You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
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Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
Blog post 2031:
“I used to believe in fairy tales,
but after 20 years of being a self deluded idiot
now I realize that the biblical jesus was not only an asshole, but also a fictitious character”
I know there are many ways we have more in common with liberal christians. But sometimes I wonder if the things we have in common with Ken Ham outweigh them.
What’s that saying about how liberal religion betrays faith and science equally? I wonder if accepting both with a shrug is worse than caring about what is true and making the wrong choice.
Ken Ham seems to believe that if the bible is not true from page one then you can’t have christianity. He seems to think that evolution and god are fundamentally incompatible.
I believe that too.
Ken Ham applies a false dichotomy in thinking about religion. Either Christian fundamentalism is true or there is no supernaturalism. Liberal religion sees religion in shades of gray where they believe in some form of supernaturalism but don’t get hung up on the details. Ken Ham puts the goal posts in a particular spot and stands by that spot. Liberal religion will always move the goal posts when challenged. Even though I don’t personally believe in God, I do think there can be a definition of God that is compatible with evolution. It just won’t be the Christian fundamentalist definition of God.
exactly, Ken (for all he is awful) makes a claim. Shouldn’t we respect that more than the restless goal shifting of liberal religion?
it is like with Harold Camping. All he did was make a claim that was subject to disproof, and how the other christians laughed because they know that the goalpost needs wheels or else someone will score.
“Shouldn’t we respect that more than the restless goal shifting of liberal religion?”
I think we should. I’m of the opinion that “liberal” Christians are both logically inconsistent and to a large extent, gutless.
I have more respect for an idiot creationist than a wavering, spineless “liberal” Christian who cannot give a straight answer to anything. Many of them are much nicer to interact with than moronic fundies, but at the end of the day, they are still deluded. They do us no real favor with their half-measures and mealy mouthed rationalizations. Through their weakness, their fundamentalist brethren are enabled and encouraged.
At least the hardcore ones are consistent and predictable. I like that characteristic in an enemy.
I take it you haven’t spoken to many creationists. Getting them to give a straight answer is pretty much impossible for all but a handful of questions. That isn’t much better than liberal Christians, who still generally take a stand on certain things (like the virgin birth, unless you are talking to a theologian).
Yes, I was a creationist.
When you were, where was the line drawn between macro and microevolution? How did you define a “kind”? Under what circumstances was our understanding of nuclear decay right? Which laws from Deuteronomy were still in effect? How many animals were on the Ark? I’ve spoken to hundreds of creationists (literally) and have never gotten a straight answer to these questions and numerous others.
“Either Christian fundamentalism is true or there is no supernaturalism. ”
I always saw his stance as being that either the bible is true or Christian fundamentalism is wrong. I’ve never seen, read or heard of him defending supernaturalism unless it is in the form of fundamentalist Christianity.
I’m not sure what, if anything would be logically inconsistent with that line of “reasoning”.
“What’s that saying about how liberal religion betrays faith and science
equally? I wonder if accepting both with a shrug is worse than caring
about what is true and making the wrong choice.”
Great comment and one that strikes directly at the heart of the matter.
I would respect the fundamentalists for their consistency, and the liberals for their morality. Since both would be non-Christians if they had some intellectual integrity, I end up respecting neither.
I keep hearing people here say this, and I keep asking the same question question, but never get an answer: what consistency do the fundamentalists have? They claim to be biblical literalists, but then reject large portions of the Bible. At least with liberal Christians they are generally up-front about abondoning large portions of the Bible. Fundamentalists do the same thing, they just lie about it (or never bothered to read it in the first place, which isn’t any better).
The only problem I see with this post is the “but”. It should be “and”
I don’t like how he says now he “believes” in evolution. As if he hasn’t really looked at the evidence and he’s just jumping onto another bandwagon.
What are you talking about? I believe in evolution, the sun, air, gravity, time – belief doesn’t mean “ooh, maybe this thing exists”, belief means “I will stake my life on this thing existing”.
I like how you’re a pedantic jackass who is so stuck on semantics that you cannot see the forest for the trees.
Hey. It’s fun playing this, “I’m a mildly retarded person who thinks they know someone by a couple lines of text” game.
I’ve said it before on this blog- computational genomics is the telescope of the 21st century. Pretty hard to look at the moons of Jupiter and say everything in the universe revolves around us. Pretty hard to look at the DNA sequences of Gorillas, Humans and Chimpanzees and say we’re not related.
I hate the idea of “believing” in evolution. I accept evolution as being factually accurate. Belief doesn’t even come into it. I know that the definition of belief fits perfectly but this is a personal bugbear. I find that it confounds belief in something that is demonstrably true (evolution, gravity, cake, etc) with belief in something that isn’t (gods, unicorns, cosmic teapots, etc).
I completely understand your irritation. unfortunately, given the whole brainwashing/indoctrination life creationists live, “belief” is going to be the word that fits best for them.
I can put up with it when it means the person has had their eyes opened a bit.
I don’t agree with this semantic definition because I don’t think that belief is synonymous with faith. Taking something on faith is to accept a claim and believe it without examining it logically or being presented with persuasive evidence. As an atheist I there are many things I believe to be the case because I have been presented with a sufficiently rational explanation, this is why I believe evolutionary theory of natural selection is the best explanation for the function of life, and abiogenesis is the most elegant explanation of how life began.
I also keep in mind that for science to expand our knowledge it cannot be dogmatic. Faith based people seem to think that the only alternative to faith is to be omniscient, and since scientists “don’t know everything” they can assert nothing. If we had the answers for it all, there would be no need for research, would there? In the past we have adjusted outdated theories when new evidence appears. I’m not saying that we must accept every bit of pseudo-science that pops up, but we are obligated to debunk it. And keep in mind that geocentrism was once commonly accepted by the intellectual community (what little of it there was), I will believe what I am satisfied is the nearest representation of reality, and if that is challenged in the future I am prepared to adjust it if the new evidence holds up to inspection.
To each his own friend. We are all in this journey together
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