Hi, I've just noticed that since I've been on here my views have changed - in reaction to the heavy Americanisation of the site.  I don't have anything against American per sa, but it has caused me to think more about the integrity of our own culture and maintaining that.  We are heavily exposed to American culture already - especially due to our own smaller populations.  I think it's important that we band together and preserve some of our own ideas and foster our own thinking and persepctives.  I've met many atheists locally in Melbourne, who don't like the strong anti christian persepctives of American atheists and also writters such as Dawkins and Dennett and Harris.  They are all great authors with great things to say, think and contribution to our understanding of truth and life as we currently know it to be according to science - but again I've noticed a sharp change in Dawkins work over the years, that is in direct reaction to American culture.  This is in part to do with globalisation but also I think to American dominance generally.


I wonder if it is useful to aim to highlight these differences - so as to be more aware of them as a way of maintaining cultural identity as seperate.  I don't want to loose my cultural identity to a homogenised culture dominated by the US.


I wonder if American culture generally sees itself as great and wonderful and a completely desirable influence on the rest of the world, in all it's forms - christian, atheist, cultural, scientific, social etc.


I personally am very impressed with countires such as Sweden, Norway and Iceland.  Holland also.  For their social policies.  The Germans have gone a long way since their greens in power in the 70's with their green revolution and are pinoniring green technology. (forgive spelling - I've lost my spell checker and had a very poor education in northern england...)


I can think of many good things about many countries - but what my children are being exposed to on TV and internet is mostly american content with the same myths and scripts over and over - it's quite tedious and boring for me - as well as homoginased culture that lacks depth.  I'm sure 'real' americans have lots of depth, and I've heard stories that they can be very welcoming and other such stories - but that's not the impact of their media exports.


It's interesting because we are all brought together in the name of not believing in God and in a way we end up talking about god an awful lot - in the same way I'm bringing up the idea that I'd like to foster an independant non american culture - only because I didn't think the way I do now, after strong american influence - so what I'm proposing isn't a long conversation about american - but what we are in contrast to that, and what we have that is unique and not nessisarily about not believing in God - but in what we do believe in - what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society.




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Mike - well thanks for busting my urban myth re porn - it's embarrassing being caught red handed pushing one!  But I'm grateful that I'm told, rather than ridiculed.


It is tough with stats though, because you can't know about those that weren't reported and also people's ideas change about what constitutes sex crime also - in terms of what's acceptable or not and also what's popular...  But I think it very useful to study this stuff and find enough facts that can lead to some greater understanding and meaning being made from it.


I think child sex abuse in catholic church became cultural - in that it probably attracted pedophiles.  

I am responding my impressions of the original issues Alice seemed to be bringing up. The conversation which ensued seems to have taken a different tack, which I'm not so involved in.


Alice appears to be contrasting two sorts of atheism - one more like Dawkins concerned with taking on aggressive Christianity - the second kind of atheism is one that somewhat rejects the first and seeks a different focus, (although they may vary on what that focus should be). The second camp might be called accommodationists.


I'm not sure if Alice is saying the first is American, and the second is Australian but if she is, I would point out that there are plenty of Americans in the second camp and plenty of Australians in the first one.


Some in the second camp are quite vitriolically critical of Dawkins and such, and some seem to say that they have no personal negative experiences of (some, all, or most) religious people and so can't see why anyone else has a right/need to be hostile.


Some in the first camp might see those in the second camp as selfish, naive, complacent etc. Vice versa might say first camp is angry, paranoid etc.


Alice are you aware of the tensions between these camps?


Anyway you're welcome to think and discuss as you please, but please don't characterise one kind of atheism as more Australian than another.


Are you aware of the Humanist movement which could be said to have tried to focus on "what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society"?


Sadly the Humanist movement is not prospering in Australia at present and has had little interest from young people.

Murrath - I was just having a general rant about stuff I think - rather than promoting some racist block thinking about styles of approaching the world...

And I wasn't talking for Australian's, rather just for myself - I was born in England - and moved here when I was 18 years old.

I wouldn't say second camp was selfish, naive and complacent - I was saying that I don't feel the need to attack religion because it's not attacking me - I don't have anyone who is pushing religion on me in my off line life - only american adds on nexus LOL... I would say that I'm more just getting on with my life and haven't had to defend my secular naturalistic beliefs to anyone - although granted I don't go around shouting about them and I've been seeking out others of the same thinking anyhow - and seeking to avoid religious folk for boredom rather than fear. I find I can't talk about anything interesting as they have different ideas about how the world works.

Sure - I'm not meaning to make out that all Australians have my views of the world - far from it - in fact I've no idea what other atheist Australians think about the world because I don't know many and none well. I am interested in that book though on the subject...

Well I plan to go to the next Humanist meeting in Melbourne - as I've now worked out a deal to get child care for my kids so I can go and socialise - not sure how long for, but make hay when the sun shines...

Hi Alice

Thanks for replying. You did start out talking about 'maintaining'..'the integrity of our own culture' so I guess my interpretation was coloured by that. And some would see complacency in an attitude based on 'because it's not attacking me'. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, just trying to show you the impressions your own words might create for some of us.

By all means give the Humanists a go. They are, in principle, concerned about, as you said, 'what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society'. They haven't been getting support from many young people so if you can get some rejuvenation going that would be great.

I would just say that some of us do listen to what the Christians are actually saying, and live in suburbs and towns where they predominate, and at workplaces & schools (public as well as private) where they're in charge, and in religious families, and some 'think globally' about theocratic aggression of all forms. And it takes all types to make a movement.


Quite frankly I feel that American's don't need anyone else to support their corner, they are doing quite well and have all the heavy weights in their corner - including the 4 horsemen. I watched a youtube of them, I've read Harris' book and a couple of Dawkin's, but not the other two as yet, although I'm starting on one by Dennitt. But what upset me about it was that they all have been seconded to the 'war on christianity' going on in American - and a bit here and there and in African I suppose also - but the main argument is going on in the US. I love Dawkin's earlier work because it's just about what I'm interesting in - it's about evolution and the facts of it - it's about wonderful things that we know about and have facts for - but his later work and that of the others is full of arguments against religious Christians mainly - how utterly boring! I want some entertainment and knowledgeable writers to write something for me - for the naturalists, the humanists the ones who have no interest in supernatural crap - they are children's fairy tales - and it's a total waste of a good authors time - to go on about it - in terms of for my interesting. So I'm perhaps jelouse that they are getting all the attention when they are IMO not as valuable or shouldn't be as valuable to the 4 horsemen as their own kind - if you know what I mean.

I'm obviously reading the wrong books at the moment - but it's hard to find recommendations that aren't about the 'war on christianity' by contemporary great minds.

Perhaps it's something I need to get out there and ask others on nexus for some good leads for books that don't have any supernatural content - but are quality reads. It's because those writings aren't directed at me - and yet I'm spending a lot of time reading about it - and I've done a lot of reading about that now, and now I want to read about something that is more inspiring for me as a Naturalist - or a none supernatural thinker.

Your point is reasonable. But maybe it's like a b horror movie where it seemed the monster was dead and buried but somehow he's back and pounding at the door. Decades ago we thought god was dead and religion was terminally ill. But the bloody beast came back. So people have had to turn their efforts to battling it, boring or not. I'm sure some of the authors would rather be writing about other things. Yes some people enjoy wars, but most people are dragged into them by necessity. You can't just wish bad things away.

There are millions of books out there, but it is hard to find the good ones. I tried running an atheist book club in Sydney but it collapsed for lack of interest, despite hundreds being in the Meetup group. There ARE lots of bookish atheists out there but they don't tend to join groups I suppose. I've no real idea what you've already read, so even though I work in a library I couldn't make useful suggestions. I'd hate to get someone to buy a book they didn't end up liking. Finding goods books is hard work sometimes.

I haven't seen Grayling's 'The Good Book' yet. Is it what you're looking for? There are books on philosophical naturalism around, written by atheists. Amazon works hard at linking together similar books, and has reader reviews which are useful. If you want to be able to read books that other people you know read and can talk about them too, that is hard to arrange sometimes.

Yes if you want others to talk about books you should explicitly make that your discussion point on nexus. You didn't make that clear before.

gotta go

Murrath - sure I don't think I really knew where I was going to end up when I started the post - just generally frustration I think - and then getting the real problem if you like. I can't buy any more books - I need to get library ones. Perhaps I'm just going through a general phase of apathy. I don't know. But I have joined the discussion about books that have been read recently in another forum in the hope that someone can give me some direction - I've been very specific about what I'm after - I've got a back log of books at the moment and need to start reading them - but I suppose I'm put off - as the one I'm reading at the moment is Dennitt's Breaking the Spell - I'm stalled on it, and I'm one of those people who feels obliged to finish a book, sort of give it a go and reserve judgement until I've properly read it - but perhaps life is too short and I need to let it go, take it back to the library and move on with something more of my personal interest at the moment. I really loved reading Dawkin's The Greatest Show on Earth - the evidence of evolution - it's great and I've got a heaps better understanding now about how we did evolved and what makes it possible etc. I have got a few recommendations but unfortunately my library doesn't have them - perhaps I should ask if they can get them in from somewhere.

There's no harm in asking. I haven't read 'breaking the spell' yet. There's arguments for and against finishing it if you're stalled, so you may be allowed to use gut feeling on that. :) I like Dennett.

I also found Greatest Show interesting, but a better-structured complete-idiots-guide type work on evolution is needed - it may already exist. Greatest Show wasn't something you could hand over and expect to convert creationists. It was a bit rambly, and he should have newer computer experiments to show us.

I'm off for a little holiday now, so bye




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