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Hi, Ian. Mutual.

Yes, I'm like the late and very lamented Christopher Hitchens ... still a historical materialist.  And I think Marx basically got it right: society evolves via, basically, the growth of the forces of production, or what Trotsky called 'technique'.

[Driven, interestingly, by human laziness: why run after a deer when you can pin them up, feed them, kill them when you need to?  Why wander around looking for ripe things to eat, when you can cultivate them yourself?  Why do the work yourself, when you can keep some of the men you would otherwise have killed in battle, as slaves? Thus we progress. But oh, so slowly.]

These result in changes in the social and poltical structure, sometimes abruptly.  Seems right to me, if supplemented by the actual effect, in the short run, of historical accident, the weight of tradition, and other things we probably aren't aware of.

He didn't have a blueprint for socialism, but it certainly meant the abolition of the free market in most things, and its replacement by Central Planning.  Well, live and learn.  The 'Socialist Calculation Question' is one I've never seen convincingly addressed by defenders of the non-market economy.  'Market socialism' is a step in the right direction -- it approaches 'popular capitalism'.  We had a chance to try that in Russia in the 1990s but we blew it.

Oh well. So long as we don't have a big stupid war, we'll probably pull through. 'We' being our species, not necessarily the Europeans and their descendants around the world. I tutor young people in math and science, and urge them all to study Mandarin.

A lot of good points, Doug. I hope for my grandchildren's sake that there's a better and safer future on the way.

I like that story, Doug!

I have been an atheist since childhood. I do not have the same negative lived experiences of some people I have met. I think a lot of people have very negative views of the church based on their experiences. I don't share those experiences and I avoid conversation that include bashing people who believe.

I am annoyed when a religious person tries to convert me. That is why I have a "No Religious Solicitation" sign on my front door. But I have also worked side-by-side with nuns who were very lovely people. They never asked me if I attended church or tried to proselytize me. In fact they embraced me, encouraged me and supported me unconditionally.

Bashing is a way to get rid of pent up feelings, but it's not useful in working situations. You've found a good balance with people who respect you, and that's a great thing.

Hi Dorothy

I understand your points and agree with them. Like Dawkins I'm from a Church of England background which is as close as you can get to deism and still be a church. I probably drifted into atheism in my early teens and used to think that it was polite to respect people's beliefs but now I don't; respect the person, yes but not the fables. During my lifetime (I'm 65) I've seen the power, influence and threat from religion grow at an alarming rate and want it to stop. I've also worked alongside religious people with no problems but if we debate the subject, I'm uncompromising while still being as polite as possible.

Hey, Dorothy!  Welcome to Atheist Universe!

About 12 years ago and not long after my wife and I first moved here, I was confronted with a quartet of Jehovah's Witnesses from the local Kingdom Hall. Our conversation went on for a short while, no raised voices or argument, but the one thing I was determined NOT to do was to compromise my position as a non-believer, and I didn't. Since that time, I have become more and more of an atheist activist, and with the advent of Trump and Christian Nationalism in the United States, I see my activism as more and more necessary. I prefer NOT to bash, even as you do. I don't think it accomplishes much of anything ... UNLESS someone takes a cheap shot at me, whereupon the kid gloves come OFF.

Again, welcome to the gang and I hope you enjoy yourself here!

I coming here from I feel like that site used to be fun. People used to use the chat groups a lot and we had a good time without bashing anyone. Then the site became more contentious. People argue about some of the stupidest things there and they bash everyone who maybe religious. I believe in freedom of religion, including the freedom not to participate or believe.  I also strongly believe in the separation of church and state.

I have heard that that site is going to go off line next month and someone shared the link to this site. If agnostics does go down maybe this site will get more active. But I hope it is a place where people can share ideas without it getting into a brawl. 

I'd like to think that's the case, Dot.  We're a pretty tight-knit group here, and not a lot of contention that I've seen in the eight years I've been a member.  I came from Atheist Nexus, which had been a pretty terrific place to express my atheism ... right up to the point where it all at once went POOF!

Sometimes that happens, I guess! [shrug]

I haven't seen brawling here. Join Coffee Break!

I'm still on that site under a different username, & am enjoying very much. I've seen very few issues there, but I guess it depends which groups one is in.

Not heard of it shutting down either.

"Dot B" was my mum-in-law, so your name change gives me pleasant memories.

It has been said that the owner loses money on that site and that he does not plan to relicense it in September. 


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