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God Speaks Pig Latin Upidstay NOTE I’m not done with this article just yet, so come back tomorrow for the final version. September 9, 2006

Posted by AkumAPRIME in : Books,Life , trackback

God Feet

Originally uploaded by AkumAPRIME.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Curtains, which kicked ass, but isn’t the focus of this article. Prior to the show, my Grandmother gave me a book, “The Language of God” by Francis S. Collins. Why she gave me this book, I can only guess (Read: conversion)

:::EDIT::: Apparently her purpose was to show me that religion and science could coexist, which I don’t disagree with at all. If every religious person accepted science before religion, and adapted their beliefs to reality (as some have done) I would have a Much smaller problem with religion.
but more importantly, She had Not read the book yet. This allowed me a small hope that the book would be an acceptably deistic portrayal of the universe.

I’m only a chapter in… I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen… :(

This book should have been titled, Mere Christianity 2.0th Century Edition.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Chapter 1: From Atheism to Belief or
Atheism through Idiocy: Extreme Logical Leaps

The first chapter contains a short biography of the author, disdainfully blaming a few strong willed agnostic/atheist college kids for his early adoption of agnosticism. It is while attending med school that the author is haunted by a dying woman’s question: What do you believe? Apparently he had never bothered to define his beliefs prior to this; he simply weakly accepted the beliefs of those impressed on him. Well now he’s torn asunder with questions.

The implication is that other agnostics/atheists are just “willfully blind” and use their beliefs as an excuse not to ask hard questions, as an excuse not to scrutinize our actions.

He quickly gets to C.S. Lewis, with whom I have a major problem philosophically. [NOTE::: Discuss Mere Christianity note, at end of chap 1. (not at home, don’t have access to some info I need.)]

Collins now makes some blatantly Untrue comments:
” The concept of right and wrong appears to be universal among all members of the buman species” He then adds a caveat, equivocating ” ( though its application may result in wildly different outcomes).”

The first part is just Not true. The next time your daughter does sth that dishonors the family, ask yourself if you should hang/stone/burn her, because in Iran, this happens quite often. Not only is the concept of right/wrong variable across peoples, it is variable across individuals. Ask yourself if your sense of morality has remained static since you were a child. Of course not, that’s not even a fair question. Here’s a better, fairer question. Since you’ve reached adulthood, has your sense of morality remained stable, or has it changed?

If we see morality shift across the individual level, family level, cultural level, how the HELL can that first sentence be justified? It can’t. Is it ok for a young boy to felate an elder to get his warrior spirit? Homophobic, overly macho christian morality would say no, but the African tribes that perform such acts see it as important and necessary.

Collins then goes on to ascribe the “moral law”, which I hope I now convinced you is an illusion, applies Solely to Humans. I find this arrogant and strange. What makes human behavior moral or immoral, but cat behavior neutral?

/me sighs… Our author than shoots himself in the face. After quoting C.S. Lewis, again, he makes tries to weasel his way out of the Glaring error in logic he’s made by making claims of a universal morality.

” In some unusual cultures, the law takes on surprising trappings – consider witch burning… … when surveyed closely, these apparent aberrations can be seen to arise from a strongly held but MISGUIDED conclusions about who or what is good or evil.” If we have a universal morality imparted to us by an omnipotent being, then how can we be Misguided? Apparently our Guide is imperfect.

He then goes on to try and refute the true reasons that Humans have beliefs about right and wrong: Evolutionary forces. He talks about self-lessness and altruism, and how evolution simply can Not explain them, which is riDiculously untrue.

A) Self-lessness doesn’t exist. Not to bad mouth Mother Theresa, but the lady got off on helping people. That’s cool! That’s GREAT! She thought if she helped people the world would be a better place, and she’d go to heaven. It made her feel GOOD to help people. Wonderful. But she got sth out of it. He quotes a Sufi story where a woman tries to save a drowning scorpion. It keeps stinging her, and she keeps trying to save it. A man says, ” What, are you stupid? Stop that!” (not an exact quotation!) to which she replies, ” Because it is in the nature of the Scorpion to sting, why should I deny my own nature to save it?” [exact quote ;) ]

Now this story strikes a chord with me because I save bees that drown in my pool. Despite having been stung a couple times, I will continue to save them. However, while I save most insects drowning in my pooI, I Don’t save cockroaches. I like bees. I Don’t like cockroaches. Also, it is perhaps bad of me to save these drowning bees/insects. By saving those stupid enough to get so close to the water, am I hurting their gene pool? By killing the cockroaches, am I making them smarter?

Morality is so tortuous and convoluted and NON Existent that to claim there is a universal set to which we could all ascribe is foolishly minimalist and over simplified.

” … selfless altruism, presents a major challenge for the evolutionist.” No it doesn’t. Selflessness presents a major challenge for our author, because its existence is dubious. But, it’s His book, so let’s play along.

” ‘ if there was a controlling power outside the uinvese, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe… … The only way in which we could expect it to show itself woule be inside ourseves as an influence or command trying to get us to behave in a cetain way. ‘ “, Collins quotes Lewis.

Ok, does anyone else see what’s wrong with this? This controlling power could not show itself to us? Why not? I thought this God was all powerful.

Secondly, he says he can’t show itself to us… Then he says, the only way we could expect it to show itself… Which is it?

Nevermind that the strange logic above perfectly concludes with his exact point… that’s not weird or anything… :| But it’s his book, so let’s play ball.

So Collins is staring at god in the philosophical eye at this point. He wonders, ” Would this be a desit God…? No, this God must be a theist God, who desires some kind of relationship with … human beings…” He comes to this conclusion with NO explanation of how he got here. Couldn’t it be a deist god that left us with “universal morals” as part of his deist scheme? Way to spell everything out Collins.

Then, ” He [god] would have to be the embodiment of goodness.” Another unexplained conclusion. Couldn’t your god have given us morals to screw with us? What about these so called “misguided” morals you spoke of earlier?

“Agnosticism, which had seemed like a s safe second-place haven, now loomed like the great cop-out it often is.” Again he implies that agnostics/atheists are often simply taking an easy way out… Jerk.

“If God exists, then He must be outside the natural world, and therefore the tools of science are not the right ones to learn about Him.” This is the 2nd best statement he makes. Why? Because it points out that he is Not a scientist. Science defines reality as the observable, the quantifiable.

WHY would this guy think that God is outside the natural world? That is counterintuitive to every thought I’ve had on a god. It also directly contradicts the existing canon that god is everywhere. And btw, wtf IS the “natural world?” What does that mean? Does it mean he lives in the unnatural world? I would just like some of the operational definitions that I’ve become comfortable with in science.

Now, the conclusion of the chapter has the best statement, one that truly captures the major logical fallacy that Collins makes.

” For a long time I stood trembling on the edge of this yawning gap. Finally, seeing no escape, I leapt.” Scared, full of fear, he jumped. Just as his argumentation jumps at random and with no apparent logic, our “scientist” author flies off.

A real scientist would look at the gap, observe it rather than tremble in fear of it. A real scientist would climb down that damn gap and search, not leaping, but carefully, steadily, fearlessly and Yes, a bit arrogantly, walking forward.


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