Jan 062006
 

The subject of origins inevitably brings up questions about where we came from, why we are here, and what the purpose of life is (if such a thing exists). When it comes down to it, these are the only questions that are ultimately worth asking or seeking answers for.

When people ask why the unsolved mysteries of chemistry and physics are not the subject of debate when it comes to public education, I ask myself, What planet are these guys living on? These questions have no bearing on anything of ultimate significance.

If the atheistic/materialistic worldview is correct, there is no reason why one should not commit suicide when things get tough. Once you are dead and the biochemical processes in your brain shut down, there are no consequences, there is no accountability, there is no memory.

One day our sun will become a red giant and its outer atmosphere will expand beyond the orbit of the earth. When that happens, the earth’s atmosphere will be stripped away, the oceans will boil away, the sands will fuse into glass, and our planet will be sterilized of all life for all eternity. There will be no record of anything that anyone has ever done.

If the atheistic/materialistic worldview is correct, life is ultimately absurd. And the worst part is, this tragic, nihilistic, dark, cold, depressing philosophy doesn’t even make sense, and requires an unreasonable amount of blind faith. My favorite definition of reasonable faith is, “putting your trust in that which you have reason to believe is true.”

I have come to the conclusion that atheism/materialism requires blind faith, and that theism only requires reasonable faith. In order to be an atheist one must believe that nothing produced everything for no reason, that inert matter spontaneously generated life, that the personal came from the impersonal, that consciousness came from unconsciousness, that the equivalent of typographical errors turned rocks, atmospheric gasses and unspecified liquid concoctions into Chopin in 1017 seconds (and this list could be expanded). It seems to me that this is “unscientific,” magical thinking if ever such a thing existed.

I don’t have enough blind faith to be an atheist.

I do not propose that atheism makes people bad, but that it is destructive because it logically destroys any ultimate sense of purpose in life. Without a sense of self-sacrificial purpose, life loses meaning, and at that point untold miseries are destined to abound.

 Posted by at 10:54 pm

  32 Responses to “Origins, Atheism, Theism, and Faith”

  1. So we should all become theists because the atheist conclusion is too horrible to contemplate? We should close our eyes to the truth of what we see on the grounds that we don’t like it? That the scientific method that seeks to isolate “what truly is” from “what we want to see” should be abandoned because it is better to see what we want to see?

    What would you say to the materialist who claimed that he would deny the existence of a God because he didn’t like the consequences? I mean, how much weight does our emotional reaction to a conclusion, have on its truth?

    If materialism says that all factors in our decisions are either random or deterministic, how can you possibly introduce a third supernatural factor that is neither? Except, of course, by discarding all consistency, in which case, all pretense of logical debate should be abandoned since no proposition need maintain a continuous truth value throughout an argument.

    Why do you insist that the world should be intuitive?

    Surely, the world should be as counter-intuitive as it now appears to be, given that we’ve grown up on an insignificant little backwater of an incomprehensively large universe.

    As for what material agents ought to do with their lives, you may be interested in a recent post of mine at Telic Thoughts on this very subject.

  2. The point of my argument has been precisely missed. My thesis is that atheism/materialism requires a much more grand leap of faith than theism, and that the evidence (of design, purpose and teleology in the universe) more strongly points to a theistic view. I do not suggest that one should accept theism because atheism and materialism are too horrible to contemplate, but because it is more rational. It seems to me that the materialist is the one closing his eyes to the truth (e.g., by proposing an infinitude of in-principle undetectable alternate universes to explain away cosmological fine-tuning for life).

    The fact that atheism and materialism render life absurd is just an added bonus for the theist.

  3. doctor(logic),

    So we should all become theists because the atheist conclusion is too horrible to contemplate?

    No. I don’t think that was Gil’s point.

    We should close our eyes to the truth of what we see on the grounds that we don’t like it?

    No. I don’t think that was Gil’s point.

    That the scientific method that seeks to isolate “what truly is” from “what we want to see” should be abandoned because it is better to see what we want to see?

    No. I don’t think that was Gil’s point.

    You’ve completely missed Gil’s argument. He is making a rational argument for theism and atheism is irrational. Do you understand the distinction?

    Darwinism and yourself have confirmed that there is no purpose in life. If there is no purpose and an Absolute then life becomes absurd.

    Evidence on the ground demands, that which has a beginning, requires an ultimate uncaused cause.

  4. Gil,

    The point of my argument has been precisely missed.

    Sorry. I was reading the wrong 4 of your 8 paragraphs.

    In order to be an atheist one must believe that nothing produced everything for no reason

    The Big Bang is the beginning of space and time. It’s not an explosion somewhere in space. The universe wasn’t “created” at all, let alone for a specific reason. A 4D bounded structure just is – time is an internal measure like latitude, so it is senseless to speak of time outside the universe. You cannot sensibly ask questions like “At what latitude is Earth created?” or “What is north of the North Pole?”

    that inert matter spontaneously generated life

    Hmmm. But did you ever notice that we’re made of inert matter?

    that the personal came from the impersonal

    Not at all sure what this means, but it sounds very poetic.

    that consciousness came from unconsciousness

    This happens to every single conscious person on the planet at least once. They start from one cell, and end up as a neural network computing system with more computing power than the fastest PC.

    that the equivalent of typographical errors turned rocks, atmospheric gasses and unspecified liquid concoctions into Chopin in 10^17 seconds

    You mean like the way advanced electronic circuits can be designed by genetic algorithms using a few component building blocks?

    BTW, fine-tuning is a non-problem. Probability applies when you have an ensemble, and when you’re considering independent trials. We humans are not an independent of the universal physical constants. We are a direct function of those constants. If you ask what the probability is that the universe would be consistent with our evolution, the answer will always be unity (the probability that f(x) = f(x1) when x = x1 is unity). If you spin double zero on the roulette wheel, then ask what is the probability that the ball would bounce such that you got the double zero you actually got, the answer will always be 1.0.

    The wonder of nature is not that it is intuitive, but that it is counter-intuitive.

  5. doctor(logic),

    You cannot sensibly ask questions like “At what latitude is Earth created?” or “What is north of the North Pole?”

    Or one hand clapping. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is another bad analogy. A better analogy would be to ask was the Earth created? Seriously, according to the theory of spacetime all matter, energy has a “singular” beginning. In essence 3D space and time was once not in existence. In order for spacetime to come into existence, there must be a causal agent outside of spacetime. So when you say “just is” makes no sense scientifically speaking.

    You mean like the way advanced electronic circuits can be designed by genetic algorithms using a few component building blocks?

    I am not aware of this. As far as I know all commercial electronic circuits are designed using behavior modeling and circuit synthesis. Can you give me an example of a working electronic circuit that was designed by GA?

    We are a direct function of those constants. If you ask what the probability is that the universe would be consistent with our evolution, the answer will always be unity (the probability that f(x) = f(x1) when x = x1 is unity).

    This is an erroneous and oversimplification of the anthropic principle, because the anthropic principle does not use the goal of human existence as a goal. The fact to the matter is that unless the expansion rate, strong/weak nuclear force, electromagnetic, gravitational and a hundred other forces are fine tune, it won’t be just human life, but no life will be able to exist in the universe period.

  6. teleologist,

    Or one hand clapping. This is another bad analogy. A better analogy would be to ask was the Earth created?

    Not so. In the Big Bang theory, time has a beginning the way a geometric shape (e.g., a sphere) has a beginning. Spacetime is not embedded in some larger time dimension.

    Of course, you can say that the Big Bang wasn’t the beginning of time and that the universe never has a beginning at all, but that probably doesn’t help your case.

    Besides, what does the verb “to create” mean? It means that at some time t = 0 there are raw materials and at some later time t = T there is something constructed of those raw materials. You can tweak the definition a little, but you cannot separate it from the time variable, unless you want to admit statements like “the corner of a cube creates the rest of the cube.”

    Can you give me an example of a working electronic circuit that was designed by GA?

    Here is an excellent list of references on genetic programming.
    http://www.aaai.org/AITopics/html/genalg.html

    Here’s a list of patentable inventions created by GA’s:
    http://www.genetic-programming.com/inventionmachine.html

    This is an erroneous and oversimplification of the anthropic principle, because the anthropic principle does not use the goal of human existence as a goal. The fact to the matter is that unless the expansion rate, strong/weak nuclear force, electromagnetic, gravitational and a hundred other forces are fine tune, it won’t be just human life, but no life will be able to exist in the universe period.

    I have two objections to this.

    First, it is not an oversimplification. We observe that there are natural laws that govern physics and evolution and that these laws led to a universe of which we are a function. It doesn’t matter whether there were possible values of the constants in which life could not exist. You cannot apply independent probability analyses on causally dependent states. If you do, you will create paradoxes like the Adam and Eve paradox, or silly conclusions like the Doomsday Argument in which every generation of humans must conclude that Doomsday will soon be here.

    Second, even if it were important (and it’s not), it’s not at all clear how much of parameter space is habitable by life. For example, we may be aware that stars will not form in some universes, but that does not preclude the possibility of life, only life as we know it.

  7. Doctor(Logic) seems to get his answers from good ol’ Vic Stenger. Can you actually believe a word that guy is saying?

    You cannot sensibly ask questions like “At what latitude is Earth created?” or “What is north of the North Pole?”

    That’s true because the earth has a spherical edge, however, the universe doesn’t. Stephen Hawking tried to do that by applying imaginary numbers. The problem is, just that, they’re imaginary. So, unlike the earth, the universe doesn’t have a spherical edge, instead, it starts at a pointed cusp. Therefore, one can ask what stood before that. The answer is nothing, because all natural laws came into being after t=0.

    Moreover, Doctor(Logic), as an atheist you would probably deny a superstitious claim that something came from nothing. If someone told you that their cat appeared from nothing, I’m sure you would deem that ridiculous. However, when your worldview is at stake, you absolutely believe the ridiculous. Thus, you betray your own worldview. How sad!

  8. No offense intented, bro. I love you and all, but I think you need to wake up from dogmatic slumber.

  9. Benjii,

    Let me put this another way.

    The process of creation inherently depends on a time when the created thing did not exist. So, it is senseless to speak of the creation of the universe when the universe contains all possible times. Time is not an exterior variable in which something could create a universe. This is analogous to the way latitude is not an exterior variable that can be used, say, to describe a direct trajectory from Earth to the Pluto.

    None of this has any dependency on the geometry of the universe, as long as time is bounded. Make it as pointy as you like.

    BTW, you can propose that the laws of physics break down at the Big Bang, but then you cannot use any of those laws to your own advantage (causality, energy conservation, etc.).

  10. The process of creation inherently depends on a time when the created thing did not exist. So, it is senseless to speak of the creation of the universe when the universe contains all possible times. Time is not an exterior variable in which something could create a universe. This is analogous to the way latitude is not an exterior variable that can be used, say, to describe a direct trajectory from Earth to the Pluto.

    I’m afraid you are just beating around the bush, Doctor(Logic). You’re practically arguing that a creation doesn’t need a creator. I’d rather not debate this anymore. We’ve debated it quite enough.

    BTW, you can propose that the laws of physics break down at the Big Bang, but then you cannot use any of those laws to your own advantage (causality, energy conservation, etc.).

    Yes I can, because a prime mover can infuse laws at his own will. HE is the first cause. Period.

  11. doctor(logic),

    In the Big Bang theory, time has a beginning the way a geometric shape (e.g., a sphere) has a beginning.

    Another bad analogy. A singularity is a mathematical construct for the beginning of spacetime. It can’t be compared to a geometric shape.

    Here’s a list of patentable inventions created by GA’s

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the book in reference, which I assume explains how GA works. From a couple of examples of circuits that I looked at, it doesn’t look like the designs are patentable. From the little information that I can gather from your links, I suspect the GA was used like other target based search algorithms. It is probably a derivation similar to simulated annealing or min-cut type algorithms with the liberally laced Darwinian jargons.

    You cannot apply independent probability analyses on causally dependent states. If you do, you will create paradoxes like the Adam and Eve paradox,

    This is demonstration that you and the author of this essay do not understand the anthropic principle. Take a look at this quote from the essay.

    Even a theory saying that, say, the gravitational constant has a different value than the one we have observed would not be in any way disfavored by our observations, because even on the theory with the deviant value of the gravitational constant, observations like ours would be made, with probability one.

    What you’ve failed to understand is that a slight change to just this one constant would result in “no life can be formed” . So there is no observation can be made if just this one constant is different.

    Hugh Ross:
    Dirac noted that the number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) in the universe is the square of the gravitational constant as well as the square of the age of the universe (both expressed as dimensionless numbers). Dicke discerned that with a slight change in either of these relationships life could not exist. Stars of the right type for sustaining life supportable planets only can occur during a certain range of ages for the universe. Similarly, stars of the right type only can form for a narrow range of values of the gravitational constant.

    IOW, if the gravitational constant is just slightly different stars will either burn too hot or not hot enough. Either way life would not be formed. This is just one of many other fine-tuning constants.

  12. Good points Benjii. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. teleologist,

    Since you really hate analogies, let me repeat my claim sans analogy.

    The process of creation inherently depends on a time when the created thing did not exist. So, it is senseless to speak of the creation of the universe when the universe contains all possible times.

    You and Benjii are grasping at straws here trying to find a place for God when no God is required.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the book in reference, which I assume explains how GA works.

    Here you go…
    http://www.genetic-programming.com/gpanimatedtutorial.html

    From a couple of examples of circuits that I looked at, it doesn’t look like the designs are patentable.

    You’re a patent lawyer and en electronic engineer, too? Impressive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This is demonstration that you and the author of this essay do not understand the anthropic principle. Take a look at this quote from the essay.

    Actually, disagree with Bostrom in that paper. I wanted to use his paper to demonstrate paradoxes, nothing more. Bostrom does not make the causality independence argument I referred to.

    Reconsider my claim again. If materialism is correct, are we not functions of the universal constants?

    I’ll use the standard notation where P(X|Y) means the probability of X given Y.

    In that case, if U1 refers to the universal constants of our universe:

    P(U1 | humans) = 1.0 (humans are a function of the constants of our universe)

    P(humans | U1) = very small (we might have been velociraptors or Klingons)

    P(life | U1) = 50%? (hence, SETI)

    P(U1 | universe) = very small
    (there might be an infinite number of other possible universes)

    You claim that:
    P(life | any universe) = very small

    I claim that
    P(life | any universe) = unknown, perhaps not so small
    (stars and atoms may not be the only way to host life in other universes)

    Neither choice matters to my argument.

    As I said, the things we see in our universe (humans, stars, planets and galaxies, etc) are direct functions of the constants of our universe. Those constants cannot be considered independent of, or finely-tuned for, humans or stars.

    BTW, I’ve seen Hugh Ross speak. His modus operandi is to confuse non-scientists with lots of irrelevant statistics. The inhabitable parameter space for intelligent life can be as small as you want it to be and it doesn’t change my argument at all.

  14. doctor(logic),

    You and Benjii are grasping at straws here trying to find a place for God when no God is required.

    Maybe but maybe not. In any event your statement, ” The process of creation inherently depends on a time when the created thing did not exist. So, it is senseless to speak of the creation of the universe when the universe contains all possible times.” , makes no more sense than you analogy. How can a universe contain all possible times when in fact it has a beginning?

    Here you go”
    http://www.genetic-programming.com/gpanimatedtutorial.html

    (1) the set of terminals (e.g., the independent variables of the problem, zero-argument functions, and random constants) for each branch of the to-be-evolved program,
    (2) the set of primitive functions for each branch of the to-be-evolved program,
    (3) the fitness measure (for explicitly or implicitly measuring the fitness of individuals in the population),
    (4) certain parameters for controlling the run, and
    (5) the termination criterion and method for designating the result of the run.

    This looks like a design program to me. These look like the same criteria use by the other algorithms I mentioned.

    You’re a patent lawyer and en electronic engineer, too? Impressive.

    You are easily impressed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, what is patentable about the series of LC loops and unimpressive Nand circuit? You can submit it for patent, but I doubt one will be granted. Have any of the designs been granted a patent?

    Those constants cannot be considered independent of, or finely-tuned for, humans or stars.

    BTW, I’ve seen Hugh Ross speak. His modus operandi is to confuse non-scientists with lots of irrelevant statistics.

    You may claim that you disagree with Bostrom, but your P(U1) argument is the same as his. If you want to cut through the confusion why not explain to me how stars and galaxies even form by tweaking the anthropic constants. That’s all you have to do, simple right? Change the fine structure, strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational constants and show how stars can be formed. You might be right, some form of life might be able to exist without stars and planets and atomic cohesion, but I think it is kind of hard.

  15. This quote from the prestigious Journal Nature is applicable to the current debate.

    For two decades now, theorists in the think-big field of cosmology have been stymied by a mathematical quirk in their equations. If the number [the cosmological constant] controlling the growth of the Universe since the Big Bang is just slightly too high, the Universe expands so rapidly that protons and neutrons never come close enough to bond into atoms. If it is just ever-so-slightly too small, it never expands enough, and everything remains too hot for even a single nucleus to form. Similar problems afflict the observed masses of elementary particles and the strengths of fundamental forces.

    In other words, if you believe the equations of the world’s leading cosmologists, the probability that the Universe would turn out this way by chance are infinitesimal – one in a very large number. “It’s like you’re throwing darts, and the bullseye is just one part in 10120 of the dart board,” says Leonard Susskind, a string theorist based at Stanford University in California. “It’s just stupid.”

  16. Dr David Heddle’s blog might be worth a look.

  17. Alan, are you open to the design hypothesis? Could it be reasonable after all? I think Dembski and Behe have argued very well.

  18. teleologist,

    How can a universe contain all possible times when in fact it has a beginning?

    How can a map contain all latitudes when it has a definite North Pole?

    Change the surface coordinate system so that the North Pole is located at a special place (say, the worlds most active volcano), and the logic doesn’t change. There is no latitude +91.

    As for genetic algorithms, I don’t see what there is to object to. If you have a surface with lots of local minima, you can find them using a genetic algorithm.

    First, you randomly sample a point on the surface. You then make variations to the coordinates, both large and small. If the resulting sample is fitter (closer to a minimum), then you sample more (large and small) variations around the first sample. This kinds of algorithm provably finds minima.

    All that’s required is a function that describes survival fitness, a set of building blocks for the algorithm to act on, and the GA mechanism (replication, sex, mutation). You can argue that someone designed the original mechanism or arranged for the components (i.e., the laws of chemistry and physics) to be flexible enough for life, but the fact that GA’s work is an indisputable fact.

    As for your fine-tuning claims, let me ask you this: How many universes are there (as far as we know)? And how many sets of universal constants? What does it mean to select physical constants for a universe at random? What does chance have to do with the constants of the universe?

    You end up with two choices.

    1) If there is one universe with one set of constants, it is meaningless to speak of the odds of having those constants. You have neither an ensemble of universes, nor an oscillating universe. If there’s no lottery, then chance has nothing to do with it.

    2) If there are multiple universes or the universe oscillates (e.g., Big Bang – Big Crunch) then life (like ours, at least) only forms in the rare, habitable universes. If there is a lottery, we shouldn’t be surprised that people sometimes win it.

    I know what you are trying to do at an intuitive level. You want to compute P(God | life) or P(God | U1). There are two problems with this. The first is that God isn’t a theory or an explanation. Your God theory doesn’t make any predictions. It’s just infinitely fitted to whatever you observe. For you God implies exactly what we see, so God trivially equals life, U1. Using Bayes theorem, you cannot make any probabilistic inference about a non-theory that is tautologically the same as every observation you make (P(A|B) = P(B|B) = 1 when A is implied by B).

    The second problem is that you’re trying to substantiate your claim by considering the random selection of U1 from all U. However, such random selection is not the logical complement of God. Not only is a random selection not happening in (1) above, or irrelevant in (2), but it ignores the possibility that there might be physical laws that inevitably lead the universe to U1. As with biological ID, you cannot substantiate an inductive truth from an infinite search space using methods of elimination.

  19. According to my AI prof (who is an evolutionist and expert at machine learning), genetic algorithms are way overrated. Simple hill-climbing with random restarts is usually better.

  20. Furthermore, GA is only weakly correlated to natural evolution (according to my AI textbook by Norvig and Russell)

  21. Welcome Anteater, and you are right in both counts.

  22. Benji asked a while ago

    Alan, are you open to the design hypothesis? Could it be reasonable after all? I think Dembski and Behe have argued very well.

    “Intelligent Design” is a perfectly reasonable philosophical position, which doesn’t yet qualify as science. I think Michael Behe is a sincere and competent scientist, but I am not convinced by his irreducible complexity argument where he has applied it. WRT to OOL arguments, it is a different matter. OOL theories are much weaker and more open to IC arguments than the TOE.

    I do not have a very high opinion of William Dembski and his mathematical gymnastics. I think his maths as presented in his writings are designed to bluff the layperson, rather than to contribute to understanding.

  23. His math is very complex and confusing at times, however, I don’t think that disqualifies him from making an attempt to quantify design. Many scientists, including skeptical ones, have praised Dembski’s work.

  24. His math is very complex and confusing at times

    I’m sure it appears so to a non-mathematician, and is why it seems odd he includes so much in his books which are apparently intended for a lay audience. Some critics (with math expertise, such as Wolpert and Perakh) point out that the math is not necessary to explain the ideas set out in the book. This could be done verbally and graphically.

    Also mathematics is a modelling tool. Newton’s equations of motion do not help in understanding the force of gravity, but are still used by NASA today in calculating space-shot trajectories, for instance. Things are not proved by mathematics; they are modelled. Thus it may be possible to mathematically model a concept such as IC, but will not verify it.

  25. Do you know about Wolpert’s criticisms? I e-mailed Dembski about this and he never responded back.

  26. I do not suggest that one should accept theism because atheism and materialism are too horrible to contemplate, but because it is more rational.

    It isn’t that theism is morerational, its that atheism/materialism taken to their logical conclusions are completely irrational. As C.S. Lewis argued, on the materialistic worldview, one is ultimately forced to say that human rationality is the end product of a long string of irrational, impersonal, blind, purposeless natural causes. How can rationality be built on irrationality?

    Or, to put it the Alvin Plantinga does, on the materialistic worldview, there’s no way we can trust the deliverances of our cognitive faculties because we have no basis to believe they have evolved to their current state such that they are rational and successfully aimed at truth. It could be our cognitive faculties are fooling us.

    Theism, on the other hand, provides a solid basis for rationality. We can trust our rationality because it is rooted in an ultimate rationality that designed it.

  27. There is no “design hypothesis.” An Intelligent Design far beyond our comprehension is a mandatory beginning without which nothing in either ontogeny or phylogeny can ever make sense. While I agree that there is no evidence that God exists, that one or more Gods must have existed in the distant past cannot be denied by any objective observer.

    “However that may be, the existence of internal factors affecting evolution has to be accepted by any objective mind…”
    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 209

    So much for the mutation happy, natural selection intoxicated, chance worshipping objectivity of your standard, garden variety, atheist inspired Darwinian mind.

    How do you like them blanched asparagus spears?

  28. inunison pointed me to an article on another thread, but I think it more appropriately belongs in this thread. The author, Roger Scruton, was generous to give even this much credence to Dawkins’s demented idea of memes, which is nothing more than Dawkins’s atheistic attack on religion in general, and Christianity in specific. Dawkins over the years is showing more signs that he will follow the way of Nietzsche, either that or it may be mad cow disease.

    Dawkins is wrong about God
    Roger Scruton

    To Dawkins that idea of a purely religious truth is hogwash. The mysteries of religion, he will say, exist in order to forbid all questioning, so giving religion the edge over science in the struggle for survival. In any case, why are there so many competitors among religions, if they are competing for the truth? Shouldn’t the false ones have fallen by the wayside, like refuted theories in science? And how does religion improve the human spirit, when it seems to authorise the crimes now committed each day by Islamists, and which are in turn no more than a shadow of the crimes that were spread across Europe by the Thirty Years War?

    Those are big questions, not to be solved by a TV programme, so here in outline are my answers. Religions survive and flourish because they are a call to membership — they provide customs, beliefs and rituals that unite the generations in a shared way of life, and implant the seeds of mutual respect. Like every form of social life, they are inflamed at the edges, where they compete for territory with other faiths. To blame religion for the wars conducted in its name, however, is like blaming love for the Trojan war. All human motives, even the most noble, will feed the flames of conflict when subsumed by the ‘territorial imperative’ — this too Darwin teaches us, and Dawkins surely must have noticed it. Take religion away, as the Nazis and the communists did, and you do nothing to suppress the pursuit of Lebensraum. You simply remove the principal source of mercy in the ordinary human heart and so make war pitiless; atheism found its proof at Stalingrad.

    There is a tendency, fed by the sensationalism of television, to judge all human institutions by their behaviour in times of conflict. Religion, like patriotism, gets a bad press among those for whom war is the one human reality, the one occasion when the Other in all of us is noticeable. But the real test of a human institution is in peacetime. Peace is boring, quotidian, and also rotten television. But you can learn about it from books. Those nurtured in the Christian faith know that Christianity’s ability to maintain peace in the world around us reflects its gift of peace to the world within. In a Christian society there is no need for Asbos, and in the world after religion those Asbos will do no good — they are a last desperate attempt to save us from the effects of godlessness, and the attempt is doomed.

    If you don’t think Dawkins is slowing going mad consider this answer by him in another article.

    The objection to using humans for meat would be not just that they are human, but that they would feel fear, they would know what was coming to them, they would be in a position to suffer in a way that a pig or a cow, if it was well treated, would not. So my aim would always be to reduce suffering, not to take a kind of absolutist position that there is something special and unique about humans which entitles them to exploit and use other species of animal for any purpose.

    Do I really need to comment on this? Is cannibalism really something a sane person would find acceptable? Anthony Hopkins should talk it over dinner with Dawkins.

  29. Is cannibalism really something a sane person would find acceptable? Anthony Hopkins should talk it over dinner with Dawkins

    Or maybe Hopkins should just have Dawkins for dinner sometime!

  30. Or maybe Hopkins should just have Dawkins for dinner sometime!

    Yes the power of the word “have” . ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. I think Dawkins is definitely mad as a mercury poisoned hatter. I have also predicted his suicide when his world finally collapses around him. I’m surprised he has lasted this long. His ego, while enormous, is also very fragile. Most huge egos are. Paul Kammerer did himself in when he was finally exposed as a fraud so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dawkins do the same. I would really rather see him institutionalized however so he can keep on with his insane writings. They provide thigh-slapping amusement.

  32. Speaking of cannibalism, our closest living relatives (and they are most definitely our relatives), the chimpanzees are cannibals.

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