A Load of Bright
An atheist's views on religion and the supernatural

Tim Minchin and a Brief Update


Greetings to you all, that is to any readers who are still here and still awake.  I have risen from my own slumber but suspect that this will, alas, be a brief return.  My reason for writing after so long is simply too important for me not to try to exploit the modest popularity this blog once held.

I wrote many moons ago in my article The Importance of Being Satirical about the pivotal role humour plays in communicating important messages to the masses.  Tim Minchin is a staggeringly intelligent atheist and sceptic in his own right, and more than adequately equipped to write a serious blog.  Fortunately for us all, he is also a phenomenally gifted pianist, singer, writer and comedian, which means we are able to hear his views through the more pleasurable medium of music.  The level of intelligence and comedy in his writing is almost as breath taking as his performance, which is always immaculately flawless.  Despite the most intricate, articulate lyrics, no word is ever stumbled, nor note ever fumbled (sorry, I’ve listened to so many of his songs and poems in the last week that I’m actually starting to think in rhyme!).

Well I could wax lyrical all day (cringing pun very much intended, my apologies) but I would rather let the great man speak for himself.  I am only going to link to one clip directly, but I advise you all to enjoy the many songs available on Youtube, or better still go to his website and purchase his CDs/DVDs.

This is a nine minute beat poem called Storm.  From now on, this is what I will use to inform people I meet of my views on the world.  It is, quite simply, a masterpiece.

As to any return to writing for me, I am not in a position to make any announcement.  I am in the process of reading heavily on Ayn Rand’s Objectivism.  As I agree with everything I’ve read so far, I would probably call myself a student of the philosophy.  I suspect that by the end of the year I will have to make a decision to either accept it completely or reject it, at least partially.

If I do begin writing again I will probably start a new site under a different name.  While my atheism is secure, my political and philosophical beliefs have shifted considerably since I was writing articles on this site.  A new, clearly defined start would certainly be necessary.  If and when I do I will announce and link on this site, and I certainly intend to leave A Load of Bright available for the time being (although I do have a backlog of comments to approve – my apologies if you are still waiting unless your comment is simply Christian preaching or abuse in which case give up, I’m just going to delete it).

I hope you are all well.  I am, as ever, reachable by email.  Any comments, regarding Tim Minchin or my perpetual inertia are welcome.

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8 Responses to “Tim Minchin and a Brief Update”

  1. Hi and welcome back, however briefly.

    I couldn’t agree more about Tim Minchin, although my personal favourite is “If I didn’t have you”.

    I’ve not read any of Ayn Rand’s stuff, but it was discussed in Michael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things, which I reviewed a while ago.

    Take care,
    Eshu

  2. Tim is indeed fantastic.

    Be wary with Rand – you might find it worth looking up the cultish aspects of the objectivists.

    I fear they will not allow you to pick and choose – they claim absolute solutions and are absolutely confident that they are completely right and anyone else is wrong – a red flag if ever there was one.

    Regards,

    Psi

  3. Hi Psi, I haven’t heard anything from you since I stopped you commenting your drivel on my blog. It’s a shame that our viewpoints departed so much. We had so much in common when it was just theist bashing until your cherished collectivist notions were questioned, and then all of sudden I was cultish like Objectivism. Hmm, what does that remind me of?

    It’s funny when opponents of Objectivism use lies and misunderstandings to try and attack the philosophy.

    It’s even funnier than they use facts AS IF they were insults:

    “they claim absolute solutions and are absolutely confident that they are completely right and anyone else is wrong”

    You’re dead right. I think I am absolutely right and if you disagree you are absolutely wrong. There’s a word for this: confidence. It’s not my fault if you don’t have the courage to choose an ideological position and commit to it. Don’t paint moral integrity as a red flag.

    I am absolutely certain evolution is a fact.
    I am absolutely certain god does not exist.
    I am absolutely certain that 2 + 2 = 4.
    I am absolutely certain that I exist.

    Aren’t you as absolutely certain of these things??

    I am absolutely certain that man must use reason to survive.
    I am absolutely certain that Rights must be absolute in order for this to happen.
    I am absolutely certain therefore that free market capitalism is the only way to guarantee these Rights.

    My response was aimed more for the benefit of Tobe and other readers. I don’t wish to derail this thread further, but I thought it was important to not let the “absolute” comment go unanswered.

  4. Oh, and Tim Minchin is absolutely ( :p ) incredible. His intelligence, wit, technique, and dedication is a testament to man’s mind.

    Artists like him are an inspiration to me, and an affirmation of what man, any man, can achieve when he puts his mind to something.

  5. Hi Evanescent,

    Not changed a bit I see.

    You banned my for posting links to peer reviewed research that didn’t agree with your assertions about what the facts should be – something to do with animal behaviours and humans I believe. An action that was very eloquent

    I think that “provisional rights” are much more rational.

    I still think that democracy is the best form of government.

    Looked into the stats yet about tax raising versus charity? No need? You seemed a bit like the pope’s folks who refused to look at the craters on the moon through Galileo’s telescope because they knew they weren’t there! Have you changed at all?

    I still see you throwing out insults and accusations rather than engaging in reasonable conversation.

    I agree with you about the maths.

    Otherwise your “confidence” appears as simple fundamentalism to me.

    Eshu – that’s a great book recommendation – I seem to think that Evan thinks Shermer is all part of the anti-Rand conspiracy don’t you Evan?

    There is more comment about Rand in his “The Science of Good and Evil” – very cultish behaviour indeed!

    Regards,

    Psi

  6. I don’t think is an anti-Rand conspiracy. Once again, attributing opinions and ideas that you don’t have a clue about.

    I do not want to derail this thread, however some things cannot be left:

    Psi said
    “You banned my for posting links to peer reviewed research that didn’t agree with your assertions about what the facts should be”

    This is a LIE. You were banned because of your constant stream of irrational and innane comments that never stayed on topic. You never answered the questions put to you, and you kept posting emotional baseless nonsense. You were not there for an honest discussion and I lost the patience and inclination to argue with you. Rather than let you use my blog as a forum for your ideas, I banned you.

    See comment 22 on this article:

    http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2008/02/02/the-problem-with-atheists/

    If you read that article and also the subsequent comments you will see exactly what I’m talking about.

    Of course, if I wouldn’t have taken the time to address this LIE, how many other people would be left with a warped opinion of Objectivists? Now, imagine how many other distortions and lies Psi has told over the net about Objectivism with no counter-argument…

    It’s not the fault of Rand or Objectivism that a small number of people latched onto her and repeated her ideas verbatim without understanding what they were saying. It’s how somebody acts that determines their rationality and true beliefs, don’t you agree? You Stalin-following communist immoral atheist who believes that fish evolved into horses! (See what I did there? Notice the irony?)

    The problem with Shermer and the rest of his ilk is that they proceed from an already assumed POSITION, a FOUNDATION, and then attack other worldviews and make assumptions about the world and morality as if their position, their foundation, their PHILOSOPHY, was a priori.

    What they miss is that Objectivism is a complete philosophy from the start to the end, something that Shermer and the New Atheists and their followers lack. Objectivism refutes their “humanist” ideas at the STARTING point. That is something Psi couldn’t get his head around and why he never made sense. He didn’t know what he was talking about, because he didn’t know where he coming from.

    One final example which I feel is necessary to justify myself in the light of Psi’s lies and expose his hypocrisy is the discussion about animals rights we had on my blog.

    Psi seems to think there is evidence that animals are capable of, amongst other things, “moral action” – (comment 23 on the link above):

    Can Psi define ‘Rights’?
    Can Psi deny that morality is a code of values to guide decisions?
    Can Psi deny that morality implies the ability to consciously choose the good and avoid the evil?
    Can Psi deny that it is only because one has the freedom and reason to make long-reaching decisions over a lifespan that one needs morality?
    Can Psi deny that necessity of freedom of action is necessary for morality to exist?
    Can Psi deny that a rational and moral being is responsible for his own actions?

    Now, Psi claims that ANIMALS are consciously capable of choosing the good, and deliberately avoiding the evil. That they are capable of making a choice based, not on instinct or basic problem-solving that even a computer can do, but because they can know and understand that a certain action is evil and choose to do otherwise. That, given their accountability in this regard, they should be punished and and imprisoned (the same way humans are) for their immoral actions. And should be “given” Rights in society as long as they are moral and rational, such as: the Right to Live, the Right to not be eaten, the Right to get a job, the Right to benefits, a car, a lover, a partner, a house with a garage; the Right to pursue their dreams and build businesses and create wealth; to chase their values and improve their quality of life, to make their world a better place for themselves and those they care about, to not harm other rational beings and respect the Rights of all other beings with Rights, presumably most “higher” animals, instead of hunting in packs to bring them down, ripping them to pieces, stalking them, chasing them, living in dirt and their own waste, scrounging for food and scraps from one moment to the next.

    Do you see the point now?

    Now, instead of trying to address that paragraph, go back to what I said originally: “define Rights.” That’s all. Just do that. Psi never could. He couldn’t define Rights, he couldn’t explain them, he couldn’t justify his notion of Rights, he couldn’t reference them with reality, and he couldn’t show how they are necessarily true based on reality. ALL OF WHICH I could do, and did do, and can do.

    What did Psi do? Just repeat himself time and again. Why? Because like Shermer and other New Atheists, he has a melting pot of conflicting ideas and notions in a jumble, some of them invented, some of them passed on, most of them adopted from religious philosophies. THEN they try to form arguments and moral decisions based on this mess and then wonder why nothing makes sense.

    Of course, if you point out their contradictory subjective mess, you’re cultish! If you say that only with an objective worldview can you form non-contradictory consistent principles and derive opinions based on them, your a fundamentalist, no better than the theists!

    So really, who has the problem here?

    (Apologies to Tobe38; I really don’t want to derail your thread. If you choose to delete all off-topic comments here, I will understand.)

  7. Hi Folks,

    Thanks again Evan – your tone and fevered response once again says a lot.

    You ask lots of questions;

    “Can Psi define ‘Rights’?
    Can Psi deny that morality is a code of values to guide decisions?
    Can Psi deny that morality implies the ability to consciously choose the good and avoid the evil?
    Can Psi deny that it is only because one has the freedom and reason to make long-reaching decisions over a lifespan that one needs morality?
    Can Psi deny that necessity of freedom of action is necessary for morality to exist?
    Can Psi deny that a rational and moral being is responsible for his own actions?”

    Yes Evan – I think that these can be agreed upon in a democracy by rational thought.

    This doesn’t seem to be very fundamentalist or extreme to me.

    Yes Evan I still think that you can not draw a simple black and white distinction between humans and animals because we are animals.

    Again – not really controversial to most of the world population, or most scientists.

    Next you put words into my mouth again;

    “Now, Psi claims that ANIMALS are consciously capable of choosing the good, and deliberately avoiding the evil.”

    Once again Evan is more eloquent about his own position than he intends to be.

    Now he calls me a liar.

    Please do go and read the discussions folks – shame that several of my postings to him were censored by him so you can’t read them as well.

    Still ignoring my points aren’t you Evan?

    Best regards to all,

    Psi

  8. Tobe

    Nice to hear you are still out there. Just to say – Tim Minchin..Awesome! I had the pleasure of seeing him live just a couple of weeks ago and was absolutely blown away. You’re right “Storm” is the perfect answer to all things woo and so quoteable I doubt I’ll ever be lost for a response to that kind of B.S again.


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