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God is the question - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

I am at a loss for words, to express my contempt for this sort of deepity tosh! I can summon up a kind of wry (if not affectionate) amusement at the antics of a Ray Comfort, but this sort of obscurantist deepity makes me want to throw up. The very apotheosis of the theological mind.

Richard

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 07:59:00 UTC | #426341

stevencarrwork's Avatar Comment 2 by stevencarrwork

How can you keep people in the dark?

You can put them in dungeons, or like the author, you can envelop them in fog.

As Carl Sagan said, science is a candle in the dark.

But some people prefer the darkness.

Religion is not a different way of knowing, as the author proves.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:06:00 UTC | #426342

Metch's Avatar Comment 3 by Metch

Deepity: sums this whole article up perfectly. Same old poetic language, straw-man, etc.. I have asked the question, I think it's a question worth asking. I've looked into it, and the more I look into it, the more it confirms my unbelief.
The existence of a God seems highly unlikely, because intelligence such as ours is only known to be possible through terrestrial evolution.
My beliefs are temporary, they change with evidence.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:08:00 UTC | #426343

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 4 by Mr DArcy

The trick is to develop a path that feeds the doubt, that re-invigorates the question, that keeps the mystery alive. That might be a good definition of religion.


I think this author got that bit right. The more "mystery" the more obscure the view of the world. If that's a reason for Rowan Williams, (Archbishop of Cant), to be happy, then ignorance is indeed, bliss. What was that old saying: "A fool can ask more questions in 5 minutes than a wise man can answer in 5 years".

When the theologians eventually do come up with "answers", reality invariably proves them wrong. Keep it vague, keep it vague! Don't let the dog see the rabbit.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:27:00 UTC | #426345

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 5 by Richard Dawkins

Don't let the dog see the rabbit.
Talking of rabbits, MirandaCeleste has a nice rabbity parody on her blog:
http://www.mirandacelestehale.net/?p=1041
Richard

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:30:00 UTC | #426346

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 6 by Mr DArcy

I suppose the true meaning of Easter is the Easter Bunny. Personally, I've always sympathised with Mr. MacGreggor in his battles with Peter Rabbit!

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:44:00 UTC | #426348

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 7 by Stafford Gordon

The instant that god is invoked in any discourse meaningful exchange is at an end.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:47:00 UTC | #426349

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 8 by Richard Dawkins

Josh called it 'theo-masturbation'. Excellent expression, and it perfectly sums up what Karen Armstrong, Terry Eagleton and all those pretentious pseuds do, all the time.

Richard

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:54:00 UTC | #426350

mmurray's Avatar Comment 9 by mmurray

The Oxford church historian tells of a 'wise old Dominican friar' who informed him that God is not the answer. Rather, God is the question.


Xmas cracker theology. How appropriate for the season.

Michael

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:56:00 UTC | #426351

John Desclin's Avatar Comment 10 by John Desclin

Questions of which we know beforehand that they are unanswerable are, IMHO at least, devoid of any meaning. They are the symptoms of mental pathology!
(perhaps philosophers have another opinion, but this is beyond me)

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:58:00 UTC | #426352

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 11 by Adrian Bartholomew

God as the cause of existence, not something that exists.
Possibly the dumbest thing ever written… Or perhaps unintentionally honest :-)

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:06:00 UTC | #426354

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 12 by MattHunX

Deepity?

Strange word. I never heard that before. Can someone be a dictionary-for-a-day for me?

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:10:00 UTC | #426355

chalkers's Avatar Comment 13 by chalkers

Here's to another article void of any substance - it leaves you so unsatisfied you feel your mind has become a vacuous landscape.

Seriously, these people who fluff up the existence of god in this 'poetic language' answering no questions at all, revelling in the obscurity of their own language need a sharp dose of common sense. Do they have to suppress their common sense for the appearance of intellect or are they genuinely inept?

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:12:00 UTC | #426356

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 14 by Adrian Bartholomew

I just read the Holy Rabbit link above and I gotta say I don’t like this counter argument much. It’s funny and yes the argument it’s poking fun at is indeed dumb as nuts but the rabbit analogy isn’t a fair one IMO. I’ve seen theists do the same kind of “analogy fail” on evolution, likening it to dice rolling and casino games and the problem isn’t evolution but the crap analogy and I’m uncomfortable when I see us do similar analogies to the theists. I think the humour of comparing god to a rabbit actually DISTRACTS from the ridiculousness of the arguments the theists put forward.

Or perhaps I’m still in a bad mood from this Christmas malarkey :-)

PS: Deepity: Any statement that has two meanings one of which is true but superficial and another that is profound but meaningless. I would like to expand the meaning to any statement that on the face of it appears deep and insightful but on further examination is stupid as I want to use the word more often.

EDIT:I apologise for the appalling grammar in this post. I am suitably ashamed of myself.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:20:00 UTC | #426357

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 15 by Peter Grant

Where does this guy get off quoting Douglas Adams?
Blasphemer!

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:23:00 UTC | #426358

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 16 by Richard Dawkins

Deepity: Any statement that has two meanings one of which is true but superficial and another that is profound but meaningless.
This word was coined by Dan Dennett at the AAI conference in Burbank this year. I feel quite possessive about it because his talk was one of the highspots in the symposium on science that RDFRS sponsored, and Liz Cornwell initiated and organized on our behalf.
Richard

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:34:00 UTC | #426359

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 17 by Rodger T

If

God is the question


is the answer ,Fuck off?

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:03:00 UTC | #426361

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 18 by Cartomancer

As Terry Pratchett wryly observed, once you get the hang of it you can easily bash out these sorts of pearls of wisdom at a rate of ten every minute...

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:04:00 UTC | #426362

flying goose's Avatar Comment 19 by flying goose

I have to say I rather liked it, but then I am religious tending towards agnosticism and Mr Vernon is formally religious and now agnostic. Perhaps my mindset finds it easier to feel empathy with his.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:21:00 UTC | #426363

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 20 by Mark Jones

Mark Vernon and his apophatic friends have 'nothing positive' to say about God.

I guess we can agree on that.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:28:00 UTC | #426364

bucketchemist's Avatar Comment 21 by bucketchemist

I'm at a loss to see how this article is in any way obscure or obfuscating. It seems very straightforward to me. The only possible confusion could be over the word 'god' which, because of its historical baggage, is open to misinterpretation, but since it is here used only as a synonym for 'mystery' I don't see the problem. Am I missing something?

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:37:00 UTC | #426365

decius's Avatar Comment 22 by decius

Comment #444977 by bucketchemist

Am I missing something?


A dictionary.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:44:00 UTC | #426366

flying goose's Avatar Comment 23 by flying goose

decius

A dictionary


Thereby, hangs the difference between different kinds of people.

If only things were that black and white, red and blue, Green and purple.

We would not have all the arguments we do have.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:54:00 UTC | #426367

mmurray's Avatar Comment 24 by mmurray

The only possible confusion could be over the word 'god' which, because of its historical baggage, is open to misinterpretation, but since it is here used only as a synonym for 'mystery' I don't see the problem


It becames difficult to have a rational shit if you keep changing the meaning of words. Of course I am using the word shit here as a synonym for discussion so don't be distracted by its historical baggage.

Michael

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:01:00 UTC | #426368

critica's Avatar Comment 26 by critica

Theology has only obfuscation as its guiding principle. Any attempt at actual clarity would undo the theological thread and the whole thing would fall apart.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:14:00 UTC | #426370

bucketchemist's Avatar Comment 25 by bucketchemist

@mmurray
As the article mentions, there is something of a history of the god concept which does align it with 'mystery', as opposed to the anthropomorphic entity which nobody with half a brain could entertain for five minutes. As for your example, if there was any kind of history at all of the word 'shit' being used in place of the word 'discussion' you might have a point, but since there isn't then I would have to conclude that you are talking pure discussion.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:14:00 UTC | #426369

flying goose's Avatar Comment 28 by flying goose

Michael

It becames difficult to have a rational shit if you keep changing the meaning of words. Of course I am using the word shit here as a synonym for discussion so don't be distracted by its historical baggage.


It becames difficult to have a rational conversation if you keep changing the meaning of words. Of course I am using the word conversation here as a synonym for discussion so don't be distracted by its historical baggage.

I word say that words are not fixed in quite the way some would want them to be. Language is always on the move.

Take the words 'Warden' and 'Guardian', their origins are the same, french, however the first is Norman whilst the latter is Parisian and later.

Their meanings, whilst similar are different.

The art of conversation seems to me to hold with it an ability to pick out the these nuances and ask for clarification when needed.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:15:00 UTC | #426372

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Jerry Coyne has a discussion of Dennetts notion of deepity on his blog

Dan Dennett talked about interviews with active priests and ministers who are atheists, and also mounted a hilarious attack on theologians like Karen Armstrong, who mouth pious nonsense like, “God is the God behind God.” Dennett calls this kind of language a “deepity”: a statement that has two meanings, one of which is true but superficial, the other which sounds profound but is meaningless. His exemplar of a deepity is the statement “Love is just a word.” True, it’s a word like “cheeseburger,” but the supposed deeper sense is wrong: love is an emotion, a feeling, a condition, and not just a word in the dictionary. He gave several examples of other deepities from academic theologians; when you see these things laid out — ripped from their texts — in a Powerpoint slide, they make you realize how truly fatuous are the lucubrations of people like Armstrong, Eagleton, and Haught. Sarcasm will be the best weapon against this stuff.


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/from-the-atheist-meetings/

You can find the talk on youtube.

Michael

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:15:00 UTC | #426371

mmurray's Avatar Comment 29 by mmurray

bucketchemist & flyinggoose

I take your point that the word God has some more flexibility than shit. But if God is a synonym for question what sense am I to make of these statements:

Question says homosexuality is a sin.

Question says my children will burn in hell for all eternity because they do not believe in Question.

One nation under Question.

When the religions of the world stand up and admit God is a question and therefore they don't know anything about him/her and declare that from now on they are no longer going to tell people what to do then I will stop being annoyed at this game. Until that happens my conclusion is that this is a dangerous semantical game being played to preserve the power and influence of the major religions.

Michael

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:28:00 UTC | #426373

flying goose's Avatar Comment 30 by flying goose

Question says homosexuality is a sin.
Question says my children will burn in hell for all eternity because they do not believe in Question.


That's not my Question!

Post Script
When the religions of the world stand up and admit God is a question and therefore they don't know anything about him/her and declare that from now on they are no longer going to tell people what to do then I will stop being annoyed at this game.


I think that is what Vernon is about, his words are read here as an attack on atheism. Perhaps they should be seen as attack on dogmatic religion.

He and me are engaged in a process not of apologetics, but one of undermining rigid religious answers.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:33:00 UTC | #426375