Mod+ A blast from the past

#1
I just stumbled across this Horizon video from the 1980's. It's by the BBC, and I'm struck by how fair and balanced it is compared with what you might see today:


--which kind of got me thinking about how today, fundamentalism of all sorts is on the rise: religious and scientific. I wondered what might be the cause of this polarisation and whether it might signify anything. Thoughts, anyone?
 
#2
Interesting question.

One possibility is that fundamentalism is essentially backward-looking. It is an attempt to cling on to an older, simpler age where everything was certain. So, despite its surface appearance, it's actually an attempt to disguise uncertainty and doubt. It might even be considered an attempt to delay what is the inevitable growing tide of knowledge.
 
#3
The decline of the news media might be part of the problem:

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/204482/
http://www.theguardian.com/artandde...lphia-inquirer-american-newspaper-will-steacy
In the Roberts era the paper sold nearly 700,000 copies in the city, it now sells just over 150,000. Advertising revenue has fallen three-quarters from $460m in the past decade. . . .

I wonder what kinds of stories the Inquirer trades most successfully in these days?

“The stories that receive the most clicks on philly.com,” Steacy suggests “are weather stories, celebrity stories, sex stories. I guess best of all is a celebrity sex story with a good weather angle…”
 
#4
I think you also have to recognize that polarization represents the extremes but not necessarily the average person, although the extremists might have an inordinate influence - the squeaky wheel getting the oil. One of the real problems with this foum is that you get a distorted view of what most atheists and materialists are like from podcast guests and forum members.

Maybe another part of the problem is the decentralization of information allowed by the internet. People are more often surrounding themselves with like minded people and are less tolerant of different views, they have greater opportunity to express extremist views and that habit carries over into other situations?.
 
#5
--which kind of got me thinking about how today, fundamentalism of all sorts is on the rise: religious and scientific. I wondered what might be the cause of this polarisation and whether it might signify anything. Thoughts, anyone?
It definitely signifies a lot. There's a major shifting going on. Some react to that by feeling threatened. Of those many seek ways to find stable ground and/or make what they see as a threat go away.
 
#6
Another part of the problem is that some atheists who see themselves as in a battle with theists have followed a strategy of creating a false dichotomy between theism and science and they have used this to attack theists. As John Lennox points out, science is not in conflict with theism. All the early scientists believed in God and thought studying nature, doing science, would reveal how God designed the world. Their God was not a god of the gaps, limited to what science couldn't explain who's role was diminished with every new scientific discovery. Their God was the creator of the universe and creator of the natural laws scientists are so interested in discovering. But atheists who want to discredit theism, by framing the dispute as one between science and theism, portraying God as a god of the gaps, forcing people to choose either God or science, have taken their dispute with theism into the field of science which spills over into politics and education. This widening of the conflict between atheism and theism into other areas where it doesn't belong is part of what has increased the polarization of society.
 
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#7
I just stumbled across this Horizon video from the 1980's. It's by the BBC, and I'm struck by how fair and balanced it is compared with what you might see today:


--which kind of got me thinking about how today, fundamentalism of all sorts is on the rise: religious and scientific. I wondered what might be the cause of this polarisation and whether it might signify anything. Thoughts, anyone?
I think it's a simple answer: Fear.

Many people have an extreme fear of the unknown. They feel unsafe if the world around them cannot be defined in black and white terms. Ambiguity=chaos to them, and chaos is absolutely unacceptable.

It's just another way in which man's attempt to control their fate manifests itself. By creating the illusion that they know the answers to all the great mysteries, they create the illusion that they can then control and manipulate what they believe to be a known universe in the ways in which they feel improves their lives. Consequently, when another's view differs, and offers a worldview every bit as plausible and rational as theirs, confidence in their own beliefs is suddenly under fire. I think they believe that if their certainty in the way the world works is upended, they no longer have control over their own lives. The fear of surrendering to the unknown is a thought they just cannot abide. The fear paralyzes their minds, locking them into a set worldview.

I also think control and fear are what is pushing this agenda of mass materialism. There is no tolerance to be had of differing world views. They see danger in the allowance of differing views and an openness of ideas. This would result in the loss of control. And there is nothing the powerful fear more than losing that power.

Paradoxically, I think this same fear can cause some to completely surrender control. They see others as possessing a truth that they themselves cannot comprehend. So they surrender all responsibility for their own lives to this power figure. This also removes the fear, as often the power figure is perceived as having "goodness" and "justice" and "truth" as their only motives. Like a fearful child, it gives one a the feeling that they don't need to be in control, because _____ is in control and _____ has only their best interests in mind. It is this false sense of security that makes people surrender their freedom. It allows for things like the crusades, Hitler and the Nazi party, Homeland Security, the NSA, etc. etc.
 
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