Well now that I’ve moved all of my bookmarks to del.icio.us I’m well on my way. I went to it completely because they now have a function to import the bookmarks backup file from your browser, so I did that and deleted all the bookmarks on my browser. I also have most of them tagged. I’m waiting to cross this off only until I’m sure that I have them all tagged and have begun to use some of the sorting functions. That could still be a while yet.
In the meantime there will probably be nothing to report until I close this goal off.
Is it worth doing? I’m not sure yet. And I don’t know when I’ll know. But I can say for sure that having them accessible when I move around and searchable by tags is a lot more convenient than having a big list in my browser. Hmm, well when I put it like that it is obviously worth it.
I got soured on joining atheist groups a few years ago. I would come to the meetings, and it was an interesting kind of thing to participate in, but most of the members gave me the creeps. We had little in common besides atheism and major differences in our approach to interpreting social forces and therefore, obviously, in politics.
The problem I think stems largely from the fact that atheists have no positive beliefs to create a set of well-defined values. This isn’t a problem for atheism philosophically, nor a barrier to living a moral life as an atheist, but it does make it difficult for us to form and maintin groups around this shared viewpoint. The vast majority of athists, I think, are very independently minded. They go their own way and are not inclined to join groups just for the sake of joining, so those who are left share a peculiar alternative set of characteristics. You have the people who are there because they are opposed to the religious right, you have the people who are there because they are full blown communists and have decided that if Marx said that religion was the opiate of the masses then there must be something wrong with it, and you have the kind of people who will just join anything so that they have somewhere to go on Sunday morning.
I can readily embrace humanism as I understand it, as the tradition of the Renaissance and the enlightenment and in the political values held by Thomas Jefferson and some of the other founders. What I cannot understand or embrace though are those who profess to be humanists but who place humans below other animals in importance or eagerly rather than sadly advocate reducing people’s freedom.
A healthy atheism would, I think be a modern humanism that derived from the same values as 18th century humanism. We consider humans first, before other animals, and regard the natural world as the domain of mankind best stewarded for the purpose of supporting future generations through the institution of several property, because property is not only the best way of preserving value in natural resources it is a natural right, and property is a consequence of the fact that someone can always be found who has the final say over the disposal of any resource.
A humanism that improves the lot of mankind will have to face up to the fact that the free market in addition to science is one of the chief institutions of the improvement of the human condition from ancient times to the present.
At least on certain subjects. Maybe we could talk about something we are both interested in.