12/9/08

"In the Name of Knowledge and Wisdom"

FYI: this post has been moved here.

8 comments:

  1. Those are interesting words—coming from the pen of a person (Dawkins) who believes that God does not exist, yet who is still marshalling ridiculous arguments against the very same God.
    Yes, Dawkins is wrong. When the God of the OT isn't being "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”, He's a loving, caring God. Also, He has a wonderful singing voice and is kind to cats.

    So, at bottom, according to Dawkins, there is no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good.
    I'm not particularily familiar with Dawkins' writing, but I doubt he claims the last two. Evil and good are what intelligent agents do to each other. A godless universe, therefore, cannot be either. Whether Dawkins believes in moral absolutism, I can't say.

    How can he honestly say that what God was doing was “evil”?
    Imagine someone doing what He did (or told others to do) to you.

    All those guys are in their grave, and the notion of God has yet to be wiped out.
    The idea of eternal life is a powerful carrot. The idea of eternal suffering for not believing the right thing is a powerful stick. This analogy, sadly, makes Man a donkey.

    "So long as his (Dawkins') understanding of Christianity remains at the sophomoric level, Dawkins does not deserve full attention...."
    The Courtier's Reply?

    Dinesh D’Souza has been begging both Dawkins and Harris to publicly defend their atheist position in debates, with no avail.
    D'Souza? Seriously? He's like a well-read version of Gish in live debates. Throw out skewed versions of enough stories so that there's no way his opponent can refute them and still defend his own side. Some of his columns, meanwhile, are practically insane (like The real problem with Darwinism or, as I call it, "The problem with science is that it's not supernatural").

    D'souza "Written debates strike me as a bit wimpy, since both debaters can get advice and assistance from various experts"
    And he also loses the advantage when the other guy can look up what he's talking about, ponder, then formulate a reply.

    D'souza "Do any of the atheist organizations offer an annual Wimp award?”
    No, but they've got a World's Strongest Atheist competition. Dennett benchpressed almost eleven pounds last year. It was quite a sight to see.

    But why would a person invent depressing things like hell? Why would the Bible give such a grim picture of the place?
    1. It's the stick.
    2. It's for the other guy. That guy who dinged your car? Hell. Hitler? Hell.

    Atheist Steven Pinker makes its [sic] clear that it makes no sense to invent things that threaten one’s survival.
    Again, it's the stick. It helps with the whole "obey me" thing when to not obey means eternal suffering in a fire that's unquenchable with a worm that, sadly, fails to die.

    I think I am in agreement with mathematician, biologist and philosopher David Berlinski when he said...
    And I'm pretty sure I'm committing the genetic fallacy here, but I wouldn't trust Berlinski to give me the correct time of day, much less a well-researched opinion on his opponents. On the other hand, even a broken watch is right twice a day (if Dennett's writing is as bad as his side of the D'souza/Dennett "debate"...).

    All of them did not reject and attack Christianity because the evidence was lacking; many of them rejected it because, as Aldous Huxley and Shelley and Russell put it and as many others would agree, Christianity interferes with their sexual mores.
    Yup. Without Jesus, most of us just run around rubbing up against people, places and things. Why, just this morning, I had a "dirty" thought and got all "warm" in my no-no "place". Also, I caught a nasty "case" of airquotes, but "that's" probably unrelated.

    "As Paul implies, when honest atheists and skeptics look at the evidence objectively, they will be convinced that their own atheist worldview is bankrupt...
    Which leads to a vague deism. Which is functionally identical to atheism, except the bit at the beginning gets an "answer" (one based on not, or can't, knowing the real answer, of course), which are the same types of arguments that gave God so much room, before He was reduced to the Gaps. ID, for instance, tends to have Him as the Cosmic Tinker ("Ooo! Today I'll make mammals that are fractionally more whale-like than the ones I made six million years ago! Tomorrow, I'll totally improve the blood cascade fractionally!").

    One of the most compelling reasons is that Christianity emphatically declares that there is a life after death.
    Carrot. One that's shared, in various guises, by a bunch of religions.

    "Every single person, according to Christianity, will spend his eternity either with the Creator or separated from the Creator—for ever"
    Carrot and stick. See? It's not that complicated. I do like how he described hell as "separated from the Creator", potentially indicating his discomfort with the idea of the flamey burning hell (and one not based on being good or bad, but based on whether one believed the right thing. Did you know that Hitler is in Hell...with a fair percentage of his victims? Now that's an odd kind of justice).

    From an intellectual standpoint, let us suppose, as the famed mathematician and inventor Blaise Pascal argued, that Christianity is wrong and that there is no such thing as life after death. Christians will not lose anything if they later found out that this whole business was a hoax. But what if the atheists and skeptics are wrong? What if there is an ultimate judgment?...Some skeptics would say, “What about other religions? Don’t they provide other alternatives? Should not a person consider them?”
    What if you're wrong? Are you prepared for Ragnarok? The reason that you don't believe in the Norse pantheon, you see, is that you only have the gradeschool version of it. Once you've been exposed to the intellectual and philosophical greats of, um, Norseism, like Bjorn Njordi and Njorn Bjordi, you will, I have no doubt, come to the inescapable conclusion of the Truth of Thor's Word. Worry not, brother, Freyja will welcome you with open arms, if you just simply believe.

    I will set the record straight in the last book of the trilogy.
    Return of the Jedi?

    In a nutshell, I put my trust in Jesus Christ because He intellectually, existentially, experientially, logically, and eternally...
    Don't forget anecdotally.

    ...offers the best explanations for life’s deepest questions—questions of origin, morality, meaning, and destiny.
    No. It purports to have answers that it does not have, and it codifies someone else's relative morality, attributes it to God, then calls it absolute.

    No other system offers such compelling and satisfying answers—not even the atheist system.
    Who said atheism is compelling or satisfying? Knowing that death is, well, death is awful. Knowing that the bastard that dinged my car and just drove away (jerk!) won't get his comeupence irritates me to no end. In short, atheism sucks. On the other hand, giving up the idea of eternal paradise is a reasonable sacrifice to make if it means giving up the idea of an eternal hell.

    Jean Paul Sartre, on his deathbed, admitted that his atheism abandoned him and seemed to have foreseen that he would be in deep trouble after life.
    Nice try, but not so much.

    Similarly, the renowned British atheist Thomas Hobbes, known for his work such as Leviathan, made the following statement on his deathbed, “I am about to take my last voyage—a great leap in the dark.”
    Ah, yes. Were you expecting absolute confidence? We tend not to do absolutes all that much.

    While Christians put their trust in the words of Jesus, the average atheist will put his trust in the proposition that there is no life after death, for which he has no substantial evidence.
    Tu quoque?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Modus
    I can't argue with sarcasm, but you made a couple of points I'd like to address.

    "So, at bottom, according to Dawkins, there is no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good."
    I'm not particularily familiar with Dawkins' writing, but I doubt he claims the last two. Evil and good are what intelligent agents do to each other. A godless universe, therefore, cannot be either. Whether Dawkins believes in moral absolutism, I can't say.

    Well, all necessary informations are already in posted interview. According to Dawkins:
    "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference….DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music."

    The Courtier's Reply?
    That's just plain stupidity. Ignorant Dawkins doesn't have to know exactly what he's talking about, he sells million copies of his pure nonse anyway, right?
    You've just proved Alexis' main point - irrationality of new atheists.

    But why would a person invent depressing things like hell? Why would the Bible give such a grim picture of the place?
    1. It's the stick.
    2. It's for the other guy. That guy who dinged your car? Hell. Hitler? Hell.

    So hells is stick for those who don't belive in hell? Interesting.

    most of us just run around rubbing up against people, places and things.
    Why don't you address real point instead of disorting it? I know personally people for whom sex is the most important thing in life. And yes, they're atheists. It's quite common. It doesn't mean they're can't control they desires, think about sex all the time etc.

    ID, for instance, tends to have Him as the Cosmic Tinker
    ID doesn't deal with concept of God at all.

    and one not based on being good or bad, but based on whether one believed the right thing. Did you know that Hitler is in Hell...with a fair percentage of his victims? Now that's an odd kind of justice
    Another common atheistic lie.
    "(41) "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (42) For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, (43) I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Mt 25:41-43"
    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.' Mt 7:21"

    Your stick and carrot theory doesn't work. People don't react to some abstract ideas which are nothing more than words. Otherwise majority of Christians would follow their religion much much stricter than they do actually. It's only people like Saint Paul, Saint Faustina or Vassula Riden can long for death wholeheartly, because they experienced what to be in heaven really means.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Those are interesting words—coming from the pen of a person who believes that God does not exist, yet who is still marshalling ridiculous arguments against the very same God.

    Is there some structural flaw in the brains of religionists that makes them think that this is a valid criticism? As far as I can see, there is nothing logically inconsistent in saying: a.) this character is fictional and does not exist in reality, and b.) this character has a very despicable personality.

    This is easy to see: just pick any of the not so nice deities from other religions (say, Kali) or other fictitious sources (say, Cthulhu). You can substitute Kali or Cthulhu into Dawkins statement and it is perfectly logically consistent.

    Now, anyone can agree or disagree with Dawkins statement - that is a separate issue. The question here is why would someone think Dawkins statement was in someway inconsistent, when it so transparently isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  4. tremor "Well, all necessary informations are already in posted interview."...According to Dawkins: "The universe we observe has precisely..."
    The universe. People can still be good or evil. The universe, not so much.

    "That's just plain stupidity. Ignorant Dawkins doesn't have to know exactly what he's talking about, he sells million copies of his pure nonse anyway, right?"
    Dawkins could know everything about everything, and someone would still use the Courtier's Reply since "that's not my Christianity."

    "You've just proved Alexis' main point - irrationality of new atheists."
    I'm not a new atheist. I'm barely even an atheist. Mostly, I'm an apatheist whose been dragged out because people get away with the stupidest shit when they think what they think is what God thinks (and their wants are what God wants). In the stony silence of a godless universe, that little voice is easily confused for Him, apparently.
    Nor am I rational (though I try to be).

    "So hells is stick for those who don't belive in hell? Interesting."
    Perhaps I spoke real bad-like. I do that sometimes. Hell is your revenge for what the other guy did to you. Hell is also an excellent stick to help make the proles listen to (and follow the orders of) those in charge.

    "Why don't you address real point instead of disorting it?"
    It's funnier my way. Granted, it's only funnier to me...

    "I know personally people for whom sex is the most important thing in life."
    Ah, but do you have their phone numbers?

    "And yes, they're atheists. It's quite common."
    Well, if we're going to play dueling anecdotes, most are the people I know don't seem all that hot and bothered about such things.

    "ID doesn't deal with concept of God at all."
    /me pats you on head. Sure, it doesn't. Someone tweaks life every once in a while. It could be aliens, and ID propaganda never make fun of panspermia, nor would the DI ever mention God. That would be silly.

    "Another common atheistic lie."
    Sure, ...faith without works is dead, but He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Also, Sola fide, Sola gratia.
    Doing without believing gets you the bad ending, and believing without doing gets you the bad ending if you're Catholic but not if you follow some variant of Calvinist theology.

    "People don't react to some abstract ideas which are nothing more than words."
    Fire, heat and pain aren't all that abstract.

    "Otherwise majority of Christians would follow their religion much much stricter than they do actually."
    Well, then thank God they don't.

    "It's only people like Saint Paul, Saint Faustina or Vassula Riden can long for death wholeheartly, because they experienced what to be in heaven really means."
    ...and how many copies of the Left Behind series have been sold? It's apparently the most stolen series from libraries...because the pious thieves aren't expecting to come back. Apocalypse porn is not for the healthy mind (the flip, I think, is zombie films for atheists). What percentage of Americans think JC will be back this year? How about in their lifetime? Sites like these (as well as End Times books and that guy in the expensive suit on the TV on Sunday mornings who appears remarkably confident that it's a'comin' real soon) are disturbingly common.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Modusoperandi
    According to Dawkins: "The universe we observe has precisely..."
    The universe. People can still be good or evil. The universe, not so much.

    How can they if "DNA neither knows nor cares"? Hitler wasn't bad, he just evolved to be Hitler.

    "That's just plain stupidity. Ignorant Dawkins doesn't have to know exactly what he's talking about, he sells million copies of his pure nonse anyway, right?"
    Dawkins could know everything about everything, and someone would still use the Courtier's Reply since "that's not my Christianity."

    You're right, he can't make same arguments against different sets of beliefs if they differ on given subject. If he dosn't care, why did he write a book about 'Emperor cloths' showing not only ignorance and unscientific bias but also hate towards image of God he built, religion, and yes, also religious people. I've already had an opportunity to gather fruits of New Atheism propaganda. Supposedly it's just the begining.

    I'm not a new atheist.
    I still hold my point: Courtier's Reply is just plain stupid.

    Nor am I rational (though I try to be).
    Same here.

    Hell is your revenge for what the other guy did to you.
    Hey, I can't condemn anyone. Morever, hate is a crime against the most important commendment.

    Hell is also an excellent stick to help make the proles listen to (and follow the orders of) those in charge.
    Excommunition used to be overused for political purposes, but it still doesn't mean hell. I still hold the point: this stick doesn't work.

    Well, if we're going to play dueling anecdotes, most are the people I know don't seem all that hot and bothered about such things.
    OK, forget my statement, it's unsound due small sample. Let's focus on New Atheists - they stongly criticize religion for interfering in sexual life.

    /me pats you on head. Sure, it doesn't. Someone tweaks life every once in a while. It could be aliens, and ID propaganda never make fun of panspermia, nor would the DI ever mention God. That would be silly.
    Does it, really? I have no idea.

    Sure, ...faith without works is dead, but He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    Says John the Baptist to his disciples. Same thought is elaborated by Jesus also in J 3: "17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (19) And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (21) But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God."
    Faith and deeds go hand in hand. Everyone wants to obey his/her moral system, and it's not that unusual to change it to fit what one desires.

    I don't accept your Doing without believing gets you the bad ending,. Loving your neighbour as yourself is enough.

    Also, Sola fide, Sola gratia.
    believing without doing gets you the bad ending if you're Catholic but not if you follow some variant of Calvinist theology.

    I agree. It's very comfortable, maybe that's why this nonbiblical idea was accepted by some.

    Fire, heat and pain aren't all that abstract.
    But unforseen, distant future, uncertainity of punishment spoil the effect.

    Well, then thank God they don't.
    What's your accusation against Christians who obey their religion?

    ...and how many copies of the Left Behind series have been sold? It's apparently the most stolen series from libraries...because the pious thieves aren't expecting to come back. Apocalypse porn is not for the healthy mind (the flip, I think, is zombie films for atheists). What percentage of Americans think JC will be back this year? How about in their lifetime? Sites like these (as well as End Times books and that guy in the expensive suit on the TV on Sunday mornings who appears remarkably confident that it's a'comin' real soon) are disturbingly common.
    Anyone who sets specific date discredits herself by contradicting Revelation. Believing that the end is close and being prepared for that spititually is good. You never know when your end comes.
    I've never heared about "Left Behind" before. It must one of those American things.

    ReplyDelete
  7. tremor "How can they if "DNA neither knows nor cares"? Hitler wasn't bad, he just evolved to be Hitler."
    Speaking of crass reductionism.

    "You're right, he can't make same arguments against different sets of beliefs if they differ on given subject."
    Which, with some 38,000 Christian denominations, means that there will always be someone with the Courtier's Reply ("He didn't say nothing about snake handling. He's ignorant of the True Christianity; mine."). People have spent their entire lives reading, analysing, interpreting and re-interpreting the omnibus of Christian theology and not covered everything.

    "If he dosn't care, why did he write a book about 'Emperor cloths' showing not only ignorance and unscientific bias..."
    It's been a while since I read it (and I didn't find it all that good) but, if memory serves, he tackled the basics.
    I'm pretty sure that he'd rather just be a zoologist. Creationists pushing unscience in biology class, however, meant that he felt pressured to speak out.

    "...but also hate towards image of God he built, religion, and yes, also religious people."
    Hate? Hardly. That would be like hating the easter bunny (who, in his favour, has chocolate). Also, did you see what you did there? His version of God isn't...wait for it...your version of Christianity.

    "I still hold my point: Courtier's Reply is just plain stupid."
    And I still hold mine. What we've got here is a Mexican standoff, but with words and a low probability of Mexicans.

    "Hey, I can't condemn anyone."
    You don't have to. He does.

    "Morever, hate is a crime against the most important commendment."
    If the wrath of the Lord is a just and goodly punishment, then your emotions are immaterial; it's just an eternal prison for "bad" people. That it's purported to involve torture taints not His holy righteousness.

    "Excommunition used to be overused for political purposes, but it still doesn't mean hell."
    Ah, I thought that excommunication denied confession and implied apostasy, as John 15:6.

    "Let's focus on New Atheists - they stongly criticize religion for interfering in sexual life."
    Yes. Because of stuff like this, this and this and other issues, like this. The problem isn't that religion interferes with religious peoples' own sex lives, it's that the religious (not all, obviously) interfere in other peoples' lives.

    "I don't accept your Doing without believing gets you the bad ending..."
    "(18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God"

    "Loving your neighbour as yourself is enough"
    We need more like you. A one for one swap with the Falwells of the world would do wonders.

    "I agree. It's very comfortable, maybe that's why this nonbiblical idea was accepted by some."
    I'm not defending it either way. It's all Greek to me. Especially the Septuagint.

    "But unforseen, distant future, uncertainity of punishment spoil the effect."
    I'm guessing you never got spanked as a child. The expectation of it is as bad as it ends up being. Hell is worse. It's an infinite spanking.

    "What's your accusation against Christians who obey their religion?"
    You'll have to be more specific. If everyone was a liberal Christian or Amish, I would quite happily be an apatheist. Some of the links earlier in this post illustrate Christians that I have issues with, as well as the "Apocalypse porn" links from here (how can a nation plan for the future when a sizeable minority think that they won't be there, and that things getting worse mean that JC will soon return?).
    And it's not just Christianity. I'm no fan of Muslims who go apesh*t and burn up the place when they read the comics section of a Danish newspaper.

    "Believing that the end is close and being prepared for that spititually is good."
    Believing that the end is close for you, yourself, sure. Planning not to be here when it all goes to crap, and/or cheering for the End (especially when those who speak for God also have the ear of the President), not so much.

    "I've never heared about "Left Behind" before."
    You haven't missed much. They're poorly written with cardboard characters and a laughable plot. That they're bad doesn't lessen at all the sting that some people seem to think they're a documentary.

    "It must one of those American things."
    God bless America.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Source to suggest ''In 18th century's French materialism respect and stand of the Baron D'hollbach''

    ReplyDelete