Anglican Samizdat

March 13, 2010

Atheists sawing through the branch they are sitting on

Filed under: Atheism — David @ 11:01 am
Tags: , ,

As they meet in Melbourne to celebrate their lack of faith:

More than 2,000 atheists from around the world are gathering in Melbourne, Australia, to celebrate their lack of religious belief.

It is thought to be the world’s largest gathering of atheist thinkers. There is a determination to avoid what one session calls Atheistic Fundamentalism, says our correspondent.

Participants will be urged to avoid “missionary zeal” in their determination to promote their non-religious message to the world.

As this article notes, Dawkins’ brand of neo logical positivist scientism rests as much on faith as Christianity, Judaism or the foam-flecked ravings of a benighted pagan animism  – also known as Anglican-nouveau:

The truth is that science, like religion, starts off beyond reason and then becomes rational. Science is based on faith that the universe is rational. No scientist would begin to do science if they presupposed the universe is beyond understanding. The scientific search for the most simple and elegant theory is motivated by faith that such a theory exists. Charles Townes, a Nobel Prize winner for physics, said: “Science is so successful we are enthralled. Many people don’t realize that science basically involves assumptions and faith . . . nothing is absolutely proved.”

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19 Comments

  1. I’ve always wondered what point people are trying to make when they bring that up. This –

    The truth is that science, like religion, starts off beyond reason and then becomes rational. Science is based on faith that the universe is rational.

    – is the most banal thing I can think of to say about science, although I might modify ‘faith’ with ‘assumption drawn from observation’ and strike out the part about religion becoming rational (it starts off beyond reason and stays put).

    What’s your point?

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 13, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  2. What’s your point?

    Science – like religion – begins with unprovable assumptions.

    To say ‘assumption drawn from observation’ does not help since it assumes that observation is reliable.

    Comment by David — March 13, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  3. And?

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 13, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  4. There are any number of “ands”.

    Here’s one: Richard Dawkins said, “I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.” According to Dawkins, that makes science “one of the world’s great evils”, since scientists start with faith that certain unprovable assumptions are true; among others – the objective existence of the material universe, that is is governed by rational laws, the reliability of human reason, the reliability of observation.

    Comment by David — March 13, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  5. [...] H/T: Anglican Samizdat [...]

    Pingback by Global Atheist Convention: Who cares? « The Old Hundredth — March 14, 2010 @ 12:23 am

  6. Richard Dawkins is wrong on that one, of course. He’s a good writer, but he’s no philosopher.

    What are the other ‘ands’? Pointing out that Dawkins is wrong about something is hardly a towering intellectual achievement.

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 14, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  7. Sean,

    Your response reminds me of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “it’s just a flesh wound”, he says, after having both his legs chopped off.

    Comment by David — March 14, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  8. How so? That would only be true if I was Richard Dawkins. And unfortunately for my bank account, I am not.

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 14, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

  9. Well, if you are disagreeing with Dawkins and agreeing with me, I’ll give your legs back.

    Comment by David — March 14, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

  10. Well yes, that’s what I just said. You seem to be having a curious amount of trouble processing the idea that I disagree with Richard Dawkins, which is…strange, to say the least.

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 15, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  11. For many, science itself has become a “religion”.

    You get sick, go see the (witch)doctor for a (potion) prescription and have “faith” that this will cure you.

    Have a question about the origins of the universe and what it all means, read Stephan Hawkins “A Brief History of Time”.

    etc.

    But of course science does not have all of the answers, and so people are told to trust (have faith) in the scientific process and all will be revealed. Any contradictions (ie. the Big Bang theory and the fact that the galaxies are increasing their speed away from each other) will eventually be figured out.

    But the same people who put so very much faith in science will be the quickest to criticize Christianity for far less perceived imperfections. I wonder. Is this ironic, or just hypocritical?

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — March 15, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  12. What does it matter that the galaxies are moving away from each other at increasingly greater speed?

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 15, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  13. In #1 seanwillsalt said:

    I’ve always wondered what point people are trying to make when they bring that up.

    Your subsequent comments reveal you aren’t “wondering” at all and have no interest in the “point people are trying to make.”

    Comment by Warren — March 15, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  14. Hello seanwillsalt

    That galaxies are increasing their speed away from each other is something that science is not yet able to explain. The theories of gavity, general relativity, and special relativity all predict that the speed should be decreasing, not increasing. Yet the inability of science to “explain” this observation that disproves all of these theories is not enough to cause even a ripple in the religion of science. We are simply told to have faith that scientists will someday figure out an answer, and people just accept it. Yet these same people would not even dream of offering the same unquestioning obedience to Christianity.

    So what I am saying is this. Those who purport the religion of science, while at the same time deride Christianity, are not holding the religion of science to the same level of requirement as they hold Christianity. In short, these people are hypocrits. Your comment “What does it matter…” proves that you do not make any effort to critically examine the deficiencies of the religion of science. You simply say “so what”. That these theories have been taught to our children as “facts” yet have a very serious error does not seem to matter to you.

    On another note. How much money, resources, and effort has been expended (I will not say invested) in trying to find a cure for aids? And what is the result? Untold millions of people having a false hope that a cure will someday be found, while they suffer and die. I have to wonder, if the same amount of money, resources, and effort had been invested in teaching people to live a Christian life how many lives would have been saved. And not just from aids, but from all std’s.

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — March 15, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  15. AMPisAnglican,

    Have you ever consulted a scientist (or even a knowledgeable amateur) on the question of why distant galaxies appear to be receding at a greater rate than close ones? Because thirty-seconds on Google revealed a host of popular science websites with hypotheses on why it happens, which rather strongly suggests that astrophysicists aren’t quite as baffled by the process as you seem to think. True, they might not know exactly why it happens, but it would be premature (to say the least) for them to throw up their hands at this point and declare special and general relativity wrong – particularly when given the mountains of data which fully support both theories.

    As for AIDS, can you tell me what the life expectancy of a HIV-infected person with access to proper medication is now compared with the life expectancy of a similar person 20 years ago?

    David,

    Your subsequent comments reveal you aren’t “wondering” at all and have no interest in the “point people are trying to make.”

    You still haven’t told me what your point was. That Richard Dawkins is capable of being wrong? Is that it?

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 15, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

  16. Seanwillsalt (#15), I made the comment; not David. Maybe if you read more closely you wouldn’t need to keep asking people to clarify their points. I’m assuming you’re posting here for polemical reasons rather than dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with polemics – just be honest about it.

    Comment by Warren — March 15, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  17. Oh, I’m sorry about that, I erroneously assumed that David was harkening back to my original comment.

    Maybe you could clarify what his point was, then?

    Comment by seanwillsalt — March 16, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  18. Seanwillsalt (#17) I would consider it, but you must first convince me that there is a modicum of sincerity in your request.

    Comment by Warren — March 16, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  19. seanwillsalt (15)
    A person with aids today compared to a person with aids 20 years ago? Both will die. It’s that simple. How many years, and how much money, spent so far, and still no cure.

    Regarding the speed of galaxies moving away from each other. You have obviously missunderstood (perhaps deliberately) what I was saying. I know full well the the galaxies further away are moving away from our galaxy at a faster speed than those galaxies that are closing. This was a big part of the formulation of the “big bang theory”. What I was saying is that all galaxies are today moving away from our galaxy at a greater speed than they were in the past. Simply put, they are speeding up. But the theories of gravity, general relativity, and special relativity predict that they should be slowing down. Any observation (even just one) that contradicts the predition of a theory firmly disproves that theory. You should remember from high school science that this is part of the “scientific process”. Now these thoeries must be either modified to explain the new observation, or replaced by a new theory.

    By the way, thank you for proving a point that I made earlier. You, appearently on adhearant to the religion of science, have unquestionably accepted the sermons of your priests. “So what if we didn’t get it exactly right this time. Have faith in our science that someday we will. Also, some day science will find a cure for aids, so be sure to continue to donate your money to aids research. Don’t be fooled by those silly Christians who promoted celibacy outside of marriage and monogomy within marriage. Although these are 100% effective ways to prevent the spread of aids and cost no money at all, science will some day find the cure you so much desire.”

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — March 17, 2010 @ 11:16 am


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