Death of Logic
I made the mistake of going by Clown Hall today. That’s when I realized that their name isn’t descriptive enough. It’s not just a site populated by conservative clowns who bumble and stumble with illogic and misfacts. It should be called “Clown Car Hall”, because no matter how fast you shoot them down, another comes spilling out. (For the record, I am not actually advocating shooting conservatives here. Just clowns. Conservatives are human.)
The first thing spilling out of the car when I arrived was a column by Cal Thomas, titled “Death of An Atheist”. It’s an amazing accomplishment. You have to admire the craftsmanship that went into it. It is one of the most concentrated pieces of fundie fail I’ve seen in ages. I hope you have some free time. This will take a while.
[Christopher] Hitchens railed against those who believe in God. While an original writer, and smart, there was nothing original about his unbelief.
It’s true. The non-existence of God has long been established as a virtual certainty.
Such views have been expressed since the dawn of humanity. They have also been answered by some of the wisest people who have ever lived.
Not answered persuasively, but answered!
There is a difference between “smart” and “wise.”
But you can add “ass” to the end of either word to get pretty much identical meanings!
As that Scripture in which Hitchens disbelieved says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10)
This is a typical fundie debating tactic. They just pull quotes out of
their ass the Bible and act like that’s some sort of evidence to support their claim. Here’s a quote for you, Cal:
The end of your teens is the beginning of wisdom teeth.
You can attribute that one to me. I’m sure it proves something. Did I win the debate yet?
I have always found atheists to be interesting people…
…because they just may be the world’s smallest minority group…
Actually, atheists are one of the fastest-growing minorities.
…one that gets smaller still as its members pass on and meet God face to face.
Now Cal has wandered off into the logical brush. Somebody grab a cattle prod and bring him back.
Still, atheists demand physical proof of God’s existence, as if they could bring God down and make Him into their image. What kind of God would that be?
The God of the Old Testament.
He would be their equal and, thus, not God at all.
Wasn’t that what that whole Jesus business was supposed to be about? God made flesh and all that? Then for the next 2000 years, God made into a biscuit.
Evidence, alone, has never moved anyone from unbelief to faith.
By definition, it can’t. If there’s evidence, there is no need for faith.
If proof were enough, all of the unbelieving contemporaries of Jesus (and Moses) would have believed in God because of the miracles they performed.
That suggests that they never performed any miracles. In fact, the evidence that either even existed at all is scant for the former and non-existent for the latter.
Two people presented with exactly the same information can respond in opposite ways. Faith is not based solely on facts. It is a gift from a God who exists.
It’s actually a curse from our evolutionary history. We needed to be able to make correlations based on feeble evidence. Suppose you’re a caveman walking through the forest. You hear the leaves rustle, then a tiger jumps out, yet you somehow survive (perhaps by performing a ritual human sacrifice (i.e., you trip your slow, fat cousin, so he gets eaten and you escape)). The next time you hear the leaves rustle, it’s in your best interest to assume there’s a tiger in the brush, not a squirrel.
It’s probable that religious folks have been worshiping a squirrel for the last 4000 years.
Hitchens wrote a book called “God is Not Great.” It’s a clever title, but how would he have known, since they had not been properly introduced?
They probably had been introduced. People come to my door all the time, trying to introduce me to God.
C.S. Lewis, once an atheist and thus conversant with the subject, wrote after his conversion, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
I hope that isn’t the “proof” that converted C.S. Lewis. If so, he’s even more of an intellectual featherweight than his reputation indicates. If I’m reading it correctly, that’s the old “I see the proof of God everywhere. Just look around!” argument. In other words “Somebody had to create the universe!”
It’s also a good lesson in not believing what appears to be true. The sun doesn’t rise. That’s an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth. C.S. Lewis was not a flat Earther. He knew that was just a poetic expression. However, for millennia, people did believe that the sun rose and set. No, actually, they “knew” it. They looked around, and they saw it every day. It had to be that way.
Likewise, you can’t look at the existence of the universe and “know” that it had to be created. That is a logical jump that you have no basis for making.
Some people exist, however nervously, believing that this life is all there is. The late singer Peggy Lee put the result of such faith this way: “Is that all there is? If that’s all there is to life, then let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”
Although you can’t swill booze and engage in merriment 24/7, it is nonetheless good advice (in moderation). Too many religious people make themselves miserable in this life in order to buy themselves booze and merriment after death. The tragedy is that they are never allowed to enjoy the one life—the one existence in any form—that they will ever have.
Why contribute to charity, or perform other good deeds? Without a source to inspire charity, such acts are sentimental affectations, devoid of meaning and purpose.
What a cold, sterile life Cal Thomas leads. His only motivation for helping others is to acquire brownie points from God. It’s also selfish. Presumably he plans to spend those brownie points to buy his way into heaven.
If survival of the fittest is the rule, let only the fit survive.
The Straw Man argument actually serves two purposes. One is obvious, and one is less obvious. In its obvious use, the person making the argument invents a simplified (and often mischaracterized) version of the opponent’s position and logically dismantles that. It makes him look like the winner of the debate (at least to those who don’t understand the other side’s actual position). (The crocoduck is the most hilarious use of the Straw Man argument of all time.)
The less obvious use of the Straw Man argument is to convince the speaker himself. Cal Thomas is mischaracterizing evolution as being solely about survival of the fittest. That’s an important element, but the forces that drive selection and evolution are more complex. Furthermore, the survival of the human species is driven by more than just biological evolution. No society could endure if it lived by the animalistic “there’s always a bigger fish” rule alone.
But Cal Thomas likes his oversimplified version of evolution. He can comfortably reject that version. That version doesn’t challenge his beliefs about the universe and his place in it.
That was the sentiment of Ebenezer Scrooge before his visitation by those three spirits and his subsequent transformation. Let the poor and starving die, he said, “…and decrease the surplus population.”
It’s not just Ebenezer Scrooge:
Who is to say such a notion is wrong without a standard by which to judge wrong.
Certainly not the Libertarians or the teabaggers. I have no idea what this has to do with Christopher Hitchens’ death, but Cal Thomas brought it up.
To object to God is to create morality from a Gallup Poll. In Gallup We Trust doesn’t have the same authority.
That’s a cute line, but it’s irrelevant. Nobody is objecting to God. We’re only objecting to the behavior of some of the people who believe in him.
To his other point, we do create morality from a Gallup poll. Not an actual Gallup poll, but by the consensus of the governed. That’s how, over the centuries, we have determined that genocide, slavery, and capital punishment are wrong, to name just a few. All three of which, by the way, are approved by God as “moral” and “good”.
Hitchens was a gifted writer, but who gave him the gift?
This is a retread of the C.S. Lewis argument from above. It exists; therefore God made it that way.
Why was he not a gifted actor, surgeon or athlete? Why was he not talentless? Was it an evolutionary accident, which would mean his gift and his life were meaningless and merely a “chasing after the wind”? (See Ecclesiastes) Apparently he thought so.
And this is a retread of the “quote the Bible for proof” argument. Cal is starting to peter out (See Peter).
An atheist will tell you he doesn’t need God in order to be good, or perform good works. Maybe not, but the very notion of “good” must have both a definition and a definer.
Yes. Good is defined by the collective agreement of society. The definition of good has changed throughout history.
We cannot allow good to be defined by God. He is one of the most atrocious monsters in all of literature.
Who is the author of evil?
Based on the evidence provided in that last link, obviously God.
And if God is nonexistent, why do we call it evil?
Good point. We shouldn’t. Evil is a mythological term that has no usefulness in an enlightened society.
Is one person’s evil another person’s good? Does such a view lead to ethics that must inevitably be situational?
Yes. Not all situations are black and white.
(BTW, the essence of that quote predates the movie.)
Scripture warns, “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)
I love that quote. Fundies love to slam it down on the table in triumph, as if to say “Checkmate, bitch!”
Get back to me when you come up with a better argument for that point, will you Cal?
In this season when many celebrate the object of their faith, there is no joy in the death of one who had faith that God does not exist. Hitchens now knows the truth and that can only be the worst possible news for him.
Actually, Hitchens can’t “know” that. He stopped existing a few days ago.
In the extremely unlikely chance that there is something after death, it cannot be the God and heaven described in the Bible. That book is so full of contradictions and inaccuracies that it can’t be an accurate description of the afterlife. That means that it is the fundies who will be in for the rude shock when they depart this mortal coil.