Monday, November 05, 2007

go atheists!

Stanley Fish's occasional columns on God and Religion tend to become freethinker free-for-alls.

Fish's recurring theme is that atheists are meanies:
In short, these books neither trivialize their subject nor demonize those who have a different view of it, which is more than can be said for the efforts of those fashionable atheist writers whose major form of argument would seem to be ridicule.
The long tradition of deists consigning non-believers to eternal torment, if only in their fevered imaginations, seems to bother him much less.
My co-non-believers are a bright bunch, and it's hard to top them. So this time around, I won't try, I'll just quote them:

The summary statement praises the two books for not demonizing opposing views. Wouldn't it have made a better summary statement then, when rejecting atheistic ridicule, to also reject religious hatred of atheism?
- Posted by Suzanne

The question of belief in a Personal God is addressed by Ehrman. The question of belief in God as Starter-Pistol is addressed by Flew. These are different lines of inquiry and cannot be easily compared and contrasted. Is a man who accepts God as Creator but rejects a Personal God an Atheist? The term "Atheist" needs to be defined carefully to have a meaningful discussion on this subject.
- Posted by Mike Marks

Antony Flew is an old dude who’s been hoodwinked by the godnuts into questioning reality. In their fear of losing their grip on the masses, the godnuts have succeeded in ensnaring this poor old man in their delusion: That there IS a heaven and hell,god and the devil. There is, there is, there is! If only you could make something be true by repeating it. It’s time to move on and embrace reality. Perhaps we can still save ourselves from ourselves before it's too late.
- Posted by Anna Galvin

"How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends [and] self-replication capabilities? […]
The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such 'end-directed, self-replicating' life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind."
A pity to have such an interesting question answered by simply postulating God’s existence. I also wondered why God lets bad things happen when my dog was put down, but I was 10 and have since grown up and learned to think for myself. If we are indeed plagued by an 'inherited [sic] virus', I’d say it is the faith-in-God one.
- Posted by Theodora (meaning, of course, God's gift!) Terzidou

I’ve been contemplating a statement made–I cannot recall where–in rebuttal against those who "gleefully" conclude there is no God: the science-religion debate is immeasurably enriched when materialists do not dismiss religion but engage with "sincere and learned persons" to reflect on the vitality of religious perspectives in conversation with materialist ones. That sounds nice. It seemingly comforts, let’s say, those who consider themselves to be open-minded Christians in debate with modern materialists. Now what about Astrology? Will astronomers be enriched by engaging sincere and learned astrologers in conversation about the influence of the positions of stars and planets on individual human destinies? I’m curious: how many astronomers regularly read their daily horoscope? How many astrologers faithfully follow the latest discoveries in astronomy? Are these two areas of study mutually exclusive?
- Posted by Ken Frank

Here in 2007, the right answer to questions like Why is there something rather than nothing, or how does consciousness work, is "I don’t know" or “We don’t know” (yet), not, "There must be a god."
Primitive peoples all over the world posited creatures like Echo, who yells back at you when you stand and call out. Today we know the physical explanation of echoes, and no one believes in Echo anymore.
From ignorance, nothing follows.
- Posted by tjallen

Most arguments for and against a god-presence in the cosmos assume a supernatural, father--igure. Perhaps one of our problems is that we are unable to fathom something entirely different. If we did I think we might have a much more interesting conversation. The one we are presently having has gotten old and boring.
- Posted by Gordon Alderink