Anglican Samizdat

August 16, 2009

A. C. Grayling: a product of unintelligent design

Filed under: Atheism — David @ 11:46 pm
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A. C. Grayling wants a good world with peace and freedom for all. According to him, the way to achieve this is to throw out religion and concentrate on science. This is an odd contradiction for someone who claims to place reason over revelation: science is concerned with the investigation and explanation of physical phenomena and has nothing to say about the value of the phenomena. Goodness, peace and freedom are values that existed long before science and will exist long after it; they are outside its purview.

He has written an extraordinarily foolish article in the Guardian; there are so many errors in it that it is hard to know where to start. One stands out in particular because it is in the title: he quotes incorrectly from the bible:

Someone once said “by their works ye shall know them”.

I’m not sure who the someone was, other than Grayling, but Jesus said, Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matt7:16). If he can’t even get the title of the article right, can we expect much better from the body. Here’s another tidbit:

the battle that underlies it all: the battle (to put it in Voltaire’s terms) between those who seek the truth and those who claim to have it.

Voltaire actually said:

Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.

Good advice, since, by Voltaire’s standard, we should beware the likes of Grayling and Dawkins as they and other devout atheists of their ilk are adamant that Darwin found, in evolution, the truth about how life appeared. Christians would not claim to either have the truth or to have found it; truth is revealed to humanity by God, principally through the incarnation of his Son and through the bible.

There is a lot more nonsense including the usual accusation that religion produces violence – even though the 20-21stC atheist regimes have killed more people than all religions put together; religion stifles science – even though many of the greatest scientists were Christians; and proponents of intelligent design are all half witted even though some of the brightest minds of today argue in favour of it.

The entire article by this bombastic phlyarologist is here, for those who have the stomach for it.

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32 Comments

  1. “Christians would not claim to either have the truth or to have found it”

    And yet, they managed to burn a lot of people at the stake for disagreeing with their “truth”.
    “truth is revealed to humanity by God, principally through the incarnation of his Son and through the bible.”

    It’s too bad that he never got around to explaining how to prevent smallpox, and left that to scientists.
    “proponents of intelligent design are all half witted even though some of the brightest minds of today argue in favour of it.”

    Some of the brightest minds of today? Really? Care to name a Nobel Laureate who believes ID is legitimate science? No? How about a National Medal of Science winner? No? Well then, how about a Fellow in any of the prestigous scientific organizations? Still no? Well then, your claim doesn’t seem to stand up to even mild scrutiny, does it?

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 17, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  2. Well, Bobby, you might just wait until David has had a chance to answer before you jump to that conclusion.

    “phlyarologist” Wow, David, you got my husband hauling out the dictionary with that one, and believe me, that doesn’t happen very often.

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 8:17 am

  3. Good grief, it isn’t even in modern dictionaries. I had to go to the “lost words” website. It is a nineteenth century word for “one who speaks nonsense”. Figures, David. By the way, my husband really wants to meet you now!

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  4. He added “We can have ‘words’ “.

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  5. Bobby,

    John Polkinghorne is a theoretical particle physicist who was instrumental in discovering the quark and is Fellow of the Royal Society; John Lennox Ma PhD DPhil Dsc is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford; Francis Collins was director of the Human Genome Project and led the project to successful completion.

    All are Christians and believe that God is intelligent and designed the universe. There are many more examples.

    Comment by David — August 17, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  6. Kate,

    If you’re ever in the area, drop in!

    Comment by David — August 17, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  7. “Goodness, peace and freedom are values that existed long before science and will exist long after it;”

    They will exist long after it? You mean after there no longer is any science? Do you think the world is going to throw out the scientific method some day?

    “religion stifles science – even though many of the greatest scientists were Christians”

    Newton (a brilliant scientist) was a Christian but back then everyone was religious. Newton is a good example of why religion really does stifle science. When Newton was solving scientific problems he never invoked his magic god fairy. Only when he couldn’t figure something out did he invoke his Magic Man. He gave up too easily, thanks to his religious beliefs. All scientific progress was made despite the Christian death cult, not because of it.

    “and proponents of intelligent design are all half witted even though some of the brightest minds of today argue in favour of it.”

    Intelligent design equals magic. If you deny ID is magic, you’re a liar. The brightest minds of today invoke magic? I don’t think so. Only professional liars and world-class idiots like Behe, Dembski, and other members of the Christian Discovery Institute, and other Christian creationist organizations, invoke the magic man (also known as the magical intelligent designer).

    With all due respect, sir, you’re a moron and liar, just like the other professional retards who believe in supernatural magic (also known as intelligent design magical creation).

    Comment by bobxxxx — August 17, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  8. “All are Christians and believe that God is intelligent and designed the universe.”

    They might believe in the magic god fairy, but they don’t have one shred of evidence for it.

    Comment by bobxxxx — August 17, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  9. “Christians would not claim to either have the truth or to have found it; truth is revealed to humanity by God, principally through the incarnation of his Son and through the bible.”

    Here you prove beyond any doubt you’re a member of the asylum.

    Your magic fairy, its magic “Son”, and your worthless Bible are BULLSHIT.

    Grow up mister. We are not living in the Dark Ages.

    Comment by bobxxxx — August 17, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  10. One more thing, David, A. C. Grayling is many thousands of times more intelligent than you are. You, sir, are a pathetic god-soaked uneducated hick.

    Comment by bobxxxx — August 17, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  11. bobxxxx,

    Thank you for your reason, thoughtfulness and erudition. God loves you anyway.

    Comment by David — August 17, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  12. “All are Christians and believe that God is intelligent and designed the universe.”

    What a very clever sleight-of-hand, to suggest that Francis Collins, a firm evolutionist, argues in favor of the ID movement. Unfortunately for your argument, however, Collins clearly does not accept ID.

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 17, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  13. Bob & bobby, are you the same person by any chance?

    And does your Mom know what you’re doing on the Internet?

    Comment by Ellie in T.O. — August 17, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  14. Bob,

    Francis Collins is not connected with the ID movement, but he did write this:

    I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan?

    Which clearly means be believes that the universe had a designer who is intelligent – God.

    Comment by David — August 17, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  15. #12 – You can’t have read his book, The Language of God, if that is what you think.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Language_of_God:_A_Scientist_Presents_Evidence_for_Belief

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  16. Ellie,

    The Bobbsey twins have different IP addresses, so they appear to be distinct individuals in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by David — August 17, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

  17. Bob,

    Francis Collins is not connected with the ID movement, but he did write this:

    I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan?

    Which clearly means be believes that the universe had a designer who is intelligent – God.

    Comment by David – August 17, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

    “You can’t have read his book, The Language of God, if that is what you think.”

    I’m fully familiar with Collins’s work–enough to know that he is a theistic evolutionist, and that he emphatically does not support the pseudoscience of ID.

    “The Bobbsey twins have different IP addresses, so they appear to be distinct individuals in spite of all evidence to the contrary.”

    “Bobbsey twins” – How very clever. You’d be right at home at the Algonquin Roundtable.

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 17, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  18. The above quote from Collins is clearly not a statement in support of ID, since one of the main assertions of the ID crowd is that the “mechanisms of evolution” cannot explain the development of life–remember “irreducible complexity”?

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 17, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  19. David never did say that Collins was part of the ID movement – He said that Collins is a Christian and believes that God designed the universe. Perhaps you should read a little more closely before you post?

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

  20. He said ” and proponents of intelligent design are all half witted even though some of the brightest minds of today argue in favour of it”, and then he cited Collins as a supporting example of such a person who ” argue[s] in favour of it”. Perhaps YOU should read more carefully.

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 17, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  21. No, he said that Collins is a Christian and believes that God designed the universe, not that he was part of the ID movement itself. You really do need to read a bit more carefully, and perhaps get some help for that anger problem.
    TTFN.

    Comment by Kate — August 17, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

  22. Did he or did he not cite Collins as an example of a person who argues in favor of ID? Yes or no? It’s a simple question. Do you have the courage and integrity to answer it?

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 18, 2009 @ 12:09 am

  23. Bob,

    I can’t quite see how Collins could say what I quoted in #14 and be thought not to be a proponent of there being an intelligent designer behind the universe.

    I would agree he does not support the ID movement or much of its more ideological tendentiousness.

    He believes strongly in the mechanism of evolution, but it is a Theistic evolution that owes its existence ultimately to God.

    Comment by David — August 18, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  24. “I would agree he does not support the ID movement or much of its more ideological tendentiousness.”

    Then why did you cite him as an example of someone who “argues in favor of ID”, when you knew he does not? I

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 18, 2009 @ 6:04 am

  25. #22 He didn’t! He cited Collins as someone who believed in a God who made the universe. That is not the same thing as ID.

    Good grief, you really have your shorts in a twist about this, don’t you? Why?

    Comment by Kate — August 18, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  26. Who were the three people he named in support of his assertion that some of the brightest people argue in favor of ID? Wasn’t Collins one of them?

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 18, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  27. He didn’t say that some of the brightest minds were in favour of ID, he said some of the brightest minds were Christians. Give it a rest!

    Comment by Kate — August 18, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  28. The reason I am making a point of this is because it is absolutely reprehensible for him to defame Collins by asserting that he argues in favor of ID. Collins deserves far better than to be lumped in with vermin like Dembski and his cronies.

    Comment by Bobby funn — August 18, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  29. I am now moderating the comments on this thread: an endless series of “he said …”, “no he didn’t” is not going to illuminate anyone.

    Comment by David — August 18, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

  30. #28,
    Point made – too many times.

    Comment by David — August 19, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  31. I was wondering when you were going to lose patience. I wasn’t planning on responding again, anyway.

    Comment by Kate — August 19, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  32. A fair bit of time has passed and I know David considers this done, but it appears nobody bothered to do a bit of googling, which would find Collins saying “But I’m not an advocate of intelligent design, either.” in an interview with (the deplorable) Tucker Carlson. To save you the trouble, it’s at: http://faculty.fmcc.edu/mcdarby/tucker_carlson_.htm .

    ‘Intelligent design’ as it is commonly used in the USA (its home and my neighbour) does not refer to a belief that in some way that is not within the purview of science God created the universe and had a purpose in doing so, but to the idea that such belief forms part of science and that ‘God did it.’ or ‘God did it that way.’ constitute valid scientific answers to scientific questions.

    There are folk on both the religious and atheist side of the issue who try to define folk like Francis Collins and Ken Miller (key witness at the Dover Panda Trial) into advocates of intelligent design (in the sense above, which is the one Collins and Miller use) but it only works if you don’t pay attention to what someone considers the purview of science. In my case, I’m a Christian and I react with indignation to intelligent design because it implies my God is an incompetent who has to keep tinkering with his creation in order to get it to work properly. Then again, I’m odd in many ways, such as believing God couldn’t have cared less whether we have arms and legs and two eyes or whether we descended from opabiniids and had a trunk with a manipulating member at the end and 5 eyes so long as time, the expanse of the Universe, its physical laws and evolution could eventually produce organisms capable of connecting with him. I don’t think one needs our specific physical form form in order to know, love, choose (and thus sin) and be redeemed nor to offer one’s self up for others’ redemption.

    The IDists want to incorporate theology in science and the more radical atheists want to claim for science all fields of human thought. Both are wrong.

    Bottom line is that Collins insists he’s not an advocate of intelligent design. Either Collins knows what he’s talking about and must be struck from your list of folk who support ID or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he’s thus not one of the brightest minds of today. You can’t have both.

    I suggest that folk that want to educate themselves on ID should dig into the Dover Panda Trial.

    Comment by Mike from Ottawa — August 25, 2009 @ 4:31 pm


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