Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Responding to 21st Century Atheism

I'm going to a meeting (Responding to 21st Century Atheism) on Saturday, April 13. Are you going?



39 comments :

  1. For this you're paying fifty bucks? And you still have to bring your own lunch?! What, are they out of loaves and fishes?

    I look forward to an entertaining report.

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  2. Larry Moran donating $50 to the Jesuit School of Theology. I hate it when April Fool's jokes overrun onto the next day.

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  3. Ha! I know I'm going to be having more fun than you are - since I will be collecting trilobite fossils on that day...

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  4. Before anyone goes to the workshop, I recommend to engrave on the foreheads the words of Sir Fred Hoyle:

    “The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it…It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.”

    Anybody good at math here?

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    1. To knock down Sir Fred's strawman? It's been done. How about his other claims: the flu virus comes from interstellar space, Archaeopteryx is a fake, the Universe isn't expanding...

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    2. Dear old Fred Hoyle also thought that our nostrils don't point up to avoid those same interstellar viruses.

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    3. Not everyone has a fallacy named after him. It takes a combination of special predisposition, commitment, and hard work.

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    4. This must definitely mean that the probability of the spontaneous formation of life has changed since Hoyle? I'm sure it has. In case like you and others, as a matter fact, no evidence will change your mind, because materialism does not leave room for logic.

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    5. Hoyle's fallacy is demolished in Wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoyle's_fallacy

      My view is:

      http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/steve-jones-on-muslim-students-vs-darwin/#comment-161176

      Hoyle's arguments are, to appropriate Pauli's phrase, so bad they are not even wrong. Hoyle had zero understanding of biology and evolution and therefore less than zero understanding of how to apply statistics to it.

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    6. @Dominignoramus

      There's still noone who believes in spontaneous generation from prebiotic soup. When will the creotards ever fathom this elementary proposition? The origin of life would be a process, not a single miraculous coalescence of a living cell.

      Can this ever sink into your fucking skulls?

      Now, Dominic, since you have such a hard time following the science, will you at least be demonstrating the possibility of instantaneous magical creation of life any time soon?

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    7. This must definitely mean that the probability of the spontaneous formation of life has changed since Hoyle?

      Nope, it's exactly the same. He didn't know what it was, and neither does anyone else. He just imagined wibbling up a modern protein-coding genome in a random-codon machine, that happens to code for 20 acids 'cos the numbers come out bigger that way ... just exactly what everyone thinks happened.

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  5. This one day seminar will discuss the role of Scripture, tradition, and theology to address the questions about human living posed by today's culture and climate of disbelief.

    Zip, nada and zilch.

    There, saved you 50 bucks.

    No need to thank me.

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    1. @Steve - Perhaps Larry's just going to observe how effectively the Jesuits use ridicule and mockery to further their agenda.

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    2. I'm sure they'll use all their time-honoured weaponry: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope (whio is a Jesuit too). And the nice black uniforms.

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    3. Ridicule only works as a weapon if your opponents are the ones who are ridiculous. Hard to pull off if you are the one who believes you can turn crackers into the flesh of a 2000 year old dead guy.

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    4. I used to teach a course with my good friend, Rob Allore, who is a Jesuit Priest trained here in Toronto. He is now the Chaplain at St. Mark's College at the University of British Columbia.

      Many of you seem to have a bizarre concept of Jesuits and their views on science. I suggest you watch a series of videos by Rob Allore on Science and Religion in Conversation. He's a scientist who worked on nematode genetics and he accepts all of the findings of science, especially evolution.

      The organizers of this meeting are not a bunch of stupid creationists—although they are creationists. They are Theistic Evolutionists and I bet they can defend their position far better than most Theistic Evolutionists.

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    5. I was taught by Jesuits, Dominicans and Grey Nuns (my aunt is one) throughout primary and high school (13 years) so I have first hand experience with these critters. Some of my earliest memories are involve demented nuns waddling up and down school room rows like feral penguins promulgating the "Baltimore Catechism", a form of catholic child abuse that involves rote memorization and parroting back of core catholic dogma.

      I've also met Rob Allore at the Naming the Holy lecture series held at the Newman Centre and I know that he is a working scientist who does work on nematodes while simultaneously holding the opinion that his invisible friend has and does intervene on a regular basis to, for example, poof immaterial souls into our progenitors and on a daily basis mumbles over some crackers and wine in the belief that he is transforming it into human flesh and blood.

      If this is not the bizarre behaviour of "a bunch of stupid creationists" then I don't know what qualifies.

      The fact that individually they are literate, well educated and charming people does nothing to change the odiousness of their belief system or cover up or atone for the very real damage they cause to other human beings.

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    6. Not to dispute your main point, steve oberski, but none of what you describe makes Catholics creationists, unless you include "theistic evolution" under creationism (which you arguably could).

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    7. @lutesuite

      As far as I'm concerned, as soon as you ascribe any non-material process to the evolution of human beings, for example your god injected souls into some of our distant ancestors, which among other things gives us free will, then you are a creationist. In the case of catholics, you are just dishonest, hypocritical creationists, without the intellectual integrity to fess up to your belief system and instead hide behind weasel words like special creation.

      At one of the above mentioned Naming the Holy lectures which I attended, Fr. George Coyne, former Vatican chief astronomer, (not to be confused with another notable Coyne) spoke on the relationship between science and religion, and I swear I am not making this up, he presented a picture of the evolutionary tree of life, noted that (at least his version) seemed to look like an arrow with humans at the tip, and from this claimed that we were created by his god with a special purpose in mind.

      So let's talk some more about the bizarre behaviour of "a bunch of stupid creationists".

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    8. @steve oberski

      It's certainly a debatable point and, strictly on intellectual grounds, I think you're probably correct. That said, I do think there is pragmatic value in distinguishing between the overt creationists who outright deny evolution, and those who fully accept evolutionary theory while trying to find a way to reconcile it with their religious beliefs. The latter would include someone like Ken Miller, who performs some truly ludicrous intellectual backflips in attempt to accomodate science into his Catholicism. Yet his efforts against creationism have been nothing short of heroic, such that I think it would be unfair to tar him as a "creationist".

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    9. steve, you often write about the damage being done to 'real human beings' by the Christian religion in your writings. No doubt, there are numerous examples, just as there are numerous examples of say, the United States, China, Dow Chemical, General Electric, and scores of other very large organizations doing damage to real human beings. And in all cases, that doesn't tell the whole story.

      I'm just curious, what are you, specifically, doing to make the world a better place? Just coming on blogs to lambast Christianity? Is that the extent of it? Because, frankly, you really don't seem like a terribly concerned or compassionate person, from your writing. You just seem like someone who works out your issues with Christianity by painting it in the most one-sided, grotesque way possible, again and again. It would be nice to see that there is another side of you that isn't just hyperbole and hatred.

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  6. Well, I'm not going to ask you to prove Hoyle wrong by proving that life can spontaneously form. Just add to the formation an intelligent scientist and I'm sure your point of spontaneous formation of life will be proven beyond any doubt.

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    1. I'm not going to ask you to prove Francis Crick wrong when he suggested that neuroscience would be advanced if only scientists were allowed to experiment on prisoners, or James Watson wrong when he suggested that black Africans are less intelligent than whites, or Kary Mullis wrong about his doubts on global warming and HIV as not the cause of AIDS, or Brian Josephson wrong about how quantum science may one day explain telepathy.

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    2. Dominic,

      It's much easier to refute that quote you attribute to Boyle than roving that life can arise naturally. First Boyle would have to demonstrate that his statistics are correct, that the probability he is suggesting has any basis in reality. If he can't do that then he can't conclude from those numbers anything. Then, he made such an incredibly enormous mistake that such thing alone proves him wrong: evolution is not a theory about the origin of life, but about the origin of species from life diversification with time. Darwin's particular parts of the theory have a lot to do with how species can come from common ancestors via natural selection from inheritable variation in populations. Therefore, even if Boyle's numbers were right, Boyle would be wrong about those numbers refuting any bit of evolutionary theory, Darwin's or not.

      So, as you can see, all it takes is a little bit of education and understanding about what we are talking about to refute such things.

      Maybe instead of copying and pasting crap, you should try and verify if the quotes and claims have the proper background and understanding of scientific matters. That would require you to learn what you refuse to understand and accept, but would be the honest thing to do if you are going to be coming here to comment. It would also avoid presenting your beliefs as being based on proudly self-inflicted ignorance.

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  7. It's going to be worth $50.00 because I'm going to be there. I don't like the idea of bringing my own lunch, so I hope Larry brings enough for two.

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    1. If Larry brings some fish and loaves of bread the Jesuits will take care of the rest ...

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    2. All Larry needs to do, is provide the Jesuits with some solid proof of the origin of eukaryotes, and they will not only give him free lunch, but also gold, and in the future the nomination for a Nobel Prize. Guaranteed.

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    3. All Dominic needs to do is provide atheists with som solid demonstrations of instantaneous magical creation(the ABRACADABRA-I-wish-thee-into-existnece-by-*POOF* hypothesis of the origin of life), and they will not only give him free lunch, but also gold, and in the future the nomination for a Nobel Prize. Guaranteed.

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    4. All Larry needs to do, is provide the Jesuits with some solid proof of the origin of eukaryotes

      Dominic, you don't even know what a eukaryote is, do you. Do you know what a mitochondrion is? Didn't think so.

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    5. Give poor Dominignoramus a break, he's just started to master the fine art of cut and paste, asking him to understand the subject matter at hand is probably beyond his capabilities.

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  8. I just came here to have a discussion about science and all these people are trying to turn it into an atheism/theism debate. The NERVE!

    ;)

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    1. Andy

      The post is not about science. The question posed is whether anyone else from the disbelieving/believing group who posts here is planning to attend "Responding to 21st Century Atheism."

      If you attend, introduce yourself to me. I'll be the woman wearing the "militant atheist" t shirt.

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    2. inside joke, Veronica. Piotr got it.

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    3. Right, Andy Boerger, using inside jokes on a public blog is a great way to communicate.

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  9. @Steve

    The Jesuits' use of ridicule and mockery doesn't scare me but this does:

    Jesuitical: dissembling or equivocating, in the manner once associated with Jesuits

    The OED definition suggests that the Jesuits used to dissemble or equivocate. I suspect they still do. That's what worries me; I know I'm not as effective at dissembling or equivocating as the Jesuits are.

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    1. once associated ?

      used to dissemble or equivocate ?

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  10. That's a direct quote from Oxford Dictionaries.com: inyurl.com/bnus7mu

    Needs updating.

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  11. This video of the Regis College 2012 Chancellor’s Lecture by Rev. Michael Paul Gallagher SJ may be a preview of the course, especially because John Dadosky, who introduces Gallagher, says @7:40 "Professor Gallagher’s engagement with unbelief is especially pertinent today with the movements of evangelical atheism in the UK by such representatives as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6Th9DAjRwH4#!

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