Friday, December 21, 2007

Bertrand Russell

There's a couple of Russell quote on this site, one right at the top, the other all the way at the bottom that you've probably never noticed. I felt like writing a little something on the subject because I just finished reading "Why I Am Not A Christian," which I found to be quite the interesting read. Most of the attacks against religion I've heard before but It's interesting to see how we are slowly heading in the right direction. There was a part about how he was attacked because he said that if a toddler is caught touching themselves they should be left alone, drawing attention to the subject only increases their curiosity. The church said this was immoral. You know what the doctors tell you today? The child is simply exploring their body, all of it, they do not yet have the same sensations as adults in those areas and so whenever practical its is best to simply ignore the behavior, drawing attention to the behavior simply increases their curiosity. As a historical work I found the entire book quite fascinating. It's a very strange sensation to read any comparison to Hitler in anything but the most extreme fashion. To see Hitler used simply as an example of a fascist leader and not the embodiment of evil is really odd, until you realize that the article was written in 1925, Hitler was just a fascist at that point.

One of the most interesting parts is actually not by Bertrand Russell at all, its in the appendix, it's the telling of the "Bertrand Russell Case" in which a judge declared Russell "Unfit" to teach at a Public University. I'm no lawyer but even a layman can see the horrible injustice of the case. One of the biggest injustices being that the person suing to keep him out was the parent of a young woman who did not want her daughter to be taught by an atheist. The problem is that it was not a co-ed school at the time, and so there was no possible way that this young lady could be taught by Lord Russell. That was deemed irrelevant. Prior to the trial there was a huge public battle in the media on which Russell himself kept nearly silent saying that those who don't follow the orthodox must expect to be attacked on occasion and its usually best to simply ignore the attacks. But once the lies entered the court room he felt he must defend himself. I can't recall the exact wording but the judge had no interest in hearing what Russell had to say because he had no standing in the case.... but the girl who couldn't be his student did... There was lost of other fucked up things in the case but that was probably the pinnacle for me. It was also very interesting to see how attacked him and who defended him. Other than it was exactly who you would expect, everyone who actually knew him defended him, those who had studied under him or worked with him lavished praise upon him. Those who prefer to stick with existing dogma hated and vilified him.

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.
- Albert Einstein

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