Pharyngula

We will not go quietly

I’m willing to read books by Simon Conway Morris, Ken Miller, and Francis Collins. I think they’re dead wrong on the religion issue, but they are smart guys who contribute positively to the debate in other ways. I will also read Behe and Dembski and <gack, hack> Wells; they are not smart people, and they’re wrong all across the board, but at least they’re not trying to pretend they’re my friend and are trying to help me, and I think it’s a good idea that we should know the enemy. One fellow who infuriates me, though, and whose point of view I find difficult to comprehend, is Michael Ruse (he’s pulled some weird stunts before, too). I can’t read any of his work anymore without feeling extreme exasperation.

Larry Moran explains why. Ruse is not a friend of science, not someone who wants to improve people’s understanding of the real world; instead he poses as our pal while accusing us of “evolutionism”. He pretends to be a fair and neutral broker mediating a conflict while obligingly demanding a complete surrender of anyone who advocates godlessness. He continues to promote this schism between “Chamberlain appeasers” and “Churchillian atheists” (ugh, but I detest those terms) because it suits his ends, which is to use the division to demand that the atheists sit down and STFU. That’s plainly his strategy in a recent article in the Skeptical Inquirer, which Moran rebuts.

But please don’t try to shut me up by calling for a big tent strategy against the more extreme creationists. That’s the whole point of the Ruse article in spite of the brief disclaimer in the middle. From the opening teaser to the very last sentence, the take-home message is for all atheists to come together. But it’s a very special kind of coming together, isn’t it? Our side has to give up everything. That sort of coming together usually goes another name. It’s called surrender.

Larry rejects that nonsense and makes a particularly interesting suggestion.

So here’s my message to the appeaser athiests. If you don’t like what we say then by all means speak out. Challenge us. Debate us. Show us why you think Theistic Evolution is very different from Intelligent Design Creationism. Write an article comparing Nature’s Destiny by Michael Denton and Life’s Solution by Simon Conway-Morris. Tell us why you choose to ally with Conway-Morris but oppose an intelligent design creationist like Denton. Make your case with scholarship. But please, please, stop whining about the fact we disagree. That’s not going to change anything.

It’s a good example. I read and reviewed Conway Morris’s book — he’s an excellent paleontologist, I’m not disputing that, but wow, was that book ever an astonishing load of unbelievable crap. Strangely, though, none of the people who were furious with Dawkins’ putative lazy scholarship or ‘offensive’ ideas have applied a similar level of criticism to Conway Morris, who wrote a book that puts him in the running with Teilhard De Chardin for silliest evolutionary thesis in the past century. A comparison between Conway Morris and Denton would be both illuminating and entertaining.

Maybe that’s why there was so little response to his book (although the fact that it is badly written also contributed): there’s a policy of polite silence to the absurdities that theistic evolutionist’s publish in defense of the indefensible. It’s awfully rude to point out that there isn’t much difference between the specifics of theistic evolutionists’ beliefs and those of outright defenders of Intelligent Design creationism. We give aid and comfort to creationists when we hammer on the intersection of belief where some creationists and scientists actually agree.

And that, ultimately, is the huge problem of the people who ask the uppity atheists to sit back and quit harming the cause. We are willing to criticize bad ideas irrespective of who holds them; that’s what science is, that constant evaluation and criticism of ideas and evidence. Surrendering that is surrendering what the battle is all about. Unflinching criticism of even people who share many of our goals is the cause.

So, sorry, Ruse and Mooney and Nisbet and anyone else who thinks vocal atheists detract from the public understanding of science—that clash of ideas is what science should be all about, and we aren’t the ones reluctant to expose our beliefs to the light.

Comments

  1. #1 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    To me, Ruse seems ‘mostly harmless’, though I’ve only had limited exposure to him.

    I have noticed that Ruse is often chosen as the counter to IDists on cable news. I recall one example in particular where Lou Dobbs had on 2 creationists to argue with Ruse. Ruse did an OK job, but Dobbs summed it up in the end with

    “The fact is that evolution, Darwinism, is not a fully explained or completely rigorous and defined science that has testable results within it.”

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200505130008

  2. #2 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “So, sorry, Ruse and Mooney and Nisbet and anyone else who thinks vocal atheists detract from the public understanding of science–that clash of ideas is what science should be all about, and we aren’t the ones reluctant to expose our beliefs to the light.”

    And I find such clear and unvarnished advocacy refreshing. At least your being honest. However destructive that may be to the cause being pushed by your more deceptive co-religionists.

  3. #4 Nick (Matzke)
    April 16, 2007

    He [Ruse] continues to promote this schism between “Chamberlain appeasers” and “Churchillian atheists” (ugh, but I detest those terms) because it suits his ends,

    Um, Larry Moran also promotes the “appeasers” insult in the very post you link to. You can’t blame Ruse for something that Dawkins invented and the New Atheists have promoted widely.

    And that, ultimately, is the huge problem of the people who ask the uppity atheists to sit back and quit harming the cause. We are willing to criticize bad ideas irrespective of who holds them; that’s what science is, that constant evaluation and criticism of ideas and evidence. Surrendering that is surrendering what the battle is all about. Unflinching criticism of even people who share many of our goals is the cause.

    Criticize the thestic evolutionists, fine. What’s annoying is the implication that Ruse, Conway Morris, Kenneth Miller, etc. are in league with the creationists, when in fact they are some of the leaders of the opposition. For example, Conway Morris has probably done more than almost anyone else to show how Darwinian processes can explain the Cambrian Explosion. He is the guy you call when the creationists start yammering about no transitional fossils in the Cambrian.

    You disagree with his theology, fine, but you have to acknowledge that his actual theological argument relies on (1) evolution being a natural process and (2) natural selection being a very strong force, even deterministic. Conway Morris’s view is basically identical to Richard Dawkins’s strong view of selection. To confuse this with ID or creationism is ludicrous.

    It’s also annoying that the “Churchillian” crowd more or less says that atheism is a solid conclusion of science, instead of the proper view which is that it is a metaphysical conclusion outside the domain of science.

  4. #5 Johnny Vector
    April 16, 2007

    And I find such clear and unvarnished advocacy refreshing.

    Hear hear! And bully, too!

    It’s the same thing I like (well liked, back when I had time for teevee) about The Daily Show. They could make a cutting remark about W’s latest stupidity without automatically following up with some lame Clinton joke “for balance”. There is no balance!

  5. #6 Stanton
    April 16, 2007

    Have you read the book Garden of Ediacara?
    If you have, would it be possible if we could get you to critique it?
    One of my professors read my copy of it, and he said it was the worst thing he’s ever read.
    I think I’ll recommend “Life’s Solution” to him, too, and see if he changes his mind.

  6. #7 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “It’s also annoying that the “Churchillian” crowd more or less says that atheism is a solid conclusion of science, instead of the proper view which is that it is a metaphysical conclusion outside the domain of science.”

    Doesn’t bother me ;)

    If people want to hijack and corrupt science in this manner it is best they are exposed for doing this as quickly as possible so they can be gotten rid of before they do anymore damage.

    People complain about the damage “creationists” do to science, but it would seem that atheists hijacking science for philosophical purposes as Dawkins does is going to do much much more harm in the long run.

  7. #8 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    Sci-Phi-

    Creationists are a threat to science because they try to convince people that dinosaurs were vegetarians and the universe is 6000 years old (among other falsehoods).

    Would it be too much to ask for you to give one example of Dawkins doing damage to science through his philosophical excursions?

  8. #9 Stuart Coleman
    April 16, 2007

    You’re dead on. Not only are these guys arguing from the stupid assumption that us shutting up will do some good, but they’re also asking us to give up our voices and our desire to speak the truth. They would never ask the same of another group of people, just the one that’s so universally hated (but oh-so-right).

  9. #10 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Would it be too much to ask for you to give one example of Dawkins doing damage to science through his philosophical excursions?”

    Dawkins tries as hard as possible to make the connection that “science == rationialism == atheism”. If you doubt this read the God Delusion (what a painful load of crap that was).

    The man is after all the chair for the understanding of science and he is abusing this as a pulpit to preach atheism from.

    You don’t think this will harm science in the long run more than YEC’s ? I guess not, but it will. Dawkins provides nothing but ammunition to people who claim “science == athiesm” and given the sheer idiocy of his arguments in the theological field in general, it is only going to end badly.

    I know I felt bad for Dawkins when I was reading the God Delusion and I think Alvin Plantinga was overly charitable to him in his review of the book.

  10. #11 John Danley
    April 16, 2007

    http://www.thebook.co.za/cgi-bin/resource.cgi?61

    Here’s another site containing the vertex of bullshit.

  11. #12 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    Sci-Phi

    Dawkins is entitled to any philosophical interpretation he wants. However, unlike creationists, his interpretations don’t rely on distorting the underlying science.

    Show me where he distorts the science.

  12. #13 ifriit
    April 16, 2007

    Oh dear, de Chardin. My mom tried to get me to read his stuff to show me that scientists can be religious, too. I wound up getting bored/annoyed with it within a few pages due to its very high nonsense quotient.

  13. #14 CS Lewis Jr
    April 16, 2007
  14. #15 Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD
    April 16, 2007

    Here we go with the… “If you don’t understand religion like a theologian, you can’t write about religion being crap” argument.

    Why can philosphers be so painfully pompous and yet so obviously wrong at the same time?

  15. #16 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Dawkins is entitled to any philosophical interpretation he wants.”

    Sure he can say whatever he likes. The problem is that he is doing it as the chair for the public understanding of science.

    “Show me where he distorts the science.”

    Actually the real problem is that his philosophical arguments are as confused as they are childly propounded and people are likely to conclude that if this supposed “man of science” is such a complete idiot in the philosophy of religion department (without realising just how out of depth he is, while taking the superior sneering attitude he does while propounding his peculiar brand of idiocy) that he probably doesn’t know what he is talking about in other fields.

    I’ve read a couple of his books and found them interesting and persuasive, but after reading The God Delusion, i’m hard pressed to ever take the man seriously on anything again ever. If he is willing to go into print and be the condescending and sneering while obviously being ignorant of his subject manner, why would I trust him on other subject matters ?

    I know enough underlying details about the topics covered in the God Delusion to know he doesn’t know what he is talking about and is indulging in sloppy thinking.

    Why should I assume he does otherwise elsewhere ?

  16. #17 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    Sci-Phi

    So- it’s back to general carping without providing ANY examples of Dawkins perverting or harming science.

    It doesn’t bother me that you disagree with the philosophical part of Dawkins books- but again, you haven’t provided ANY examples of his supposedly flawed reasoning.

    I’m glad you ‘know enough’ to be able to dismiss ‘The God Delusion’. It’s a pity you’re incapable of sharing your profound insights with us.

  17. #18 John Danley
    April 16, 2007

    We are an ecosystem that other organisms take advantage of. No “dominion” over anything. Between 200 and 600 million sperm were dispersed to fertilize one of your mother’s eggs. Why all the aggressive competition? Cuz Jaysus loves you!

  18. #19 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “So- it’s back to general carping without providing ANY examples of Dawkins perverting or harming science.”

    I did provide an example. Dawkins is seen as “the public face of science” by many and he is claiming that “science == atheism”. You don’t think this will be harmful in the long run ?

    “It doesn’t bother me that you disagree with the philosophical part of Dawkins books- but again, you haven’t provided ANY examples of his supposedly flawed reasoning.”

    His “ultimate 747″ argument is just comical. His claim about “God needing to be more complex than his creation” ignores the long history of the concept of divine simplicity. There is two. His “morality doesn’t come from the bible” argument is pretty amusing as well. Christian theologians have never made that claim in that manner.

    “I’m glad you ‘know enough’ to be able to dismiss ‘The God Delusion’. It’s a pity you’re incapable of sharing your profound insights with us.”

    Shoot me an email thesciphishow@gmail.com if you wish to discuss it further as we will be just derailing this comments thread to do it here.

  19. #20 Sastra
    April 16, 2007

    It’s also annoying that the “Churchillian” crowd more or less says that atheism is a solid conclusion of science, instead of the proper view which is that it is a metaphysical conclusion outside the domain of science.

    Why is the idea of God — a “superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe, including us” — outside of the domain of science? If a Disembodied Mind which causes effects in the universe through some sort of direct power is NOT a science hypothesis, then what is it?

    Is it a moral precept, like “don’t harm innocent people?” Is it a feeling or emotion? Is it a matter of taste which can’t be tested for truth or falsity, like prefering chocolate to vanilla? Is it a therapeutic method which creates meaning through narrative? Is it a cultural icon which binds a group together? Perhaps it is it a metaphor or symbol for human behaviors, the way “Santa Claus” represents acts of charity towards children. How does a metaphysical claim differ from a fact claim? If a metaphysical claim is true instead of false, what differences in observations do we see, and how do we change our behavior?

    If God is not a claim about something which factually exists as an entity or being, then what is it? And if it is an existing being, then what sort of special pleading is it that keeps it from being grouped with the rest of the paranormal and supernatural, and brought into science?

  20. #21 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Here we go with the… “If you don’t understand religion like a theologian, you can’t write about religion being crap” argument.”

    No that is mistaken. The problem is when it is clear you don’t understand the arguments and instead erect a collection of strawmen and attack them that it becomes a problem.

    There are plenty of credible atheist intellectuals who make good arguments, Dawkins just isn’t one of them.

    To put it in perspective for you as to what Dawkins comes off as looking like.

    Dawkins is to the philosophy of religion what the most backwoods fundie anti-evilutionist YEC is to biology.

    Seriously, how you would appraise the arguments of a YEC in biology is how Dawkins comes off to those who know something about the philosophy of religion.

  21. #22 Johnny Vector
    April 16, 2007

    I just have to join in piling on Sci Phi. Please, do grace us with an actual example of Dawkins’ flawed reasoning. I admit to not having read The God Delusion, but neither have I ever seen any specific examples from any of his critics of flawed reasoning within that book.

    Given the number of critics and the number of chances they’ve had to convince me, I see no choice but to take absence of evidence as evidence of absence. Feel free to burst my bubble.

  22. #23 j
    April 16, 2007

    The Sci Phi Show, are you familiar with the Courtier’s Reply?

  23. #24 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “The Sci Phi Show, are you familiar with the Courtier’s Reply?”

    Yep. The problem is that it isn’t convincing when the courtier is wearing dark glasses and carrying a cane.

  24. #25 Zarquon
    April 16, 2007

    We do understand the arguments. It’s just that they’re crap and the godbotherers can’t admit it. It’s obvious you cant’t give a non-crap reply to Dawkins, so you don’t try.

  25. #26 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “We do understand the arguments. It’s just that they’re crap and the godbotherers can’t admit it”

    If you do understand the arguments in question then you should know enough to know that Dawkins clearly does not.

    I suspect any answer given about his misunderstanding would be considered “crap” by you. This is a pretty typical response from people who are out of their depth but fail to realise it.

  26. #27 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    FInally Sci Phi gives one specific reason he disagrees with Dawkins

    “His “ultimate 747″ argument is just comical. His claim about “God needing to be more complex than his creation” ignores the long history of the concept of divine simplicity.”

    From Wikipedia’s entry on DS I find

    “In light of this idea, Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologiae, wrote that because God is infinitely simple, he can only appear to the finite mind as though he were infinitely complex.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_simplicity

    So- there you have it. That’s the best reason Sci Phi can come up with for dismissing Dawkins. Dawkins has ignored the possibility that an infinitely simple (yet omniscient and all-powerful) creator built this universe.

    To be honest, I’m not sure that something which is (by definition) simpler than an electron could do much of anything- but that’s only because I’m unused to thinking in the complex and subtle ways of a theologian.

  27. #28 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “FInally Sci Phi gives one specific reason he disagrees with Dawkins”

    There are plenty of others. As I said, shoot me an email and we can discuss it.

  28. #29 E L
    April 16, 2007

    Divine simplcity, divine complexity, divine whachamacallicity. Theology is just pulling crap out of one’s ass and then calling it scholarship. And accusing the atheists of not having properly addressing every single one of its mutually contradicting variants and thus out of their depths.

  29. #30 RavenT
    April 16, 2007

    I suspect any answer given about his misunderstanding would be considered “crap” by you. This is a pretty typical response from people who are out of their depth but fail to realise it.

    You don’t have to know every detail of the Star Wars saga to know that it has no connection to actual physical reality. Which is what the critics are saying about theology. They’re don’t have to know the details of the explanation of how wookiees can have such complicated names when all they can say is “rrrrr!” to say that the universe containing the wookiees is not the real universe.

    If you’re arguing that Christianity is anything more than a more-or-less internally-consistent narrative edifice, then you can easily demonstrate that by showing an unquestionable connection to physical reality. But to insult people you don’t even know by your unfounded assumptions of what and how much they’ve studied is pretty arrogant.

  30. #31 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    I see this Sci Phi fellow has fallen for the usual crap of saying Dawkins didn’t understand what he was talking about which of course is baloney. He knew exactly what he was discussing.

    is such a complete idiot in the philosophy of religion department (without realising just how out of depth he is, while taking the superior sneering attitude he does while propounding his peculiar brand of idiocy) that he probably doesn’t know what he is talking about in other fields.

    This would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad. He wasn’t attempting to trash all religion. He was attacking religion as it actually is(for the millionth time). How was he out of his depth? How can one be in any depth withmuch of theology seeing how it’s all make believe?

    I think your pretty much out of your league here.

  31. #32 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Divine simplcity, divine complexity, divine whachamacallicity. Theology is just pulling crap out of one’s ass and then calling it scholarship. And accusing the atheists of not having properly addressing every single one of its mutually contradicting variants and thus out of their depths.”

    Actually I would settle for him understanding pretty much any of what he is talking about. Fair enough if he makes some mistakes on fine points of relativly deep theology. But when it is clear he hasn’t even understood the biblical text in context and then proceeds to pronounce on it as if he has that is irritating.

    But as I said. I don’t want to derail the comments any further. Send me an email if you want to discuss it further.

  32. #33 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “How can one be in any depth withmuch of theology seeing how it’s all make believe?

    I think your pretty much out of your league here.”

    Sorry I forgot to check my brain at the door. My mistake.

  33. #34 PZ Myers
    April 16, 2007

    The problem is that it isn’t convincing when the courtier is wearing dark glasses and carrying a cane.

    Uh, either that was a rather damning admission, or you don’t know the Courtier’s Reply after all. You’re playing the role of the courtier here, making excuses for the Emperor’s nudity — are you admitting that you are blind?

    You are pulling the classic courtier’s game here, though. You say there are convincing arguments for the existence of god — but you don’t say what they are. You say Dawkins’ arguments were all wrong — but the best you can do is say that maybe god is simple. Alas, I don’t think a simple god would be concerned about people’s dietary preferences or the state of their foreskins with quite the peculiar intensity of the god of Abraham.

  34. #35 Christian Burnham
    April 16, 2007

    Careful there PZ,

    You don’t want to mess with the ‘infinitely simple’.

  35. #36 PZ Myers
    April 16, 2007

    Yeah, the “infinitely simple” might give me a bunch of complicated rules about what I can do on the sabbath, and what kind of fibers I can use in my clothing.

  36. #37 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “You are pulling the classic courtier’s game here, though. You say there are convincing arguments for the existence of god — but you don’t say what they are.”

    I did offer to continue the discussion by email if anyone was interested. I did not want to clutter up for your comments thread any further. I was trying to be considerate Dr Myers.

    “You say Dawkins’ arguments were all wrong — but the best you can do is say that maybe god is simple.”

    That was an example that would not take up much space. Which is why I selected it. There are others, but again I did not wish to clutter up your comment thread with something so off topic. I was attempting to follow the rules you laid down for commenters. Please don’t accuse me of not having answers when you have made it clear you don’t want detailed biblically based arguments and the like in your comments threads and that to offer such things would be grounds for being banned from posting.

    “Alas, I don’t think a simple god would be concerned about people’s dietary preferences or the state of their foreskins with quite the peculiar intensity of the god of Abraham.”

    Based on this comment Dr Myer’s I don’t think you understand the nature of these things. Again, if you wish to learn more and understand properly so you can make an informed critique of them you have my email address and welcome any correspondence.

  37. #38 Sastra
    April 16, 2007

    If Richard Dawkins is out of his depth in theology, I would imagine that most Christians have drowned. Or are the rules different for belief?

    If “God” is not a hypothesis, what is it?

  38. #39 sailor
    April 16, 2007

    “People complain about the damage “creationists” do to science, but it would seem that atheists hijacking science for philosophical purposes as Dawkins does is going to do much much more harm in the long run. ”
    Posted by: The Sci Phi Show | April 16, 2007 06:48 PM

    How come these jockers are always around to tell us where we are going wrong, but never ctiticise creationists for their patently false and stupid ideas, and tell them they are doing harm to Xtianity?

  39. #40 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “If Richard Dawkins is out of his depth in theology, I would imagine that most Christians have drowned. Or are the rules different for belief?”

    True enough many christians are sadly ignorant of a lot of theology. I guess that is why they find drivel like The God Delusion persuasive.

  40. #41 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “How come these jockers are always around to tell us where we are going wrong, but never ctiticise creationists for their patently false and stupid ideas, and tell them they are doing harm to Xtianity?”

    I’ve said as much to young earthers in the past.

  41. #42 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    But when it is clear he hasn’t even understood the biblical text in context and then proceeds to pronounce on it as if he has that is irritating.

    Give some examples. It’s easy. It’s a simple question. List the examples.

    Sorry I forgot to check my brain at the door. My mistake.

    haha, if what you are displaying here is intellect it needs some more of that there learning.

  42. #43 sachatur
    April 16, 2007

    Dr Myers,

    Why don’t you give this guy ‘The Sci Phi Show’ a thread (or rope) to present his arguments (hang himself) since he is so concerned about not cluttering up this thread?

  43. #44 windy
    April 16, 2007

    They’re don’t have to know the details of the explanation of how wookiees can have such complicated names when all they can say is “rrrrr!” to say that the universe containing the wookiees is not the real universe.

    How can you claim absolute certainty about what happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!

  44. #45 RavenT
    April 16, 2007

    windy, you damn near made me choke on a potato chip! :)

  45. #46 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Give some examples. It’s easy. It’s a simple question. List the examples.”

    His comments on the nature of the OT God are simply misguided and cherry picked

    His critique against arguments for God’s existence are pretty mediocre

    As I said. Email me if you wish to discuss it further.

    It would seem from my empty inbox that nobody wants to chance it.

  46. #47 PZ Myers
    April 16, 2007

    Since he has made 14 comments in this thread alone so far, I don’t think it’s any reluctance to post clutter that’s preventing him from saying anything of substance.

  47. #48 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Why don’t you give this guy ‘The Sci Phi Show’ a thread (or rope) to present his arguments (hang himself) since he is so concerned about not cluttering up this thread?”

    I’d be happy to have a friendly discussion with Dr Myers on the topic in question as an outcast for The Sci Phi Show (http://thesciphishow.com) if he was interested. I’m sure it would make for interesting listening for people.

    Well the offer is out there. I can be reached at thesciphishow@gmail.com. If anybody else is interested in doing such a thing then email me and we can discuss the possibility.

  48. #49 Stogoe
    April 16, 2007

    So our confused commentor Psy Phi Show is saying, “Dawkins is wrong about God because he makes arguments about God.”

    I’m resisting the urge to killfile, because he’s not yet annoying or abusive, but gobdamn if he just doesn’t get it.

  49. #50 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Since he has made 14 comments in this thread alone so far, I don’t think it’s any reluctance to post clutter that’s preventing him from saying anything of substance.”

    Alright i’ll stop them. Not a problem. You have my offer on record, I will not clutter your thread up any further. I was only offering brief replies to avoid cluttering things up and I have repeatedly offered to take the discussion elsewhere.

  50. #51 PZ Myers
    April 16, 2007

    Oops. 15 comments.

    The nature of the OT god is pretty damned obvious, and Dawkins pegged it accurately. He’s a primitive war god, dispatching his chosen people around ancient Palestine to slaughter and loot.

    “His critique against arguments for God’s existence are pretty mediocre” is not an example. It’s an assertion. What arguments? Why? C’mon, I’m no philosopher, but if a student tried that kind of bland non-argument on me, I’d give him 0 points on the exam.

    No one is mailing you because they’re all enjoying the public spectacle. Any email would just disappear.

  51. #52 RavenT
    April 16, 2007

    I will not clutter your thread up any further.

    Because, as we all know, the comments section of a blog post is no place to be discussing things.

  52. #53 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “The nature of the OT god is pretty damned obvious, and Dawkins pegged it accurately. He’s a primitive war god, dispatching his chosen people around ancient Palestine to slaughter and loot.”

    How much notice did God give those he had slaughtered of his intent to judge them if they did not reform ? Any particular example you would like to name is fine by me.

    Though I think the Cainanites are probably the people most people have in mind when they level this charge.

    Now of course Dr Myers you know the answer to this question right ? If you don’t then how do you know that Dawkins’ portrayal is accurate.

    “What arguments? Why? C’mon, I’m no philosopher, but if a student tried that kind of bland non-argument on me, I’d give him 0 points on the exam.”

    Would you like to start a new post and discuss it in a public forum then ? Tell me what you think is Dawkins’ strongest argument in The God Delusion and we can examine it in detail. Seems pointless to argue in detail about something you might simply dismiss as a weak argument later. Better to set the goal posts up front don’t you think so nobody can be accused of moving them later.

    “No one is mailing you because they’re all enjoying the public spectacle. Any email would just disappear.”

    I have public discussion forums over at thesciphishow.com/forums if people prefer.

  53. #54 Colugo
    April 16, 2007

    Gert Korthof points out a similarity in the view of Denton and Conway Morris in the footnotes of his review of Nature’s Destiny.
    http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho29.htm

    Also, he places both Denton and Conway Morris in the ‘Fine Tuners’ category:
    http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/korthof.htm#C2

    Korthof’s website is an excellent resource.

    Despite its whimsical excesses, I recommend Conway Morris’ Life Solution. There are many books I would recommend without necessarily agreeing with all of their theses.

  54. #55 Chet
    April 16, 2007

    It’s also annoying that the “Churchillian” crowd more or less says that atheism is a solid conclusion of science, instead of the proper view which is that it is a metaphysical conclusion outside the domain of science.

    Proper according to who? You?

    At least the “Churchillian crowd”, whatever that means, supports their contention with arguments and evidence. The “seperate magisteria” view is never supported by anything but assertion. (And if scientific evidence that could be used to support the existence of God were suddenly discovered, I doubt we’d ever hear the “seperate magisteria” objection again.)

    I’m not inherently opposed to the idea that the existence of God can’t be determined by science. But science has determined the existence or non-existence of plenty of other things, and I don’t see any reason why God would be inherently different. It’s just a word-game theists and timid agnostics play.

  55. #56 sailor
    April 16, 2007

    OK Sci phi, you have the go ahead. Explain to us all just what great philisophical arguments there are for an existance of God. You know all those ones that make Dawkins 747 argument look childish. We really want to hear! Take you time, make it good.

  56. #57 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Because, as we all know, the comments section of a blog post is no place to be discussing things.”

    It would be very far removed from the topic at hand though.

  57. #58 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “OK Sci phi, you have the go ahead. Explain to us all just what great philisophical arguments there are for an existance of God. You know all those ones that make Dawkins 747 argument look childish. We really want to hear! Take you time, make it good.”

    Which ones do you think are at all promising and why ?

    I ask to save time and concentrate on somewhere that would not simply be dismissed as pointless.

    And surely there must be a better forum than the end of a blog post about a different topic to discuss this.

  58. #59 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2007

    I think where I’d agree with those who think a more theologically-knowledgeable criticism than Dawkins provides is where many happen to think that “God always existed”, “God is simple”, or other metaphysical claims, happen to be quite reasonable. Of course I think they’re bare clatter, however one does study these metaphysical beliefs in philosophy precisely because so many have considered these assertions to be reasonable.

    Dawkins attacks the “literal God” of the Torah, as well as the later “God”, and while I can see why he does so (why creationists without believing the “word of God”?), the fact is that theology has had a few thousand years to cover up the lack of evidence with arguments as to why such evidence cannot be found (Heidegger’s interesting in using them to excuse his own phenomenological musings).

    Dawkins is right to consider the theologies and philosophies which explain the “hiddenness” of God as so much inconsequential excuses (for the intellectual), what he does not do is to actually reveal the mistakes made in these theologies and philosophies. Arguably, it is not his job to do so, it’s just that those who already look at the world using those excuses for God’s non-appearance are unlikely to be at all swayed by Dawkins’ argumentation.

    My sense is that actually dealing with the Western prejudices in favor of God which exist through so much literature, philosophy, and theology, probably does need to be tackled at various levels, from Dawkins’ science-like dismissal of the hierarchies of excuses for the non-revelation of God, to complex discussions of what is wrong with theology, etc.

    Dawkins is provocateur, not likely to be convincing to theists but heartening to secularists. He poses the problems, and others can deal (and have dealt) with the theology. Nietzsche and other philosophers consider how the Xian/Platonic prejudices arose, and by that means they undercut their hold on people. Many, though, are not going to understand Nietzsche and the historians of thought, while they are going to at least be provoked by Dawkins.

    I can understand why Rennie (SciPhi) complains about Dawkins, then, however I think Dawkins has a point in asking why anyone ought to be concerned about theological obfuscation. He has that point, but many are concerned about theology because it actually does prevent people from dealing with reality in a legitimate manner, and simply saying so from the scientific point of view isn’t going to change that fact.

    Let’s say this: Had Dawkins written another knowledgeable “deconstructionist” (so to speak, in the broad and common sense that this term has acquired) critique of religion, would anybody have cared? Not many, in any case. He writes his criticisms from his own understanding, an understanding which has yielded results.

    For those like Rennie who credit philosophical/theological confusion of the issues with a legitimacy that they have never earned, there do need to be, and are, others who have dealt well with those objections. It’s really pointless to complain that Dawkins didn’t copy the criticisms of religion produced by Nietzsche or Russell when these writers have themselves analyzed the “issues” brought up by the apologists for religion. If the apologists have an answer for how it is that religions appear to have arisen out of primitive beliefs and naive experiences (a better rendition than “memes”, IMO), then they ought to answer the many competent works which have pointed this out.

    For now the complaint seems to be that Dawkins didn’t answer the theological objections which have been so amply answered elsewhere. It’s a dodge around the fact that religion can be “deconstructed” reasonably well by Dawkins’ point of view, as well as by many other methods. Just deal with the fact that religion passes no analyses, from Dawkins’s, to massively detailed historical treatments.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  59. #60 Zarquon
    April 16, 2007

    Dawkins doesn’t need to deal with the philosophical arguments because he’s using a scientific approach. What is the scientific approach? Basically, gather the evidence and see how it all hangs together. The evidence available shows that god is indistinguishable from fiction. That’s all the evidence leads to. If the believers had more evidence they could point it out, but they don’t.

  60. #61 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Dawkins attacks the “literal God” of the Torah”

    Hi Glen,

    I’m not sure Dawkins’ argument even gets that far. I would question that it gets any further than

    “attacks a strawman of the ‘literal God’ of the Torah”

    Dawkins’ critique of religion is the same as the sort of critique offered by many atheists. They were exposed to christianity in sunday school as a child and now that they are grown up they fail to understand that not everybody around them that takes christianity seriously stopped learning and studying as a child as they did and that there childs understanding is not a good place to try and launch a critique from unless they are just preaching to a similarly undereducated choir.

  61. #62 ken
    April 16, 2007

    “Theological sophistication” just means you’ve got a special talent for painting over the contradictions. Why should Dawkins be compelled to contend with all the extra paint?

    Here in Thailand, we’ve got Buddhism. As with Christians, the locals know full well that you shouldn’t pray with selfish aims in mind. But there’s no denying that the temples see a marked rise in patronage on the day before the national lottery result is announced. That’s the observable religion of the masses…the one that Dawkins attempts to de-meme.

  62. #63 sailor
    April 16, 2007

    Sci Phi, Zarquon has an excllent point:
    “Dawkins doesn’t need to deal with the philosophical arguments because he’s using a scientific approach. What is the scientific approach? Basically, gather the evidence and see how it all hangs together. The evidence available shows that god is indistinguishable from fiction. That’s all the evidence leads to. If the believers had more evidence they could point it out, but they don’t.”

    It makes sense to me – just what is wrong with it to you?
    After all either God is real, in which case he has some effect on the universe and we should be able to examine that, or he is a cultural “imaginary friend” in which case any effect is purely cultural.

  63. #64 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “It makes sense to me – just what is wrong with it to you?”

    I think the main problem I have with it being claimed to be used in this case is that Dawkins had made his mind up in advance of checking the data. Based on the quality of many of his claims and arguments it is obvious that he didn’t run them by theologians to at least get an idea of how they would deal with the problem.

    Seems a bit like a YEC trumpeting a bad radioisotope date as proof radiometric dating is baloney. If he wants to use a methodology indistinguishable from that of a YEC thats fine, but don’t call it scientific.

    “After all either God is real, in which case he has some effect on the universe and we should be able to examine that, or he is a cultural “imaginary friend” in which case any effect is purely cultural.”

    I agree, but Dawkins has made his mind up at the outset, he isn’t considering the possibility at all. To pretend that such an approach is “Scientific” is, well sadly I am forced to say, typical.

  64. #65 sailor
    April 16, 2007

    “After all either God is real, in which case he has some effect on the universe and we should be able to examine that, or he is a cultural “imaginary friend” in which case any effect is purely cultural.”

    I agree, but Dawkins has made his mind up at the outset, he isn’t considering the possibility at all. To pretend that such an approach is “Scientific” is, well sadly I am forced to say, typical.”

    Well if you agree, forget Dawkins for a bit and let us know about what you think this evidence is.

  65. #66 Carlie
    April 16, 2007

    They were exposed to christianity in sunday school as a child and now that they are grown up they fail to understand that not everybody around them that takes christianity seriously stopped learning and studying as a child as they did and that there childs understanding is not a good place to try and launch a critique from unless they are just preaching to a similarly undereducated choir.

    Have you been in a fundamentalist church lately? Or ever? Second grade understanding is pretty much the norm. You can dress it up in fancy apologetics clothes, but that’s what’s coming straight from the preachers. It never fails to amaze me how moderate liberal Christians get the vapors at the very thought of people taking the Bible literally: Why, certainly there can’t be such people! Dawkins is attacking straw Christians! No one really thinks like that! Meanwhile, the mega-church down the lane is hellfire, brimstone, and the literal truth of the KJV all the way to the bank voting booth.

  66. #67 Rieux
    April 16, 2007

    I think it’s pretty funny that Mr. Sci Phi, that dean of the “I know what Christianity is about and you don’t” school of theological argument (and apparently sponsor of the “OT God warned people that he was gonna genocide ‘em, so it’s okay that he genocided ‘em” logic), doesn’t even understand who’s the “Courtier” and to whom said official is “Respon[ding].”

    Heh. I guess our problem is that Mr. S.P. is better at gazing at his navel than we are (at his navel).

    P.S. “Dawkins claims that ‘science == atheism’” is not an example of a Dawkins failure unless “science == atheism” is a direct quote from Dawkins. And it’s not. Please direct us to the place in which (you contend) Dawkins makes that argument–because I’ve gone over TGD twice now, and somehow I must have missed it. Surely.

  67. #68 Patrick
    April 16, 2007

    God, as I understand it, is considered by Christians to be the perfect being, without flaw or limit. He’s not just very powerful, he’s all-powerful. He’s not just very smart, he’s all-knowing. He’s not just a really really altruistic nice guy, he’s all-loving and all-moral and the standard from which all morals come. He didn’t just make a lot of things, he made everything. God is defined in terms of absolutes. No limits, no flaws, no exceptions. A vast majority of his followers see him that way. So, I ask, why do the arguments against God have to be nuanced when God himself has no such nuance?

  68. #69 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Have you been in a fundamentalist church lately? Or ever?”

    I a conservative Anglican from the Sydney Australian Diocese. You would probably consider me a “fundamentalist”.

    “Second grade understanding is pretty much the norm.”

    Not at the conservative Sydney Anglican Church I attend nor has it been my experience at other churches in Sydney.

    “It never fails to amaze me how moderate liberal Christians get the vapors at the very thought of people taking the Bible literally”

    Depending on what you mean by “literally” I would fall into the category of “biblical literalist” but the way most people mean it is as a strawman rather than as something that would fall into line with something like the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

    “Meanwhile, the mega-church down the lane is hellfire, brimstone, and the literal truth of the KJV all the way to the bank voting booth.”

    No doubt such churches sadly do exist. Though they are at best very uncommon in my neck of the woods.

  69. #70 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    They were exposed to christianity in sunday school as a child and now that they are grown up they fail to understand that not everybody around them that takes christianity seriously stopped learning and studying as a child as they did and that there childs understanding is not a good place to try and launch a critique from unless they are just preaching to a similarly undereducated choir.

    This is silly. It isthe One True scotsman in all it’s bold flavor. I know more about the religion than you blah, blah, blah. It misses the entire point that the Sunday school version is what is taught from the pulpits every Sunday in 1000′s of churches and the version he has alluded to but not presented is simply not the real religion. He pretends he is more educated A. than atheists and B. the avergae church goes. Likely neither assertion can be remotely backed up by any evidence.

    He’s a troll now.

  70. #71 sailor
    April 16, 2007

    So no evidence for God is coming from Sci Phi. Typical. Just like creationism. We can criticize you, but we don’t rreally have anything to say for ourselves.

    “yawn” I’ve had it with this, like all conversations with religious people to goes no where, has no logic. So to bed….

  71. #72 Chet
    April 16, 2007

    I a conservative Anglican from the Sydney Australian Diocese. You would probably consider me a “fundamentalist”.

    Pfft, not even close. You’ve got literally no idea what we’re dealing with here in the US, do you?

  72. #73 Carlie
    April 16, 2007

    No doubt such churches sadly do exist. Though they are at best very uncommon in my neck of the woods.

    They’re the norm here. Anglican would be considered just a hair up the slippery slope from complete apostate in most of the Bible Belt.

  73. #74 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    Based on the quality of many of his claims and arguments it is obvious that he didn’t run them by theologians to at least get an idea of how they would deal with the problem.

    Why would he run the claim by a theologian? Seriously? What evidence could a theologian produce or have they ever produced? It’s silly. He’d have to go to a million theologians and deal with all the conflicting claims within even one sect let alone the entire religion and other religions as well.

    No doubt such churches sadly do exist. Though they are at best very uncommon in my neck of the woods.

    Puh-leez. They think it’s sad churches like yours exist. I tend to think the 2nd grade version is closer to the actuall religion than anything your spewing here. Jesus said to be like children not attend some bizarre ivory tower form of the religion. It’s simple not complex. now simply provide some evidence there fella.

  74. #75 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Pfft, not even close. You’ve got literally no idea what we’re dealing with here in the US, do you?”

    I have some idea from the excesses I see, but I lack first hand experience.

    But to judge christianity by its lowest common denominator is not reasonable, unless it is likewise reasonable to judge the intellectual rigor of atheism by the likes of Dawkins and Harris or any village atheist of your choice.

  75. #76 Dennis
    April 16, 2007

    I think atheism needs to use every lever at its disposal. I am more of an in-yor-face atheist. But, churchilian atheists and churchilian church people are usefull idiots and fence strattelers that allow dialog between diametrically opposed ideologies. They should be allowed to wobble while more capable fighters fight.

    I read the “God Delusion” and Dawkins looses me in chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 when he gets all moral about things. Frankly we don’t have to get moral. Assuming God does not exist, the churches have a problem, they have to prove God exists. I also read my old physics professor Dr. Victor J. Stenger, “God The Failed Hypothesis”. I think Victor has a good approach. Science does have a meaningfull role in determining the existence of gods. Read his book, all of you! Atheists need to hit the religionists with doubt, using the bible, lots of food for thought there. Sorry to even bring it up but “FRAMING”. What I call Identifying the audience. Sorry PZ I know you hate it and Larry Moran also. But it is important to get to their audience. Not ours. You are wrong about that. They don’t understand science, You have to talk to them in a way they can understand “framing science”. we need a wedge document.

    And, we need a plan to reach their consituents. They hate the idea of Scientists framing the argument, thats the IDist strategy. Please don’t play into their game! ID proponents know their audience doesn’t understand science so they can make any claim. Their people will believe it.

    Trying to remain rigorous is naive at best, IDists don’t even try. Their audience doesn’t understand rigorous. Somehow we have to get to their level and separate them from their belief system.

    For another words start attacking them!

  76. #77 Michael Glenn
    April 16, 2007

    Please don’t accuse me of not having answers when you have made it clear you don’t want detailed biblically based arguments and the like in your comments threads and that to offer such things would be grounds for being banned from posting.

    Depending on what you mean by “literally” I would fall into the category of “biblical literalist” but the way most people mean it is as a strawman rather than as something that would fall into line with something like the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

    Doesn’t matter much how you mean it. By basing your arguments on the Bible you are already arguing in a circle by assuming the truth of the text that describes your deity.

  77. #78 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “They’re the norm here. Anglican would be considered just a hair up the slippery slope from complete apostate in most of the Bible Belt.”

    ECUSA (The Anglican church in the US) is pretty much apostate AFAICS.

  78. #79 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “So no evidence for God is coming from Sci Phi. Typical. Just like creationism. We can criticize you, but we don’t rreally have anything to say for ourselves.”

    What sort of evidence are you looking for and what sort of evidence would you consider ?

  79. #80 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    But to judge christianity by its lowest common denominator is not reasonable, unless it is likewise reasonable to judge the intellectual rigor of atheism by the likes of Dawkins and Harris or any village atheist of your choice.

    1. I don’t consider tham any worse than your version of the religion. In many ways they are much more consistent and admirable, their stance on science aside.

    2. Again you hit Dawkins and Harris but never rebut anything they say. It’s getting redundant and your cheap shots say much more about you and your alleged belief system than it does about their arguments.

  80. #81 Carlie
    April 16, 2007

    But to judge christianity by its lowest common denominator is not reasonable,

    But to judge it by its most populous common denominator is entirely reasonable, and what we have the most of here are whacko fundamentalists. Over 16 million Southern Baptists alone, forming the largest denomination after Catholics in the US last I looked.

    Watch Jesus Camp. That’s what we’re dealing with.

  81. #82 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Why would he run the claim by a theologian? Seriously?”

    Because he might have avoided being regarded as a joke now if he had.

    “I tend to think the 2nd grade version is closer to the actuall religion than anything your spewing here.”

    Then you’d be mistaken just as they are.

    “Jesus said to be like children not attend some bizarre ivory tower form of the religion. It’s simple not complex. now simply provide some evidence there fella. ”

    What would you like ?

    1. God is real the universe attests to his hand in creating
    it.
    2. Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

    Two lines of evidence.

    You’ll say, “Your just asserting that”. Patially true.

    What sort of evidence would you consider ?

  82. #83 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    Because he might have avoided being regarded as a joke now if he had.

    He’s not but your coming pretty close.

    Then you’d be mistaken just as they are.

    One true scotsman, I think they are much more consistent. I think they would say your mistaken. No evidence either way.

    2. Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

    Ok, lets see the evidence for this one. You can have faith in this but I’m dubious there is any evidence that can be presented at any level. Give it a go.

  83. #84 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “This is silly. It isthe One True scotsman in all it’s bold flavor.”

    Not at all. Christianity is a historic religion with 2000 years of writings dealing with many of the problems Dawkins and others bring up. Yet you don’t hear much about any of that.

    “It misses the entire point that the Sunday school version is what is taught from the pulpits every Sunday in 1000′s of churches”

    Unfortunately this is true, which is why books like Dawkins’ confuse so many people.

    “He pretends he is more educated A. than atheists and B. the avergae church goes. Likely neither assertion can be remotely backed up by any evidence.”

    What would you consider ? I used to be an atheist, so I know I can be as stupid as the best of them ;P Sadly many church members really don’t know much church history or theology at all. Which is unfortunate is no many ways and why I am involved in working eradicate such ignorance in my own congregation.

  84. #85 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    good grief your almost a cartoon. Now the I used to be an atheist line emerges. Actually the opposite usually is the case as people become aware of church history it reveals itself as a very human endeavor.

    Dawkins books don’t confuse anyone, that job is left to theologians who pretend to have answers when they don’t.

    Christianity is a historic religion with 2000 years of writings dealing with many of the problems Dawkins and others bring up. Yet you don’t hear much about any of that.

    What world are you living in? Are you high? You hear plenty of it. Your the perfect one true scotsman because you have actually convinced yourself your version of faith is completely accurate. If that isn’t delusion what else can it be?

  85. #86 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Ok, lets see the evidence for this one. You can have faith in this but I’m dubious there is any evidence that can be presented at any level. Give it a go.”

    What evidence would you consider as viable. There are a number of lines of evidence in favour of this proposition. Obviously they would need to be fleshed out more than a bullet point list, but it is a starting point. The resurrection is the inference to the best explanation based on the data points of.

    1. The origin of the rez account.
    2. The origin of the church
    3. The origin of the biblical text
    4. The nature of the earliest counter claims
    5. Additionally apsects of the account like the early tomb etc, provide evidence for their authenticity.

    That would do for starters. All of these things exist and are not in dispute. We have early texts, they make claims, the church existed and early counter claims existed. Obviously none of this is in dispute.

    An actual historical rez accounts for these data points nicely in a way all competeing theories (and i’ve looked at plenty of them) fail to do so.

    The only assumption it really requires is the existence of YHWH, but if you already have good reason to think that God exists that is not necessarily a problematic assumption. Even if you are unsure it is still a reasonable working assumption when comparing it against the sorts of assumptions other accounts deal with.

    This is obviously a thumbnail starting point, I suspect you will simply dismiss it out of hand, which would be unfortunate. Feel free to prove me wrong. If you want extended discourse on the topic send me an email and we can have an extended discourse on the topic on a public forum. thesciphishow@gmail.com

  86. #87 Rieux
    April 16, 2007

    Pfft, not even close. You’ve got literally no idea what we’re dealing with here in the US, do you?

    I have some idea from the excesses I see, but I lack first hand experience.

    But to judge christianity by its lowest common denominator is not reasonable, unless it is likewise reasonable to judge the intellectual rigor of atheism by the likes of Dawkins and Harris or any village atheist of your choice.

    It never ceases to amaze me what incredible bigots you Courtiers so frequently are. That “lowest common denominator” constitutes approximately one third of humanity, among them the most powerful man in the world. Yet the chorus of Courtiers whines and carries on when we atheists (shockingly) pay any attention to the two billion non-Courtier Christians in the world–because we cheerfully don’t give a damn that our attention (indeed, any notice whatsoever of what the vast majority of Christians actually believe) tarnishes the “detailed discourses … on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots” that you are so smitten with.

    I submit that outspoken atheists show vastly more respect to ordinary Christianity (by merely taking it seriously; unlike you, we are not required by vanity to pretend that ordinary Christianity doesn’t exist) than you Courtiers do.

  87. #88 The Sci Phi Show
    April 16, 2007

    “Now the I used to be an atheist line emerges.”

    It isn’t a line, it is simply the case.

    “Actually the opposite usually is the case as people become aware of church history it reveals itself as a very human endeavor.”

    I guess that is unavoidable when they use the DaVinci code as a source.

    “What world are you living in? Are you high? You hear plenty of it.”

    Not really. Although I suspect you don’t know enough of it to realise how much is missing. Thats ok.

    “Your the perfect one true scotsman because you have actually convinced yourself your version of faith is completely accurate. If that isn’t delusion what else can it be?”

    I have no doubt I am wrong on a number of points of theology. I’ve changed my mind on things before and I am sure I will again.

    But you just keep assuring yourself that I don’t know what I am talking about and that Dawkins is a genius and is all knowing and then you can sleep soundly.

  88. #89 Uber
    April 16, 2007

    I’m about done with this troll, he/she is tiresome.
    . But maybe a few more going backwards:

    But you just keep assuring yourself that I don’t know what I am talking about and that Dawkins is a genius and is all knowing and then you can sleep soundly.

    Who can say if you know anything- you never present anything here worth debating. And whether Dawkins is right or wrong is beside the point. His argument is clear and consise and you haven’t presented even the remotest form of rebuttal.

    Although I suspect you don’t know enough of it to realise how much is missing. Thats ok.

    Whatever Scotsman.

    I guess that is unavoidable when they use the DaVinci code as a source.

    I consider this kind of telling. If you are a Christian you are a very arrogant one. It’s ahrd to see a proper spirit with your attitude to say for sure. I suspect you may be faking it all for attention.

    . The origin of the rez account.
    2. The origin of the church
    3. The origin of the biblical text
    4. The nature of the earliest counter claims
    5. Additionally apsects of the account like the early tomb etc, provide evidence for their authenticity.

    Not a one of these is any real evidence of anything remotely necessary to prove your case or that someone came back from the dead. The same sorts of evidence exist in the Koran for Mohammed and in the book of mormon for Joseph Smith.

    Feel free to prove me wrong

    You haven’t proved anything right yet.

  89. #90 Rieux
    April 16, 2007

    Obviously none of this is in dispute.

    The legitimacy of the accounts of Jesus’s resurrection is not “in dispute”? You’re a joke!

    I’d say the essay found at http://tinyurl.com/yrg85j constitutes a “dispute.”

    An actual historical rez accounts for these data points nicely in a way all competeing theories (and i’ve looked at plenty of them) fail to do so.

    Hogwash–as Carrier demonstrates in spades.

    To paraphrase a certain commenter on this thread, if you are so stunningly (and selectively) credulous in this instance, why in the world should we listen to what you have to say about anything else in the world?

  90. #91 ken
    April 16, 2007

    The believers will tell you that God is “infinitely simple” today, and will try to rewrite the biology textbooks tomorrow. Dawkins addresses the memes that lead to unpleasant actions, not every believer’s idealized version of religion.

    As for evidence, Lex Luthor has a talent for co-opting television broadcasts to get his message out. God should try that.

  91. #92 Sastra
    April 16, 2007

    I note that some here are taking Sci Phi to be a liberal theist with a properly vague and transcendent God because he seems to be using the Courtier argument, and because he is belittling the “silly” variations of theology. But most people who respond to skeptics — whether they be Born-Again Christians or New Age Wool-gatherers — make use of the “atheists don’t understand the subtleties” and “I agree there are some very stupid versions of my worldview.”

    I would not be so sure that Sci Phi is immune to Prof. Dawkins’ down-home arguments because his God is much too rarified and sophisticated. For one thing, I’d be interested in his definition of God. The God Delusion defined it as a “superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe, including us.”

    Is that definition all wrong?

  92. #93 Rieux
    April 16, 2007

    I would not be so sure that Sci Phi is immune to Prof. Dawkins’ down-home arguments because his God is much too rarified and sophisticated.

    Touche. I was surprised to see a defense of a literal Resurrection; that’s not very Courtier-ish.

  93. #94 Samnell
    April 16, 2007

    “An actual historical rez accounts for these data points nicely in a way all competeing theories (and i’ve looked at plenty of them) fail to do so.”

    This is what you call sophisticated? Zombie Jesus? Please, we can get that from our craziest fundies here. Indeed, it’s one of the more common arguments.

  94. #95 Rugosa
    April 16, 2007

    Sci Phi reminds me of a game program on a very old computer I once had. The premise was that the program was a therapist that responded to anything you typed in with some stereotyped therapist question. You could type in “I slaughtered fluffy kittens today” and the program would respond with something like “And how do you feel about that?” Amusing for a few rounds, then just repetitious and silly.

    You’ll say, “Your just asserting that”. Patially true. Entirely true. Reiteration does not convert assertion into evidence.

  95. #96 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2007

    The only atheist I know about who switched and actually had even close to a good handle of the issues was Antony Flew, and his “God” is the sort of “philosopher’s God” against whom Pascal reacted–a deistic God lacking in any predictability.

    The “atheists” who like to tell of “switching” almost never had a good grasp of the philosophical issues bearing upon the “God question”. The ones I’ve had some knowledge of were playing to the Xian “prodigal son” angle, or more exactly, the “see how atheists who learn about theology and the Bible switch their allegiances” angle. What is rather odd (from my perspective) about it is how they often point out how superficial their knowledge actually was, something to which Rennie also alludes, which factor essentially negates the supposed meaningfulness of their conversion when their rather simplistic version of atheism was met by well-developed apologetics.

    My question is, does anyone with a good philosophical background (no, not Kripke) ever convert to religion? I’m not really including Flew, since it seems to me that his own view of religion/atheism seemed to rest more on ideas of evidence vs. “faith”, and not the psychological/historical analysis of religion which accounts for religion as well as it accounts for mass hysterias, totalitarianism, and the various superstitions, delusions, and insanities which have shaped history. For the problem with religion goes beyond its lack of a shared evidence regarding “spiritual phenomena” (yes, aspects are shared, but not the “pathetic level of detail” about which science–and other areas concerned about a clear and fair understanding, such as the justice system–cares), to the fact that it is fairly well understood in its causes and uses throughout history.

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful”.
    – Seneca

    (note, I haven’t checked out this quote found on the web, but it’s the way that rulers and philosophers have understood religion to be from Roman times, through Machiavelli, and down to modern treatments of sociology.)

    I have no doubt that someone relying upon “40 Bible contradictions” or some such thing (not that there’s anything wrong with it) may indeed be turned away from atheism. What is exceedingly rare is that someone who really has studied religion both from the inside and the outside, and with some sophistication, would actually consider a social construct like religion to tell us something fundamental about the universe.

    The religionists love the atheists who have “learned the truth” not just because they psychologically need such “vindication” in the face of so many questions they can’t answer, they actually like the fact that nearly all atheists who switch really didn’t know much about religion or secularism. For they like to imagine that all criticisms of religion really are as simple and superficial as the atheist convert’s understanding typically was, and thereby they once again have an “excuse” to ignore the arguments and the evidence in preference for their unsupported “faith”.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  96. #97 BT Murtagh
    April 16, 2007

    The Sci Phi Show asks what evidence would an atheist consider. Speaking for myself, I’d like to see any factual evidence which can be explained if a god exists, but which cannot be explained if this is a godless universe.

    Can you point to any such factual evidence? I’d be very surprised if you could; did such evidence actually exist, this debate would at a minimum be very different in character, and if the evidence were compelling it would be over. As it is, theology appears to have nothing more to offer than ancient rumors and endlessly detailed deliberations on how best to interpret those same ancient rumors. That kind of thing may be entertaining, or intellectually stimulating, or emotionally comforting, but it isn’t evidence.

    Have you in fact any evidence of a demonstrably factual nature for the proposition that any god really exists outside the minds of the believers? Professor Dawkins says you don’t. Go ahead and prove him wrong, if you can.

  97. #98 Example
    April 17, 2007

    Here’s a nice quote, from a fairly well-regarded christian theologian. St. Augustine (Aurelius Augustine, Augustine of Hippo, 354-430) in De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim (The Literal Meaning of Genesis), paragraph 39 (chapter 19)

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

    (He goes on to explain that (to paraphrase) it’s hard to convert people while your head is stuck up your ass.)

    Of course, some people are a little more forthright on the subject. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, in Time magazine April 11, 1988:

    We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don’t stand up to experimentation, Buddha’s own words must be rejected.

  98. #99 speedwell
    April 17, 2007

    The religionists love the atheists who have “learned the truth” not just because they psychologically need such “vindication” in the face of so many questions they can’t answer, they actually like the fact that nearly all atheists who switch really didn’t know much about religion or secularism. For they like to imagine that all criticisms of religion really are as simple and superficial as the atheist convert’s understanding typically was, and thereby they once again have an “excuse” to ignore the arguments and the evidence in preference for their unsupported “faith”.

    Hmm, that’s not too far off from what I always assumed, except I was not so sophisticated. The evangelistic alligator picks off a few of the most stupid and weak from among us monkeys, but all he learns from the experience is how to hunt the stupid and weak. The alligator thinks he’s mighty smart when he tells the monkeys that they can’t say anything about water unless they go for a swim, and that he could climb a tree to come after us anytime he wanted, but he can’t touch those of us who know better and who won’t listen to his lies.

  99. #100 speedwell
    April 17, 2007

    Should I have said “crocodile?” I am always getting them mixed up…

  100. #101 Justin Moretti
    April 17, 2007

    Personally I’ll go with Arthur C. Clarke’s “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, when it comes to God. The aliens in the novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey progressed from organic beings like us, to machine-people (they transferred their minds and eventually their thoughts into robot bodies), eventually learned to exist as incorporeal beings, “And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God.”

    As a realistic thing, I don’t think it’s much chop. As a philosophical example of what the IDists God might be, I think it’s prety good.

    Where the IDists are potentially correct is in the fact that the Solar System is much younger than the Universe, so there is a theoretical possibility that it could have been engineered by someone (or many someones) who had alrady evolved to the point where they wielded sufficient raw power and scientific competence (they would have had at least five thousand million years in which to get there).

    If someone wanted to argue that, they would be seen as somewhat paranoid, weird, bizarre, and would quite probably be wrong, but so long as they embarked on a systematic and scientifically rigorous search for proof, they would not actually be flawed in their thinking. But the IDiots are undisguised in their desire to pin it all on the God of Christianity. And their argument that there are gaps in the Darwinian approach, while correct, do not lend their own argument any credence.

    And if it turns out in the end that God exists only in my mind, that’s fine – that’s where I need Him. Death’s door is where science ends; and if, when my time comes, I can take it with equanimity by believing that there’s something beyond, that’s my business. But if I ever met a being that could engineer laws of physics and then kick-start a universe that ran according to them, it would be as close to what I call God as makes no difference.

  101. #102 Tulse
    April 17, 2007

    What evidence would this atheist consider as evidence for a god?

    - Galaxies arranged to spell out “Yes, Tulse, I exist. Signed, God”.

    - A titanium crucifix (complete with Jesus figure) embedded in the Burgess Shale.

    - A string of DNA in every organism that decodes to “Copyright God, All Rights Reserved”.

    - Natalie Portman asking to have sex with me.

    These examples may seem flip, but they’re not (well, all except one — titanium crucifixes are gauche!). We are talking the allegedly most powerful being in all of, well, everything, the alleged creator of the whole shebang. Pushing about galaxies, or creating common DNA should be literally effortless for this being. So why is there no incontrovertible evidence for this entity’s existence in the modern era? And before we go all “but that would take away faith and free will”, remember that this being was supposedly quite happy to burn bushes, part seas, and offer an endless seafood sandwich buffet for his followers in the past — why the sudden shyness?

    (By the way, God, I’m serious about the Natalie Portman thing — you can make a believer out of this lapsed Catholic.)

  102. #103 Blake Stacey
    April 17, 2007

    I’m gonna say this just once, because I can’t help myself.

    “In your country, you frame the scientific evidence. In Soviet Russia, evidence frames you!”

  103. #104 Example
    April 17, 2007

    Tulse, for a more interesting example, see Sagan’s book Contact. All of your examples would convince me that there was a sufficiently advanced technology, or some sort of small-minded deity like many religions assume, but the evidence at the end of Contact (a picture embedded in the base-11 expansion of pi) would convince me that the universe was created by something more powerful than I can imagine.

    The laws of physics are provisional and subject to revision when more data arrives. But something that can bend the laws of mathematics is operating at a whole different level.

    I really have to give credit to Sagan, coming up with an invisible friend more powerful and mysterious than any I’ve heard of elsewhere.

  104. #105 Patrick Quigley
    April 17, 2007

    Sci Phi, you simply have no idea what life is like here in the U.S. I teach at a college near Rick Warren’s 30,000+ member megachurch. Warren, the author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” is one of the most influential pastors in America and would be considered a moderate evangelical by U.S. standards. In the past year, I have had two of his followers (both my students) independently argue that slavery isn’t immoral because God sanctioned it in the Bible.

    Now consider that this took place in California, a state constantly derided by conservatives as ground-zero for godless liberalism, and that I moved here to escape from the fundamentalist horror that is Alabama and you might begin to understand why Dawkins felt a need to speak out against the simpleminded conception of God that you think no one believes in.

  105. #106 Peter McGrath
    April 17, 2007

    Sci Phi Show: not sure what the Caananites did, but what did we bastards or those poor eunuchs do to never be allowed into an association of the Lord? I mean, slipping off the pedals and mashing your knackers on your bike’s crossbar seems a rather trivial reason for a one-way ticket to the fires eternal.

  106. #107 xebecs
    April 17, 2007

    People complain about the damage “creationists” do to science, but it would seem that atheists hijacking science for philosophical purposes as Dawkins does is going to do much much more harm in the long run.

    Yeah! Also, what’s with all these people hijacking science for technological purposes? And don’t get me started on so-called “expert witnesses” getting legal ickiness all over our nice pure science.

    Science is a tool. We will use it in the fight against superstition.

  107. #108 Steve LaBonne
    April 17, 2007

    And don’t get me started on so-called “expert witnesses” getting legal ickiness all over our nice pure science.

    Hey, I resemble that remark! ;)

  108. #109 David Marjanovi?
    April 17, 2007

    and he is abusing this as a pulpit to preach atheism from.

    That’s the point where I usually ask: “Are you afraid of something?”

    Why should I assume he does otherwise elsewhere ?

    Go read Unweaving the Rainbow.

    —————————–

    Why is the idea of God — a “superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe, including us” — outside of the domain of science?

    As soon as it’s ineffable enough, it escapes all testability.

    “In light of this idea, Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologiae, wrote that because God is infinitely simple, he can only appear to the finite mind as though he were infinitely complex.”

    How isn’t that special pleading? Oh, I see why it’s not — because the whole affair is An Ineffable Mystery. You’ll guess why I’m an apathetic agnosticist — I don’t know, and I don’t care –, and why people like Dawkins simply feel their legs are being pulled.

    —————————–

    Example, that is impressive. I still haven’t read Contact or even watched it. That’s a big gaping hole in my classical education.

    —————————–

    I mean, slipping off the pedals and mashing your knackers on your bike’s crossbar seems a rather trivial reason for a one-way ticket to the fires eternal.

    Apparently what is alluded to is that the priests of other religions of that time and place were often eunuchs.

  109. #110 David Marjanovi?
    April 17, 2007

    and he is abusing this as a pulpit to preach atheism from.

    That’s the point where I usually ask: “Are you afraid of something?”

    Why should I assume he does otherwise elsewhere ?

    Go read Unweaving the Rainbow.

    —————————–

    Why is the idea of God — a “superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe, including us” — outside of the domain of science?

    As soon as it’s ineffable enough, it escapes all testability.

    “In light of this idea, Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologiae, wrote that because God is infinitely simple, he can only appear to the finite mind as though he were infinitely complex.”

    How isn’t that special pleading? Oh, I see why it’s not — because the whole affair is An Ineffable Mystery. You’ll guess why I’m an apathetic agnosticist — I don’t know, and I don’t care –, and why people like Dawkins simply feel their legs are being pulled.

    —————————–

    Example, that is impressive. I still haven’t read Contact or even watched it. That’s a big gaping hole in my classical education.

    —————————–

    I mean, slipping off the pedals and mashing your knackers on your bike’s crossbar seems a rather trivial reason for a one-way ticket to the fires eternal.

    Apparently what is alluded to is that the priests of other religions of that time and place were often eunuchs.

  110. #111 David Marjanovi?
    April 17, 2007

    hijacking science for philosophical purposes

    Most of philosophy, frankly, is just ignorant meddling with the affairs of science. (Science theory excepted, obviously.) For instance, who has solved the paradox of movement? Planck — there is no zero amount of time, time is quantized, all the philosophers getting headaches over that nonproblem for millennia had a basic premise wrong.

  111. #112 David Marjanovi?
    April 17, 2007

    hijacking science for philosophical purposes

    Most of philosophy, frankly, is just ignorant meddling with the affairs of science. (Science theory excepted, obviously.) For instance, who has solved the paradox of movement? Planck — there is no zero amount of time, time is quantized, all the philosophers getting headaches over that nonproblem for millennia had a basic premise wrong.

  112. #113 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 17, 2007

    What’s annoying is the implication that Ruse, Conway Morris, Kenneth Miller, etc. are in league with the creationists, when in fact they are some of the leaders of the opposition.

    Combined with theism TE is creationism when it isn’t Creationism all by itself. Most theistic religions contains a creator. And on that argument, we can page Dawkins.

    The attempt to pervert and isolate a specific science is that it can work as the same shell game that theology at large provides for religion. But as Moran so acute perceives, it is the same logic.

    Conway Morris has probably done more than almost anyone else to show how Darwinian processes can explain the Cambrian Explosion.

    I think this exemplifies the problem with TE. People will have difficulty distinguishing the science from the religion, as here. We must be able to do that, and TE is not the solution but part of the problem.

    you have to acknowledge that his actual theological argument relies on (1) evolution being a natural process and (2) natural selection being a very strong force, even deterministic.

    Unfortunately it seems TE’s are unable to do what Moran asks for, namely showing the logic behind. (In my view that isn’t enough. But we can start there because it is still an interesting question.) If (1) and (2) is the only content of TE, that would mean it is the identical with some selectionist evolutionary theory.

    Somehow I don’t think so. So, what is Morris variant of TE, and how does it describes its theistic part? Can any TE’s step up to this plate?

  113. #114 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 17, 2007

    What’s annoying is the implication that Ruse, Conway Morris, Kenneth Miller, etc. are in league with the creationists, when in fact they are some of the leaders of the opposition.

    Combined with theism TE is creationism when it isn’t Creationism all by itself. Most theistic religions contains a creator. And on that argument, we can page Dawkins.

    The attempt to pervert and isolate a specific science is that it can work as the same shell game that theology at large provides for religion. But as Moran so acute perceives, it is the same logic.

    Conway Morris has probably done more than almost anyone else to show how Darwinian processes can explain the Cambrian Explosion.

    I think this exemplifies the problem with TE. People will have difficulty distinguishing the science from the religion, as here. We must be able to do that, and TE is not the solution but part of the problem.

    you have to acknowledge that his actual theological argument relies on (1) evolution being a natural process and (2) natural selection being a very strong force, even deterministic.

    Unfortunately it seems TE’s are unable to do what Moran asks for, namely showing the logic behind. (In my view that isn’t enough. But we can start there because it is still an interesting question.) If (1) and (2) is the only content of TE, that would mean it is the identical with some selectionist evolutionary theory.

    Somehow I don’t think so. So, what is Morris variant of TE, and how does it describes its theistic part? Can any TE’s step up to this plate?

  114. #115 Randi Schimnosky
    April 17, 2007

    Sci Phi Show claims the following is “evidence” of the Jesus character being resurrected:

    “1. The origin of the rez account.
    2. The origin of the church
    3. The origin of the biblical text
    4. The nature of the earliest counter claims
    5. Additionally apsects of the account like the early tomb etc, provide evidence for their authenticity”

    This of course is laughable. If the origin of the ressurection account, the church, and the biblical text is proof of the resurrection of the Jesus character then similarly the origin of Islam’s acccounts, mosques, Koran text, counter claims, etc. is proof of the truth of the Koran, or Hinduism, or ancient Egypts sun god. Sci Phi, you have exactly the same evidence for the existence of Zeus, Apollo, the tooth fairy, the sun god, Visnu, and Gonesh as you do for your god – what reason do you have to believe in Jesus and not them?

  115. #116 arensb
    April 17, 2007

    David Marjanovi?:

    I still haven’t read Contact or even watched it.

    IMHO, the opening sequence alone was worth the price of the DVD.

  116. #117 Colugo
    April 17, 2007

    I earlier mentioned Korthof’s comparison between Denton (who is himself hard to pin down) and Conway Morris, but I also note that they are quite different in many respects.

    In my view, some of the anti-TE sentiment is just going too far.

  117. #118 Trinifar
    April 17, 2007

    Maybe somebody here (if anyone’s still reading after 114 comments) can take up the challenge presented here.

    (Any maybe someone can tell me why trackbacks and pingsback don’t get displayed on the ScienceBlogs blogs. Is it policy, a tech glitch, or just me?)

  118. #119 Anton Mates
    April 18, 2007

    What’s annoying is the implication that Ruse, Conway Morris, Kenneth Miller, etc. are in league with the creationists, when in fact they are some of the leaders of the opposition. For example, Conway Morris has probably done more than almost anyone else to show how Darwinian processes can explain the Cambrian Explosion. He is the guy you call when the creationists start yammering about no transitional fossils in the Cambrian.

    Fred Hoyle has done extremely important work in nucleosynthesis, but that doesn’t mean we don’t call him on the tornado-in-a-junkyard canard.

    And please–how many times has Dawkins been accused of giving aid to the creationists by plugging atheism? The fact that he’s written assorted bestsellers defending and explaining evolutionary theory doesn’t spare him that criticism. Which is as it should be–no scientist should be above criticism.

    You disagree with his theology, fine, but you have to acknowledge that his actual theological argument relies on (1) evolution being a natural process and (2) natural selection being a very strong force, even deterministic.

    Which is precisely the problem, since (2) means he’s making an empirical claim for the sake of supporting a theological one. Minus the theology, he would merely be wrong–as is, he’s twisting the science to aid religion.

    Conway Morris’s view is basically identical to Richard Dawkins’s strong view of selection.

    I don’t think that’s true, even on this particular subject. Dawkins may be an adaptationist, but AFAIK he’s never denied the existence of contigency–he just attributes it to natural selection’s high sensitivity to the details of the environment. Conway Morris is specifically saying that natural selection produces the same structures over a broad range of environmental pressures–if you’re an ambush predator, no matter what your ancestry or distribution, you get huge canine teeth.

    To confuse this with ID or creationism is ludicrous.

    You might want to read the book. Conway Morris spends one chapter of “Life’s Solution” basically attacking abiotic chemistry, and another making privileged planet arguments. Look back through the Panda’s Thumb archives and see the number of times we’ve refuted the same arguments, coming from creationIDsts.

    It’s also annoying that the “Churchillian” crowd more or less says that atheism is a solid conclusion of science, instead of the proper view which is that it is a metaphysical conclusion outside the domain of science.

    That’s because the “Churchillian” crowd is aware that atheism is the rejection of a metaphysical claim, not the positive assertion of one.

  119. #120 Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD
    April 18, 2007

    God is the ultimate strawman. Especially for theologians and philosophers.

  120. #121 Keith Douglas
    April 18, 2007

    Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD: I must confess – it is in our training. Philosophy is a meta-discipline and so we have to be able to comment on wide ranges of issues. Of course, very often this results in disaster …

    Rugosa: So “The Sci Phi Show” is an ELIZAbot? Hm … at least with that one can study the limitations of naive language processing. I’m not sure about the merits of this guy.

    Example: The Dalai Lama’s words are interesting, but unfortunately I would argue that one of the core beliefs of Buddhism has already been refuted and yet not dropped – all of the stuff requiring psychoneural dualism.

  121. #122 John Danley
    April 18, 2007

    Anyone know why “bdelloid rotifers” doesn’t show up in the Pharyngula search engine? C’mon, I got Bill Dembski pissing on my shoes about it.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.