03 December 2007

Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge

Hey, it's not my my fault... the local library refuses to burn all the Richard Dawkins books...

Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Flame away... I'm certainly prepared to listen to the other side of the equation.

**********

RELATED: Need another opinion?
Email the Pope
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
For nature or the physical laws of the universe to arrange things such that one of the byproducts (me) is a being that can believe its actions are meaningful and also comprehend its own complete insignificance seems like a bad joke to me.

I think there might be a joker.
**********

LAST WORD: You're not gonna riot, are you?
"Suppose it's not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you're pretty sure don't know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages -- but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive."


26 comments:

OttawaTilt said...

Glad to see that you, in all your beliefs continue to share the opinion of your predecessors from the middle ages. Let's burn all those books that we disagree with...cause you know that's how knowledge is spread. Just because you have a problem navigating through this world without a moral compass doesn't mean that others should share the same crutch as you.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"OttawaTilt said... Glad to see that you, in all your beliefs continue to share the opinion of your predecessors from the middle ages."

hey, dumbass... read slower... i'm an atheist.

*

Anonymous said...

Neo:

I've made it a point to come on here in the past and test the limits of assholery - this comment notwithstanding :) ...but at least, in this (by no means small, in my mind) matter, I'm glad to see you're firing on at least two brain cells. Kudos :)

OT: even I saw the sarcasm there.

On the topic, I just love when the Pope comes out with his new pronouncements. "Catholicism is the only religion!" "Atheism is for heathens!" Seriously, why is anyone surprised? Why is any of it news, outside of Catholic congregation newsletters?

Newsflash! The Pope is Catholic, bears sh*t in the woods, and Chuck Norris likes spinning kicks. Next story please.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"anon says... test the limits of assholery"

hey, nonny... there's no doubt in my mind... you're definitely getting there.

*

finn said...

"... if you symbolically eat his flesh..."

Hate to be picky, but the belief is that the eating is real, not symbolic. Apparently, Dawkins is sloppy even in his put-downs.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn says... Hate to be picky, but the belief is that the eating is real, not symbolic."

well, finn... i hate to be picky back, but the belief that the eating is real... is, at best, according to the physical laws of the universe, impossible... and, my friend, at worst... borderline delusional.

oh yeah... if, in some parallel universe, the eating "was real"... wouldn't that make the participants cannibals?

*

doug newton said...

"Religion is the process of unconscious wish fulfillment, where, for certain people, if the process did not take place it would put them in self-danger of coming to mental harm, being unable to cope with the idea of a godless, purposeless life."
— Sigmund Freud

Does godlessness equate to a purposeless life?
As an atheist do you believe that your life has no purpose or do you have something else that gives meaning to your existence?

Neo Conservative said...

*
"doug asks... Does godlessness equate to a purposeless life?"

i'll defer here to james watson, a founder of the human genome project, who answered this question as follows...

"you can say... gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don't think there's a purpose... but i'm anticipating having a good lunch."

*

doug newton said...

Neo

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
George Gershwin

So that part of you that is conscious of itself is just the ghost in the machine? an illusion?

Neo Conservative said...

*
"quoth doug... Life is just a bowl of cherries -- George Gershwin"

i yam what i yam -- popeye the sailor.

*

doug newton said...

Neo

"Flame away... I'm certainly prepared to listen to the other side of the equation."

But not answer questions about yours.
Fair enough.

For nature or the physical laws of the universe to arrange things such that one of the byproducts(me)is a being that can believe its actions are meaningful and also comprehend its own complete insignificance seems like a bad joke to me.
I think there might be a joker.
So I would prefer to go with agnostic rather than atheist.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"doug says... I think there might be a joker."

now, doug, don't get me wrong... i'm dead-down with a healthy smidge of paranoia in one's daily drive. i'd go as far as to say one's life might not be complete without it.

i just think i'd be a little wary of basing a core philosophy... (religion fits that bill too, right?)... on it.

keep me posted on that god thing, willya?

*

finn said...

"well, finn... i hate to be picky back, but the belief that the eating is real... is, at best, according to the physical laws of the universe, impossible... and, my friend, at worst... borderline delusional."

What on earth do the physical laws of the universe have to do with God's abilities? Is the concept of "God" beyond your comprehension? I realize that you're now an atheist( I'm guessing that your beliefs as stated above are a good example of why you left the Catholic Church ) but even an atheist should be able to recognize that my comment did not deal with theology but with Dawkins's inability to even correctly describe the thing he scorns. Whether you believe what Christians believe is completely beside the point, the crux of the matter is that they believe it and Dawkins cannot describe it correctly.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn calls to the heavens... What on earth do the physical laws of the universe have to do with God's abilities?"

finn... i know... those pesky physical laws of the universe... they mess everything up, don't they?

to be honest, though... i'm a little more concerned here about the cannibal thing... than dawkins's apparent inability to convince you of the congruity of his thesis.

*

doug newton said...

OK Neo, One more go before bed.

So you are a bag of self propelled chemicals with an array of sensors and an on board computer with a self programing feature that allows you to learn how to make a coherent picture and explanatory narrative from the sensory inputs and their sequential relationships.
This picture is what you call external reality even though it is displayed entirely within your head.
It is a useful picture and both the picture and narrative serve you well until you approach the speed of light or think about infinity.
You are not equipped to pass judgment on some issues. It would be about as meaningful as a two dimensional creature trying to hold forth on the concept of an angle.
Best to be agnostic then if you haven't found some sort of belief system that allows you to transcend your physical limitations.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"doug says... Best to be agnostic then"

doug... i can accept that feeble human perception is not actually reality... why can you not accept that i am nonetheless entitled to my own view here.

why exactly is it best to be agnostic? does god respect a fencesitter... more than someone who demands proof?

please don't tell me the agnostic/atheist thing has anything to do with my eternal soul.

*

doug newton said...

Neo

I assume that by atheist you mean

"Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism.[2] When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities"

I don't think we have the parts to decide one way or the other so I argued for Agnosticism

Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning "without", and gnosticism or gnosis, meaning "knowledge") is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently unknowable due to the nature of subjective experience.

"why exactly is it best to be agnostic?"

Because when you don't or can't know what your talking about it's better to admit it. To yourself anyway.

As to threats to your eternal soul - well, that's got to be one of the best marketing concepts ever.

Come on Neo, its OK to have one wishy washy opinion, try agnosticism.

finn said...

"to be honest, though... i'm a little more concerned here about the cannibal thing... than dawkins's apparent inability to convince you of the congruity of his thesis."

Sorry, neo, I didn't realize that the description of Christianity in your post was yours, I thought you were paraphrasing Dawkins.

As a matter of philosophy and theology, if one posits the existence of an infinite being capable of creating and sustaining everything that exists, it is illogical to suppose that the laws of physics apply to that being, for physics doesn't allow creation of matter or energy.

As for the cannibalism, I do not see how it applies because the belief is specifically that bread is changed into God's body, that something beyond your normal experience is occurring. It is not a case of eating the flesh of another human being.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"doug says... when you don't or can't know what your talking about it's better to admit it"

hey... i like that... you mind if i use that one on pope benny at our weekly card game?

*

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn said... if one posits the existence of an infinite being capable of creating and sustaining everything that exists"

yes, finn... that's true. but if one posits the existence of an all-powerful, infinite being... one can pretty much say whatever fantastical thing comes into one's punkin', right?

it's the "can god create a big enough rock... that even he can't lift it?" school of reasoning.

as p.j o'rourke would say, "show me the logic and the lab equipment."

*

finn said...

" one can pretty much say whatever fantastical thing comes into one's punkin', right?"

Within the limits of whatever original premise is laid out, you are absolutely correct. Lay out your ground rules first, your "givens", then follow them logically: that is the method of philosophy.

"it's the "can god create a big enough rock... that even he can't lift it?" school of reasoning."

This has always made me laugh because it is such nonsense. It is a good example of illogical thinking. The question asks the listener to first imagine a being capable of "creation", which violates all the physical laws of the universe as we know them and is the epitome of an act of omnipotence, and then it asks the listener to imagine limiting the abilities of such a being; it is utter nonsense since it is self-contradictory. Sounds very clever, though.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn posits... asks the listener to first imagine a being capable of "creation", which violates all the physical laws of the universe "

you mean like "an infinite being capable of creating and sustaining everything that exists"?

hey who posited that? not moi.

funny how we veered away from the original topic... you know, burning all the books one doesn't agree with.

i'm thinkin' we're both kinda dug in on the existence of god thing...

*

finn said...

"hey who posited that? not moi."

Think you missed my point, neo. I know you didn't say that; I was referring to the "rock-so-big-even-he-can't-lift-it" question. It has two pieces, dude, not just the part you quote out of context.

To be clear, I have not been arguing for the existence of God, I have been discussing following the logic of a position, any position, once its axioms have been laid out.

Sorry, by the way, for being too dense to catch the "book burning" theme: I thought that was a throw-away line. For the record, I think banning books is a silly idea.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn says... To be clear, I have not been arguing for the existence of God, I have been discussing following the logic of a position, any position, once its axioms have been laid out."

that really deserves a post all on it's own, i think.

it also might help to factor in my occasionally provocative sense of mischief... sometimes it's hard to resist poking a stick through the proverbial bars.

*

finn said...

ouch!

Neo Conservative said...

*
"finn said... ouch!"

that is, sir... a rather gracious gesture... and for that, i thank you.

i suspect that, in a battle of wits, you are not exactly an unarmed man yourself.

i welcome your input here anytime.

*