I haven’t read every single one of the various atheist books by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Hitchens, et al. But I’ve read most of them.
I’ve also read the historic atheists such as Russell, et al.
What amazes me is that anyone takes them seriously. Even when I was deep in my anti-God period, I could see that Russell’s Why I am Not a Christian (which says everything worth saying that is found in any of the other books, by the way) used self-refuting arguments. If you followed his line of reasoning to its end, you would have eliminated the existence of 2 billion Christians who are on the globe today.
The illogic of his logic actually led me to believe that if atheism had good arguments, they weren’t being advanced. This is telling because I was at a point in my life where I wanted to be convinced by atheism.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the crude and nasty atheists of today’s public forums are the way they are for two simple reasons. First, their philosophy, such as it is, is so hopeless and nihilistic that it is crazy-making. Second, anyone who reads one of these “four horsemen” and is convinced by them (much less goes around quoting them and pretending their ideas are your own) is either an adolescent, or they are an adult who is stuck is permanent adolescence.
The Four Horsemen and their progenitors are not thinkers for grown-ups.
I’ve just finished reading a book that addresses this adolescent thinking from the viewpoint of a fellow scientist. David Berlinski is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He has written such books as A Tour of the Calculus and The Advent of the Algorithm. What that means, aside from the fact that he’s got the chops to address the scientific hubris of the new atheism from the inside, is that, unlike most of the professional new atheist apologists, he doesn’t just go around writing hate screeds for a living. He actually writes and thinks about something else.
I wish his book on the scientific pretensions of the new atheism had a less lurid title. The book is of a higher quality than its title. However, I know that titles sell, and publishers make these decisions.
The book is called The Devil’s Delusion, Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions.
If you haven’t read it, you should. Berlinski writes with dry wit and clarity of the scientific gibberish that makes up the framework of new atheist arguments. The book is not, as the atheist books are, a vicious screed against those who disagree with him. It is rather, a gentle poke in the ribs.
Berlinski (who is not a believer) disassembles the house of cards of atheist scientific arguments against God, based entirely on the sheer outrageousness of their claims. There are no calls to insult people or attack them in the book. It doesn’t make totalitarian arguments that scientists should have their children taken away from them for the “child abuse” of teaching their kids what they themselves believe. There’s no trippy conflab about flying spaghetti monsters, and not one word of building a Christian revenge movement to drive atheists from the public square.
The Devil’s Delusion simply points out a few of the many over-the-top claims that atheists make in the name of science and calls them what they are: The attack polemics of a blind and absolutist faith. All of which is to say that the scientific claims by atheists are propaganda. They are not science at all.
I recommend The Devil’s Delusion. I hope that you will read it. If you’re been reading the adolescent rants of the new atheists, I especially hope you read it. It’s a great palate cleanser.
This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
I don’t know that I would go this far, even though I do think that Edward Snowden did the American people a favor by letting us know the extent to which our government was spying on us.
It is, however, an indicator of how at least some people in other countries feel about his actions that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. If it does nothing else, the nomination — which probably has scant chance of ever being more than a nomination — demonstrates just what a rattrap our “representation” in Washington has become.
From USA Today:
STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Two Norwegian politicians have jointly nominated former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, saying his disclosures of secret U.S. documents have contributed to making the world more peaceful.
Anyone can be nominated for the prestigious award, so the submission Wednesday by Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider.
“We do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures,” the two lawmakers said in their nomination letter. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
My mother was sick last night, so I didn’t give a lot of thought and attention to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
I watched part of it by picking up a live stream on my laptop. But other things took my attention after that and I didn’t see the rest.
The major take-away I got from what I saw is that our president is a fine orator. President Obama’s speech — at least what I saw — was witty, charming and upbeat. He delivered it flawlessly.
As for the substance of it, I’ve heard the good news about America’s growing oil independence before. I think this is wonderful. It’s key to our economic stability and foreign policy freedom of action.
I’m not so impressed with the figures on the economy, for the simple reason that I think that we need to do a lot more to get this country back on track economically. I’ve said in other posts that I believe we must work to re-industrialize America.
A country that does not make its own goods is in a weak position in the world. The president’s ideas about re-building the infrastructure might help do that; if we can pry the contracts out of the hands of the usual pork-barrel recipients and actually work to advance a true free market ethic that gives everybody a chance at the gold.
I could go through the issues he raised, in fact I probably will go through them at other times, in more detail. But basically, it was the same stuff we’ve been talking about for months. I agree with President Obama about some things, and disagree with him emphatically about others.
My primary concern after watching what I saw of the speech is two-fold.
One, I’m tired of seeing the Speaker of the House sit behind the President with a look of obvious hatred on his face. It’s fine to disagree with people on issues, but this business of making everything into a the-other-side-is-the-devil hate-off is harming our country, not to mention doing mental and emotional damage to the politicians indulging in it.
Second, I wonder if Congress going to just keep on yammering at itself and allow the President to make Congress irrelevant in governing this country?
It seems to me that these two concerns are intimately related. Congress is like a bunch of drunks in a bar fight who won’t let themselves be interrupted in their slug-fest, even though the building is on fire.
The Speaker of the House needs to grow up and get over himself. So does everyone else in Congress. Nothing they do is about them and their mulish and picayune little grudges. Their job is about this country.
Congress needs to assert itself as a legislative body and take its place in the system of checks and balances that make this country free. That requires a lot more intelligence and forethought, not to mention higher aspirations, than I saw on the Speaker’s face last night.
This is a video of the President’s entire State of the Union Address 2014.
What does it mean when the Holy Father is Man of the Year for both Time Magazine and the nation’s number one gay publication?
What, pray tell, is the significance of a pope on the cover of Rolling Stone?
1. The Catholic Church is not irrelevant.
2. The Pope is showing us how to evangelize through love.
This adulation from the press won’t go on forever, of course. Sooner or later the media will figure out just how tough and immovable Jorge Bergoglio is when it comes to the Church and her teachings.
I think we should just roll with it and enjoy our Pop Pope’s popularity while it lasts.
And, in what is probably the most sincere of the bunch, the Holy Father has achieved super hero status in graffiti land.
Violent persecution of Christians continues in Nigeria.
At least 99 people were murdered in attacks on worshippers at a Christian church. The attackers also razed homes in the same town.
From ABC News:
Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing at least 99 people and razing hundreds of homes, officials and witnesses said Monday.
The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there.
Attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.
He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices thet were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.
A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.
Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.
State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.
Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.
Archbishop Cordileone called on young people at the West Coast March for Life to defend both the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage.
His message is especially powerful, coming as it does from an area of the country in which much of the population appears to be hostile to traditional values.
I see Archbishop Cordileone’s statement as the first of what will grow into a movement in the future. Promoters of gay marriage often tell us that in a few years, people will look back on those of us who support traditional marriage and say that we were on the wrong side of history.
Not so, my friends.
In future years, the struggle for traditional marriage will still be on-going. Like the pro-life movement, it will grow stronger as the debacle we have brought on ourselves becomes more apparent.
The first step is for Christian people to reclaim the sanctity of marriage in their own lives. This means that Christian spouses should keep their vows to love and cherish one another, forsaking all others.
From The National Catholic Register:
SAN FRANCISCO — A massive crowd stretching out for a mile in sunny downtown San Francisco showed the growing momentum of the Walk for Life, which celebrated its 10th anniversary for participants from across California and neighboring states.
On Jan. 25, more than 50,000 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall, and the diverse crowd included a mix of ages and ethnic and religious groups, with songs and prayer in English and Spanish.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, during hishomily at the Mass proceeding the rally, congratulated the young people present for embracing the pro-life movement and for joining the hundreds of lay activists, priests, women and men religious and seminarians at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
“The steadily expanding presence of young people at the Walk for Life, he said, underscored a new generation’s awareness that abortion harms rather than helps women.
“Forty years and 58 million abortions later, the very painful truth has come to light: Yes, abortion does hurt women,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
The San Francisco Church leader credited an older generation of pro-life activists with helping to change the nation’s view of abortion and demonstrating “heroic virtue” during past decades when those who challenged the legalization of abortion were stigmatized. Now, he warned the students at the cathedral, they must help enlighten their own peers about the central role of marriage as the sanctuary of life.
“The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
“It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. …There is no other institution that does that.”
… Archbishop Cordileone urged the young Catholics at the cathedral to stay “close to Christ” as they seek to present the truth about marriage.
“Future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one,” he predicted.
“But prepare yourselves: It will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days.”