William Lane Craig has never let us down yet. He always finds the lowest possible point and sinks to it. Now he is bashing the organization “Recovering from Religion” for establishing a hotline to help those who have dropped their faith and are seeking support as they transition into reality. His complaint which is voiced at “The Christian Post” is that those answering the phone and speaking to those wishing support do not have the adequate “philosophical rigor” to provide any support services. This strikes me as a new example of what PZ Myers called “the courtier’s reply“. This logical fallacy is demonstrated by telling a child that he needs to study high fashion before he can make any statement about the emperor being…well, naked.
It apparently doesn’t occur to Craig that these are folks who have abandoned their faith already and are seeking support in dealing with the sometimes harsh criticisms and rejection of believers for simply changing their minds. They are not looking for someone who will force them to go through all the useless apologetics and refute each one in detail before they can justify their loss of faith. According to Craig, “…it seems the secular group thinks that the traditional arguments for God’s existence are now passé and so no longer need refutation? If so, they are naïve.” Craig thereupon declares that the help line should be disconnected since it is a “wrong number”. No, I think they are right in that none of the arguments has any established legitimacy and it is time to move on. The help line won’t be talking anyone out of their religion, that has already started or been completed. They are just looking for help in handling the consequences.
Craig has never been one for understanding pain and difficulty. He lives in a world where the seductive simplicity of certainty rules and has taken on the emperor’s fashion style and doesn’t realize he is naked too.
We pause briefly in the bloody history of what happens when the church has governmental power and turn to the prosaic task of cleaning up the trash on Hwy. 169. We now have our date picked (providing the weather cooperates) and the winner is June 15th. The time is 9:30 AM at the Grand Rapids Library and we will carpool from there to the site where our new sign has been erected.
Since some of our members may not have been able to attend the last monthly meeting and see the safety video provided by MNDOT, a copy is embedded below. It is about 12 minutes long and has all the basic information you need.
There may be some pretty gross stuff out there, but fortunately, MNDOT prefers to keep all that stuff to themselves. Who the heck drives around with containers of urine that they toss into the weeds?
Hope the weather is good and we can have a productive morning. See you on Saturday!
Peter Boghossian is a philosophy professor at Portland State University in Oregon. He is a dynamic speaker and specializes in non-technical discussions about critical thinking. He often works in prisons helping inmates to acquire the thinking skills for making better ethical choices and he also engages in socractic dialogs with believers that he may merely meet on the street. At our meeting we watched the portion of the video titled Jesus, the Easter Bunny and other delusions. The section we watched was his primary presentation, but the full video includes an extensive Q & A portion that we didn’t have time for. The full video is embedded below and it runs to about 1 1/2 hours. You can quit after the first 34 minutes or so that includes only his lecture. There is a break at that point before they start with the question period.
I have found his presentations to be really interesting and fun to watch. I’m likely to bring more of his videos to meetings at some point in the future, so fair warning.
You can go here to read a brief review of Dan’s book “An Infidel Body-Snatcher and the Fruits of his Philosophy: The Life of Dr. Charles Knowlton” written by Scott Lohman who is a member of Minnesota Atheists. Another longer review is available here.
I’ve heard there are other reviews available, but I haven’t had time to look for them yet. A member of LSF said he saw another favorable one on either the Wall Street Journal site or The Economist, but searches on those sites turned up nothing. If you find one, let me know where it is and I will post a link.
I was doing my usual morning blog browsing and hitting the usual spots when I noticed something on Mano Singham’s blog. He was commenting that if he were asked to list famous atheists of the 19th century his list would have probably began and ended with Robert Ingersoll…until now. Then he indicated that he was now discovering and learning about Dr. Charles Knowlton via a new biography written by Dan Allosso.
Now there’s a familiar name. Could it be the same Dan who has frequented our monthly meetings for the past few months? YES! Dan’s new book An Infidel Body-Snatcher and the Fruits of His Philosophy has been published, is available from Amazon and is in the clutches of Mano Singham. Congratulations to Dan.
Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, this is notice that Andrew Seidel from the legal staff of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), will be speaking at Davies Hall Theater on Wednesday, May 1st at 12 noon and again at 7:00 PM. The title for his presentation is “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage”.
Andrew is an expert on constitutional law and will address the persistent myth that the U.S. was founded on the basis of religious principles and specifically Christian ideology. As a staff attorney for the FFRF, Andrew works daily on responding to violations of the first amendment in the form of religion in our public schools, prayers at public meetings and religious displays in public spaces. The FFRF does a lot of the heavy lifting for all of us who value the freedom of religion, including none at all, that is the singular achievement of our governmental system.
Join us for an interesting and informative presentation on our nation’s history and legacy as the first with a purely secular government.
I’m not much of a sports fan, but I couldn’t help but notice that Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets today. As I understand it, other NFL teams have maybe a day or so to lay claim to his contract and if they fail to do so then he becomes a free agent and could be hired by any team without having to meet some contractual obligations. The consensus seems to be that it is likely that none of the NFL teams will want him. His career could easily be over.
The decline of Tebow’s career is not of much interest to me per se; the NFL is a tough environment and most players never get that far at all. What is of concern is that Tebow was famous or infamous for “taking a knee” for the Lord everytime something good happened while he was playing. It was a running joke of sorts to “take a Tebow” and “Tebowing” became a new verb – at least for a little while. With all the praying and supplicating that Tebow demonstrated in front of millions of people, you’d think the Lord might have actually helped him out a bit more. The silly truth is that even with this disaster in his career, Tebow will almost certainly announce that it is “god’s plan”, “god’s will” or some such nonsense and no one other than folks like me, will call him on it or point out that it is simply because he was a crummy quarter back when all things were considered; a flash in the pan so to speak.
If god was paying attention to Tebow on his knees thanking him for letting him complete a pass or run around the field without getting tackled right away, then why is he not paying attention now when Tebow’s career is going down the porcelain receptacle? I know you all have the answer: there ain’t no god listening to anything, but why do demonstrations like this have so little impact on the faithful? Was Tebow really evil and unworthy in the eyes of the lord? If so, why did he let him even become a flash in the pan? Was the lord just being his wicked, teasing self and toying with Tebow, leading him on? This is one of those situations where I would like to get a true believer to answer a few questions. Especially one who really believed that Tebow’s worshipful posture was truely influencing his god. How can they honestly not see this as a catastrophe for faith? What the hell is your god good for if he can’t keep his eye on the prize. Why raise up Tebow and then let Tebow sink into oblivion and end up selling used cars in Florida? Not a deep topic I suppose, but it bugs me. The faithful have some ‘splainen’ to do yet again.
A recent article referenced at the Richard Dawkins site and available here, reports research on the attitudes and behaviors of christians today and notes that an increasing number are becoming “post christians“. As best I can tell, this means that while they self-describe themselves as christian, they don’t necessarily behave like “real” christians or hold the same traditional beliefs. Things measured include frequency of praying to god (going down), frequency of attending a church (going down), percentage who are reading the bible on a regular basis (going down), percentage who consider faith an important part of their life (going down). Do you sense a trend here?
On about 15 different measures the study found that the percent of christians interviewed rated as low post christians (more traditional) vs. high post christians (less traditional), in each generation was going down. So each generation was rated as more post christian than the previous generation. The youngest group (18-28) had the highest percentage of post christians (48%) when compared with the oldest group (67 and up) with 28%. The article also notes that this all seems to fit in with the continued growth in the number of Americans who describe their religious affiliation as “none”.
At the end of the article you will find comments from some megachurch pastor who describes these findings not as evidence that people are moving away from religious belief, but instead, are avoiding the religious labels that have negative connotations.
“Peeling off the labels that cling to our reputation brings great freedom for us as individuals and as the global body of believers known as the Church,” wrote Groeschel.” (the pastor).
“Only when we push past those artificial constraints can we truly become who God created us to be.”
I think this is an instance of what some in the secular community call “polishing the turd”. Not exactly a phrase to use around the kitchen table, but it does seem to fit. Christianity isn’t going through a slow death in the U.S., it is reviving itself as post christianism. When no one is praying, going to church, reading the bible, valuing faith, etc., we will have achieved the ultimate serenity of being totally post christian. In fact, we will be so post we will be past! Keep on polishing. Give it a real shine.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was famously quoted a few weeks back saying the the Republican party needed to stop being the party of “stupid”. At the time it briefly looked like someone coming to their senses until everyone realized this was the same governor who had recently signed legislation allowing the teaching of creationism in their public schools.
That policy is now under a challenge from college student Zack Kopplin who was a high school student when the legislation was to take effect. Zack is a very sharp guy and has been embarrassing “adults” all over the place on the web, on TV news shows and elsewhere by being smarter and better informed than they are. Now, Jindal has doubled down on his assertion that teaching creationism in the schools should be allowed and maybe even encouraged. You can see a report on this here. There is also a video of Jindal at the same location “splainin” himself. Bobby simultaneously asserts that we should be teaching our kids the best science and also absolute crap. Talk about an equal opportunity for stupid!
What intrigued me about this clip was that it used what is now becoming a common challenge of creationists and that is “What are you afraid of?” if we allow creationism in the schools. As I’ve seen Zack point out in several forums, to ask what we are frightened of is not the point. The point is that it is a monumental waste of time to teach creationism. Its not alternative science, it is dead science and has been dead for many years. I wonder if Jindal would agree to spend a significant chunk of the school term teaching that the earth is flat or that alchemy is a viable alternative to chemistry and that pizza can be changed into big gold coins with the right incantation? To put up the idea that we are afraid to teach creationism (yee gods, it could turn out to be credible and valid!) is just nonsense.
So, it looks like Bobby is still in on the party of stupid and is likely to remain there for a long, long time. How many of you are afraid of creationism? Come on now, be honest or would it be better to say come on now you can be stupid if you really try. Bobby did it and so can you! Or not.
Here is an updated version of the video “Welcome to this World”. It was first produced back in 2011, but has been revised with some new content. The message is simple. Take the core teachings of the basic christian faith (with very small variations) and provide them in a clear communication to, well….a younger person. Sitting down with this and a true believer would be an interesting experience. There isn’t much wiggle room as to the real teachings and therein lies the problem. Let’s continue with the discussion of child abuse afterwards.