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Egypt from the Eyes of an Egyptian Atheist

Recently, an Egyptian atheist, wanted to share information with me regarding a link to a site for Egyptian atheists. This surprised me in light of the recent imprisonment of Alber Saber, in part, for expressing atheist views.

During that conversation, I asked, “Are you OK to be openly atheist there?”

He replied, “No, not really. I am very careful with what I say most of the time…I do get death threats sometimes, but kind of used to it… and obviously my parents don’t know about it.”

Because he is an atheist living in a country where it is unsafe to express his ideas, I volunteered to lend him my voice at this blog and on TAE. I told him to say what he wants to say, and I will make it public, because I live in a country where expression is, obviously, more tolerated. I encourage other atheists in free nations to give voices to our counterparts in gagged situations around the globe. If we can use our freedom of expression to provide a platform to those who are denied it, then it’s well used.

What follows is the message I was given to share publicly. I have corrected a few minor typos, but otherwise, this is unedited:

Egypt from the eyes of an Egyptian Atheist

This is me, writing about Egypt from the first day of January 25th 2011 Revolution till the presidential elections. Me, is an Egyptian ex-Muslim currently an atheist and had been so since I was 17. I am now 31 years old.

Starting 25th January 2011, there were calls for protests against the dictator regime lead by Hosni Mubarak that was basically run by businessmen who were friends of his sons Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.

Me like thousands of Egyptians took it to the streets in peaceful protests, demanding basic human rights, Freedom, Social Justice and good living conditions for all Egyptians. That day was magical with the number of people joining us in the streets who saw that change is possible after the success of the Tunisian revolution.

From that day till the 28th of January 2011 majority of the people in the streets were liberals, secularists, leftists, communists and obviously Egyptians with no political affiliation, people, good people who demand and want change.  During that time the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis (“Hardcore Muslims”) were in their houses, the Muslim Brotherhood was waiting to see what will happen and the Salafis were all waiting for a sheikh to issue a fatwa to join in. Some sheikhs said that joining these protests is against Islam, some later joined in with their followers.

We all inhaled tear gas that was expired, got shot at with all kinds of bullets and I personally saw and helped some of the injured, some of which died between my hands. Beautiful, free boys and girls who left their homes from the back of their parents like myself, for a cause that no human should even ask for, as freedom in all its forms should be a birth right. But what should we say about the world we live in that we still are in capable of sharing together as humans. How can we call ourselves Intelligent species with our hatred to one another, and divisions that we created whether it be religious, race country borders, gender or skin color.

On 27th January 2011, the Internet and cell phone networks were cut off taking us back to the 80s or before. I advise no dictatorship to do this for it was the day with most people in the streets and blood too. I will not go into details of people run over by police cars and random beatings detaining and disrespect performed by the police during those days and after it too.

The demands changed due to the slow response of the regime (well it was quite old) and now it was simple and unified all across Egypt “The People demand the removal of the regime”, and after an 18 day sit-in in Tahrir Square, other squares in Egypt and protests in front of all the lively places in the country, the regime fell apart on 11th of February 2011. With blood and patience, not as much blood as being split in Syria right now, the regime was gone and celebrations started all around Egypt.

Finally we were free, or so I and many others thought, but wait we still had the cunning Muslim Brotherhood dreaming of taking over the country and the backward Salafis who want to implement sharia in its worst forms, like that in Saudi Arabia. (Why is a country named after a family name? And how did this family get hold of the country? Are questions worth thinking about for the Salafis who may read this).

A brief history of Egypt so that for those who don’t know should be in picture, at least from my point of view. From the late 1800s all the way till 1960s, Egyptians used to go for education and work in Europe and the west in general coming back with liberal progressive ideas about life and religion. In 1925 an Egyptian writer named Adham Ismael wrote a book titled “Why I am an atheist” and the response was civil as an Islamic scholar wrote a response to the book titled “Why I am a Muslim”, I hope it would have remained so. There were some problems for secular intellectuals, like Taha Hussein who was accused of blasphemy but there was never any serious threat to life, like in the case of Naguib Mahfouz who was almost assassinated in 1994 on the hands of Islamic Extremists , Farag Fouda who was killed after a debate about a secular state in Islam in 1992 with Omar Abdul Rahman who issued a fatwa with his death. (We will get back to Omar Abdul Rahman who is currently in prison in USA), or Nasser Hamid Abo Zaid who was divorced from his wife for being an apostate when some Islamists took him to court and won the case against him.

In 1970s after Saudi Arabia starting getting rich of oil, Egyptians started working there and came back with Wahabi, Salafi interpretations of Islam taking us slowly to the back. They now have TV channels and strong hold over a large number of followers, who OBEY, and yes it had to be in capital letters.

Now to the revolution once more, after the regime fell the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) replaced the regime in what it was doing and there was more blood, virginity tests for girls who took part in the revolution and arrested by them, we then had some protests in which all other than Islamists took part in. During which we were accused by the sheikhs most of them at least, of being secular atheists who do not want the country to succeed. We then reached the referendum for some amendments of the old constitution, that was a turning point as the SCAF used the sheikhs to pass this referendum and in the majority of mosques Imams were saying that those who will reject referendum will go to hell (as if there is evidence for its existence). We ended up with a messed up road map for the revolution, it was failed attempt for the SCAF to stay in power.  Later the Islamists understood the game being played by the SCAF and turn against them. It was late for all except for the Islamists, as they always have, they obediently heard.

It was during this time, that it became clear that the hold the Imams had over the minds of the people will take us to the dark ages which now is I am sure is inevitable.

Now we are having a constitution being written, with utter disrespect to freedom and yeah based on sharia. Some of the people writing the constitution want to pass laws of legalizing marriage of 9-year-old girls and not allowing foreign languages in schools.

So much for working for freedom and liberty, the people running the country now are like Republicans without the secular constitution to save the rest from stupidity ignorance and backwardness.

Our current elected a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, stood in Tahrir Square after being elected for a four-year term and promised the people many good things, but also “weird” things like working on freeing a terrorist like Omar Abdul Rahman from prison in USA.

While for what happened to the revolution, all I can say is that the corrupt system that people died for is still alive and it just grew a beard.

A few days ago an atheist (ex-Christian) running a facebook page for Egyptian Atheist was “discovered” in his neighborhood and a mob gathered around his house and when his mother called the police for protection he was arrested for insulting the prophet on his page. Here is a link to about him he is Alber Saber as of today his mother does not know where he is detained (www.facebook.com/FreeAlberSaber).

I do not hate religion for I don’t care about it, and I think it might be important for the less fortunate people in life who have nothing to live for other than an afterlife. Although, I know lots of very poor atheists and non religious people who choose reason over superstition. But to have religion in politics is something that must never be allowed, for even if a god(s) exists nobody knows what he/she/it wants.

Comments

  1. aths says

    How long will this go on? Why can’t we all have a civil discourse?

    Even if some guys who are in power now would lose their power, the people at least should be interested in an exchange of arguments.

    While I don’t call myself an atheist because I don’t find this term useful and it could create an us-and-them mentality, I maybe should be more outspoken and use this label to signal others “hello, you are not alone. Now let’s come invite everyone who is willing to debate the issues how we want to engineer a society.”

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    He’s got guts.

    Too bad his country doesn’t have the civic infrastructure to fend off superstition and dictatorship…

    • codemonkey says

      @Pierce R. Butler

      It’s not just civic infrastructure. It’s also culture. Sure civic infrastructure is useful, but you first need a proper culture of respecting rule of law, respecting freedom of choice and belief, respecting freedom of speech, and so on, if you want a good chance of maintaining the civic institutions to protect those values. The west has had its enlightenment and its religious reformations. Without that culture shift, any civic infrastructure would be immediately neglected and destroyed assuming it ever managed to come around to begin with.

      Ex: I cannot recall a single incident in the past hundred years of a Christian calling for the deaths of atheist ex-Christians. Apparently such things are par for the course in some countries where Islam is popular. (Perhaps I’m not trying hard enough to find cases for Christians calling for death for non-believers, but my point about the disproportionate death-calls between some cultures remains.)

      Which is scary in some respects. I just had a long conversation online with some people about recent cases in England which is apparently losing freedom of speech. It’s apparently a crime to incite hatred against religion in Britain. I think that’s insane, because that’s exactly what needs to be done. We need to incite hatred against those practices and organizations which shelter and protect child rapers, which say you should kill otherwise-innocent apostates, and so on, and we cannot do that if the guilty can hide behind such laws.

      Of course, the situation is far worse in some countries where not even saying such things, but just asking for the right to say such things can get you killed.

      Reminds me of a term for that: second order punishment. Develop of a code of practices which deserve punishment; that’s first order punishment. Then add in the rule that you should punish those who do not punish transgressors; that’s second order punishment. I’ve heard it amazingly effective at maintaining the social order, and it’s exactly what is going on here.

      /meh

      • says

        I just want to point out that Egypt has experienced a culture shift. When I was younger, it was much more liberal than it is today. Part of my conversation with this Egyptian atheist was asking him if my memories were wrong. He pointed out that it did used to be more liberal, and in his statement in the blog he explains the reasons for this, and how it has moved back to a more restricted culture. I wasn’t sure, from some of the thoughts expressed early in this comment if that point was clear. But if it wasn’t, thank you for the opportunity to clarify and reiterate that, because I think it is important. Egypt was far more progressive in past decades and their freedoms have eroded.

        • codemonkey says

          I do hope so. I admit my near complete ignorance on Egypt. I just wanted to point out that saying “they just need a good constitution and laws, and that’ll be that” is just silly.

      • pjabardo says

        You can not find cases of Christians killing non believers in the last 100 years. You certainly didn’t look hard. In Spain that was fairly common after the end of civil war. Declaring yourself an atheist would go a long way in ensuring a slow and painful death at the “garrote vil”. Yeah, someone might say that they were really executed because they were “reds”…

        I’m sorry to tell you. Usually people use other reasons to arres tor kill someone. They might be accused “inciting hatred” or some bullshit. Which appears to be the case for Alber Saber in Egypt. It is very easy to recognize this in other places but closer to home? Remember th Last Temptation of Christ? That was Paris, France. Fortunately nobody died but people were severely burned for going to the movies. How many lynchings all over the world were not caused by raging mad Christians? I’ve heard of people being beaten to death in pentecostal churches because they were trying to get rid of demons (in Brazil and several other countries). How many of those were people who disputed some Christian belief?

        You see, we are very honest about what happens in Arab countries but when talking about home there are always excuses.

        • codemonkey says

          @pjabardo
          I would appreciate that you don’t immediately strawman my position. You act exactly like a presuppositionalist. “Everyone knows that Christians still kill other Christians for non-belief.” No I do not. I would prefer if you would have instead said something more honest, like: “You are wrong. There are plenty of cases where Christians kill non-believers simply for non-belief. They just don’t openly say this is the reason. You should know this.”

          Moving on. You said:

          You see, we are very honest about what happens in Arab countries but when talking about home there are always excuses.

          It seems that you agree with me that it’s exceedingly rare for modern day Christians to kill non-believers expressly and openly and explicitly for the reason that they are non-believers? Good.

          As a default position, I tend to believe that people are open and honest about their explicitly openly stated reasons for doing things, barring specific situations where they have a good reason to lie. I believe you are wrong that your cited examples are both equally numerous and that most are lying about their reasons for their actions.

          Finally, even if so, even if the numbers of murders of non-believers by Christians for simply not believing is equal in number, and the reason for the murder is merely non-belief, then the culture is still ahead by miles. They recognize that non-belief is no longer an acceptable reason to kill someone in the culture at large. That would be the first step to actually changing minds. The first step to end such murders is to get the culture to openly criticize and ostracize those who say non-belief is a legitimate reason to kill non-believers. So, even under your (IMHO wrong) interpretation of the facts, the west is still miles ahead on this particular moral issue.

          • pjabardo says

            You made a statement that was false and I simply pointed it out. Now, I understand what you are saying and I agree up to a point. What I’m saying is that if an arab says jihad and two weeks later someone dies the papers will cry out (correctly). But when the same thing happens in the west, there will always be an alternative explanation. The alternative explanation might even be correct but the same thing the same approach is not allowed for muslims.

            When Bush invaded Iraq, he called it a cruzade, the Christian version of jihad. There were apologies and explanations of how this wasn’t the same as jihad. The end result we all know. How many american soldiers were not directly influenced by this?

            As for apostates, I personally know several ex-muslims. People seem to forget that there were many strong left/secular movements in Arab countries. Many of these people were/are atheists. You should checkout the angry arab blog. This guy is an atheist and he is always criticizing and making fun of Islamists crooks (and the western policies in the middle east) http://angryarab.blogspot.com

  3. helsyd says

    hopefully Egypt’s reliance on tourism will see it not proceed down such a hard line, or if it does economic pressures will force it’s liberalisation, one hopes

    • Mohamed says

      Well yh we hope so but there is a growing trend here of creating Islamic Tourism, its still at the start but we dont know were it will it go.

      Its like you go to the beach and you see women with covered faces on the sea side and ofcourse they have to be with males “for protection”. Which i swear is fine with me as long other girls can wear what they want to, but there is a kind of division happening were some beaches are more liberal than others and hope it stays that way at least

  4. Mike de Fleuriot says

    those who will reject referendum will go to hell (as if there is evidence for its existence)

    You can just hear the derision in his voice! More power to him, I say.

    • Mike de Fleuriot says

      This guy is full of win!

      all I can say is that the corrupt system that people died for is still alive and it just grew a beard.

  5. bigwhale says

    On the show it was mentioned to use this post as the Open Thread, so I’d like to say something about the first(suffering) caller.

    I wonder if he had actually read any Sam Harris. Harris writes about maximizing well being, which is not the same as minimizing suffering. I’m just sick and tired of everyone talking about the Moral Landscape as just simple utilitarianism, maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering. The nature of well being is complicated, not fully understood, and open to debate.

    The simpleminded “suffering is bad” leads to nonsense positions like the caller, who wouldn’t step on an ant even if it meant saving a million people.

    • Kazim says

      It was Matt from Oslo, yes. He emailed this, this morning:

      Yeah It was me, ”Matt” from Oslo (I’m actually Swedish) who called in as the first caller and called Matt Dillahunty a ”fat piece of shit whose going to hell.”

      Then after some debating with my friend I decided to call in again and cackle like a maniac after saying ”it’s Matt from Oslo”, thereby cackling and intimidating and frustrating the chat on your stream site but also scaring Russell who probably recognized me and called me fucking nuts.

      And god damn Tracie, how can you not hear that it was me?! Don’t be so skeptical for no reason…

      // Matt from Oslo

      if you still don’t believe it’s me thenI can prove it, if you like….

      • IrishBrian says

        He’s Swedish ?
        Oh boy that explains a lot…… Swedes are generally either atheist or quite apathetic about religion. But the ones who are religious…. boy, they win the prize. In Ireland being religious is no big deal. As one stand up comedian put it, you could run off and join the Taliban and would be considered only to be a “bad catholic” :-)
        The Swedish born again movement really bugs me because they should know better, they call them free churches here (I live in Stockholm and have just become Swedish). Most Swedes in church feel awkward about any talk about God…. schools often have their end-of-term ceremonies in the local church and most priests respect the separation of Church and school.
        I was actually going to baptize my children here until I read exactly what it was I was agreeing to and had to say no. In Ireland I would have just done it, what the hell….. hypocritical ? I would have missed out on having a big party ! :-)

  6. says

    Well, I think people fail to grasp what morality is–from an evolutionary standpoint. It’s a bit like some people view “consciousness,” as this amorphous “something” that isn’t quantifiable. Morality is quantifiable. There is research into morality in many different species by animal behavioral psychologists. And it appears to be a construct designed to lend itself to social cohesion–within species. It does not appear to be applicable from one species to another. So, the idea of extending human social borders to other species is a bit problematic, to say the least. Not the least problem is that the flip side of including other species within the borders of our own species’ society, is that we are eroding our own social boundaries–where our social cohesion lies. And I’m not sure people grasp this, because they don’t think about what morality actually is and the purpose it serves. They are trying to artificially extend it to other species, and as you note, this caused some problems for extreme views and inconsistencies in the callers model.

    I think the thing most noteworthy was a minor point he made when I brought up the question of killing animals for exploitation other than food–such as to produce car components. Right away he moved toward “nobody can be perfectly moral.” What I find is that this is a common move once you hit something that the person arguing for equal treatment of other species wants to support. Suddenly you can bend the rules and kill the animals and it’s possibly still wrong, but somehow excused, because the end result is something they personally value more than the lives of these other species. So, other people are still wrong to eat a steak, because he wouldn’t kill an animal to eat it; but it’s kosher to own a car–because he likes his car–regardless of how many dead cows those radial tires represent. If the morality of killing other species hinges on “what do I personally value more than their lives?”–and it’s fine to act immorally at that point and kill them–then leave the guy alone when he eats a steak. He values that more than their lives–just as this other person values his convenient transport more than their lives.

    What if those radial tires were made of genocidally killed humans? Would it be something to just overlook then as well? Or would it matter a bit more?

    This is why I often tell people “Thank you for doing what you think is right” (in the grand scheme). If he thinks it’s nice to not eat other species, good on him for not doing it. But if he is going to condemn others for doing it–then I want to see him get rid of the vulcanized rubber in his life before he begins to judge anyone else too harshly and publicly.

    Additionally, I believe, when Russell ended the call, he was about to go into the idea of not grasping how a person can kill animals for food, but be against factory farming. This is a bit like asking how a person who supports the death penalty could be against torture. But that’s a disingenuous question (if that was where he was in fact going, I admit I’m assuming). I don’t really know any serious person who would say “If I were going to be executed, it wouldn’t matter to me if I were shot in the head or skinned alive and then slow roasted at the stake.”

    Obviously one is far more humane. But someone has to demonstrate to me that all animals born omnivores or carnivores are simply “born into sin” (which is what, in fact, is being argued). And I do give the caller points for recognizing that real world implication of his position: That you can’t just condemn people for eating meat–all other meat eating species then must be likewise condemned.

    As he rightly grasped: A murdering psychopath, even if he’s totally mad and not legally culpable, must be stopped for the good of those he might harm. We don’t say “he doesn’t get what he’s doing, so just let him kill at will.” So, if these other species are not capable of the same level of judgment, they still must be stopped from killing. Their ignorance is no excuse to allow them to go on causing suffering.

    And he was further consistent when he said you can’t use necessity as an excuse. Many ethical vegans/vegetarians I’ve discussed this with do not see the inconsistency in this area–but he got it clearly. His position that it would be wrong to kill the nonhuman and eat it in dire circumstances, while extreme, is *consistent* at least, where most others arguing for not consuming meat fail to be consistent. I’ve talked to many who assert that necessity to survive *would be* a valid excuse to kill and eat a nonhuman animal (usually the excuse they give for why they are OK with carnivores eating meat). And this is where they then get into inconsistencies when they say “Well, then if I’m trapped with a group of people and we may starve before we’re rescued, is it moral to kill someone and eat them to survive?” Obviously, that would be considered a murder–and very unlike eating the bodies of those who naturally died before you. Almost nobody would condone killing and eating other people in a dire situation–so it’s no excuse then, for the carnivore to say “it must eat meat to survive.” Survival does not excuse killing to eat meat if your position is that doing so is immoral. And the caller actually was clued in enough to understand he HAS to condemn all carnivores and omnivores–not just human omnivores, because there is no excuse you can give to any other carnivore or omnivore that will translate once you start putting “people” in the mix as the prey.

    Humans seem to be specifically, and with prejudice, targeted for condemnation as a meat eating species, and I still don’t see a consistent argument for why our species specifically should be held as immoral for that behavior. The arguments for labeling humans as immoral, and letting other species off the hook seem to fall apart when the prey animal is a human being. And this makes sense, again, when you consider what morality actually is and the purpose it serves.

    • scott1328 says

      I really enjoyed how you handled that call, and I couldn’t agree more with what you have written here. I am going to use these arguments the next time my moralizing vegan step-sister turns her nose up at the food I serve when I am unable to provide a complete history to assure her that no animals (anything with a nervous system) were harmed in the making of the veggie casserole.

      Do you have a reference that indicates that cattle by-products are used in the vulcanization of the rubber used for tires, or was that presented as a hypothetical.

    • RolliniaDeliciosa says

      First, I want to thank you for your genuine attention to this issue, and your contributions to the show in general. However, I feel your claims of inconsistency are premature, and I will explain why:

      In regards to your bear/elk/human example, the issue is clarified when we specify the following variable: is it a feral elk, in its natural habitat? The same for the bear? And the human? Your purpose was to show that different decisions are made according to species. I believe this is where it breaks down. If we replace the elk with the human’s canine companion, do you shoot the bear? I think most people would say yes, as they would for the human. And if it were instead a feral dog, or wolf, do you intervene? I believe most would say no, as with the elk. So we see the same species with two reactions. This is where the inconsistency lies.

      The consequences of intervention are tied into that variable. If you were even to scare off the bear from the elk, it is possible that you would be personally responsible for that animal’s starvation. You are violating that animal’s right of self-preservation, just as you are assisting in that right in the case of the human/dog, etc. when you protect them from an unnecessary attack. The principal of survival is important, and rather than a point of inconsistency, I see it as a primary point of consistency. Eating meat is not necessary for human survival, so many view it as morally positive to avoid the tremendous suffering associated with it. Humans have the practical option of making that decision, whereas other species currently do not.

    • RolliniaDeliciosa says

      I would also like to address your main thesis as presented in your opening paragraph. I find it thoughtful again, but also incorrect.

      “And it appears to be a construct designed to lend itself to social cohesion–within species.”

      That sentence should surely end with “-within an individual’s social group.” Any extension to the entirety of one’s species is already a misapplication of tribal morality, in most cases no more rational than extending it to other species, and in some cases much less so. The wellbeing of domesticated and livestock animals can be extremely more important to a person’s survival than a child on the opposite side of the world is.

      The sentence that followed was a more explicit reiteration, and highlights the error in such a declaration.

      “It does not appear to be applicable from one species to another.”

      If that were true then the following would also be true: Were we to ever encounter another intelligent species from elsewhere in the universe, we would be categorically unable to make moral considerations toward each other. This seems to me to be clearly untrue, and fortunately so. It would also mean that there would be no moral distinction to be made between humane husbandry and factory farming, or torturing animals for fun for that matter. This again is clearly untrue, and fortunately so.

    • RolliniaDeliciosa says

      Sorry for the multiple comments, but I’ll try to consolidate in this one.

      That you can’t just condemn people for eating meat–all other meat eating species then must be likewise condemned.

      You can, in fact. If someone were to set their wallet down on a bench in the park, and you took it and ran off while they were distracted, you would be morally condemned. If a dog at the park did the same, they would not be morally condemned. Moral ignorance is an important subject in moral philosophy.

      And regarding the psychopath example, this seems to be a false equivalence. If the non-human animal in this example were biologically/neurologically as aberrant as the human, and was indeed consistently killing animals that it did not need for survival in a way that threatened whatever it’s equivalent of a society would be (perhaps the local biosphere), such an animal would be stopped. I believe there are wildlife organizations that have real-world examples of this.

    • ccrittrs says

      If we are bringing up the ideas of animals being able to sin, we also have to consider herbivores. Many herbivores are very violent, but not just to acquire food. For example, hippos will attack just about anything and kill more people than crocs. So which is more sinful, to kill because you need food, or to kill just to be aggressive?

  7. BluePrint says

    Using this post as the show thread, I would like to suggest another option to the religiously-harassed-by-family-member-at-a-funeral situation: Feel sorry for the person.

    I never have and most likely never will find myself in that spot but theoretically; I would take that conversation as their way to vent frustration over the helpless situation and console the person who tries to inflict their despair upon me.

    Being a somewhat apathetic person, I might even do so mischievously by pointing out that if the family memeber did not hold the belief of meeting the dead loved one again in an afterlife, they could just mourne and get on with their life instead of constantly missing the the loved one that is believed to be just out of reach.

  8. Mohamed says

    Hello,

    I am Mohamed who wrote the article. Thanks Tracie for publishing it. And thanks for the support of the comments.

    If any (Atheist/Agnostic/Deist/Freethinker) is passing by Cairo and wishes to share a beer with local heathens reply to this post please.. but quick before they make alcohol illegal :) .. it will take a few years probably though.

  9. says

    Russell really threw Ray Kurzweil under the bus with his comments on what he knows about Kurzweil’s writings. While Kurzweil’s scientific expertise on human physiology may be debatable, his book on the singularity mostly consists of making possible predictions of what technological breakthroughs we might see within different time scales in the future (within 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, etc).

    Also Kurzweil makes a thorough attempt of explaining the meaning of exponential progress as opposed to linear progress, which tends to be the more common intuitive view people have of technological progress.

    The only part of his book that really bothered me (though I don’t think I actually got around to finishing the entire book) was the chapter on his megavitamin experiments. He basically says that he knows some doctor who’s been helping him develop this megavitamin combination that’ll basically make him a lot healthier and prolong his life, and it all seems like some really ignorant alternative medicine Frankenstein experiment. But then again, we all tend to have our superstitions, and Kurzweil’s seems to be this pseudo scientific megavitamin fantasy.

    Which might seem really bad, but I did enjoy the rest of the book, and the interesting scifi predictions (not prophecies) he makes about supercomputers and artificial intelligence and nanobots and whatnot.

    • Wayne says

      This all sounds too familiar. Isaac Asimov Foundation series. The study of psychohistory. Turning history into a complex formula that can be processed by computer to predict general future events.
      I love science fiction, but making it a reality has never turned out the way it was written.
      I suspect editorial licensed plagiarism is a-foot.

  10. Jason Goertzen says

    I continue to be impressed by Tracie. Eloquent and thoughtful, she often makes me reconsider previously settled ideas.

  11. curtcameron says

    I don’t think the “Eben” who was writing to Tracie earlier this year, and she published his writings in the thread The “I Can’t Believe It’s Not God” Hypothesis is the same Eben Alexander that wrote the Newsweek article and upcoming book.

    The reason I say that is that in the emails to Tracie, he seems to refer to the Doctor Eben in the third person.

    I’ve been listening to the Skeptiko podcast for a few months, and I just can’t wrap my mind around these people. All Alex Tsakiris talks about is those poopy-head materialist scientists who refuse to acknowledge the obvious: that near-death experiences are proof of a non-material mind.

  12. Lyes says

    I wish you guys would deal more about those “Scientific Miracles” claimed to be found in the Quran, because I think they play a huge part in bringing people to Islam in the first place, and in convincing those who already were muslims in the second place. They need to be adressed and destroyed, each of them. Harun Yahya and his likes have done enough harm.

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