Sunday, 19 February 2012

God bless Richard Dawkins

There's a certain slightly unpleasant crowing from some of those of faith in reaction to the claimed public humiliation of both Richard Dawkins and Trevor Phillips last week. They'd be better off saving their words, for militant atheists such as Dawkins when given free and unfettered rein do more good for faith than damage. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said to the Consistory last week;
"... even a person who brags about being secular and is dismissive of religion, has within an undeniable spark of interest in the beyond, and recognizes that humanity and creation is a dismal riddle without the concept of some kind of creator.

A movie popular at home now is The Way, starring a popular actor, Martin Sheen. Perhaps you have seen it. He plays a grieving father whose estranged son dies while walking the Camino di Santiago di Campostella in Spain. The father decides, in his grief, to complete the pilgrimage in place of his dead son. He is an icon of a secular man: self-satisfied, dismissive of God and religion, calling himself a “former Catholic,” cynical about faith . . . but yet unable to deny within him an irrepressible interest in the transcendent, a thirst for something -- no, Someone -- more, which grows on the way."
Like a secretly gay footballer foremost in the public vilification of homosexuals, Dawkins affirms his own thirst for something transcendent in his life with every word he utters.


Anonymous said...

Shakespeare nailed this description of denial in one sentence - The quotation "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" comes from Hamlet, Act III, scene II. This phrase has come to mean that one can insist so passionately about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what one is saying.

Coney Island

G. Tingey said...

There is NO invisible BigSkyFairy
Grow up, and get used to it.

Thios who make the calim, should produce some evidence, which they cannot, trying to get others to prove a neagative (which can't usually be done)

The lies, self-delusion and spite vented by the believers is amazing.

I blame the islamists.
By threatening (with violence and murder) they have managed to obtain a spurious "respect" for their religion.
Now the christians want some of the same action - back to the Middle Ages chaps, Inquisition, torture and heresy trials, just to show how "good" BigSkyFairy is.


lilith said...

Quite so, and others are on to him

Budgie said...

"There is NO invisible BigSkyFairy."

Do you know this, G. Tingey, or must we take your word for it?

The fact is neither side can produce "some evidence" acceptable to the other. We are in the realm of belief here, not evidence. Grow up, and get used to it.

Oldrightie said...

There are no atheists in the trenches, believe you me!

Anonymous said...

Fortunately what you believe or what I believe has no bearing or influence on whatever the truth is. So I am happy with whatever your belief is.Just keep it to yourself and do not force it down my throat.

Anonymous said...

"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."

Luke 15:7

Mr. Dawkins....desperation and philosophical desolation, requires the spiritual succour: of 'The Word'.

Know it well.

Anon 2 said...

Thank you for another good post, Raedwald. Yes, the noisy rabble-raising from Dawky, wot's 'iz name, and their disciples does indeed reveal their obsessiveness. I think it can also contribute to our understanding of how authoritarian government develops.

Of texts, teachers used to say "Read, learn, and inwardly digest." In this sense, both words and the Word (heard or read) became flesh and gave rise to further words and actions. Whether the results were wasteful or beneficial depended on the coping systems of individual readers: and Raedwald has just demonstrated how this works.

The present discussion is also revealing another ancient principle, which stems from the fact that 'beliefs' and 'words' are intangible. Further, 'Beliefs' are unheard until they are articulated. Because spoken words are also intangible, it is impossible to ram them down throats ... however, sound waves emanate from there. So this directive that believers 'keep beliefs to themselves' prevents freedom of speech. "Eat your own Word(s)," the atheists and secularists freely say, "and mind that neither your texts nor your digestive processes interfere with your doing as I say." Thus secularists prevent freedom of thought, word, and deed; their carping disrupts the cycle of words-belief-works-words.

Such insult affects both bully and victim. Booting others to dust infuses mortal clay with inarticulate emotions, be they lust of revenge and power, or pain and anger. Each party to the bestial interaction then sets up a wall that seals off the microcosm of his God-given conscience: his inner voice. Thus the cycle of anger-invective-violence-anger can continue. The idea is that the biggest bully will reign over the most brainless and inarticulate masses in saecula saeculorum. .....

Anonymous said...

In the U.S., we say "foxholes."


As a practical matter, if an atheist decided to become religious, how would he know which of the thousands of religions to pick?


Dave_G said...

Belief is a thought process. It should not be required to make it a physical process in order to prove the validity of that belief.
Anyone who resorts to the physical to ensure their belief is superior to anothers has immediately lost the argument.

G. Tingey said...

You are making the claim
Mow, produce BigSky Fairy or fuck off

ALl I have to do is demand evidence.
( ANY BigSky Fairy, btw)

You SHOULD KNOW about proving negatives ... like I claim the Mystical Invisible Pink Unicorn has revealed his truth on a Ming vase contra-orbiting Earth on the other side of the Sun - prove me wrong, or what I say is true ...)

Anonymous said...

Me thinks thou doth protest too much. You are also a perfect example of the point Raedwald is trying to illustrate.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tingey. Coming on here and debasing what is an intellectually biased blog is just not on. Telling someone to f off is not on. Normally you produce some erudite and interesting points, but this time you have let your intellect down badly. And when you are in rant mode, you display signs of dislexia; so calm down and think before you write. Please.

Coney Island

Dave said...

Faith is believing what you can't see. We can't see God but we can see where he touches lives.

OK. Too simplistic? Need proof?
Sorry no can do. If I could prove it or see it then it wouldn't need faith. But how about this.

TV signals, radio signals. They permeate the atmosphere. They're invisible, inaudible but we know they're there because if you get a receiver and an aerial you can pick the signals up and lo and behold! You hear sounds and see pictures.
A poor analogy, but if you were more in tune with God, maybe you'd hear him and see him?

I may be a bit lapsed of late but the fact is- I don't have the faith to be a strict atheist. Do you? Do you have the faith that there is nothing after death, no judgement, no heaven, no hell?

As Mark Twain once wrote, it's not the bits of the Bible he didn't understand that caused him worry- it was the bits he did understand.

G. Tingey said...

My apologies for the language.

However I stand by my point, and would remind people that I went to an evangelical (CofE) church for 13 years (until I was 14/15) - I know all the lies.
It's the lying that gets to me.
The unctuous lying of the christians and the aggressive lying of the muslims - but all lies.

Let's see shall we?
A militant christian - we know what they look like:
Timothy McVeigh, St Dominic. St Cyril of Aleaxandria, Jean Calvin - all murderous bullying thugs.
A militant islamist - we know what they look like - do I need to elaborate?
A militant atheist or even secularist (Quakers are secularists, for instance) ...
Point out that the religous bleievers are lying, making exaggerated claims, and are bullies.

Does not compute.

Now please stop LYING.

Budgie said...

G. Tingey, your "truth" and my "truth" are not worth tuppence. Truth only has value because it is outside us both. This is a problem for atheists.

The commensurate problem for Christians is the existence of pain.

Greg Tingey said...

On a related subject - BBC impartiality:
Once the steam had stopped coming out, to write THIS:
Are all aware of the utterly untrue piece aired on “Today”, approx 8.10, Sat, 18 February.
In it, a bishop, an MP & the Radio4 person engaged in an entirely empty & biased “debate” about both the place of the church (& referring to CofE) in society, & the position of people who were untruly described as “militant secularists”.
There was the assumption, clearly taken-for-granted, that secularist = Atheist.
Which is not the case.
Let's see?
A militant Christian - we know what they look like:
Timothy McVeigh, St Dominic, St Cyril of Alexandria, Jean Calvin - all murderous thugs.
A militant islamist; - we know what they look like, & I don’t think I need to elaborate?
A militant atheist or even secularist, Quakers are secularists, for instance.
Point out that the religious believers are lying, making exaggerated claims, & are bullies.
Please note this very important distinction.
It is quite possible to be a religious believer, & simultaneously a secularist. The founders of the US were all nominal Christians, also, secularists, as they did not want any one sect to take over religious practice. The distinction is an important one.
Now, let us go back to the descriptions of “militancy”, given above. I believe that the appropriate phrase is: “Does not compute”
The only explanations I can come up with that appear to fit the facts are that either the debaters, & even more disgracefully, the BBC interviewer are so completely deluded (self-deluded in the case of the two debaters) that they cannot or will not see the complete falsity & untruth of what they are saying, or that they do know, & don’t care, because they think, that as religious representatives, they can get away with deliberately lying.
Now please stop it!
If anyone can actually produce a real militant secularist, I would be most interested? I might even apologise.
In the meantime, I would be very much obliged if these people, & most importantly, BBC interviewers would desist from deliberately spreading malicious falsehoods about people who are merely pointing out that “the Emperor has no clothes”.
To find a complete lack of independence of point-of-view of the BBC on religion should, perhaps not be a surprise, given that the head of the BBC takes orders of an old German Cardinal in a funny dress, & who regards said reactionary bully as the representative on Earth of the unproven & undetectable BSF, & very, very depressing. However, when it comes to as important & current a matter as this, a little bit of accuracy & fair observation might not be out of order, & might even result in the BBC observing its’ own Charter terms?
There are, of course, underlying reasons for all this deliberate or otherwise deception of the listening public.
It started with the attempt by some believers to have a well-known author murdered.
By continuing to threaten, with violence & murder, they have managed to obtain a spurious "respect" for their particular religion, unfortunately aided by some people who regard any criticism of said religion as “racist”.
Now, of course, the christians want some of the same, so that we can go back to the Middle Ages chaps, complete with Inquisition, torture & heresy trials, just to show how "good" & “powerful” their version of BSF is.
Maybe not as far back as the Middle ages, even, since in both France & Scotland people were judicially murdered for being atheists, as recently as the 17th Century, a state of affairs that still exists in some Islamic countries today.
The BBC are deliberately colluding in this censorship, suppression of freedom of expression, & deliberate propagandising of false & misleading information.
They should stop this, now, & start broadcasting statements that have, at the least some vague vestige of truth & accuracy in them, especially when it comes to their own people.

Greg T ingey said...

AND - broken in to 2 - even the previous was edited down a little ...

Is emphatically NOT a problem for a scientist or an engineer.
Did it happen?
Will it happen again?
Can we show that this is so?
Then it is true.
Game over.

"Pain" - also, not a problem, it is part of the body's evolved defence system, as in all other animal's.
What you SHOULD be worrying about is the cruel, vicious, arbitrary, bullying behaviour of BSF in any "holy" book.
And the permitting by a supposedly all-powerful BSF of suffering and torture, to which no satisfactory explanation has ever been given.
And I predict, never will be.

ian said...

Would this interview with Dawkins be the one in which the cleric also being interviewed said that even if you didn't believe Christ was the son of god you could still be a Christian? Not exactly the resounding put down you claim was it? I would have expected at least that belief to be insisted on in the CofE.

Anonymous said...

"Faith is believing what you can't see."

Faith is guesswork aggressively defended.


anon 2 said...

Thank goodness so many do understand that knowledge acquired by mankind is hard won in the trenches of material existence!

I appreciate the perception that each (isolated) one of us experiences a variation or small part of Truth. How truthfully we can interpret that experience is an individual matter; however, communication with other Truth seekers aids the process.

Shouting 'Liar' at Truth seekers doesn't help, however; that merely drowns out the transmitter's receivers and suggests that he believes his own equipment faultless and omnipotent. It is a truth, though, that none of us is equipped to know everything: this human frame is limited, in receiving, in interpreting, and in transmitting.

Same with pain. Yes, it produces a response to material conditions. And we certainly have a mechanism for interpreting it, but some people deride that as "subjective." Yet it is a truth that the dentist who tells a screaming, writhing patient to "stop making such a fuss" needs to swap places - to find out what the fuss is about.

Likewise, the Doctor (internist) who refuses to anaesthetize patients for certain invasive 'diagnostic' procedures: he should take a dose of the difference between their peace of mind, and the PTSD his victims suffer.

Likewise, too, practitioners who withhold pain medication. I'll never forget the woman who laughed in my face for screaming in pain when the nerves in my back were trapped. She didn't accept any interpretation of the severity, even when she knew that joints had collapsed: so the bones weighed in on those nerves -

All of these 'perpetrators' trivialize the experience and interpretive abilities of others. Both participants in the 'experience' see a different aspect of 'Truth'.... But maybe the ones who suffer and process pain get closer to a reasonable evaluation of sensate, earthbound, existence: they draw nearer to transcending the importance of the material and the secular.

So, I say, do those other animals who exhibit compassion and love under such circumstances. How much those sneering, authoritarian 'humans' have still to learn!

Greg Tingey said...

Actually a scientist will (or should) say that pain is real, it cannot be subjective.
It can even be measured, in some form.
After all, if you have trapped a nerve (did it to one in the top of my foot once - ouch), then your nerves will be sending very vigorous electrochemical signals to the brain, and other parts of the body, and those signals can be detected by our instruments.

Doctors who deliberately inflict pain on their patients are in violation of their Oath "Thou shalt do no harm"