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Professor Dawkins thinks that Jesus today would have been an atheist. But would Dawkins have paid any attention to Him?

Atheists like Dawkins have strange ideas about what we believe

By on Friday, 28 October 2011

Dawkins, with comedian Ariane Sherine: not a great believer AP Photo/Akira Suemor

Dawkins, with comedian Ariane Sherine: not a great believer AP Photo/Akira Suemor

“Jesus was a great moral teacher,” Richard Dawkins said to The Guardian earlier this week. “Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”

I love this kind of thing; I have a taste for the grotesque. Here is Jesus, a “moral teacher”, the authority of whose entire teaching derived, from the beginning, from the fact that he didn’t just believe in the existence of God the Father as a kind of add-on, compulsory at the time, but from the fact that he Himself and the Father were one: and Dawkins says that if Jesus had only known what we know today, he would have been an atheist. Of course, he is well aware of the “oxymoronic” nature of his statement; as he explained in an essaywritten in 2006, “In a society where the majority of theists are at least nominally Christian, the two words are treated as near synonyms. Bertrand Russell’s famous advocacy of atheism was called Why I am not a Christian rather than, as it probably should have been, Why I am not a theist. All Christians are theists, it seems to go without saying.” (He later points to the example of an atheist bishop, the former Anglican Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, to prove that it ain’t necessarily so, though the preposterous Holloway describes himself as a “post-Christian”, even as a “recovering Chistian”).

All the same, one is entitled to ask, if this “intelligent” teacher would have been an atheist today, what would his moral teachings have actually been, and what authority would they have had in a non-religious world in which you can’t just set up as a “moral teacher” and expect to be listened to? Dawkins says Jesus’s teachings, in the context of their times, were radical, and certainly they were:

Of course Jesus was a theist, but that is the least interesting thing about him. He was a theist because, in his time, everybody was. Atheism was not an option, even for so radical a thinker as Jesus. What was interesting and remarkable about Jesus was not the obvious fact that he believed in the God of his Jewish religion, but that he rebelled against many aspects of Yahweh’s vengeful nastiness. At least in the teachings that are attributed to him, he publicly advocated niceness and was one of the first to do so. To those steeped in the Sharia-like cruelties of Leviticus and Deuteronomy; to those brought up to fear the vindictive, Ayatollah-like God of Abraham and Isaac, a charismatic young preacher who advocated generous forgiveness must have seemed radical to the point of subversion. No wonder they nailed him.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

It’s nice to know that Professor Dawkins likes this “charismatic young preacher who advocated generous forgiveness”, and especially, it seems, the teaching that we should love our enemies: in the run-up to the Pope’s visit to the UK, he wasn’t himself exactly running over with love for his enemies, the Catholics (as he undoubtedly conceived them as being), and especially not for the Holy Father; his entire campaign was full of the most virulent hatred for him. So, the modern atheist Jesus probably wouldn’t have had any more effect on him that the “intelligent” theist of the first century. Or perhaps he thinks that an atheist Jesus would be just like him; a major disciple of Dawkinianity, perhaps.

Dawkins’s mention of Bertrand Russell’s book Why I Am Not a Christian brought back for me many memories: for until not long before I myself suddenly, in my early thirties, realised that all my life I had been utterly mistaken in my own firm belief that there was no God, this book had been central to my anti-religious formation. I had read it and re-read it, many times. I thought after some months of joyful and passionate belief that I had better test my new faith: so with great trepidation I re-read Russell’s book. I need not have worried: this, as I supposed, unanswerable text now seemed to me utterly ludicrous, from start to finish. Perhaps its most ludicrous assumption was that common to all committed atheists: that reason and the discoveries of science have made belief in God impossible; as Dawkins puts it, “”Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”

The point is, of course, that knowledge of God isn’t (as they suppose) a human construct, put together from materials provided by the prevailing zeitgeist: it is far more often counter-intuitive, as often contradicting prevailing beliefs about the nature of the world as confirming them. The other misconception is about what exactly these ignorant God-believers actually did believe about their world. How often have you heard atheists complacently declare that Christians from former ages believed that the earth was flat? (The corollary is that since we now know the earth is round, belief in God isn’t possible any more). Actually, Christians have always believed that the earth was a globe: St Augustine called it the “orbis terrarum”; and one of the mediaeval emblems of Christian kingship was, among the coronation regalia, the orb: a sphere surmounted by the cross, denoting the authority of God (mediated by the king) over all earthly things. Dawkins thinks that evolution disproved Christianity. Darwin, we know, didn’t: and the idea that evolution and Christian belief are contradictory, as Dawkins thinks they are, is very clearly untrue; Pope Benedict has described this idea as “an absurdity”:

“Because on one hand,” he explained, “there is a great deal of scientific proof in favour of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and that enriches our knowledge of life and of being as such. But the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from? And how does everything take a path that ultimately leads to the person?

“It seems to me that it is very important that reason opens up even more, that it sees this information, but that it also sees that this information is not enough to explain all of reality. It is not enough.”

And that’s the point, Professor Dawkins. You are, thank God, just wrong about Him. Those who know God personally (and that’s what we are talking about) know that he has not lied to them: he is truly there, in a way they could not have imagined before he revealed Himself to them. If what you believe about the world were true, it would be a bleak prospect for us all, as it so clearly is for you.

Quite simply, Professor Dawkins, “it is not enough”. And one day, I hope and pray, you will know it. You will emerge from your atheism as so many have done before, to a meeting with Him. It happens all the time: may it be so for you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ITWGHDTDQ65STHO754O4CJQ7YU Gabriel

    I thought Mary Midgley had disposed of Mr. Dawkins’ “thought”, and gave up trying to reason with him: it would be breaking a butterfly upon the wheel.

    As Whitehead remarked “the people whose purpose is to deny any purpose make for an interesting study”.

  • theroadmaster

    It seems that Professor Dawkins is trying to remake Jesus in his own image as a radical, gentle lifestyle guru and create a dichotomy between Him and a caricatural, vengeful Old Testament God The Father in Heaven.  Thereby Dawkins wants to associate a revamped, atheistic Jesus with your typical stereotypical modern who relies on the scientific method to verify the nature of this world and thereby leave a belief in the Divine to what he would terrn the naive and gullible among us.  By stripping Jesus of His Divinity, Dawkins is attempting like a present day Arianist to separate Him completely from God the Father and reduce him to being nothing more than an itinerant rabbi.  
    But paradoxically the more secrets that Science uncovers about our world and the cosmos, the less unlikely that our universe and our place in it is down to unguided chance.  Surely scientists who reject out of hand a Divine Creator are denying the implications behind the evidence.  The compelling evidence lies in the logical complexity of the mathematical and physical laws which effect the the movements of material bodies in the Universe. 
    For professor Dawkin’s information, Jesus was not arrested and put to death for his radical presentation of Judaic principles but rather because He unambiguously proclaimed that He was the Son of the living God.  This is the firm belief that we all proclaim as Christians.

  • Anonymous

    Can Mr Dawkins be so deluded that he thinks God would not believe in himself? It seems so.

  • Honeybadger

    Proof positive that Dawkins is an attention-seeking, narcissistic nutjob.

  • Anonymous

    A very well chosen and apposite quotation from His Holiness! Dawkins, Dennet & co. don’t go far enough in their embrace of the logic of evolution. If applied rigorously to both theory of mind and the Antropic principle w.r.t to the multiverse hypothesis what we actually get is pure Occassionalism!
    Dawkins own ‘extended phenotype’ is a rather poetic conception reminiscent of Boscovich, of whom Emerson remarked, ‘was it Boscovich who showed that things never actually come in to contact?’
    I would quite understand Dawkins’ animus against ‘theism’ if he were from some Bible belt cow-town and his dear old Mum had been swindled by Televangelists. But that isn’t the case at all. 
    No doubt, if some Deepak Chopra type repackaged Catholic Occassionalism as an Oriental wisdom endowing its adherents with superhuman kung fu skills or ‘scientifically testable para-psychological feats’ then Dawkins, in his dotage, will happily surrender to it. Who knows? He might even attend Mass, if someone convinced him the Host is a code word for illegally harvested stem-cells. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LE7WEO6E57SAZU3IDLPAABKIPM A

    in fact he does seem to make a good point

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hughes/100000562751914 Jack Hughes

    Prof Dawkins remarks are more than a little hypocritical since on tuesday he refused to debate the protestant philosopher Dr William Lane Craig ( a fine man who ignited my own interest in Christian Philosophy) despite a place being kept open for him until the last minute, I’m told by acquantences that Dr Craig’s demolition job on dawkin’s book was soo good that the panal of  athiest professors whose job it was to respond to Craig were agreeing with him as to the absurdity of Dawkin’s arguments.

  • Drumdaddy

    It is truly saddening that religion has used brainwashing throughout the centuries as an effective tool to reduce one’s ability to think critically. Professor Dawkins makes a lot of well-considered sense, while the author dreams of “a meeting with Him”. It’s so difficult to dissolve entrenched delusions. As a well educated ex-Catholic I am dedicated to welcoming others to the wonderful awakening that is atheism. Keep it real, my brothers and sisters. Peace through atheism.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Thanks for your post Drumdaddy, I needed a laugh.

    As a well educated ex-ex-Catholic I find it sad that many atheists are still stuck in their hypocritical attitude of failing to see the things they condemn in others in themselves. 
    Complaining of religion using brainwashing whilst Dawkins opens up Summer camps and uses spurious lies to further his agenda make me laugh out loud. I thought that kind of polemical garbage went out of date back in the 90s.
    As for peace through atheism, well, I can only presume that was meant as irony.

  • http://www.religionagainsttheropes.com Peter John

    So, according to Professor Dawkins, Jesus today would lack all self-confidence, since he would not believe in Himself? I appreciate much of Dr. Dawkins arguments, but must consider him a religious fundamentalist as he is unable to tolerate beliefs about God differing from his own. He chooses instead to denigrate, deride, and disregard the esoteric reasons people have for believing in God, rather than accept that their are some experiences not as easily shared as experimentation. My new Blog “Religion Against the Ropes” addresses this attitude in general. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Yeah, there wasn’t much room for gentle lifestyle gurus in that culture.

  • Anonymous

    Dawkins has become a pseudo-celebrity, no longer the humble biologist, yet unable to fill the auditoriums and halls on speaking tours. Therefore he must anxiously maintain his public status and fuel the modest hype that follows him. He’s no fool. Objectivity and credibility make for poor headlines- controversy and emotional outbursts are the more glamorous and lucrative ways to find attention.  

    Even so, his 15 minutes are long past, and the fanciful suggestions from Dawkins’ corner have grown tired and well-worn. Golf, anyone?

  • John Jackson

    Professor Dawkin’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, I cannot help but think (and pray) that somewhere in the silence of stolen moments away from the limelight and in the privacy of his own heart, this highly religious man hears – perhaps merely in the distance for the moment – the baying of the hound of heaven, moving ever closer to nipping at his heels. 

  • Anonymous

    Atheism was an option which some of the Pharisees had embraced, since Jesus asked, “How can you believe when you look to each other for glory?” (John 5:44) A true believer – like a true scientist – doesn’t care what people think of them. They care about the Truth - that is reality – or, to put it another way, what God thinks. A vain scientist is just as hypocritical – and improbable – as a vain religious leader. It is also nonsense to suggest that Jesus rebelled against God, since he said, “I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29). Jesus’ morality was perfect because he didn’t just teach it - he lived it. Contrast Dawkins the scientist. What stood out in his book, The God Delusion, was his disregard for both evidence and logical thought – not the work of someone who holds scientific method dear to his heart. No – it seems there was something other than human reason at work when he penned that book. A stray memeplex perhaps. As for morality, nobody obeys someone or something they do not believe in. Dawkin’s love of morality would inevitably resemble his relationship with his science. He can make more money writing unscientific nonsense. The religious leaders had a similar problem – particularly the Saducees – and Jesus told them what it was. You cannot serve God and money. When you are rich and famous its hard to look at your own paycheque and believe that there could be a superior being.

  • Anonymous

    There is no such thing as Atheism. There is only hypocrisy. All so-called atheists worship a god of one sort or another. Atheism is only a mask for idolatry of various forms – all of which begin in, cause and result in evil, suffering and death.

  • Nat_ons

    Of course, with an irony matched only in the folly already exposed by Chesterton’s paradoxes carefully drawn from modern heresies of all kinds, Dawkins would be better placed if he understood that an early catholic Christian faced by our world would also be called ‘atheist’ – for this is what he was amid the all prevailing polytheism of his own times (not least among those who liked to distance themselves from its vulgar mythology). Moreover, the following notion is no doubt one that Dawkins should cavil against: that this self same early catholic Christian would prefer to face punishment, torment even death for such a negation of the term ‘god’ because he could not make a god beside God from his own pettifogging ideologies .. but stood in awe of God. Dawkins and his ilk, sincere as they may be, are not atheists of that earth-shattering sort, having made a god merely of their own self-convictions; the Catholic in firm Orthodoxy must be such an atheist, ready still for worldly persecutions, for he must reject all and any deity but the One who is (what Catholics call) ‘God’.

    God bless, Nat.

  • Anonymous

    Unfilled auditoriums and halls is the ideal, but if you google “Richard Dawkins” “hundreds turned away” you will see that many have been disappointed in not getting to see Richard Dawkins lecture or debate precisely because he is able to fill these places. Your ‘therefore’ is therefore invalid.

    Your sentence about objectivity and credibility implies that Dawkins is neither objective nor credible. The fact that he is both explains why his fame has lasted much longer than 15 minutes.

    You make stuff up that contradicts the evidence; you wouldn’t be religious by any chance, or is it that golfers’ 19th-hole trait?

  • Anonymous

    “But the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from? And how does everything take a path that ultimately leads to the person? It seems to me that it is very important that reason opens up even more, that it sees this information, but that it also sees that this information is not enough to explain all of reality. It is not enough.”

    Evolution is not a doctrine. There is the fact of evolution (the process by which mutations eventually result in new species) – as much a fact as gravity – and there is a scientific theory of evolution by natural selection that explains, among other things, how evolution could have realistically resulted in a species as complex as mankind over geological time.

    Why should anyone expect evolution to explain where everything comes from when the process presumes the existence of something capable of evolving and does not concern itself with, for example, abiogenesis. One might just as well complain that the theory of aerodynamics does not explain how machine tools work.

    As for reason ‘opening up’; what can this mean? What possible legitimate use is an explanation not based on reason?

    At what moment did ‘original’ sin appear – amongst a large number of Adams and Eves, or in the first ever brain-less lifeform?

  • Anonymous

    TP: 1/2 point for being a dissenter on this article. 

    “…google “Richard Dawkins” “hundreds turned away” you will see that many have been disappointed in not getting to see Richard Dawkins lecture or debate precisely because he is able to fill these places. Your ‘therefore’ is therefore invalid.”

    Out of curiousity, I did. Sure enough, googling as above turns up several entries. Looking more closely, I see most of the initial entries emanating from Dawkin’s own forum. Kudos to Richard from his congregation. Anyway, it seems to center around one event, ‘Naturally Selected’ held not in “places”, but in 1 place. Where? The University of Alaska.

    I’m not saying that hundreds weren’t turned away. It’s entirely possible. However, given the geography of the UAF, and the fact that other scheduled events included “Weekly Trail Running Group”, and “The World from Above: Natural Hazards in Alaska,” I can well imagine a 900-seat room being filled to capacity. I’d probably be looking to get in myself if I were on campus during the summer months. The mosquitoes up there are seriously motivated.

    My post is my opinion, there are no facts here, merely speculation on what could possibly possess a former biologist to make his most recent- and possibly most entertaining- outburst. If I’m wrong, Richard is welcome to correct me.

    Not religious here- how about you? One of the faithful from Dawkins forum?

  • CharlieG

    “…the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from?”
    But it still answers an awful lot more than simply throwing one’s hands in the air and proclaiming “God did it.”  which doesn’t answer anything at all.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.com Peter John

    EVolution is not a fact, it is a paradigm. Acknowledging that does not mean I disregard it. Your post reflects the false dichotomy that Evolution and Creation are mutually exclusive. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Your post reflects an insensitive disregard of those who lack esoteric basis for believing what they have been told they should. It encompasses the same religious fundamentalism that makes militant atheism a threat to critical thinking. http://religionagainsthteropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    When debating something involving Richard Dawkins you invalidate your own position by stating “there are no facts involved here”. Dawkins’ error is the dogma that only what he accepts as facts are so. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • CharlieG

    So I gather that means the creation story is a myth, meant as a metaphor or god’s way of explaining evolutionary theory?

    It doesn’t matter how much evidence or how many facts are presented which directly contradict biblical teaching, you’ll just continue to shift the goal posts.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I would call it less a metaphor than a condensation. It deserves note that the Genesis account matches what science has determined the order of emergence of life, right down to the emergence of whales AFTER life developed on land, suggesting a mammaliam return to the sea. That seems a bit specific to call a metaphor, and a bit broad to call coincidence.

    What atheists commonly assault as the Biblical representation of Creation is a red herring drawn from Fundamentalist interpretations.The Creation account in Genesis was not dictated by God, but was the later recording of oral traditions that emerged which had led people to a greater understanding of God than they had preveiously held. The compilers of the Holy Bible do not recognize it as a complete revelation from the beginning, but a gradual revelation added upon as more and more became accepted, with the most complete revelation arising in the personal incarnation of the Creator as the Christ.

    Fundamentalists often miss this because of the Biblical books they do not accept. The threat does not arise from religion, but from religious fundamentalism, which includes militant atheism. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Your post supports the false dichotomy that Cretion and Evolution hold mutual exclusivity. Only Fundamentalists throw their hands in the air proclaiming “God did it”, leaving it at that. They are a genuine minority among those who believe the Bible. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    So you do not accept that random changes in genes happen? If such mutations did happen, it would be a mathematical certainty that over sufficient generations, evolution would occur. How do you think the process of animal breeding works if not through mutations?

    The fact of evolution itself does not preclude creation. If some new species were created ‘out of thin air’ for example, it would be an additional phenomenon. I would argue that the traceability of DNA shows that no such creation has been demonstrated. Coupling this with the violation of physical laws that would be necessary to create a species out of thin air (to cite two of many considerations) is enough to dismiss the notion of creation (as a rival to evolution) as a serious hypothesis.

    I had a look at the page that you link to, but I was immediately put off by the leading banner that classed atheism as a religion. How can atheism be a religion when it defines no practice?

  • Azul Condor

    Is this man suffering from high fever?

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Random changes in genes is mutation, not evolution, and the existence of mutation is a fact. Evolution is a conclusion based on applying such observations, impossible to prove 100 percent because of the timespan involved, but nevertheless continually supported by new evidence, and enriching all other areas of knowledge (including theology) when applied to it. It also brings greater Consilience among all areas of knowledge. 

    These make Evolution a paradigm specifically because of its uncertainty. Were it a certainty, a fact, it would constitute a law, and no further research would be warranted. Healthy debate on it and its role sustains it as a paradigm.

    A “mathematical certainty” is a calcualted probability, not a fact. This does not diminish the truth of it. Scientifically it cannot be considered a fact until any and all alternatives have been disproven — science does not seek to prove things but to disprove them.

    A pure-Creationist (six 24-hour days creation, etc) would argue that selective breeding is still not producing entire new species, which is what evolution claims happens. I am not a literal Creationist in that sense

    For my remarks on science and paradigms I refer to Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolution” and E.O. Wilson’s “Consilience”.

  • BTyler

    Longer than 15 minutes, perhaps. But 2000 years…?

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    This is exactly what I speak of referring to militant atheism as a form of religious fundamentalism.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I know of nothing in Creationism affirming that species were created out of thin air. The Boblical account of Creation says that God created life from the oceans, advanced them to land, and that he brought forth whales after he brought forth life on land.

    The only thing created out of nothing is everything to begin with “In the Beginning…” — it all started with light, pretty much as science has also determined. This does not preclude that God could create something out of thin air if He wished. He created the laws of Physics and Chemistry that we recognize, and likely higher Laws which currently defy our senses.He can suspend, circumvent, or ignore them as he sees fit, as demonstrated by walking on water and creating wine from water.

    Atheism as a religion: The earliest religions were not institutions, as you describe, yet still came to encompass various combinations of behavior. Modern atheism has counterparts to shrines, pilgrimages, and prophets, as well as its corrupted offshoots in the cult of celebrity which began filling a void created by rationalism’s marginalization of religion as mere superstition.

    Militant atheism in particular has some extreme dogmas, beginning with the affirmation that only knowledge which can be gained through application of the scientific method is valid, even on an individual level. Its derision of those whose personal experience dictates they believe more than their eyes alone can tell constitutes fundamentalism.

    Your comments are just the sort of thing I want to discuss on my Blog “Religion Against the Ropes” http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com .

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I agree he makes a good point, but he makes it on the fallacious assumption that what he assaults in Theism applies to all who believe. In fact he merely uses his own form of fundamentalism to assault other fundamentalist ideologies. This disregards entire spectra of Theistic belief and practice to which his arguments do not apply.

  • Anonymous

    Point taken, and an interesting observation about Dawkins. Enjoyed the first look at your site, and one good tip deserves another- your title reads “Miltant…”.    

  • K. Smith

    Of course, Dawkins mokes some sense. But, what many atheists appear to have done is make a ‘god’ of a method. And,
    that is what science is, a way of looking at the world and searching
    for ‘truth’. It is certainly very successful and within its scope, it
    has yet to be bettered. But, it cannot begin to answer some questions.
    our sense of ourselves, the question ‘why anything?’ Some may say that
    these questions are ‘non-starters’, indeed, that they are part of our
     ‘delusion’. Nevertheless, they still won’t go away. And, I
    suspect they are a clue to something that goes very deep indeed.

  • James H

    Dawkins just gets more and more fruity time goes by.

    Still, give the old buzzard credit: he’s managed to quote Jesus without frothing with rage, which is more than Hitch could do. Maybe he’s mellowing! There’s hope for him yet!

  • James H


  • James H

    meant as irony – well, we can hope, can’t we? The body count says otherwise, however.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Your comment “what many atheists appear to have done is make a ‘god’ of a method” epitomizes my position that atheism is a religion and the Militant Atheism is a form of religious fundamentalism. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I really like the way you describe him as a highly religious man. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Agreed. Atheism cites the religious wars as refutation of Christianity, but more lives have fallen in combat, in worse ways, from the reign of modernism than from all of the misguided wars in Christianity.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Thank You! I fixed the error. I appreciate your pointing it out

  • Anonymous

    Surely something which has a 100% probability is a fact. Given particular definitions of 2, +, =, and 4, then 2+2=4 and there is no need for scientists to keep bringing two pairs of things together to try to disprove this. Similarly, if you model biological reproduction mathematically, there is a 100% chance that after a sufficient number of generations, a random mutation will get passed on, so the principle of evolution (as opposed to the theory of evolution by natural selection) is proven. Questions of timescale, viability of offspring, environmental influence, etc. are separate issues. It is no more necessary to define a law that describes the mathematical consequence  than it is necessary to define a law of added pairs.

    Could there be a deficiency in the mathematical model such that it ought only to allow for minor evolution, but not for evolution into a new species? Well, how could that be built into the model? It would need some sort of device to measure whether the accumulated changes within one species constituted one change too many. The only analogue I can think of in biology is that sexual reproduction between two species might not be viable, but that would apply to two sufficiently different instances of those species, not necessarily to two instances distinguished by only one mutation or few mutations.

    You cling to the word ‘paradigm’ as if you hope that a new perspective will seamlessly amalgamate creation with evolution. With such a simple concept as evolution, I can’t see how a any new perspective could advance things any more than a new perspective on pi could bring conciliation with the biblical ratio of 3.

  • Anonymous

    By ‘out of thin air’, I was not being literal. I was trying to characterise a process by which a lifeform might be produced other than from a parent or parents (whatever chemicals might be involved). Bear in mind that I am posting about evolution, not abiogenesis, and I would not rule out multiple occurences of abiogenesis producing very simple lifeforms.

    I am not interested in what the Bible tells you that ‘God’ can do. The Bible describes a flat earth. Do you believe that?

    You do not describe atheism as it is defined. You have falsely attributed to it shrines etc. Whatever particular athiests do does not make any difference to the definition of atheism. Atheism does have some corollaries. For example, if someone believes that no deity exists, then they must also believe that deities do not answer prayers. That sort of reasoning does not lead to your description of atheism. What makes you think that all athiests even know about the scientific method? The denigration of belief in the supernatural might be better described as naturalism. You are inventing a new ‘ism’.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    1/3 X 3=1
    1/3=0.3333 r/nt
    0.333 r/nt X 3=0.9999 r/nt

    Therefore 1/3 does not = 0.33333 r/nt

    Math is not a perfect measure of reality, therefore mathemeatical probability os not always a predictor of actual results, and our own reason is flawed.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    First, the Bible does not describe a flat Earth. The Bible recounts perceptions of a people who recognize the Earth as flat. It also describes the same sequence of emergence of life as science has recognized, though thousands of years before the fact. It describes the water cycle in detail.

    When an atheist aware of science visits the Galapogos it is psychologically the same as a Christian visiting Jerusalem. I have no issues with atheists who have no issues with people who believe in God. Militant atheists exercise the same faulty reasoning as any religious fundamentalists. I am not inventing a new ism. I  classify the intolerance of Militant Atheism as the same intolerance inherent in any Religious Fundamentalism.

    If someone lacks the esoteric background to believe in God, I cast no judgment on them, but when a miltant atheist insults my intelligence for believing in God in general, or the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist specifically, just because their experience does not support it, that is Religious Fundamentalism. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I’ve seen days with a 100 percent probability of rain when it did not rain.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t 0.9999 recurring equal 1?

  • Anonymous

    There is an unspoken tolerance band there.

  • Anonymous

    If you think that we should not tell idolators that human sacrifice is wrong, for fear of upsetting their feelings, I think that the feelings of the victims of their idolatrous practices take precedence. If you don’t tell people the truth you leave them in darkness – which shows an insensitive disregard for their fate. Fundamentalist just means that you believe the fundamentals. A fundamentalist scientist is fine, as is a fundamentalist Christian. It depends on what fundamentals you believe. Idolatry is nonsense – that is just a fundamental fact.