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Deciphering The Magic Of Reality

hlovy (613473) writes | more than 2 years ago

Books 7

hlovy (613473) writes "My 7-year-old son, Max, and I co-wrote a review of Richard Dawkins’ children’s book, “The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True,” for Chemical & Engineering News. It was a wonderful collaboration with my son, who is already much brighter than I ever was at that age. I’m very proud of him. Here’s an excerpt:

"Yes, we get it. These myths/stories seem ridiculous, and Dawkins takes the tone he always takes when describing religious stories—a condescending one. Yet to somebody who was raised in religion but also understands science, the mocking tone also mocks culture. It is a difficult thing to describe to those who did not grow up with religion. I can devote my career to writing about science, yet also feel strangely defensive about the stories of my childhood. In his
previous book, “The God Delusion,” Dawkins compared this reaction to our evolutionary need to obey our parents. I do not know if this is true, since I have not obeyed my parents in decades. Nevertheless, I continue to feel possessive about stories I know to be myths simply because they are an important part of the way my parents raised me."

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Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38637050)

The author of this is myopically in denial. He probably lives in some comfortable, politically and socially moderate suburb. He "[assumes] that anybody other than the most fervent minority actually takes these stories literally." Biblical literalism is alive and well throughout the Western Hemisphere and Africa, and you better believe that most Muslims are literalists about the Quran. Put these factions together, and there are probably more than a billion religious literalists in the world today, and he pretends they don't exist because they're not his next door neighbors.

I don't doubt that his Jewish background contributes to his perspective, since Jewish culture and ethnic identity are so closely intertwined with Judaism, it becomes difficult for Jews to differentiate between the value of themselves vs. the value of their religion, and similarly attacks upon themselves vs. attacks upon their religion.

In the end, sensitivity and appeasement are not going to move society forward in this regard. People are free to believe what they want, but if they believe stupid things then a free society is free also to mock those things.

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

hlovy (613473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38637094)

Amazed at the assumptions being made about me based on zero knowledge. Is this the scientific method?

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38637258)

First, you wrote an article about your opinions and experience. Thus 'zero knowledge' is disingenuous hyperbole.

Secondly, constructing a hypothesis that explains current knowledge is part of the scientific method, but I am not a scientist, nor do I have to be, as this is not a scientific matter.

Wake me up when you are able to address the substance of what I said, and not the context in which I said it. I've already done you that much courtesy.

(Oh, and it's astoundingly hypocritical that you approach me with condescending sarcasm after reproaching Dawkins for it.)

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

hlovy (613473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38637330)

You chose to attack me, rather than the ideas, alone, based on assumptions with no basis in fact. Anyway, I ordinarily do not respond to personal attacks, but this one actually made me laugh. Unfortunately, I do not live the comfortable suburban life of your imagination and need to get to work in order to pay the bills. No luxury of time for a useless back-and-forth. Bye.

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638034)

What you said was myopic, and I demonstrated that it was. Whatever assumptions I made about your life are ultimately immaterial and extraneous to the point, but you have made no counterargument, which is unsurprising since you can't argue away a billion or more people.

My point about your heritage is actually a summary of a very commonly held conclusion among sociologists, and is frequently acknowledged by Jews themselves, who style themselves as "Jewish atheists" or "cultural Jews". The fact that you somehow see this as a personal attack further validates the point that you have trouble making the distinction.

The last point was also general, so your attempt at claiming the mantle of victimhood whilst simultaneously painting me as some kind of vapid bully is soundly deflated.

Also, I'm pretty sure you are a liar, and do live a comfortable suburban life. I know that you are Director of Communications for Arrowhead Research Corp. in Pasadena, CA. I used to spend a lot of time there, and I know Pasadena, CA is so suburban it could be the dictionary definition. If you want I can do a little more digging and find your home address and prove that you are a liar, and that you lie just to win petty arguments on the internet which you are too much of a coward to address in substance. How's that for a personal attack?

Don't worry, I'll let you keep the rest of your privacy and scurry off, I don't waste my time arguing with petty, cowardly liars.

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

hlovy (613473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638126)

Even funnier. Haven't been with Arrowhead in a number of years. I don't live in Pasadena (and never had, even during the brief time I was with Arrowhead). Funny thing, this Google. Anyway, thanks for some comedy relief for today with your huffing and sputtering. Back to work.

Re:Sentimentalism masquerading as insight. (1)

hlovy (613473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638166)

I promise, last post. but this was even funnier, Sherlock. Haven't been with Arrowhead in a number of years. I don't live in Pasadena (and never had, even during the brief time I was with Arrowhead). Funny thing, this Google. Anyway, thanks for some comedy relief for today with your huffing and sputtering. Back to work.
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