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Science

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk 937

New submitter anlashok writes: Atheism and science face a real challenge: To frame an account of science, or nature, that leaves room for meaning. According to this article, atheists have pinned their flag to Mr. Spock's mast. But they need Captain Kirk. Quoting: "I'm pro-science, but I'm against what I'll call "Spock-ism," after the character from the TV show Star Trek. I reject the idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior. Spock-ism gives us a false picture of science. It gives us a false picture of humankind's situation. We are not disinterested knowers. The natural world is not a puzzle. ... The big challenge for atheism is not God; it is that of providing an alternative to Spock-ism. We need an account of our place in the world that leaves room for value."
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

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  • illogical captain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2014 @06:54PM (#47898811)

    appealing to emotions only prolongs the time taken to master them.

    • Re:illogical captain (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:15PM (#47898923)

      lol - I want to know what any of these subjects have to do with each other. Science has nothing to do with religion or lack there of. Emotion can inspire science, provide motivation, and excitement for the results but it has no place in the application or interpretation otherwise it's just opinion. That's why psychology will never be a real science and will eventually be replaced by neurology.

      • Re:illogical captain (Score:5, Informative)

        by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @10:45PM (#47899797)

        Actually, it does. Religion is a subject of Science, as Science can already explain it pretty well (and show that it has no validity). Of course, atheists do not need to be physicalists, as physicalists are basically denying all agency, self-awareness and free will. That is rather stupid, as there is good indication that these things do exist.

        The solution, is, of course not the clutches of religion, which serves to manipulate, control and amass wealth and/or power for a few, but the different forms of dualism. (No, dualism is not religion. Its most basic form merely states that there seems to be more than physical reality and that human being seem to be not purely physical beings. That does not open the door for any "god" or such nonsense. It does open the door for some form of reincarnation or continued existence before birth and after death though, and that can and should serve to give some basis of personal ethics as a means of self-advancement. Yes, I know that is Spock talking here. But Spock is right.)

        As to psychology: It is a real science. It deals with statistics and larger numbers, not really with individuals though. That is usually misunderstood.

      • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday September 14, 2014 @12:02AM (#47900129)

        Its really quite simple. They want to politicize, ideologue, and factionalize science.

        Science has clout. Scientists carry weight when they say something. That is valuable to community organizers, politicians, opinion makers, etc. The problem is that scientists often refuse to cooperate. And its often hard to claim your political position is backed by science when there are just as many scientists that disagree with your political position as agree with it.

        To that end, they must make science less "spock-like". Spock isn't going to take sides in your petty political battles. He doesn't care. And you can't use his words to undermine your opponent because if you read between the lines there tends to be so many qualifiers that it isn't worth anything.

        So... they want to make science more about emotion... opinion... feelings.

        The dead give away is that he's saying "atheists need X"... atheists are not a faction like Catholics or Muslims or Hindus. Simply being an atheist doesn't mean you actually share many values with other atheists. Its not a complete ideology. Its just a a rejection of theism. Nothing more. Its like trying to build a political coalition around people that don't like hamburgers. Sure... you all don't like hamburgers, but do you have anything else in common? Not really.

        Yet he's attempting to build something around and advocate for anti-theism and to do so he suggests that science should be emotionalized. Effectively, to turn atheism into a viable ideology or religion in its own right they have to all believe things. Rather then simply concluding that god is illogical... they have to have a common culture. And from there you might build a political coalition and cultural core. The objective being to turn atheists into a viable political force which will be used by the politicians to fight their stupid wars amongst each other.

        Which is really all this about... the tools and minions of those political machines fishing for cannon fodder for their campaigns.

        They'll pervert anything to get just one more meat shield for the grind.

        Looks like this particular article failed hilariously... While appealing to trek nerds is always amusing... they seem to have forgotten that those same nerds are going to respond to it in their own way... which is to take this pathetic article seriously and rip it to splinters.

  • Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2014 @06:55PM (#47898819)

    Opinion shot to pieces by the best comment in the thread on the NPR link, the one with 477+ up votes and only 432 total comments, as of this post. Basically, show me who these Spokists are? [crickets]

    • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RelaxedTension ( 914174 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:10PM (#47898897)
      Yup, that comment nailed it. It's a strawman argument, lacking an understanding of what actual science and the scientific process is. It has nothing to do with atheism, but atheists flock to it because it gives them the proof and rationality they crave.
      • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:22PM (#47898959) Journal

        Any references why/where/when Atheists flock to science and religious peolple not? As far as I know many top scientists proclaim to believe in god ... so do less believers flock to science? Or is this just some idiotic argument? What exactly do you mean anyway with "flock to science"?
        Now in a time where atheists no longer need to fear to be surpressed, you suddenly realize that they are perhpas a little more pro science than "bible belt people"?
        Sorry this whole story is some attempt to fill a noring summer void.
        There is nothing 'special' about atheists, they are just irdinary people.

        • Any references why/where/when Atheists flock to science and religious peolple not?

          I didn't say religious people didn't, actually, only that atheists as a whole do, so perhaps you are reading into it a bit. But, I can't say I've ever hear an atheist denouncing evolution... Just saying.

          As far as I know many top scientists proclaim to believe in god ... so do less believers flock to science?

          Here's a quote, that I believe to be reasonably accurate, from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "Among the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 7% believed in God, 72.2% did not, and 20.8% were agnostic or had doubts" I don't really need to elaborate any more on that one, do I?

          Sorry this whole story is some attempt to fill a noring summer void. There is nothing 'special' about atheists, they are just irdinary people.

          Agreed, and I certainly never said otherwi

        • Sorry this whole story is some attempt to fill a boring summer void.

          The pedant in me desperately wants to point out that Spock is half human and feels emotions too.

        • by kuzb ( 724081 )

          Many religious people depart from science the moment it begins to conflict with their own insane views of how the world (and the universe) works. Some religious people feel that there is no contradiction between science and religion, and rationalize it as science discovering God's rules. Honestly I don't have a problem with this, since we don't really know who (if anyone) made the rules.

          Atheists tend to like science because it's grounded in fact, and isn't bound to blind faith which I find is also reasona

      • It's a strawman argument, lacking an understanding of what actual science and the scientific process is.

        And yet it is a common misunderstanding about the scientific method, namely:

        "If it can't be proven by the scientific method, it must not be true."

        This misunderstanding is false because there are things that are true that we know from outside the scientific method, namely by reason (e.g. Calculus and other philosophy of math) and by faith (religion).

        The grandparent comment asks "show me the Spockists". T

    • Let's just link it: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/... [npr.org]

      Ultimately I think the article writer needs to define what he even means by science. Saying that you reject the idea that science is logical is like saying you reject the idea that scissors are logical. It implies that he's using a synecdoche and expecting everybody to follow. Maybe you can reject the idea that scissors are logical choices of weapons to equip on Roman soldiers. Similarly, he probably rejects the logic of science...something...I'm not

  • Waaa? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MouseTheLuckyDog ( 2752443 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @06:56PM (#47898823)

    Seems some atheists are smoking some very potent stuff.
    As well as some slashdot editors.

  • twaddle

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2014 @06:59PM (#47898839)

    Our Holy Trinity?

    Our Captain, His Spock, and the Holy Bones.

  • I've been deistic for decades. It discounts the idea that god is an old man on the mountain, but maintains the idea that there is purpose and meaning to everything, not just man.

  • by Cabriel ( 803429 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:01PM (#47898849)

    Science is agnostic. It makes no statements about God, gods or Non-gods. Science doesn't need to place value on anything. Atheists don't own science and science is not a religion. By trying to make it the Atheists' religious thing, Science becomes weakened and non-credible.

    I'm *not* saying Atheism is weak and non-credible. However, trying to make Science into a religious icon will certain cause all of humanity to suffer.

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      The problem is even atheists still feel a need to believe in *something*. Which is silly. Planting Science as your God still means you have a God and are not an atheist.

      Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't willing to accept the simple credo of "do good". Which really is all that most religions were ever telling people in the first place, with varying details of what they consider "good". People don't want to think about what "good" is -- they want someone to *tell* them so they can follow some leade

      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:18PM (#47898929) Journal

        Why should atheists feel the need to believe in something?
        That is a bold statement of yours, nelieving in live itself, or your own goals or your children is by far enough.
        Atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of religion. I know no atheist who is seeking a replacement 'believe', we are simply not wired to "beleive" in something or have "faith".
        It is more the opposite around: obviously there is a brain region that is particular active in religious believers, oops that was science.

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        "a lot of people aren't willing to accept the simple credo of "do good"."

        ITYM "Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!"
      • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:58PM (#47899131)

        The problem is even atheists still feel a need to believe in *something*. Which is silly. Planting Science as your God still means you have a God and are not an atheist.

        Nonsense. I mean, that tired old argument merely shows the utter lack of ability to think in the manner of anyone else.

        God? Faith? Religion?

        Do atheists kneel down every evening and pray - to science?

        Do atheists go to the holy Church of nothing every Sunday and pray - to nothing?

        Do atheists have radio stations that other atheists preach to them from some book and ask for money? For nothing?

        Do athiests go on missions from their atheist church to convert people - to nothing?

        Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't willing to accept the simple credo of "do good". Which really is all that most religions were ever telling people in the first place, with varying details of what they consider "good".

        Having read the Bible, i find there is a whole lot of immoral activity going on, most of which is blessed or performed by da big guy. So I guess that must be a really big part of the religion. "Doing good" in many cases apparently means killing Gays, non virgin wives, rebellious teenagers, witches, blasphemers, and people who work on the sabbath.

      • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:09PM (#47899187)

        > The problem is even atheists still feel a need to believe in *something*

        Nope.

        > with varying details of what they consider "good".

        By that you mean: bigotry, misogyny, blood sacrifice, slavery, and war. Also severe punishment for free speech, not worshiping as told. And of course, must give loads of money to those humans who claim to have a direct connection to "god." Finally, do not use reason, do not think critically, just accept everything on faith - that is the ultimate good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Orgasmatron ( 8103 )

        Congratulations, msobkow, your point went over a bunch of heads.

        To the four or five people that posted "Nuh uh" in reply, he isn't saying that atheists "should" feel a need to believe, and he's not saying that "you" feel a need to believe.

        The human experience gives a clear indication that faith is a near-universal drive. Even if you are really immune rather than delusional, the bulk of your peers do not seem to share your immunity.

        G.K. Chesterton may have been engaging in hyperbole when he said "When peopl

      • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @10:46PM (#47899803)

        The problem is even atheists still feel a need to believe in *something*. Which is silly. Planting Science as your God still means you have a God and are not an atheist.

        Because people like you cannot comprehend the difference between faith and belief. You might have faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins. You might believe that also, but the important thing is that you have faith, not to be shaken, no need of proof, just faith.

        I believe that there will be a sunrise tomorrow morning. I do not need faith for that belief. I have celestial mechanics to tell me that will happen, which can be proven beyond a doubt.

        My belief that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, does not make it my religion.

    • Science may be agnostic, but it's conclusions are not. Those who understand how to correctly apply the scientfic method know that the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion (the alternative hypothesis). Without sufficient evidence, we are forced to reject the alternative hypothesis, so, when asking whether gods exist, the scientific method demands that we reject this hypothesis due to a lack of evidence.
    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:59PM (#47899377) Homepage Journal

      Science is agnostic. It makes no statements about God, gods or Non-gods. Science doesn't need to place value on anything. Atheists don't own science and science is not a religion. By trying to make it the Atheists' religious thing, Science becomes weakened and non-credible.

      Don't anthropomorphize science. It hates that.

      You're absolutely right that science doesn't need to place value on anything. Science is a process, a methodology and, to a lesser extent, a culture. It doesn't have needs. And yet besides being completely right, you also completely miss the point.

      Science doesn't need anything, atheism doesn't need anything... but people do need something. People find the emotionless, purely rational "Spock" view of science deeply unfulfilling (ignoring for the moment that spock wasn't wholly rational or emotionless, and neither was Data, even without his emotion chip), and therefore they seek something else, something more, something, in fact, bigger than themselves which (somewhat paradoxically) gives value to them and makes them more than just "chemical scum on the surface of a typical planet", as Hawking put it. Otherwise, what's the point? Different people feel this need in varying degrees, and atheists tend to be people who are towards the less "needy" end of that particular spectrum (which doesn't make them superior or inferior).

      Atheists who see religion as a problem to be solved, and wish to convince people to stop seeking gods find this need for something in their religious fellows to be an obstacle... because the atheists have nothing to offer to fill that human need. At least, that's the argument.

      I recently read a book which I think has an excellent answer to this. The book is "The Beginning of Infinity", by David Deutsch, and in it Deutsch makes a compelling argument that, rather than being irrelevant chemical scum, people (a term which Deutsch defines, and of which humans are the only example we know) are objectively the single most significant phenomenon in the universe (actually, the multiverse, since Deuetsch is a proponent of the many-worlds hypothesis). The reason we're so incredibly important not only provides value but also purpose, and I think that value and purpose can fill the need.

      Deutsch argues that the reason humans have become people and therefore important is because we've made "the jump to universality", by which Deutsch means that we have become "universal explainers", capable of developing an infinite stream of ever-better and ever-more-detailed explanations of how the universe works, and therefore also "universal constructors", capable ultimately (given the necessary knowledge, which we have the capacity to obtain) of constructing anything which is not physically impossible (note that universal construction also implies the ability to overcome any inherent deficits in our brains that might impose limits on our capacity as universal explainers).

      As to how those characteristics make us the most important phenomena in the universe, Deutsch provides several examples. I'll relate two of them. First, he points out that we believe -- with reason -- that if there are other people in the universe it is highly likely that we will be able to detect them, even if they're hundreds, thousands or millions of light years away. This belief is the rationale for the SETI project, and it is based on the simple observation that people, when they become radio engineers, produce signals which are distinguishable from any phenomenon that exists in a universe without people. More succinctly, people are one of few phenomena which can be detected over interstellar distances. This puts people in a class of cosmic significance that at least rivals that of stars.

      Second, he points out that as universal constructors, who can ultimately create any arrangement of matter and energy which is not prohibited by the laws of physics, once we learn how, that we're actually more significant than stars, supe

  • Is it strange if you base your beliefs on rational foundations, but base your actions on other concepts? I don't believe in god because I see no evidence. I sometimes play golf, which makes no rational sense, but I enjoy it. I'm not sure what values I apply to either of these things.
    • IMHO, everything that people do can be explained by the ultimate goal of enjoying. If you do something because it makes rational sense, then perhaps you're the kind of person that enjoys rationality. I certainly get a kick out of doing math and science, and I try not to make the excuse that I'm doing it for some obscure higher purpose. People also tend to feel good when they help others, it's just what has kept mankind alive. If you say you exercise to keep yourself fit for work, then perhaps it's the work

    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )

      I don't believe in god because I see no evidence.

      If you need evidence, then it isn't belief, it's research. Most people that believe in god don't claim to have any evidence, just faith.

  • by ceview ( 2857765 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:14PM (#47898911)
    I think we need Jean-luc
  • 200 years ago. (Score:5, Informative)

    by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:15PM (#47898921)

    There is already value without God. Kant derived moral judgements on purely secular bases 200 years ago. The "deontology" he ushered in is now the single most common ethical view held by philosophers today (25.9% according to Bourget & Chalmers 2013), and Kant scholars are at pains to teach it to students and anyone else who would listen.

    The problem for many people is they suppose that determining what is wrong and what is right must be easy. Why think this? Why should it be easy? Do you fully understand Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem? Probably not, but he gave it. Do you fully understand Kant's deduction of the categorical imperative in particular and his deduction of the possibility of synthetic a priory judgements in general? Probably not, but he gave them.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:21PM (#47898949) Homepage Journal

    Author is arguing against a strawman (or at least a minority view) form of atheism which claims to be above value judgements. Of course one brings value judgements to the table, with philosophy. People've been doing that for a very, very long time. So what?

    Author also seems to not understand Star Trek that well - while they're a planet of hat, more-or-less, Vulcans were known to live by a philosophy, and presumably like all systems of logic, the Vulcan one sits ultimately on a philosophical foundation, not some bs "a priori" claims that the author wants to warn us against.

  • A combination of both sides rather than a polarized either or.
  • And that's the problem; it's impossible to justify a value system purely from an atheist perspective; you've got to add some value such as 'the good of society', 'the utility of the individual', 'the success of the species'. In practice atheists tend to absorb the dominant values of their society; thus often 'love your neighbour', usually defining 'neighbour' in the extensive way that Jesus offers in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. But actually there's not a terribly good reason for doing so, and it's be
    • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:42PM (#47899037)

      And that's the problem; it's impossible to justify a value system purely from an atheist perspective;

      And there you go wrong from the very start. There is no "atheist perspective". Being an atheist just means that you don't fall for that nonsense about gods above us that Christians, Muslims and many others claim to believe. That's it. There is no "atheist perspective", just like there is no "people who had their appendix removed" perspective.

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:49PM (#47899069)

      That's incorrect. Rational philosophies and even evolution provide non-theistic justifications for altruism.

      It in fact looks now that altruism is a survival trait that is hard wired in the human brain through natural selection.

      http://www.newscientist.com/ar... [newscientist.com]

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:33PM (#47899279)

      And that's the problem; it's impossible to justify a value system purely from an atheist perspective; you've got to add some value such as 'the good of society', 'the utility of the individual', 'the success of the species'.

      What? Are you trying to say that without a belif in some God, that it is not possible to understand what is good for a society, or an individual, or a collection of individuals?

      That is so severely fucked up that I almost hink you might be trolling here. The idea that I cannot have a concept that a social construct is good or bad is just plin wrong. In fact, I can find many many things that are religion based that are very bad for society.

      I know quite a few fundamentalists. Just as an example, many of them follow the idea of dominion of man. They also believe that the end of days is upon us. And in conversations with them, they have no intention of conservation, or environmental concerns. As one put it when asked about what future generations will do for fuel - "Fuck future generations" Odd he'd use that language, but that self serving attitude is not that uncommon.

      To me, that is completely immoral, self centered, and religion based.

      In practice atheists tend to absorb the dominant values of their society; thus often 'love your neighbour', usually defining 'neighbour' in the extensive way that Jesus offers in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. But actually there's not a terribly good reason for doing so, and it's been a minority view down the centuries.

      One does not need to know Jesus to understand that there is a way that people would prefer to be treated, so it does not take God to let me know that if I don't want my neighbor busting a cap in my ass, or running off with my wife or flat screen TV, that I might treat him in a respectful manner. It doesn't take a biblical outlook to understand that society in general needs people to act in a civilized manner.

      And of course the excesses of the church pale into insignificance compared with the horrors of Stalin and Mao - which is not to argue we Christians haven't committed some appalling crimes, but that all need to be given the right to condemn some of those flying the same flag.

      While you are trying to head off one of the standard arguments here, You have to admit that Mao and Stalin didn't have a multi millennia aged book telling them to commit their crimes against humanity.

      No, one of the worst things is for a basically moral person to come up against some of the immoral and evil stories in the holy Bible.

      Just as an example, I use this one a lot because it is so incredibly evil, is In Sodom, where Lot offers his daughters to be gang raped by men of the town - the evil aside from the horrific act of his pimping out his daughters to their possible death, he was condemning them to being stoned to death if they ever married. Then when he and his family left Sodom, God Killed his wife because she looked back at the town. Umm, exactly why? Then just to cap off this sordid little tale, Lot's daughters got him drunk, and fucked him. Both of them on separate occasions. Then they had his inbred children.

      And yet, there was no condemnation of either Lot trying to let his daughters get gang raped, or of his little incestuous act. This same God, who in the old testament apparently loved to kill people for seemingly minor stuff, killed Lot's wife over almost nothing.

      Just one abysmal and immoral story among many.

      So my good Christian person, don't even stoop to lecture me or any atheists on your moral superiority. Because you don't have any legitimate claim to it.

      • Tsk, you don't understand the bible or christians. This was old testament. This is not valid anymore... unless it is. ;-)

    • by meglon ( 1001833 )
      You're making the mistake of conflating "religion" and "value system." Those two things are NOT the same. Everyone has a value system, not everyone is religious. There are many religious people out there who do despicable things every day purely because they're not decent people to start with, and your God scaring them, or giving them the promise of heaven if they're good, isn't enough to break them of their nature.

      As for the implication that Stalin and Mao acted the way they did because they were driv
  • ...by presuming that all atheists are alike.

    It's like when atheists are dumb enough to treat all Christians alike, or Muslims, <Insert Religious Stereotype Here>...

    • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:31PM (#47899255)

      > It's like when atheists are dumb enough to treat all Christians alike, or Muslims, ...

      No it's not like that at all.

      When you join an organization that espouses certain values, then you must agree with those values. Otherwise why would you join?

      For example, if somebody joins the KKK, it would hardly be wrong to think that person is a racist. And if somebody joined NAMBLA, then it is fair to believe that person believes it is okay to molest children.

      Atheists have no set ideology. For that matter, theists may not either - unless they belong to some organization that has some specified sort of ideology.

      But if you are Christian, Muslim, whatever; then you are claiming that you ascribe to those values.

  • by egarland ( 120202 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:38PM (#47899023)

    Immorality is much easier to excuse when you believe there is a divine order to things. When someone is poor, or suffering or has had a bad run of luck, belief in a divine plan makes it easy to see that as deserved, instead of unfortunate. When someone is rich, powerful and/or fortunate, you're more likely to see them as superior and deserving of their good fortune if you are religious.

    Every time you hear someone thank god that for answering their prayers and blessing them with something, keep in mind that intrinsically behind that statement is the idea that god has made a judgement call and found them deserving of having their prayers answered. It's a round about way of saying "God chose this for me, because he thinks I deserve it." It always rubs me as subtly arrogant to imply that whatever good fortune you are enjoying isn't simply good fortune, but it's a reward you earned because god found you deserving of it, and thusly found everyone else who doesn't receive that same thing, undeserving.

  • Hollywood Logic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:43PM (#47899041)

    "I'm pro-science, but I'm against what I'll call "Spock-ism," after the character from the TV show Star Trek. I reject the idea that science is logical, purely rational, that it is detached and value-free, and that it is, for all these reasons, morally superior.

    "Spock-ism" is really a Straw Vulcan [tvtropes.org] where logic is forcefully neutered.

    For example, Counceller Troi beats Lieutenant Data in a game of chess, claiming that it's a game of intuition. This ignores that computers can consistently win games of chess against anyone relying on intuition, and where intuition needs to be first built up on logic. (Really, just play chess intuitively against modern AIs on their maximum setting.)

  • That is science. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:51PM (#47899085)

    What you want is an ideology... a belief system. Science is not a belief system.

  • Spock is awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @07:57PM (#47899129) Homepage

    He's a moral sociopath. An excellent example of a kid without regular feelings of empathy and love raised with good principles that allowed him to be a benefit to society and those around him.

    Unlike Dexter where they had to cop-out and fall back on the typical "people can't change who they are" crap.

    As crazy as it sounds, Spock is a role model for some of us less emotionally endowed.

  • Poor understanding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:03PM (#47899155)

    I can't figure out which one Alva Noë has less understanding of - atheism, science, or Star Trek.

    Apparently Noë's conclusion is that science does not make a very good religion. Since science is not a religion at all, that is unsurprising.

    Atheism is not a religion. People who are atheists do not believe the same thing, they are people who lack a certain kind of belief. And they are certainly not people who have adopted science as their religion.

    Atheism is a belief that there are no supernatural deities. Some atheists are fine with religious metaphors, they simply accept them as metaphors with no supernatural reality behind them. Atheism is not a rejection of values. In fact, atheists embrace the challenge of living lives that they must make meaningful on their own without having a religion tell them what that meaning is supposed to be ahead of time.

    Spock is a fictional character.

  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:04PM (#47899159) Homepage Journal
    One of the arguments for the existence of God is that we are inclined to worship. It is argued that we would not have this god-directed faculty if there were no object upon which to exercise this faculty. Apparently this article urges that hero worship be substituted. Charisma over reason....
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @08:13PM (#47899203)

    Spock for his logic and dedication to the scientific principle. Kirk so we can nail the occasional hot alien babe.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Saturday September 13, 2014 @10:35PM (#47899743)

    > “If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He has so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a Supreme Being.” — Spock, The God Thing, by Gene Roddenberry

    This quote was recently making the rounds on Facebook. It’s taken from a newly discovered script, what The Complete Star Trek Library is calling “Gene Roddenberry’s Last Star Trek Novel.” Roddenberry was an ardent atheist and it appears he was constantly working his critique of religion into the series. The God Thing is a testimony to Roddenberry’s atheistic aims.

    http://mikeduran.com/2012/08/star-treks-loopy-deity/

  • One of the things I hated about TOS, TNG, etc was while the other species have centuries of culture, humans had none. Maybe it was Shatner's vision: Earth had a cultures 'reset.' Humanity became largely docile. Starfleet seems to be for those who didn't quite fit in, but even those humans abandoned history as abhorrent. Most enjoyments were alien in origin. Pets were imports from another planet. No one played basketball or soccer, two games that should be easy to export to starships with artificial gravity. TOS used history for morality plays but never tied it to their present day beyond "oh there was a nuclear war.' Yes TNG had poker. Riker was into jazz, but who else? Secular Humanism as depicted in Star Trek was pretty sterile, and civilizations are never that clean.

    As for this view on atheism, it's the same sterility mistake. Being Atheist doesn't mean you worship science. Being a scientist doesn't eliminate your ability to appreciate spectacle, beauty, art, or music.

    Being an Atheist doesn't protect you from false beliefs. There are Atheists who prefer anecdotal evidence over rigorous scientific testing. They follow politicians as if they held the keys to enlightenment. They may look the other way when a professional athlete slaps his wife around or destroys a drive through window because he didn't get his hot sauce.

    Even Spock required regular pon farr.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday September 14, 2014 @12:45AM (#47900281) Homepage

    Business used to have a completely secular moral compass. Rotary International [rotary.org] has their The Four-Way Test, a "nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships." Rotarians recite it at club meetings.

    Of the things we think, say or do

    • Is it the TRUTH?
    • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
    • Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
    • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

    This is a morality for business. That's a concept that sounds archaic today. It was mainstream from about 1940 to 1975. Many small business owners used to belong to Rotary, especially in small towns. What went wrong? That's a long story, and has to do with the decline in the political power of small business.

    Anyway, that's a completely non-religious moral system which is still around and once was mainstream.

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