Re: Islam, theology and politeness

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Mar 16 2001 - 13:10:51 MST

From: "Charlie Stross" <>
> (Would you rather they picked up the equivalent of the green
> evil-GM-will-kill-us meme?)

OK, if you put it that way, let them continue to believe in magic.
(Just don't let them near the controls.)

> No disagreement, other than to add that economic problems also arise
> political ones. And saying "the invisible hand will correct things" is
> simply begging the question -- what happens during the "correction"?

We may find out soon enough...

> Technology is a tool. The uses to which it is put are highly dependent
> the social, religious, and political beliefs of the users. (The uses to
> which it *can* be put are determined by the laws of nature, I'll grant
> you.) The point is, how the technologies are deployed (or not) depends
> what people want to do with them. Which in turn depends on their pre-
> existing beliefs.

In many cases their pre-existing beliefs depend on what they want to do.
I've noticed that people tend to believe just about what they want to
believe. Consequently, technology often acts as the tool which shapes
social, religious, and political beliefs. "The medium is the message," and
all that.

> You're staking out a very dangerous position here -- assuming that
> everybody shares your contempt for religious thinking. Most people
> don't. In fact, if they associate such attitudes with the new
> they'll reject the technologies, because their value system (however
> skewed you think it is) will lead them to conclude that those
> are inimical.

Right, but most people do have contempt for religious thinking that
diverges from the thinking of their own religion. All religions believe
that their's is the one and only true religion. Hence the conclusion: They
can't all be right, but they *can* all be wrong.

> Do you think you can manage to disentangle your own personal beliefs
> your analysis of how people who don't share those beliefs might behave?
> Otherwise, we aren't going to have a very fruitful discussion.

Tell me what you think my "own personal beliefs" are, and I'll tell you
how I arrived at my disbelief in theology. I learn most from unfruitful


Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses: consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind,
free will

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