--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "authfriend" <authfriend@...> wrote:
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "salyavin808" <fintlewoodlewix@> wrote:
> > 
> > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "authfriend" <authfriend@> wrote:
> > >
> > > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "salyavin808" <fintlewoodlewix@> 
> > > wrote:
> > > (snip)
> > > > Fair play to [Dawkins] I say, nothing wrong with kicking the
> > > > hornets nest, it might do us some good but only if the new
> > > > ideas are better than the old ones. This is the athiests
> > > > trouble you can be as empirical as you like but not many
> > > > will give up their comforting allusions of eternal life
> > > > and replace it with the promise of a miserable death and
> > > > non-existence you get with the selfish gene.
> > > 
> > > It would be hard to accuse Aristotle and Aquinas and
> > > the like of doing no more than entertaining comforting
> > > illusions when they were formulating what became known
> > > as classical theism. The question is whether the
> > > atheists' empiricism is up to the task of rebutting
> > > what they *did* do.
> > 
> > That is indeed the question. And one that I settled in my
> > mind years ago. I still look for alternatives that mean I
> > get to live forever in paradise but no matter how clever, 
> > logical, well structured and intellectually satisfying a 
> > theory is it stands and falls on whether it gives us an 
> > accurate description of the world around us. 
> > 
> > Has classical theism survived the modern empirical view
> > of nature?
> Depends on what you're calling the "modern empirical
> view of nature," I think. That's pretty broad. Classical
> theism isn't biblically literalist, if that's what you're
> assuming. As you saw with Feser's account of Aquinas,
> Aquinas didn't even stipulate that the universe had a
> beginning, let alone that it began 4,000 years ago and
> took only seven days. 

Poor old Thomas, he would have loved being alive now.
All his questions answered, especially as we know how old 
the universe is.
> At this point I don't know enough about the
> arguments to say how much, if at all, they depend on a
> view of the world that would legitimately be considered
> unscientific. My guess is very little. My impression is
> that they are *way* more sophisticated than you imagine.
> I'm sure they're way more sophisticated than *I*
> imagined, based on what I've read of Feser so far.

Sophisticated means nothing if the arguments are unsound.

> > Isn't all theism motivated by wishful thinking
> > even if you don't like to admit it?
> Well, the motivation doesn't matter if the arguments
> are sound, does it?


> I'm sure many theists are believers on the basis of
> little more than wishful thinking. But people like Feser
> may be a different kettle of fish, given that he was
> firm and happy in his atheism for a decade, changing his
> mind only after studying the classical arguments for
> theism.

I can't wait.
> > > "And those are only (some of) the errors on pages 77–79."
> > 
> > Maybe just lazy.
> Inexcusably so, I'd say. He defeats his own purpose to
> make his case using what are so easily identifiable as
> straw-man arguments. Do read the rest of that piece as
> well, though.
> > None of these disprove the Darwinist position on the world,
> > just perhaps the lack of proper research on Dawkin's part - 
> > I haven't read either book. But his Blind Watchmaker book
> > is excellent even if *all* religionists reject Paley's
> > argument because it's about looking at the *actual* facts
> > of life rather than what we want them to be.
> > 
> > Remember that the god delusion was written to provoke what RD
> > sees as a long overdue debate about how mankind thinks about
> > itself. RD thought that maybe man would like to dispose of
> > iron age or medieval beliefs if they serve no purpose other
> > than to hold us in a past we should have grown out of.
> Big "if" on all counts. You (and apparently Dawkins)
> *define* "iron age or medieval beliefs" as ones we should
> have grown out of, but that's premature as long as the
> arguments that support (or even generate) them haven't
> been definitively refuted.

RDs argument is that 9/11, institional oppression of
women, creationism, trusting a moral code because god
says so, religious wars etc are all good enough reasons
for an evaluation of where we are. Why limp on with all
the pointless, irrational and dangerous baggage of ages
past? Surely we can do better at organising ourselves
than trusting in wisdom allegedly received millenia ago?

I can't think of much that hasn't been refuted to be
honest. But RDs opinion is that superior beliefs will
replace inferior ones. He is obviously in error with
that but the more people that question what they were 
taught the better?
> Given the strength of the arguments, it would be hard to
> make a case that the beliefs they support are not
> thoroughly intellectually respectable. Whether they're
> ultimately "right" or not is another question.
> > > He doesn't spare the American equivalent of the "soft-
> > > headed numpties" either. Poor vicarish chaps are getting
> > > it from both sides.
> > 
> > Quite right too. Dawkins interviewed the archbishop of Canterbury
> > about his beliefs and was astonished that this king of wooly
> > thinking didn't really believe most of the bible - except as
> > moral teaching - leading Dawkins to ask why he didn't preach
> > science from the pulpit if he agrees with it so much. He didn't 
> > have an answer really, part of the weird disconnect that the 
> > devout must have these days if they are honest.
> Frankly, I wouldn't trust Dawkins's account of the
> archbishop's views. He could be right, but I'd have
> to see a transcript of the interview. Or is it on
> video somewhere?

RD isn't stupid. And the old ABofC was the most waffling
of them all. He must be aware that if you modify something
that is supposed to be god's word - which you have to do if
you want to remain credible - then you aren't being true
to your teaching. Remember the pope accepting the reality
of evolution but refusing to discuss the big bang as that
is god's domain? That's the sort of foolishness that RD thinks
we have to fight, in fact he told the AB that real hardcore
fundies were the true christians.

I like RD, no sophistry with him.

> > And then there's the dangerous side like religious schools
> > where kids are taught things that are blatantly, demonstrably
> > untrue. Isn't lying to children illegal?
> Don't know, but if not, it should be. What's going on
> in some school systems here is scandalous, reprehensible.
> > RD met a science teacher at a high school in the UK who believes
> > the earth is 4000 years old. How can you hold both knowledge and
> > belief with exploding in cognitive dissonance. This teacher didn't
> > mind and perfectly understood both positions. Poor RD was stunned
> > into silence.
> Again, I'd need to see the actual discussion. Really, I
> just don't trust Dawkins to accurately or fairly represent
> the views of religionists.

That's me your trusting there. I'm well dependable.
I shall have a look on youtube for some RD interviews.
> > So there is a debate to had I think.
> Probably always will be. But if one thinks one has
> refuted all the arguments for theism, one damn well
> better know what they are.

The best way of refuting an argument for god is to
come up with a more convincing alternative. He's sure
good at that without annoying bishops. Taking the theists
on one psalm at a time is pointless, he's better off just 
writing about the natural world and how it works and
letting people work out the selfish gene for themselves.

> > I shall read the links with interest. Cheers.
> Lotta reading!

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