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The tragedy at the heart of New Atheism

Belief in an ordered universe is hard to reconcile with a tragic view of life

By on Friday, 3 August 2012

Richard Dawkins poses on a London bus displaying an atheist advertisement (PA)

Richard Dawkins poses on a London bus displaying an atheist advertisement (PA)

I remember sitting up and taking notice of something Richard Dawkins once said, which was to this effect: “When aliens arrive here, the first thing they will ask is: ‘Have they discovered the theory of evolution yet?’”

The only problem with this quotation is that I can find no reference to Professor Dawkins actually saying it, or the occasion and context of him saying it. He may not have said it at all. If anyone can give me a reference (the link above, which is hardly satisfactory, is all I can find) then I would be grateful. It would be interesting to unpack the meaning of the words.

Hunting down the quotation, I did of course come across others, collected, for example, here. Again the lack of context makes them rather strange, and one wonders what so many of them mean. Words like “religion” are not of themselves univocal. It all depends what you mean by religion.

Here is a saying that I find particularly problematic: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

First of all, notice the use of the words “precisely” and “observe”. It is surely impossible to observe the universe in its entirety. We observe parts, though we may intuit wholes. But these observations are not going to be precise – not if they are observations of “the universe”. So the use of the words “observe” and “precisely” here strikes me as giving the statement a scientific veracity that it cannot possibly claim, for this statement seems neither falsifiable or verifiable.

What the statement seems to be conveying, rather than a scientific observable truth, is an existential statement of belief about the nature of the universe. While Christians believe that at the heart of the universe there is Love, Professor Dawkins makes an opposing and opposite statement. But if the first statement is unscientific, so surely is the second one as well.

What this might all boil down to are opposing interpretations of experience. Some may feel that they are being protected by a benign Divine Providence and that even when they suffer this suffering can be turned somehow to good. Others may feel that life teaches them that there is no purpose to anything, only blind, pitiless indifference.

This strikes me as being the essential difference between comedy and tragedy. The characters in a tragedy frequently experience this Dawkins-like sense of desolation. Remember the Duchess of Malfi? “Look you, the stars shine still” – in other words, the heavens are indifferent to human suffering. Indeed, the characters in tragedy often call upon the heavens for justice, but answer comes there none.

And yet comedy is radically different. In comedy there is justice done at the end, each gets what they deserve. Some may find it hard to join the harmonious human community, such as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, who leaves the happy final scene of reconciliation with the words “I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you.” But comedy depends on a firm belief in justice and truth and that these are possible on earth.

It seems to me that if Professor Dawkins believes in pitiless indifference as the presiding spirit of the universe, then he is clearly in the camp of an earlier professor, Friedrich Nietzsche. This is a serious matter, because the Nietzschean vision is one that not only contradicts the idea of Divine Providence, but it also makes science of any sort nonsensical, in that it seems to deny intrinsic meaning to physical phenomena, attributing meaning only to human will.

In other words, a Nietzschean would say that any theory of meaning is in the head of the person who holds it, not in the phenomena themselves. Or to sum up the tragic view of life in the words of Macbeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Is this what Professor Dawkins believes? Is this what modern atheists believe? It does sound pretty close to the quote from Dawkins above. But if he believes this how can he believe in an ordered universe, one that is susceptible to rational and scientific observation?

  • Edandmon

     No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Har Har Har

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    You’re really not any good at reading texts. As I point out below, Christ is making use of Jonah as a metaphor, in much the same way that he used Noah.

    This whole line of argument that you are pursuing is built on some rather strange wishful thinking on your part.

  • karlf

    Nonsense! Did Jesus believe in evolution theory or the creationism of Genesis, or did he have another novel theory of his own? From the Bible quotes I have already provided, it is clear for the most part that he is not speaking metaphorically, and provide no suggestion that he is.
    Why would Jesus not have warned his followers not to take the OT literally, so avoiding all those centuries of misunderstanding the OT??

  • karlf

    Ho ho!
    Did Jesus believe in evolution theory or the creationism of Genesis, or did he have another novel theory of his own? From the Bible quotes I have already provided, it is clear for the most part that he is not speaking metaphorically, and there is no suggestion that he is.
    Why would Jesus not have warned his followers not to take the OT literally, so avoiding all those centuries of misunderstanding the OT??

  • Acleron

    Bare assertion
    Bare assertion
    Incorrect reading of article
    Inability to understand axioms
    Quote mining

    And I thought you were getting better at this, oh well.

  • Jonathan West

    What is unfalsifiable about the hypothesis that God answers prayers?

  • Jonathan West

    Do you think the disciples saw Jesus by means of empirical observation? if not, how did they see him?

  • Subsilico

    Haha. I was told privately i used to many words to make my point. Perhaps i should have just said: Congrats, FAL, you really knocked the stuffing out of Strawkins! 

  • Whizzo76

    No again you are wrong many priests and theologians were Humanists (what ever relgion they were, I know there were Hindu and Muslim Humanists for example), but the original concept and application of Humanism was in Ancient Greece, by Atheistic Philosophers. Every religion has a humanistic aspect, The only difference with their take is that some immoral acts should be embraced and some moral acts should be ignored for the most part. Religion constrains morality, if you don’t believe me then read the bible. Is it moral to sell your daughter to her rapist?? No it is not but that is what your “amazing” god commands.

  • Whizzo76

    So this is your take on god: Yahweh, the all powerful god of everything outside of time, space, and matter (which is energy and vice versa) created the universe. Thus this Yahweh is made of nothing, not even empty space, but even though he exists outside of this universe, he can and frequently does influence events on earth (a most insignificant planet in the middle of no where circling a star that is not at all special). 

    If a being made of nothing (not even emptiness) could exist, then how could this being influence something that he can have no influence on. Existing outside of time and space means that you can’t enter time or space. If a god could enter time or space then he would have to be subject to time and space.

    You can’t have this both ways, either you believe in a god that exists within the constructs of this universe, and therefore can change things (rendering him not eternal, non changing and all of that), and be explained by science. Or you believe in a god that exists outside the construct of the universe and therefore can not influence the universe in any way.

    Your phrase, and position is not well thought out, just think about it for a second, what you want to think is not possible or else god is a completely contradictory being.

    I also ask you the question how do you know you are praying to the right god? That you are following the right beliefs? 

  • Whizzo76

    No Atheism has nothing to do with your morals, it has nothing to do with being a good or bad person, all it means is you won’t be motivated by religion because you don’t think there is a god. If you have a religion you can be motivated to commit terrible atrocities in order to follow “god’s will.” Atheists can be moral, its called empathy, reason, and the great study of Ethics. You know right from wrong, you know not to kill people, not because the bible tells you not too (or at least I hope so), you know not to rape someone even though the bible says nothing bad about rape unless it’s of someone’s bride to be. 

  • Whizzo76

    Says who? Did you just make that up? 

  • Whizzo76

    “This is only true of material entities existing inside the Universe, and distinct from all other entities.”

    Show me something else, then we will talk, I don’t appreciate the “well that doesn’t apply to invisible magic unicorns” response, because you have no proof and you need it for such a claim. In order to be distinct you must have no effect and not be affected by any other entity, your god violates that by the way.

    “Please demonstrate that in every conceivable philosophical and scientific position that God must in every case be subjected to the current standard and special models of physics, insofar as they would agree with your statement”.

    No you have the burden to prove something that they don’t work in. If you know science at all then you know that if your statement were true, nothing could be explained, ever.

    As for my allegation, you must prove i’m wrong, my answer is based off of thousands of categorized pieces of data, more than enough for any study of anything, if you find something that randomly changes with no forces acting upon it, then you will be correct, until then though you will be incorrect.

    I should have said everything we have studied so far, go out and find something that violates that then you will have a case.

    “You are falsely claiming that the definitions and categories of theoretic physics are directly applicable outside of physics ; whereas they are in fact only indirectly applicable, and only in some cases and not in others.”

    What is outside of physics? 

  • Whizzo76

    Why not? Because you believe him to be perfect? What if he isn’t? Consider that and look at what he has supposedly done. You talk about others preconceived notions but you are extraordinarily biased towards your beliefs, just look at them without the wonder for one second.

  • Whizzo76

    What are the beliefs and rituals that all Atheists share because they are Atheists? Atheism is a scientific approach to the question of a god. Many Atheists think there is more than the material world, Quantum physics is showing us that there is certainly a lot more than we ever imagined. I agree that all people believe in some ideology but Atheism is not an Ideology or belief. As for schooling no religious belief system should be taught because the numbers of them are endless and all are just as believable, based on the same amount proof, none at all. Atheism is the Null hypothesis, before you say Atheism is exactly the same. The null hypothesis for the question of god is this, as of this time there is no proof that any divine being exists, thus we must conclude that no divine being exists. 

  • Whizzo76

    No! Read Marx neither Stalin or Mao were true communists, they read Marx and realized they could use the masses to gain power! Perhaps they also wanted to stop social climbing but by taking power by themselves they stopped using a communist system. They started psudo communism governments that were evil because they were, not because materialism leads to evil or because even communism leads to evil and certianly not because Atheism leads to evil, this debate has been repeated over and over again, look it up on youtube and see how wrong you are.

  • JabbaPapa

    By using their eyes.
    But this is a non sequitur.

  • JabbaPapa

    but the original concept and application of Humanism was in Ancient Greece, by Atheistic Philosophers

    Wrong.

    Humanism has only existed since the late 15th or early 16th centuries.

    During the Rinascimento/Renaissance, there was an intellectual fashion to ascribe one’s ideas to Ancient philosophers, in order to provide them with more weight of literary authority.

    Several 16th century Humanists certainly *attributed* their ideas to the Ancient Greeks ; but this is not the same thing as the Ancient Greeks inventing an intellectual movement of about 2000 years after their deaths.

    Is it moral to sell your daughter to her rapist?? No it is not but that is what your “amazing” god commands.

    In fact, that is what the extremely ill-informed websites that you frequent have instructed you to believe about Scripture and Religion.

    Neither the Jewish nor the Christian religions concern themselves with every little minutia of 3000 year old Hebrew tribal law — particularly when the interpretation of those laws is made by atheists with a chip on their shoulder, using poor translations, and demonstrating no understanding of how Jewish Law even works in the first place.

    Furthermore, the Catholic Faith is based on the living teachings of the Christ, transmitted via Tradition and orally, rather than just being based on the contents of the Bible.

  • JabbaPapa

    Don’t blame him for any deficiencies in your own metaphysics.

  • JabbaPapa

    What are the beliefs and rituals that all Atheists share because they are Atheists?

    We’re talking about NuAtheists specifically ; not atheists in general.

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/08/a-baltimore-catechism-for-the-new-atheists

    In his recent book God and the New Atheism, the Georgetown
    theologian John Haught has usefully captured this quasi-religious
    absolutism among the New Atheists by summarizing their position as a
    seven-point “creed”:

    1. Apart from nature, which includes human beings and our
    cultural creations, there is nothing. There is no God, no soul, and no
    life beyond death.2. Nature is self-originating, not the creation of God.3. The universe has no overall point or purpose, although individual human lives can be lived purposefully.4. Since God does not exist, all explanations and all causes are purely natural and can be understood only by science.5.
    All the various features of living beings, including human intelligence
    and behavior, can be explained ultimately in purely natural terms, and
    today that usually means in evolutionary, specifically Darwinian terms.6. Faith in God is the cause of innumerable evils and should be rejected on moral grounds.7. Morality does not require belief in God, and people behave better without faith than with it.

    All of which being, of course, nothing but doctrine.

  • Whizzo76

    Read Marx I don’t want to explain how your wrong, just read what Marx wrote originally and you’ll see.

  • Whizzo76

    What is “No True Scotsman?”

  • JabbaPapa

    In order to be distinct you must have no effect and not be affected by any other entity

    That is not the meaning of “distinct”.

    “Please demonstrate that in every conceivable philosophical and scientific position that God must in every case be subjected to the current standard and special models of physics, insofar as they would agree with your statement”.

    No you have the burden to prove something that they don’t work in.

    The burden of proof for your statements is yours. You have claimed that the laws of physics govern the behaviour of metaphysical entities, of God for instance.

    I have every right to expect you to demonstrate the truth of this claim.

    If you know science at all then you know that if your statement were true, nothing could be explained, ever.

    This is not true. Refrigerators, mountains, and alligators are not metaphysical entities.

    Also, my request for a demonstration on your part was not a statement, obviously.

    As for my allegation, you must prove i’m wrong

    Laughable.

    my answer is based off of thousands of categorized pieces of data

    Where can I find this data ?

    It’s strange that I have never heard of any material tests that have been carried out in the realms of metaphysics.

    Is this to do with the so-called “God particle” ?

    (yes, that’s sarcasm BTW)

    I should have said everything we have studied so far, go out and find something that violates that then you will have a case.

    I suspect that you do not actually know the difference between physics and metaphysics.

    Quantum mechanics, including the spontaneous appearance of particle/anti-particle pairs ex nihilo, violate your clockwork cosmology.

    Reality is not governed by the laws of Science — the laws of Science are instead a description of our understanding of processes as they occur within material reality.

    You have not demonstrated that God must in every possible scenario be considered as just another process.

    What is outside of physics?

    Metaphysics, philosophical debate, any immaterial entities, Doctor Who, poetry, spirituality, sociology, the cause of existence, etc etc etc etc — and really, anything and everything that exists outside of the corpus of Physics studies.

    I have no preconceived notions

    You have stated several of them in your multiple posts in this thread.

    And the claim is of course utterly ridiculous — there isn’t anyone alive on this planet with the power of speech who is free of preconceptions.

  • JabbaPapa

    Do you really need it explained to you that the contents of the Bible, which was written over the course of around 1500 years or so by multiple different authors, exist independently of your personal preconceptions and expectations ?

    Do you really need it explained to you that it is materially possible for a single volume containing multiple works written by multiple authors for multiple reasons to include an obviously symbolic talking snake, and some obviously serious factual information, such as who was King of where in such and such year, without any serious problem whatsoever for the understanding of these texts ?

  • JabbaPapa

    The Dead Sea Scrolls do not provide a complete copy of the Old Testament.

    Meanwhile, Septuagint was the accepted canon of the majority of Jews, most of whom had Greek as their mother tongue at the time (with a smattering of Aramaic, Phoenician, and Hebrew), for over 500 years, and during the entire period of the writing of the New Testament.

    Only *after* Christianity had established itself as a major Religion did the chief Rabbis establish a new and more conservative canon, rejecting Septuagint.

    Since you’ve already praised the Dead Sea Scrolls

    ?????

    Where have I done that ?

    I simply pointed out that their existence has demonstrated that the biblical texts are notable for their stability over the past two millennia.

    I said “Scripture has in fact remained remarkably stable” … NOT unchanging ; and I also was not using the word Apocrypha in its nonsensical 17th century Protestant meaning either — because that surely IS a case of deliberately interfering with the contents of Scripture.

    Also, the earliest known New Testament manuscripts do not actually contain earlier versions of the texts.

    They are copies of later versions, whereas some later manuscripts are copies of earlier ones.

    This has been demonstrated philologically.

    (you might have a 1997 photocopy of a 3rd edition of a book published in 1990 ; as well as a 2004 photocopy of its 2nd edition published in 1984 — the 1997 is the earlier photocopy, but the later 2004 photocopy contains the earlier text)

  • JabbaPapa

    Biblical literalism is an invention of the 19th century.

  • Lewispbuckingham

     Sorry to see you go JB.

  • JabbaPapa

    You have misunderstood the point of that comment.

    Many atheists falsely claim that Catholicism rejects the theory of evolution.

  • JabbaPapa

    It is NOT a hypothesis, because it does not fulfill the necessary methodological criteria for the establishment of hypotheses.

    Let me make a simile —

    You ask Benny a hundred or a thousand times to jump through a hoop.

    Benny refrains from doing so.

    Can Benny jump through such a hoop, or can’t he ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Bare assertion — Bare assertion

    Bare assertion — Bare assertion

    Incorrect reading of article — Bare assertion

    Inability to understand axioms — Bare assertion

    Quote mining — Bare assertion

    And I thought you were getting better at this, oh well.

    And here I was thinking that you might get a sense that I was suggesting that your post constitutes not much more than the pot accusing the kettle of being black.

  • JabbaPapa

    Please refrain then, from now on, from expecting others to shoulder a burden of proof that you are unwilling to carry yourself.

  • JabbaPapa

    Biblical literalism is an invention of the 19th century.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Christ did not need to say “Don’t take the whole of the OT as a literal account of events” because no-one did (or are you waiting for the Hogwarts Express because no-one has told you that Harry Potter is fictional?): we have the Apostle Paul using the OT metaphorically, for example and we can point to the writings of the Church Fathers, like Origen -

    “For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally” Origen – The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]

    As Jabba says, the sort of biblical literalism that you are propounding is an invention of Protestantism. It isn’t found in the writings of the early Church, nor has it been the basis of Catholic teaching either.

    And, as I have already pointed out to you a number of times, the quotations from Christ that you have used are using the OT texts as metaphor/simile; your repeated assertion that they demonstrate a literalistic interpretation is not supported by the text and is, at best, bone-headed.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    One has to wonder why nu-atheists are all biblical literalists. Do you suppose that they have the same problem with all texts or just the Bible?

  • JabbaPapa

    I’d be loathe to generalise on the basis of karlf’s sub-average literary interpretation skills.

    It’s I suppose arguable that they’re all “God Delusion literalists” ??? :-)

  • karlf

    I have asked you to show me where Jesus indicates that he takes the Old Testament metaphorically. You have not done this.
    Are you really trying to convince me that the Judaism of Jesus’ time did not take the writings of the Old Testament literally? You can’t make something true that isn’t, however much you want it to fit with your established beliefs.
    Moses = Dumbledoor?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    And to think that theologians are accused of spouting windy nonsense… A prime example of a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing methinks.

    Father Lucie-Smith is writing a blogpost, not an in depth academic analysis of Nietzsche or the philosophy of science. But he’s making a point that latches on to well known scholarly debates which do develop these points at greater depth. On the one hand, you have Nietzsche’s well known claim that, in the absence of God (and that means for him, objective standards of goodness, beauty and truth) the normal patterns of morality and science that we’ve inherited are no longer tenable. On the other hand, you have Dawkins who, whilst quite happy to accept the death of God, seems to think that there’s absolutely no problem in continuing on using Christian patterns of thought in the absence of the theology and metaphysics that underpin them.

    Of course there are many things that can be intelligently said on both sides here. But one of them isn’t that ‘it is a well-known fact there is a philosophy underpinning modern science and therefore it is totally illogical to assume that Dawkins himself is not an adherent of that philosophy’. Dawkins is terribly naive about philosophy and even seems to think we don’t need philosophy at all. Platinga’s (and Platinga is a proper philosopher who has written precisely on the area of the incompatibility of science and atheism) review of the God Delusion includes the following:

    But despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy (Dawkins is not a philosopher, but a biologist), much of the philosophy he purveys is remarkably jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best undergraduate, but that would be unfair to undergraduates. The fact is many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a basic philosophy class.
    This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou (“thou” being believers in God) tone of the book can annoying http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/04/12/3475939.htm

    And apologies for another quote, but this (from the Journal of the Philosophical Society of England) is too good to miss in the present case:

    Hitler seems to have been on religious matters closer to Dawkins than anyone else except Nietzsche http://www.the-philosopher.co.uk/reviews/dawkins.htm

  • Vince

    Nietzsche would probably reject the pitiless indifference, for if his philosophy is indeed pitiless (that is for our common understanding of values – but N. would reject that as well), there is certainly no indifference. But then as radical as the atheism of Nietzsche was, it could not be immuned to metaphysic – for Nietzsche was well aware that without a metaphysic, the meaningless of his universe would be an invincible obstacle to will and action. Hence his ridiculous metaphysic of the eternal return, probably inspired by oriental religions, and well ridiculed by Chesterton.

  • Lewispbuckingham

     ‘If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask….’
     Thanks for the heads up on the site.The above quote is at least consistent with the concept that aliens may arrive here with superior minds and technology.
    I am highly dubious that such beings exist in our galaxy.

  • chartres

    The slogan states ‘There’s probably is no God’ [and the corollary
    to that is there probably is a God]. Recently the world’s most famous atheist
    Mr Dawkins admitted he could not be sure that God does not exist – hardly a
    ringing endorsement for atheism for the gullible flock. 

    Is this the Dawkins Delusion?
    For once he is being honest.He just does not know and it appears he is leading his deluded followers to the promised land of a barren desolate vacuous Utopia.This is what the Herd want to
    believe in this age of secular cultural nihilism and Mr Dawkins is their false prophet.

    And he abuses honourable science as the new ‘theism’ for earth fairy worship.

    He and his deluded followers have ignored that Christianity and Reason and Science have been closely bound to-gether since after the times of Aristotle.

    It is about time the Dawkins anti -Christian flock cast off their
    yoke of blind ignorance and started some serious study on some of the origins
    of scientific development. 

    Start off with Alcuin, Lupus, Abbo of Fleury who were monks and
    scholars who preserved the writings of the classical writers in turbulent
    times; the new phenomenon of universities at Paris, Bologna, Oxford, Cambridge,
    Toulouse [ some starting as Cathedral schools]; try Wikipedia List of Christian
    Thinkers in Science.Indeed Max Planck nobel prize scientist declared science and religion needed a belief in God.
    In other words Religious Faith and Reason work together and must not be uncoupled.

     This is the civilization built up over the millennia with powerful contributions from Christians.

    Are the Dawkins Delusionists going to destroy this legacy and hurtle  lemming- like to the cliff’s edge to a utopian abyss of moral relativism and nihilism? I hope not

  • Subsilico

    For one to claim a scientist is being unscientific and then proceed to be unscientific as well is problematic. In science, claimants shoulder the burden of proof. One can’t simply make a claim without evidence.

    If i were to attack a popular theologian for being “untheologic” i would never hear the end of it if i was totally “untheologic” myself. It is abundantly clear to me that my arguments on that point must necessarily follow the rules set out by the community of theologians. To not do so would open me up to untold scorn and rightly so.

    When FAL claims Dawkins is being unscientific, he has tossed his hat into a ring where he is bound by the rules of science and must back up his assertions with evidence. This is science, not vietnam, there are rules!

    Suppose for the sake of argument that Dawkins made the claim that neutrinos could travel faster than light, to which FAL responded: “Thats a rather unscientific claim.” I wouldn’t expect FAL to then quote poetry, edicts from philosophers or some midwife to make his point. That would be nonsensical. Most likely he would point out that nothing can go faster than light under the theory of relativity. At which point he would likely mention just how many experiments, hundreds, even thousands, have born out the veracity of relativity.

    Sure we could expect him to mention that if anything could travel faster than light, even if it were just neutrinos, our understanding of nature would be seriously jeopardized. Time could flow backwards! No more second law of thermodynamics! Say goodbye to cause and effect! Cats and dogs living together! But, these wouldn’t be his argument for why he thinks neutrinos can’t travel faster than light. No, in order to be fair he would simply be incredulous as to the methods, the quality of the data, or the analysis. He would reserve judgement on Dawkins character until he and others had inspected the results and found Dawkins to be dishonest and not simply mistaken.

    And, in an effort to remain impartial he would concede that while unlikely it may seem in the face of such overwhelming evidence the possibility still remained that something could conceivably travel faster than light. Any other position would be viewed as close minded and unscientific in its own right.

    Suppose that FAL says something like: “Scientists believe that nothing can travel faster than light.” This claim has mountains of evidence supporting it (no matter how one reads it.) In fact, that mountain of evidence coupled with that fact that it stands in direct contradiction  to Dawkins’s claim would be the very reason FAL mentions it at all! Contrast this with what FAL actually says about “Love.”

    His own personal experiences about how the theory of relativity makes him feel would be an aside in the analogy. He might toss them out there to let the reader know just how important this subject is to him. Still, it would be hard to see him basing his reason for not liking Dawkins’s claim primarily on feelings. That would be silly.

    I can’t even imagine FAL then going on to imply that Dawkins didn’t value science! Now, that would be total nonsense! Why would Dawkins be engaged in something he didn’t value? And lets not forget that the entire point of science is to replace unworkable theories with workable ones; science is a system were cherished notions are subject to unending scrutiny.

    I don’t know how to spell it out any clearer. This piece is nothing more than an attempt by FAL to deny science and assassinate the character of one of its adherents. For shame!

  • Jonathan West

    Oh, so praying for the sick doesn’t help them?

  • Jonathan West

    If that claim is false, what do you make of the following, from 
    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution

    “Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.”

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Doesn’t *always* help them.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Whoa! You’re getting ahead of yourself. As I and others have pointed out, the OT is a collection of books, not a single w

  • karlf

    Yes, I am aware that is a collection of writings (not a single w). Please stop dodging the issues

  • Jonathan West

    Does it sometimes help them?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    What issues? You’ve raised a contention and proceeded to ignore the points made to you that demonstrate that your argument is nonsensical.

  • ASimpleCatholic

    Surely praying for the sick help them to recover, especially when they know that their relatives and friends care for them and pray for them. Praying is not a private activity, it reflects the Church and all Christians as living in a community which bases on mutual love, which comes from Jesus Christ.

  • ASimpleCatholic

    Yes, and the fact that the Church doesn’t reject evolution theory makes Dawkins and his fellow trolls look extremely silly. (But mind you, the Church accept the theory of evolution as plausible but not the truth of evolution theory, be careful of the words, because a scientific construction is not the Truth per se, scientific theories are models through which we understand and explain natural phenomena).