  theos  ideology  politics  polisci  philosophy  westminster  government  uniqueness  diversity  putnam-like  homo-hetero  number  anthropology  morality  values  interview  cycles  optimism  pessimism  nihil  realness  noble-lie  reason  science  europe  EU  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  utopia-dystopia  civil-liberty 
9 weeks ago by nhaliday
Hot World, Cooler Heads
As for the family thing—and I cannot stress this enough—it’s okay to have children. They’re not a frivolous luxury item or an irresponsible venture. Again, some historical perspective helps here; do you know what conditions your ancestors had to raise children under? I mean maybe you’re descended from landed gentry, I don’t know, but the vast majority of childhoods used to just be garbage. Not too long ago, we had them mining coal. (And lawn darts weren’t even recalled until 1988!) You want a modest happy life, so live your modest happy life. Fasting feeds no one.

It’s normal and rational to feel scared and hopeless sometimes—it’s a sign that you’re paying attention. And you’ll likely cycle in and out of those feelings your whole life. But the work still needs doing, and providence is contingent on faith in a future. So read nutritiously, socialize, take breaks, step back, compartmentalize, enjoy what you can of life, and refuse to despair. Stoicism must sustain us during the lean times, but cool heads and hopeful hearts are what make for the best comrades.
climatechange  environment  pessimism 
september 2018 by isaacsmith
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold | Poetry Foundation
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
org:junk  poetry  literature  old-anglo  reflection  fluid  oceans  analogy  reason  theos  nihil  meaningness  love-hate  peace-violence  order-disorder  religion  christianity  britain  anglo  europe  gallic  the-great-west-whale  occident  malaise  war  civilization  pessimism 
august 2018 by nhaliday
Roy Scranton - Raising My Child in a Doomed World
Pabulum:
Living ethically means understanding that our actions have consequences, taking responsibility for how those consequences ripple out across the web of life in which each of us is irrevocably enmeshed and working every day to ease what suffering we can. Living ethically means limiting our desires, respecting the deep interdependence of all things in nature and honoring the fact that our existence on this planet is a gift that comes from nowhere and may be taken back at any time.

I can’t protect my daughter from the future and I can’t even promise her a better life. All I can do is teach her: teach her how to care, how to be kind and how to live within the limits of nature’s grace. I can teach her to be tough but resilient, adaptable and prudent, because she’s going to have to struggle for what she needs. But I also need to teach her to fight for what’s right, because none of us is in this alone. I need to teach her that all things die, even her and me and her mother and the world we know, but that coming to terms with this difficult truth is the beginning of wisdom.
Roy  Scranton  Hope  Resignation  Pessimism 
august 2018 by dbourn

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