Ideologues always go for the children. I understand why deists must, if their beliefs require it. But WTF causes Dawkins and company to mess with other peoples’ children? Pure sanctimony and self-regard.
(The usual caveat: there are atheists and then there are militant atheists. The latter are all like Dawkins; no matter how clever their words, all of them are profoundly stupid. Here’s why.)
These myths/stories seem ridiculous, and Dawkins takes the tone he always takes when describing religious stories—a condescending one.
It’s good to hear that Dawkins can’t keep his sneering contempt off the page. Not that I’d have expected anything different. Like that book series that got increasingly preachy and annoying.
…primitive people wrongly perceived the world and invented stories to explain whatever natural phenomenon.
The faith of Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Pullman will always be subordinate to deism. The atheists can only change that by murdering enough believers, a la Lenin and Mao.
But atheists have a problem with their fairy tale. It’s far too outlandish. Most people, even the simplest, instinctively know that it’s wrong. So the day will come when most people believe anything else. That’s when deists outnumber atheists once again.
Why? This is a “fox and hedgehog” situation. It doesn’t matter how many different things Dawkins knows, or how much of religion he can explain away. Because most people know “One Big Thing”: we’re Different. We’re alike each other in some mysterious way, while Different from everything else around us. We are not simply animals.
The Dawkins/Pullman creation myth–Chance Evolution–claims otherwise.
Of course both Dawkins and Pullman sense that discrepancy between Nature and Human Nature. Simply acknowledging “right and wrong” denies us the simplicity of animalhood. So militant atheists must spin frantic yarns to deny that denial, to “explain whatever natural phenomenon.” (Dawkins included.)
I’ve a standing challenge to atheists, especially of the intelligent, non-militant sort: tell me the story. Tell me how life could arise by chance and people could become Different. Alternately, if we’re not Different, why shouldn’t I kill you and your offspring and take your wealth and woman? Species can’t survive without culling the unfit, right? So I’m arguably doing “good”.
I give Dawkins credit for one thing: he’s man enough not to hide behind children. You know, the way statists and “activists” often do. Trotting out kids to spout their arguments about global warming or unions’ benefits or whatever. But apart from that, Mr. “Selfish Gene” just seems increasingly sad and pathetic.
I’d have a little more sympathy if he’d leave the kids out of this.
First of all, I despise these “militant atheists” or” activist atheists” as much if not more than you. Pissin’ on anybody’s beliefs at any opportunity, claiming to be offended by reading “In God We Trust” on our currency. Or the Ten Commandments in the court house. Pathetic little bitchy girls.
As for your challenge… This sort of continues the “Hell” discussion where I said I would reply and never did. I thought I should explain my question in the earlier post. It was not to “expose” a hole in your beliefs, but to explain why it does not make sense to me.
>>>”Tell me how life could arise by chance and people could become Different”…
Some atheists do believe in intelligent design, as do I. The “by chance” or Darwinism theories just don’t hold water. You may be saying that makes me a believer “in something” so I’m not an atheist.
That being said, I cannot see the Christian God theory making sense. I hope I’m wrong. As a life style or philosophy, it’s the best IMHO for a society to follow. I wish more people were true Christians.
So what could our existence mean without God?
Perhaps a test for mankind as a whole, not individually. We die and that’s it. If mankind reaches “some point”, signals “we’re here”, something wonderful (or deadly) may occur.
Dinner bell’s ringing….got to run..
Dawkins is still around? The guy has no reasonable arguments. Instead of using logic and reason he’s no better than the people he’s fighting.
That said, chance evolution is logic. Some god doing stuff isn’t. That said (I’m repeating myself, I know, blame the very delicious red wine from the Burgenland, it’s tasty, I’m 2 bottles down and I can still type? AMAZING!), which god?
Creationism and “intelligent design” is always Christian, or Christian influenced. People like to point out “oh, the bible is correct in that aspect” (let’s ignore all the blatant errors and lies in it for a second), but they always, ALWAYS, ignore all other myths.
For example: the Shinto creation myth speaks of how Izanami and Izanagi thrust a spear into the ocean and from that the Japanese islands were born. That is actually correct. Well… There was of course no Izanami and no Izanagi and no spear involved but the Japanese islands folded up tens of thousands of years ago thanks to the tectonic plates, similar to the European Alps.
For all we know the Cheyenne creation myth is the correct one.
Again this shows the blatant ignorance of the monotheists.
Yes we are animals. Back when I was at the university for veterinary medicine our script for zoology featured unter primates… Humans. Why? Because our DNA says so. The DNA proves that we’re very closely related to them. We’re just another step.
As for right and wrong. What is right? What is wrong? There is a certain basis that appears in nature. Eating your own offspring is wrong, yes, because it’s your own offspring and keeping your own DNA going is important. Eating the offspring of others… well, that’s where it gets shady. What is wrong?
Let’s say someone would rape my niece. That’s basically the worst case scenario. My reaction in this scenario is easy: hunt, find, kill. Is that right or wrong? In my book it’s right. In the book of many other people it’s wrong.
Pope Palpatine (sorry, I don’t respect pope Benedict at all), for example, says contraceptives are “gravely immoral”. Are contraceptives right or wrong?
Most of the rights and wrongs are massively subjective.
As for human nature… I agree, one human being is capable of reason. A horde of them? Not so much. Put them into a group and you will get a herd of monkeys. Simple as that. Observe human behavior on a daily basis. It’s amazing.
And well, my favorite counter in general is usually this:
This is the third planet of a small, unimportant sun. If the life of this planet was a 24 hour day mankind emerged just a few seconds ago. The universe is gigantic. The photo that NASA took from the so called Ultra Deep Field shows galaxies 13 billion light years away. That means the light that reached the camera has traveled 13 billion years. 13 billion years ago there was no Earth. Not even our sun. There are millions, if not billions of galaxies in the universe with trillions and trillions of suns. Given all these numbers there is life out there. It’s a no brainer really. And the issue with “life” is, we only know life based on carbon. There could be life out there based on elements we haven’t even found yet. Anything is possible with such a huge universe. And if we are really alone, why is the universe so big? Nature doesn’t waste anything. So we have this gigantic, old universe where plenty of galaxies and stars have been around longer than our sun, and yet we humans, with our over-clocked monkey brains, we have the true god?
The Greek had a word for that: hubris.
We know nothing about the universe or about life.
And let’s say god exists. Let’s assume this for a second. Then this existence created the universe and everything in it. Such a life form must be developed on a level we humans can’t even remotely imagine. So anything this god creature does is way above anything we understand. But we have the one true god and we know what it wants?
There’s a magnificent scene in Babylon 5, where G’Kar comments on some of the First Ones (the first intelligent life in the galaxy). And he compares humans to ants. Let me get the scene.
RIP Andreas Katsulas. He was epic as G’Kar.
Spot on. Ironically the man who created B5 is an atheist. We can believe whatever we want, but believe is irrelevant. I can believe pigs can fly, but that doesn’t mean they do. Fact is, what we know about the universe is basically nothing. Who knows what is out there. God? Aliens? Facehuggers? Headcrabs? Penguins? We don’t know. We will very likely never find out, we only have roughly 4 billion years ahead. Then our sun will die. Until then we need to get off the planet and find a new home, or we’ll disappear.
Let me comment on “hell” for a second as well.
Hell doesn’t exist. Simple as that.
God, if it exists, is all knowing and all powerful. (cause, what would be the point of having it if it’s not?) So, if I was to murder someone today, god knew 50,000 years ago that I would do this today. But he didn’t stop it. He knew, but didn’t stop it. Why not? Free will? This basic idea negates the existance of free will 100%. If god is all knowing there can’t be free will. Because, if god is that, why am I getting punished for something I do? God knew I would do that when he created Earth. Why punish me for something I do and he knew 50,000 years ago instead of simply not allowing me to exist? That would be a much simpler and more logic reaction (famous examples: Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.)
It’s the same with Eve and the apple. God’s reaction shows surprise and anger. Yet, if this god was all knowing he would have known beforehand that Eve would do this. It would always be like that, since god is all knowing. But apparently god isn’t all knowing as proven by the bible itself.
And if god isn’t all knowing, then it’s likely it’s not all powerful either. I mean, take Satan. A former angel, who, these days, is so powerful that he can challenge god. But wait… there’s still the hell thing and people who don’t follow god’s rules etc… but… god is all knowing, so he’d know already who will follow his rules and who doesn’t. So why send people to hell? Why punish someone for something you 100% knew he’d do? Logical fallacy! To the life boats!
Hell is a tool. If you’re good and do what we tell you to do, you go to heaven. If you’re bad and don’t listen to our orders, you go to hell. That’s basically it. Another tool for the clergy to execute power over people, which is yet another reason why I’m against organised religion and call the whole bloody lot of them fascists and dictators.
Speaking as the resident Jew, let me clear up a few things on theology which has mutated over a few thousand years.
1) God Is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. We’re actually kinda divided on that idea so we tend to ignore it really, as it kinda misses the point. God Gave us free will to do Good or Evil. It is Our Choice to do Good or Evil and it is not imposed by exterior forces or circumstances.
2) Ha Satan (The Adversary) is not Evil in and of himself. He is the Angel of Free Will and administers (does not promote, but administers) the evil impulse. He doesn’t come along and tell you to do something as that’s not his job. He just keeps track of the good and bad that you do over your life time and is the one who rolls out the list of what you’ve done when you die. If you want to think of it this way, He’s Gods Prosecuting Attorney that rolls out your docket when you go to face the music.
So, at the end of the day, it’s your choices that get you in trouble. God get’s angry because you made a bad choice. It has nothing to do that he saw it coming. He’s angry at your screw up.
Best summary of the issue I can recall reading. Thanks, Mr. Worm.
Wow, thank you. In your face, C.S. Lewis!
@Edohiguma. Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.
(content warning: language)
I agree that evolution happened. It’s not a problem for me or for my believing in God. It’s also not a problem for my reading of the first chapters of Genesis. But that’s I think another, huge topic.
I think animals are wonderful, but we’re not the same in some pretty startling ways. For instance, they don’t have blogs and comment threads. Mapping DNA equivalence is important, but clearly not the whole story.
In my view, it’s not any less (or any more) hubristic to say that the universe is huge and awesome and any creator of such, if one exists, could not possibly be known by, or interested in, puny creatures like us. A lot of great thinkers have held that view, like–I think–Spinoza, so I’m not putting it down. But I think that it is at best equally hubristic. You can’t say something like that without claiming to know what God would do and think, that is, that God could only care about big, awesome, difficult things and not puny humans. Well, maybe, maybe not.
The Christian claim (as I understand it) is that God’s primary attribute is love. Love is relationships. God wants relationships. However awesome the universe is, the crown of creation (and purpose) is beings that can think for themselves and have a relationship with God. Science could not prove this (by definition) but does not contradict this. There is no more awesome item in the universe than the human brain (from a complexity standpoint) or a human mind and will (from a non-physical standpoint). From a teleological standpoint, the universe has to be the awesome size it is for their to be life, humans, etc. The appeal to size and awesomeness does not refute the importance of life or sentient beings, equally awesome in their way, arguable more awesome in certain ways.
About hell, free will, and predestination, you’re right in the sense that they are connected, and reconciling free will with predestination is extremely difficult. I have to leave that one to the heavy hitters. But if God is love, if there is free will, and if the soul is eternal, then hell is, in principle, a sort of logical necessity, because for love to be free, one has to be free to reject it, and hell (as I understand it) is that final rejection. If the primary attribute of God is love, it sort of implies freedom, because (as I think Worme has expressed better) it’s not love if it’s a programmed response. One has to be able to chose not to love God.
The example of the murderer. I don’t know, but there’s the opportunity for the murderer to repent, like Saul. The question, “How could God, knowing the murder was going to happen and the murderer would be damned to hell, allow the murderer to be born?” is impossible for me to answer if it requires solving the freedom vs. predestination problem (above). I lean toward the freedom side and away from the Calvinistic approach, and I feel fairly confident about it (and it’s also biblical) but much bigger brains than mine have bashed their heads on it.
That said, the same question could be asked any of us, how could God allow any of us to be born, knowing the crappy things we’re going to do?
Wait, I found the clean version:
About the institutional argument, the fact that an idea is promulgated by an institution does not invalidate it. Or to put it another way, the idea is not invalid by virtue of being promulgated by an institution. As an example, I don’t show up at Worme’s blog and lecture Worme and associates about nuclear energy because, by gosh, I can make up my own mind on the subject. Yet there is clearly a lot of institutional/organizational back-up behind their expertise. Or at the level of morals, Boy Scouts or Little League are organizations that teach kids values like fair play, responsibility, right and wrong (sometimes, erhem, quite a bit better–I say this to my shame–than my own religious affiliation). But anyway, I don’t discount what Boy Scouts or Little Leaguers teach or do because they happen to be organizations. I also don’t assume that they do everything they do because Little League coaches or Boy Scout leaders want power and control over youngsters. They may be in coaching or scouting exactly because they care about the kids under their charge and want to play a positive role in forming their character. So, OK, I understand that organizations fail and can be wrong, but I don’t accept that they must by definition.
About Genesis versus religious myths in general, sure, it’s good to explore the similarities between the bible and other accounts of origins, but it’s also good to assess the differences, if such exist. I think what you’re saying boils down to the statement, “All religious accounts of creation are equally false.” So, whatever, you have a bunch of gods running around fighting each other scr**ing each other and giving birth to oceans and spitting out mountains, or you have one big, uncreated god above all created order, calling everything into being. What’s the difference? Well, I think there’s a vast difference, and I think I could be an atheist and see the qualitative difference there. (But I respect religious myths and traditions quite a lot so don’t want to disparage them or anything.)
My most recent read on the opening Genesis narrative (I’m not an expert) is that it was composed specifically as an argument against polytheistic creation myths, like the Gilgamesh epic. Fr. Robert Spitzer summarizes that pretty well at the 48:30 mark of