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← A Christmas thunderbolt for the arch-enemy of religion

A Christmas thunderbolt for the arch-enemy of religion - Comments

John Phillips's Avatar Comment 1 by John Phillips

Another christian who claims to know the mind of god, and they call us atheists arrogant, yawn. However, even assuming that any atheist, RD included, know nothing about theology, why is it necessary to know anything about it to dismiss the existence of a god based purely on the evidence, or rather lack of, presented so far. After all theology presents no evidence for god simply studying the nature of god and the relationship of the human and the divine with the a priori assumption that a god exists.

Not so much a thunderbolt so much as another fizzing squib with the same unproven and misguided assertions with the odd ad hominem thrown in for good measure, i.e. the old same old, same old.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 16:41:00 UTC | #12821

Jared's Avatar Comment 2 by Jared

I'm sorry. After reading about a quarter of this and hearing absolutely nothing new, I simply cannot rationalize spending any more time on it.

The author claims Richard Dawkins is immodest...um, so taking on the guise of GOD HIMSELF is the height of modesty?

The fact that all of these attacks against Dawkins himself (who CARES if he let his wife read his book aloud???) are being substituted, by and large, for attacks on his logic does two things for me:

First, it shows me that the believers truly do not have solid ground on which to stand and are the ones (as Eagleton said in the title of his own GHASTLY review) lunging, flailing, and mispunching. None of them has yet landed a solid blow.

Second, the increasing frequency of publication of these stale arguments shows that Dawkins has touched a nerve, and that these people are most definitely put off! To me, that can only be a good thing. A book about god's likely non-existence that bothers no-one is an ineffective book.

Thank goodness this debate is back in the public eye. It probably would require more faith in humanity than I have currently to assume that people will recognize Dawkins's superior logic and not simply follow these ill-informed screeds. However, I have little reason to not at least HOPE that some people are seeing through the mist of religious indoctrination and finding more important and tangible things in life than god.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 17:11:00 UTC | #12829

Pilot22A's Avatar Comment 3 by Pilot22A

"Stalin's atheism, moreover, was no mere private foible, either. It was a violent feature of his ideology. He oppressed, imprisoned, tortured and murdered the Orthodox faithful, destroying their icons and their churches, throughout the length and breadth of Russia. Mao Tse-tung, another enthusiastic atheist, followed suit, and his anti-religious policies continue to this day in China."

So Stalin, clearly a wacko, killed lots of Xians. What's that to do with Evolutionary Biology?

Dawkins "The God Delusion" is worth reading. It has some editing problems and his inclusion of people like Bush and Coulter make for somewhat uncomfortable reading.

Darwinists and evolutionary biologists will never convince believers with logical attacks on religion, and Dawkins may agree here.

What will win converts is the systematical filling of gaps in the evolutionary record, slowly pushing the idea of a creator out.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 18:42:00 UTC | #12835

diquea's Avatar Comment 4 by diquea

I admire whoever plowed through the entire thing. As far as I got, I thought it was funny that he referred to the Boeing 747 argument, since TGD has a section entitled "The Ultimate Boeing 747."

In any case, I don't suppose there is really any reason to read it all, I'm sure the rest is as redundant as the 747 bit. It was also a rather annoying perspective from which to write the article. If an intelligent god exists, this certainly is an insult to it.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 19:13:00 UTC | #12838

Cholmonedeley's Avatar Comment 5 by Cholmonedeley

G_D said:
" Did you never learn that Marx, who characterised religion as the "opium of the people", conjured up a dream of the perfectibility of humankind according to mechanical laws that operate like those of the natural sciences."

Here's the full quote, for your consideration:

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." --Karl Marx

I hate defending Marx, but the last bit of that quotation is often taken way too far out of context. Maybe, in between castigating Mr. Dawkins for not doing his research and offering only arguments from effect concerning religion, he should have done a little background research.

And although the article contains a good refutation of the notion that Hitler was a Roman Catholic, it dwells just a bit too narrowly on the beliefs of the "top dogs." It's ironic that such an angry defense of religion should include these gems, right next to each other:

"Hitler cynically played fast and loose with religion, to manipulate the German people."

Conveniently exonerating the German people for going along with Hitler. Maybe if religion were as beneficial as the LORD thinks, it would have taught them to be more free-thinking.

"Whenever and wherever he deemed religionists a threat to his own self-idolatry he persecuted them and purged them."

And when they helped Hitler and Stalin, they were rewarded. That religion was on the wrong end of the bayonet was a coincidence of politics and ideology, not inherent opposition to tyranny.

I also took issue with this little bit:

" There is no more powerful incentive for universal respect than the proposition that all without exception are children of God and find their ultimate destiny in Me."

A) The LORD again assigns qualities to religion which are by no means innate to it.
B) That's a matter of opinion. Personally, I think the principle of Self-Ownership is pretty good.

I really never thought that G_D would dance around the question of its existence so thoroughly. But I guess when you can't answer a question, you're already limiting yourself to people who already agree with you, so it doesn't matter.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 19:37:00 UTC | #12843

denoir's Avatar Comment 6 by denoir

It's funny how the same logical fallacies are used over and over again by the defenders of theism.

If A belongs to subsets S,T then S is a subset of T.

It's the association fallacy of course. "Stalin was immoral. Stalin was an atheist. Hence atheists are immoral."

Or simply: "Hitler supported A, therefor A is evil."

The other popular one is the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" - after this, therefore because of this, a typical implication fallacy.

"Stalin was an atheist. He murdered may people. Hence Stalin's atheism was the cause for the murdering".

If one would do a checklist with the twenty or so most common logical fallacies, I can guarantee you that a large percentage would be checked in articles like this one. From that point of view, it might actually have some educational value.

I cannot help but find it amazing though is that all of these fallacies were well known and defined in ancient Greece and ancient Rome and yet 2000+ years later people fall for them so easily.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 21:22:00 UTC | #12856

Aussie's Avatar Comment 7 by Aussie

"Hitler cynically played fast and loose with religion, to manipulate the German people. Whenever and wherever he deemed religionists a threat to his own self-idolatry he persecuted them and purged them. Apart from the Jewish genocide, he persecuted and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Christians, Protestant and Catholic, for their faith."

What I find even more interesting than this is that neither during nor after the war did the Vatican excommunicate even a single one of the many Nazi Catholics responsible for these attrocities.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 21:55:00 UTC | #12859

DV82XL's Avatar Comment 8 by DV82XL

How pompous can you get? But then again how typical - believers of a certain type have always assumed that they are channelling for their deity - the pathetic thing is that there is a constiuancy that swallows this assumption.

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 22:25:00 UTC | #12864

yokebutt's Avatar Comment 9 by yokebutt

Impersonating God, and poorly at that, there's a one-way ticket to Hell if I ever saw one.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 00:12:00 UTC | #12874

Algebratheist's Avatar Comment 10 by Algebratheist

jesus titty fucking christ. there is no god!!!!!!!!!

Another impersonation:
Richard, you are not my child. You have not accepted Christ as your saviour therefore to the lake of fire you go. that is all.

Yet another impersonation: Richard, I am the Totem Pole of a large tribe. You have not recognized me. Therefore you must be hung in the forest upsidedown for 10hrs. If you survive you have a second chance. (who knows if this tribe really exists)

FUCK!

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 00:50:00 UTC | #12878

Algebratheist's Avatar Comment 11 by Algebratheist

Dawkins has NEVER said that religion is the ONLY root of evil! Dawkins knows Communism, tribalism, nationalism, etc etc etc are other roots! Dawkins just thinks (rightly) that religion is the only one that cant be criticized. this guy needs to watch the Beyond Belief session with Dawkins, Harris and 2 other guys whose names fled me. its the later one where Harris speaks first.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 00:56:00 UTC | #12879

stevencarrwork's Avatar Comment 12 by stevencarrwork

CORNWELl'But consider the wise warning of GK Chesterton. When people cease to believe in God, they come to believe not in nothing, but in anything.'

CARR
More ignorance from a Dawkins-reviewer. Chesterton did not say that.

CORNWELL
'Are you not aware that Hitler yearned for religion's capitulation to science? In his rambling table talk he declared that "the dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. When understanding of the universe has become widespread . . . then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity". '

CARR
I would like to see the original German for that!

I can find no passage in my copy of 'Tischgespraeche', by the original stenographer.

Hitler explicitly denied Darwinism and thought of human beings as specially created by God.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 01:42:00 UTC | #12882

stevencarrwork's Avatar Comment 13 by stevencarrwork

'The profound verities of the Sermon on the Mount'?

What tosh!

Does Cornwell put oil on his head when he fasts?

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 01:44:00 UTC | #12883

bottersnike's Avatar Comment 14 by bottersnike

This ridiculous article made me cross when I read it yesterday; I noted then that the Times didn't have the nerve to allow comments on it. I hope RD is given space for some sort of response.

Strikes me that this wasn't written by god, but by a man putting thoughts into the mouth of an imaginary being. Much like the bible itself in fact!

Merry Christmas and all that.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 02:32:00 UTC | #12887

goddogit's Avatar Comment 15 by goddogit

More proof that any God derived from the Bible, and especially the OT, is not simply rot, but ugly, vile rot.

Keep 'em coming, Mr. Cornwall and all you half-assed pretend believers! When Jimmy Carter dies, you will enable me to assume not even one real Christian worthy of respect - intellectually, morally, spiritually - lives any monger upon the planet Earth: just scumbag power-tripping Xians on one side and hollow-men/stuffed-men rationalising Cornwallists trying to impress themselves on the other.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 02:51:00 UTC | #12888

mikejswalker's Avatar Comment 16 by mikejswalker

pompous, jealous laden, self absorbed, pernicious, facile, history tweaking, hole ridden bucket of piss. God must be knackered after typing such drivel whilst having to remember to capitalize himself all the time. this will piss off atheists and theists alike.

have a peaceful holiday.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 03:25:00 UTC | #12889

Lionel A's Avatar Comment 17 by Lionel A

What utter tripe from somebody who has the gall to describe Dawkins as 'historically naive' and then go on about The Church in the Dark Ages being a source of comfort for the distressed, what does this excuse for a thinker consider was responsible for the Dark Ages in the first place.

Why can he not grasp that Dawkins has never suggested that he is a substitute for god? How could he for he does not believe in such a fallacious concept as god.

Further, by the misquoting of Richard, he dares to accuse Richard of 'a pitiful lack of background reading.'

That the Times (Sunday at a guess) should go to a double page spread for this dire diatribe, or the best part thereof, demonstrates how this once illustrious paper is descending into the realms of its stablemate the good ol' News of The World, i.e. not to be taken seriously. Hence the reiteration of the tired old arguments WRT Stalin and Hitler.

This article has plumbed new depths in my opinion, otherwise nothing new.

What upsets me is that twits like this are paid, presumably, not inconsiderable sums for this idiocy. I had the wrong job for years it would seem, but at least my mind is easy.

Now to get on with Christmas :-)

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 04:27:00 UTC | #12893

Logicel's Avatar Comment 18 by Logicel

Circulation for mainstream journalistic vehicles are diminishing along with attendance in traditional churches (pentecostal and evangelical churches in Kenya, Brazil, America are not traditional). I wonder why? Is there something these traditional purveyors of journalism and church services are not getting? Something they have in common? Something they are not willing to provide for their customers?

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 04:41:00 UTC | #12897

Seti's Avatar Comment 19 by Seti

Usual tosh. Just longer.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 04:50:00 UTC | #12898

JohnC's Avatar Comment 20 by JohnC

"Most sensible believers in the book subscribe without demur to Darwin's theory of evolution ..."

No, they didn't. They just lost the argument (remember Wilberforce) and were forced to change their tune to hold onto their credibility.

"Jews were responsible, Nazi propaganda claimed, for actual epidemics in the east ..."

Jews were responsible, Christian proganda has claimed for 2000 years, for the death of Jesus, forming the ideological foundation for antisemitism.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 04:51:00 UTC | #12899

Kergillian's Avatar Comment 21 by Kergillian

Dear God,

Thank you for your responce to Richard Dawkins' The God Delision, however, I have a question.

Did you even read the book?

I know you said you did, and you can't lie, but after reading this, I suspect that you may not have read it. Maybe you just skimmed it. You are God after all, and you are a very busy diety, so maybe you didn't have time to read the whole thing. It would be understandable.

So I urge you to please read it again. All the way through this time and think about it very carefuly.

Afterwards, I don't think even you will believe in you.

Love,

-Jim

PS, Can I have a Playstation 3?

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 05:14:00 UTC | #12902

Irate Harry's Avatar Comment 22 by Irate Harry

This man Cornwell is the very product of the child abuse that RD talks of. Consider this -

"...Born into a destitute family with a dominating Irish-Catholic mother and an absconding father during World War II in London, John Cornwell's childhood was deeply dysfunctional. When he was thirteen years old he was sent to Cotton College, a remote seminary for boys in the West Midlands countryside. For the next five years Cornwell lived under an austere monastic regime as he wrestled with his emotional and spiritual demons. In the hothouse atmosphere of the seminary he strove to find stable, loving friendships among his fellows and fatherly support from the priests, one of whom proved to be a sexual predator.

The wild countryside around the seminary, the moving power of church ritual and music, and a charismatic priest enabled him to persevere. But while normal teenagers were being swept up by the rock 'n' roll era, Cornwell and his fellow seminarians continued to be emotionally and socially repressed. Secret romantic attachments between seminarians were not uncommon; on visits home they were overwhelmed by the powerful attractions of the emerging youth culture of the 1950s. But when they returned to Cotton College, the boys were once again governed by the age-old traditions and disciplines of seminary life. And like many young seminarians, Cornwell struggled with a natural adolescent rebelliousness, which in one crucial instance provoked a crisis that would eventually lead to his decision to abandon his dream of becoming a priest."


One feels profoundly sorry for the man, but I do not think the crisis of his formative years has passed yet. Cornwell's own smugly sanctimonious christian 'god delusion' (an irresistible double entendre) illustrates the outcome of rape of human intellect by the egregious religious establishment.

Thor, Vishnu, Zeus, Shiva, Wotan and all the other gods must be spitting in their graves, going "Who the f*#& is this late-coming upstart christian god trying to monopolise stupidity? We have been toiling our fingers to the bone for so long...". (Any takers to put their thoughts into words? I am crap at it :-< )

Wish you all a god-free Christmas, thereby peaceful and intellectually enjoyable.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 05:37:00 UTC | #12905

Kimpatsu's Avatar Comment 23 by Kimpatsu

I am sick of this imposter, Cornwall, claiming to write in my name.
Everyone knows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the One True God.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 06:38:00 UTC | #12908

G Bile's Avatar Comment 24 by G Bile

God quotes:
*"The pre-eminent mystery," Rees has stated, "is why anything exists at all"*
Nothing wrong with this statement, in my opinion. The only thing that can be remarked is: let us be happy that 'something' does exist and just forget about the 'why', because that is completely irrelevant.
But God knows more (another quote):
*"Such questions lie beyond science, however; they are the province of philosophers and theologians."*
Boy, is He wrong. Whatever theologians may say: 'There is a God, there are many Gods' or whatever, even they will never, ever answer the 'why - question' because there will always be a further 'why'.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 08:49:00 UTC | #12915

Fouad Boussetta's Avatar Comment 25 by Fouad Boussetta

Religion passes judgment on anything that moves.
Yet to judge it is "arrogant".
That really kills me.
"Judge not lest you be judged"!

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 09:50:00 UTC | #12916

Lionel A's Avatar Comment 26 by Lionel A

Logicel:

troublingly it would seem, according to a recent article in The Observer, that the Roman Catholic Church in the UK is bouncing back due to the many migrants comming from Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.

But then these disparate groups in time are more likely to cause fracturing and discord. Watch this space as they say - with some trepidition and a heavy heart.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 12:55:00 UTC | #12927

Lionel A's Avatar Comment 27 by Lionel A

Irate Harry thank you for providing a context for the ire of Cornwall, a classic case it would seem, poor fellow.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 12:56:00 UTC | #12928

IANVS's Avatar Comment 28 by IANVS

The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it. -- Mark Twain

www.twainquotes.com/God.html

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 14:47:00 UTC | #12931

TearTheRoofOffTheSucker's Avatar Comment 29 by TearTheRoofOffTheSucker

"Hello. I am God. I am going to write you an incredibly long essay about the reasoning behind my existance. but first, I am going to read The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins."

*Reads The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins*

"Oh dear. It appears I don't exist."

*puff*

Bit of a farce that 'God' needs to write an essay on the reasoning behind his existance. "Hi I'm God" is all but too much for him. He needs to spend hours of his precious disaster preventing time (pah!) writing this trail of 'evidence' (drivvel) instead.

I'm aware that that was not necessarily the entire reason for the article; he was just a little pissed at RD for trying to debunk him. On this note, I evaluate that the reasoning behind his existance is somewhat likely to be the ultimate path or purpose of the article. I doubt he would have labelled himself under his name if it wasn't. If however, I am wrong on this idea, then assume that my rants are just about religion in general. I like doing that. After all, I could not be arsed to read the entire passage. The first quarter almost sent me to sleep. The only thing keeping me awake was the ability to debunk it all. Made me feel smart. Although it's likely that his words were rehashes of things I've debunked many times before anyway.

Ahem...

If the existance of God is found through Faith, and reason and science are 'below' the understanding of God, it baffles me that someone would try reasoning his existance. You can't have it both ways. People try and produce evidence for his existance, and as soon as you challenge them with your own, rational response, then evidence goes out the window.

How convenient.

Faith: The most evasive word in the dictionary.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 15:17:00 UTC | #12932

TearTheRoofOffTheSucker's Avatar Comment 30 by TearTheRoofOffTheSucker

If people were not told about any religions they would not believe in any particular god! They may believe in something divine, but certainly not anything as specific (whilst vague at the same time.... Funny that) as, for example, the Christian God.

On that note, we are ALL born as atheists. Every one of us. That's what makes Atheism unique. At the age of 6 months we do NOT believe in any Gods. Hell we probably can't even perceive Santa Clause for crying out loud.

I have a lot of confidence in the notion that someone who does not believe in any particular religious belief, would/does NOT break down and kill themselves at any dark moment. They cling to something else; family, friends, sense of one's self, belief in one's self, reassurance, love for life, love for nature, philosophy etc.

I think this introduces the idea that people 'needing' religion is an illusion. It is an illusion provided by the fact that religion serves as possibly the only form of solid grounding for them to lean on. It's number 1 priority in their mind and they choose to cling to it in times of need. The reason it is an illusion, is that they most likely didn't NEED it at all. It was just the dominant 'option' at the time. Had they not believed/known in/about religion, they certainly wouldn't NEED religion. Hell I don't. Why does anybody else?

Many people claim to have needed religion in dark times, but fail to realize that it is merely ONE form of help or reassurance. It's just that they are under the illusion that without it, they would not survive; that it is the ONLY form of help or reassurance. It is all important. That's the power of religion. The power that it portrays itself as all important fact.

Well, it's not, as far as I'm concerned. God can stick his scribblings up his back passage sideways.

Mon, 25 Dec 2006 15:35:00 UTC | #12934