God: The Video
Speaking of YouTube, Miss Izzy found the Richard Dawkins "God Delusion" videos.
I watched them both yesterday afternoon and them tried to post a comment on her blog but, wisely perhaps, I kept getting knocked back even though I had technically "logged on". Still asking in the first place is huge leap for me, psychologically speaking, as I am such a shy person.
Here are the videos:
The points Dawkins makes are pretty much also covered by Sam Harris:
Also, synchronystically, and a propros the hellfire and damnation lunatics Dawkins meets and interviews in Part 2 and also talking about how we as children were brainwashed by our religous instructors, I was rereading just YESTERDAY perhaps the most famous fictional representation of this frightening behaviour - which is very close the sermons I also used to get at school -
--Now let us try for a moment to realize, as far as we can, the nature
of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God has
called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is a
strait and dark and foul-smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost
souls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison house
is expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by
His laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty
of movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in the
gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the
great number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their
awful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles
thick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a
blessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, they
are not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.
--They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives
forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian
furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the
fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns
eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark
flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are
heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the
plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague
alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we
give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone
but for all eternity? Joyce
Here's my non-accepted comment at Miss Izzy:
Excellent find Iz.
Though I feel sometimes Dawkins gets frustrated and loses his cool in his direct confrontation with some of these lunatics, like the jewish guy who become an Islamicist, or the fundamentalist preacher.
I am afraid that critics of atheism may see this as a failing of atheism - whereas obviously (to you and me) his reasoning is solid but it is his ability to remain rational and to deconstruct his opponent's positions in these hostile debate situations which seems limited. His rhetoric is strong in his writing and in his voice-over here, but I feel that he doesn't get in there and run rings around these people logically, face to face. Sometimes he just voices-over their rantings with arguments after the fact, rather than confront these people directly with logical evidence of their irrationality.
Even to convince them that irrationality per se is wrong.
This is disappointing. But it is probably because he is too nice a guy...
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
I know why he's doing that. It's the same when ever me and Izz talk to religious nutters here. There's often no reasoning with them. they are unreachable behind the firewall of their faith.
They don't care that a blastocyst has fewer cells than a house fly. They'd still kill a housefly and pray for your death if you try to remove that tiny cluster of cells with no memory, no experience and no sense of self. Even a house fly has some of those attributes.
But you would like him to be a bit cooler under pressure and let THEM get angry and frustrated - Socrates he ain't.
MY favorite cool under the collar radical academic is Noam Chomsky. You could set his chair on fire and his arse would chill it out in seconds. There is a famous interview with ultra-conservative William F Buckley Jr, where Buckley is practically dancing on his chair in anger as Chomsky just shrugs and keeps refuting him. I might try and look that up on YouTube... It was in the Deterring Democracy movie.
Well, an eight -twelve week fetus is slightly more advanced than a blastocyst AND a fly combined! but you have to be the young couple about to have their lives ruined and bring another little sociopath into the trailerpark to understand the pressure. IMHO It should be as bureacratically hard to have your own kids as it is to go through the interviews and assessment before you adopt one...
But shit there are so many people I would be happy to recommend for a retroactive abortion, and the sooner the better. Let's start at the taxi-rank.
Ok I am going to play the other side of the coin here...my problem with Dawkin's stems from the simple fact that he is as fundemental as the extremists he is rallying about...his own inability to give ground on arguments when it was clearly demonstrated that while he may understand science he has little or no knowledge of religion.
The documentary viewed like a Michael Moore fiasco from someone whose knowledge of religion stemmed from "the dummies" series and not from actual study. His blind "faith" that science has all the answers is a little naive as is his use of the word "scientific truth"...since I always understood that truth had little to do with science and much more to do with religion...but then isn't that what he is advocating, that Darwin's theory (which it still is...an unproven theory) be the new religion...
He claims to be an athiest but in truth he is a Dr. Frankenstein rejecting the God of Faith and looking for one in Science...the catch is that even a God such as that is unforgiving, unrelenting and as likely to promote intolerence and division as strong as religion has or will.
The problem is for much of the world, money is the new God...and too many decisions made are not based on some moral code whether this be based on the divine or inherented social networking but rather on the natural disposition for humans to self serving and greedy.
I can't believe (ha) that you as an educated man call Darwin's Theory an unproven theory.
It is perhaps the most proven theory of all time. You can call it a theory not because it is "unproven", but because it being continually modified and improved as new facts arise. Actually the process evolution is as hard a fact as it is possible to have in science. It is the various mechanisms of evolution which are theoretical. Without evolution, you can ignore all current biological sciences because they all only work if evolution is a hard fact.
Unlike religious dogma which is truly fossilized dogma, rigidly confusing in the contradictoriness of the ancient writings.
Dawkins doesn't look for god in science. He doens't look for god anywhere. He looks to see why others are wasting their time and our safety and perhaps the future of the world by their looking.
In science Dawkins and others look for explanations that fit the evidence and modifies their theories as new evidence and understanding come to light, such as modern mathematics and sub-atomic physics. Science always adapts, at least eventually. See Kunh, Popper, Feyerabend. It is not easy to adapt sometimes because scientists are people, with egos, research grants, etc.
The problem is as I said, that Dawkins is not such a top debater. However this does not deflate the truth of his core premise: religions are inherently irrational (you gotta have a faith a faith a faith) and can lead to massive damage to people in every possible way that you can damage people.
a) Physically: you can get blown up for religion,
b) Emotionally: you can be upset by scary hell plays AIMED at 12 year olds (re-read my Joyce excerpt),
c) Intellectually: you teach biased religion beliefs masquerading as science and shut out the evidence of your reason
d) Morally: you start thinking it is OK to blow up yourself and other people. And I am not talking just Islamis fundamentalism - 15 years ago the word 'terrorist' immediately made you think "Irish Catholic"!
Indy, do you serioiusly want Dawkins to compromise and say "OK God exists a little bit." ??
The problem with even moderate religion is that you start "cherry-picking" (Dawkins' term) from scripture and dogma as to which parts you want in your belief system. How to be sure which parts are right and which parts are wrong in the bible or the koran? There is no way to be an objectively correct religious moderate - you have to deny some parts of your own religion. This is why religious fundamentalists hate moderates as much as they hate atheists.
You canna compromise on the existence of God. Only religious moderates would ask an atheist to do that.
The arguments of Sam Harris's book is that religious moderation and tolerance are the wedges which have driven the world into its current state of chaos by tolerating the development of fundamentalist sects and allowing them to grasp power and control. Fundamentalism is only different from moderation by a matter of the degree of its irrationality. In fact the fundamentalists, by embracing their belief wholeheartedly, are at least internally consistent, even if they hold mutually exclusve ideas - there are hundreds of contradictions in holy scriptures. Religious moderates are hypocrital by their selection of what to believe and what not to believe - by trying to sort out the contradictions, they impose human reason to what they believe has been divinely delivered... which is it to be, reason or divine inspiration? You're trying to have both!
OK, it may be true that the world would be a more peaceful place if we were all united into just one belief system - see Vonnegut: The Sirens of Titan. Atheism is the belief system that I adhere to, but I would be willing for world peace to rejoin The Church Of God The Utterly Indifferent so long as it meant not vengeance, not punishment of others for lapses of faith, not division by racial/religious/class/gender/caste/weight/height/age/alopecia grounds, not stoning and the victimisation of women even if you define that as "respect" or "honor" etc, but cooperation and support, love, harmony and understanding, and all that Age of Aquarius stuff -- apart from the mystic crystal vision bullshit...
See, I am hippy at heart!