Loc: New England, USA
Me too. I've seen many folks, even on this very board, who loathe him. For those who indulge in pseudo-science, they probably feel deep inside that Randi is ruining their fun and emotional investment they've placed in mysticism. Oh well.
As a Satanist, I have no problem with loving Randi's work and also being a practicioner of lesser and greater magic. Most of the herd doesn't seem to understand that Satanic "Third Side". I'm not a deluded mystic who blames my shortcomings on my astrological sign, but nor am I one of those angry atheists who would yell at somebody who bought me a Pisces mug. As for the ritual chamber, magic is just too subjective of an experience to lend to controlled experiments. Spoon bending and faith healing, however, are another story.
Loc: New England, USA
I love this quote from the first clip:
"I want to be, if I can, as sure of the world, the REAL world around me, as is possible. Now, you can only obtain that to a certain degree, but I want the greatest degree of control. I've never involved myself in narcotics of any kind. I don't smoke, I don't drink, because that can easily just fuzz the edges of my rationality [and] fuzz the edges of my reasoning powers, and I want to be as aware as I possibly can. That means giving up a lot of fantasies that might be conforting in some ways. But I'm willing to give that up in order to live in an actually real world, as close as I can get to it."
Here are some other quotes of his that I've transcribed from interviews and saved:
"There are only two varieties of faith, so far as I see it: blind faith, and reasoned faith. I have reasoned faith in the probability, the VERY strong probability, that the sun will rise again tomorrow, as it always has.[…] I know that from past experience, and I know that it's been going on for many millions of years, and I expect that it will go on for many millions more. I do that based on reason, and expectation, and past experience. But BLIND faith is, 'Oh I'm going to live forever. I just KNOW it. When I die, I won't really die, I'll go some place else. There, I don't want to think anything more about that. I've just decided that's the way it is. I've decided that's what I'm going to accept.' That's BLIND faith, because there is no evidence for that what so ever. The kind of faith that I have, is faith based upon evidence. I have faith in my friends, I have faith in the chair that I'm sitting on. I've been sitting on this for many years now. It hasn't collapse yet. When it does collapse, my faith will be broken in this chair, and I'll either get a new chair, or I'll fix it."
"I get people asking me all the time, 'But if you don't believe in heaven and hell, why would you live a moral life?' What they're REALLY saying in that statement is 'If I didn't have to fear hell, I would steal, I would rape, I would assault, I would kill. I would do all of those things that I just LOVE to do to some people and under some situtations. I'd get away with anything I could. But no, I fear going to hell and I want to go to heaven. Therefore, I go by the rules.' I find that so insulting."
I watched all the rest of those videos, especially the one with John Edwards. I could never understand why anyone would want to talk to dead people. If you are living and want to talk to dead people then you are obviously lacking substance in this life as well as human contact, if you are dead how could you talk to people? I admire James Randi, but if I was "psychic", I would bypass him and play the lottery and make more money.
That is always how I have felt about the "moral issue" with not having a faith. Morals to me are, and always have been, simply about common sense, and when people use that as a tool to defend their faith, you have to question what kind of people they would be if their God wasn't looking down at them all day, waving a finger, and saying "Naughty naughty!"
Loc: New England, USA
Originally Posted By: Phosis
That is always how I have felt about the "moral issue" with not having a faith. Morals to me are, and always have been, simply about common sense,
I heard Randi on an older radio interview where he broke down the source of "morality" quite well. To sum it up, he pointed out how we have first and foremost our own survival drive (get what we want and stay out of trouble). Next we have the drive to protect those in our family or others close to us, and after that we have an instinct for keeping our evironment protected. It's not too hard to see how more complex laws and codes of conduct arise from these. I would even argue that the second and third parts are mostly byproducts of the first; seeing close family or our surroundings in bad shape usually has its consequences for us in one way or another.
That is what I meant by natural, common sense morals.
It is like when you are a young child, and you accidentally hurt someone close to you, maybe by jabbing a shoulder into their head, or by digging a shovel into their foot by accident. (Sorry, Brad.) You naturally feel bad that you hurt that person.
Of course, it could be debatable that the feeling of guilt arises from the fact that "Mom might get mad at me", but as you get older, that same feeling exists, regardless of repercussions. If I hurt someones feelings somehow who is close to me, I do feel bad about it. Not because I "am going to hell", or because someone might be pissed off at me, but because I generally don't like to see people in pain, least of all those whom I care about.
I'm going to look into this guy's material further, it's pretty interesting.
"Mom might get mad at me" is a usual stigma that keeps children from doing socially (or logically) unacceptable options. It keeps it simple while the child isn't capable of fully reasoning things over and/or lacks maturity. This is comparable to the before stated fact that most people adhere to a set of morals based on the "mr.God might get mad at me" ideology.
Then comes the time when the child grows up, learns the reasoning behind accepted and unaccepted behaviors and can stand up on their own. A teacher of mines would say that accepting gods as a myths is part of this process of growing up, however most don't fully mature.
When I was about 10 year old I would play with electric sockets. My mother said she would ground me for doing it... I kept up with the activity (behind my mothers back) until my father gave me a striped wire and said "here, put THIS in the socket". I learned from this... the hard way.