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10 thoughts on “The Happy Political Nerd

  1. Nicholas says:

    You are going to bomb Richard Dawkins?
    Count me in, Mr. Joker!

  2. Cindy says:

    I dear, I love Richard Dawkins! Have you read the God Delusion?

  3. Nicholas says:

    I’ve read excerpts from all of his books, and have never been impressed. Not just because he’s an atheist — I mean, there are plenty of intelligent and interesting atheists out there whose arguments are quite valuable — but because he has no idea how obvious and simplistic his reasoning is.

    I think I may have mentioned this article to you, but it was before you read the book. Anyway, this article encapsulates perfectly my thoughts about The God Delusion (and the author of the review is not a Christian, but a Marxist atheist):

    Of course, if there are parts of Dawkins’s book you want to make an argument for, you know where to find me. :o)


  4. Cindy says:

    “The God Delusion argues that the status of atheists in the US is nowadays about the same as that of gays fifty years ago. The book is full of vivid vignettes of the sheer horrors of religion, fundamentalist or otherwise. Nearly 50 per cent of Americans believe that a glorious Second Coming is imminent, and some of them are doing their damnedest to bring it about. ”

    Yup, this is the problem I have with religion. I could care less what people believe, but when religions control government, history has shown that the results are devastating. Now that mankind has the ability to destroy ourselves and our planet, this is very scary stuff and this is why I think religion is bad. And to top it off, this danger is based on no evidence of any gods.

  5. Nicholas says:

    Well, you extracted the single paragraph that is remotely in agreement with Dawkins…haha…but what about where he says that

    “In some obscure way, Dawkins manages to imply that the Bishop of Oxford is responsible for Osama bin Laden. His polemic would come rather more convincingly from a man who was a little less arrogantly triumphalistic about science (there are a mere one or two gestures in the book to its fallibility), and who could refrain from writing sentences like ‘this objection [to a particular scientific view] can be answered by the suggestion . . . that there are many universes,’ as though a suggestion constituted a scientific rebuttal. On the horrors that science and technology have wreaked on humanity, he is predictably silent. Yet the Apocalypse is far more likely to be the product of them than the work of religion. Swap you the Inquisition for chemical warfare.”

    And just because there is no evidence of God doesn’t mean He exists…there is no evidence that He doesn’t exist, either, so why should one point of view be more obvious than the other?

  6. Cindy says:

    I would happily believe in a god, if I could see some shred of evidence. But when I look at the world, I see a whole lot more evidence that there is no god. A belief in a higher power is a very personal thing and also a tradition passed down from one generation to another. For example, if you had been born in Iraq, you’d likely be a muslims. Another example; it was fairly easy to mold Aaron into an atheist, once he stopped believing in Santa.

    Again, I have no problem with people believing whatever they want, as long as they keep their religion out of government. That said, as your Uncle Rich says, “if people didn’t fight over religion, they would fight over something else….” I just think it’s one more thing that keeps people apart, to fight over and to die for, which is really sad if Richard Dawkins and I are right.

  7. Nicholas says:

    You are looking around the world for evidence…but what about looking at the world itself? Where did it come from? If from the Big Bang, then what created the conditions possible for the Big Bang to occur? Science can never identify a first cause, because it claims that any material thing must have come into being through a material process which had its own material origins. Logic alone says that there must be some “super-natural,” or “extra-material,” explanation for existence itself. Admittedly that is only the first step along the road to religion, but it at least suggests that one would do well to consider the “super-natural” in one’s worldview, which you refuse to do simply because, if I understand you correctly, there is no “evidence” for it.

    I don’t think your argument about tradition bears water. If YOU had been born in Iraq, rather than into a family that didn’t put too much emphasis on religion, you probably would have been a Muslim, yourself. Your “rational” atheism isn’t exempt from the “generation to generation” argument, either. Of course, for all of these environmental factors, there are always plenty of “converts” from one side to another. My Dad became an atheist despite his Catholic upbringing; I became Catholic despite a fairly mundane religious upbringing (and this, after I went through a Buddhist phase). The fact that people’s religion is influenced by biographical factors doesn’t mean that you can dismiss it as artificial, because there are always other factors (rational, biographical) that come into play.

    And lastly, I agree with Uncle Rich. I essentially agree with you, too, that we should keep religion out of government (although that is not the same thing as keeping it out of the social sphere altogether — which is what most liberal atheists are really after). But Richard Dawkins goes much further than that. He DOES have a problem with people believing what they want, even if they are not involved in government, because he thinks religion is a corrosive blight that ruins everything. So much for enlightened liberalism. That is why I oppose him. Although it’s not that his reasoning is bad, since I believe that ATHEISM is a corrosive blight that (at least) runs the RISK of ruining everything; rather, it just goes to show how important it is to argue first principles rather than pretending that religion is a private matter which should be kept behind locked doors.

    Someday I want to create a list of hypocrisies of the vast majority of people who oppose Christianity…here is one of them: They scream, “Religion should be about the public good, things we can all agree about, rather than about who has sex with whom…keep religion out of the bedroom!” And then these same people turn around and say: “Stop bothering me with your religion. Keep it out of my face. It deserves to be locked up someplace private, like…oh, I don’t know…in the bedroom!”

  8. Cindy says:

    I don’t know what started the universe, of course no one does, but I still think science is our best chance for answers. We once thought the world was flat, now we know it’s round, we once thought the sun revolved around the earth, now we know that the sun is at the center of our solar system. We now believe in the supernatural, but hopefully some day we will truly understand how we came to be. Not sure if we will ever evolve to the point where we will understand. I’m afraid we will not survive long enough to find out.

    I really don’t think “God” is the answer, since you always come back to the same question, who created God?

  9. Nicholas says:

    “Who created God” is, of course, an excellent question. But that’s sort of my point. My point is just that the source of life has to be something beyond the reach of science, since science is limited in its materialistic understanding of cause and effect; or at least, it has to be something whose nature is far beyond anything that science has, up till now, described. I don’t think we’ll ever understand it, either, nor are we necessarily meant to. But the fact that that source of all life clearly must exist despite our inability to comprehend how makes it all the more awe-inspiring. This was always the beginning of my religious faith, more so than Scripture, etc. When you accept that natural science has limits and that philosophy is equally important in filling in certain gaps in our search for the origins of life, the question of God becomes at least a lot more reasonable, even if you don’t come to the same conclusions I have. This was essentially the conclusion of the much-trumpeted philosopher Antony Flew, a leading atheist for decades who finally at the age of 80 or something admitted that it’s idiotic not to believe in something called “God.” Believing in the Christian God, of course, is another matter.

  10. Cindy says:

    I’m not sure that the source of life is beyond science. It’s just something we don’t yet understand. I don’t see a point in making stuff up to fill in unknown gaps. I guess religion is a good defense mechanism for some people. It helps them to cope with death and it helps them to explain things they don’t understand. But again, I don’t think these benefits out weigh the price we have had to pay via religious wars and fights over who’s God is the real god. I think that the more we understand science, the less we will have to rely on the supernatural for answers.


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