Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh my lack of God!

Funny - I was just surfing around for some rational science-based blogs on the internet earlier, and finding some as well, in among all the sex-based ones. In fact while I'm on the subject here are some which should be, to all right-thinking people, an oasis of good sense among all the barking nonsense out there in cyberspace, and, regrettably, in the real world as well:
  • Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog
  • the James Randi Educational Foundation's website, including the always amusing (and still unclaimed) One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
  • Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy website, including an amusing evisceration of the "the moon landings were hoaxed" theories
  • Pharyngula
  • The Island Of Doubt
  • Richard Dawkins' website: lots of good stuff on here, including an interesting series of clips of RD lecturing in promotion of his book The God Delusion in Lynchburg, Tennessee. I'm not sure I'd want to be pointing out the absurdity of religion in the heart of the bible belt like that: say what you like, he's got balls....
....anyway, what I was building up to saying was: after an afternoon doing this, I tuned in to Channel 4, purely by chance, in time to catch most of Rod Liddle's programme The Trouble With Atheism. Which seemed to me, though I may be slightly biased, to be a load of badly argued, intellectually lazy and dishonest bollocks, which trotted out all the usual nonsense arguments which I really can't be arsed to recycle here because it would be like shooting fish in a barrel (well, OK, two of them are: 1) atheism is a belief system as much as religion is, and 2) if Darwin's theory of evolution were to be disproved, that would in some way be a blow against science and for the existence of God), but most of them are neatly summarised here. Now I know that Rod Liddle is a polemicist and provocateur, and that's his job, but really: atheism is bad because Hitler was an atheist? Well, Hitler was a vegetarian too, and, if certain famous wartime songs are to be believed, of the monorchic persuasion (there is some dispute over whether this is actually true). Are we suggesting that not eating meat or having badly fitting pants are inherently evil as well? Maybe we are.

As a bracing breath of fresh air to blow away all of this woolly old flannel I suggest a repeat viewing of Jonathan Miller's excellent BBC4 (and later BBC2) series Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, and also reflecting on the incident during Richard Dawkins' Channel 4 programme The Root Of All Evil? where pastor Ted Haggard ran Dawkins and his film crew off the front lot of his enormo-church in Colorado Springs for suggesting, as I understand it anyway, that he and his children were descended from "animals" - specifically, reflecting on it in the light of the highly salacious subsequent revelations about Haggard's crystal meth-fuelled relationship with a male prostitute. Not that any of this has the slightest bearing on the science vs. religion argument, it's just very very funny.

One last link before I move on to a far more upbeat food & drink-related post: a collected page of Richard Dawkins quotations, just to annoy Doug among other reasons: the simple uncluttered rationality, good sense and clarity of thought here makes you want to weep, mainly because you just know no-one who really needs to take notice of it is in any way susceptible to reasoned argument.


The Black Rabbit said...

Well, at least you found a photie of the Dawkmeister nearly smiling... more than I could do!

I posted my final post on this subject exactly two weeks ago, and also mentioned that 'quotation site' on the web, put together, I asssume by various disciples of the God Dawkins, and I actually liked it - though there was one quote which was particularly abhorrent.I certainly have no pressing desire to revisit the site.

I also thought I mentioned that I was going to leave the subject as it was turning me into a fuming monster.

Science v religion. Christianity v Islam. Hitler v Judaeism. Belief v Non Belief - all pretty pointless really.

My theoretical pumpkin is bigger and better than your hypothetical pumpkin, so I'm a better gardener. More to the point, I'm a better person, better looking, more intelligent, I smell sweeter, I even produce better-formed turds than yoww and what's more... you now must DIIIEEEE!!!
Uh huh. Whhaaddever.

It only becomes dangerous when one 'side' actually thinks they are superior (in an unquantifiable (correct spelling???) way) than another, which doesn't adhere to their specific beliefs.
That was the first mistake of Hitler and Stalin I suppose, not their actual 'beliefs' or lack of?

I didn't see the programme. Was going to tape it, but I forgot, and was sorting wretched christmas cards at the Royal Mail whan it was aired. Not that bothered though, Rob Liddle annoys me anyway - the smug get.

As for you annoying me mate, by posting AGAIN on the subject, you couldn't. I won't mention the subject on my blog again, if for no other reason that two weeks ago, I titled that final post "The End".

I'm going to the bar. Want one?

everlands said...

Is it just coincidence that we both read Ben Goldacre yesterday or did you follow the same link as me?

electrichalibut said...

Let me just make it clear that I give no undertaking to stop posting on this topic. Others who have blogs of their own may choose to do whatever they wish to do with them, the same goes for posting comments elsewhere.

Right, that's got that out of the way. I actually can't remember where I got to Bad Science from, but I was doing a lot of blogsurfing (blurfing?) yesterday. I probably just closed down one of the million or so sex blogs (might have been Girl With a One Track Mind, or Girl With a Massive Selection of Overripe Root Vegetables, or something like that) out there and there it was....

electrichalibut said...

Also, the "just to annoy Doug" line was there, erm, well, just to annoy Doug. I'm unleashing occasional spleen on this topic because a) it makes me feel better, and b) because I really care about all this, not to wind up my friends.

There's plenty of other ways of doing that. By doing that "most annoying noise in the world" thing out of Dumb And Dumber, for instance.

Anonymous said...

All great stuff Dave. Been a fan of the Dawkins for a while - as one of the very few public figures prepared to speak out against religion he deserves the full support of all rational minded people.

Having said that though - while I was watching the video on his site - my PC died and everything went very dark! The power for the whole house had gone off!
While fumbing around for a torch I couldn't help but think, is this a sign? Co-incidence? Probably, but I'm off to church to say a few Hail Mary's until the power comes back on just in case!! :)

Steven Carr said...

Ironically, both Hitler and Stalin rejected Darwin.

Hitler's government banned libraries from stocking books dealing with 'primitive darwinism'

Hitler said the following
'From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today.

A glance in Nature shows us , that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is' (now)

Hitler was not an atheist.

The Black Rabbit said...



(me being annoyed).