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Go to: UPDATED 1/1/10: Last minute offer! A HUGE Thank You! The last day of our fundraising drive

Alan Brain's Avatar Jump to comment 114 by Alan Brain

#446753 "Please - someone say something to make me feel better"

True, it's very depressing that this smug, pudgy snake-oil salesman can raise $2.4 million just like that -- but hopefully the following will make you feel better:-

It's only money after all, mate, and in a hundred years' time, you can be sure that Rick Warren will be completely and utterly forgotten -- but I guarantee you that Richard Dawkins' name will still be remembered and honoured, for his great intellectual contributions towards helping us understand this world -- and all the beauty in it.

Wed, 06 Jan 2010 01:07:00 UTC | #429106

Go to: UPDATED 1/1/10: Last minute offer! A HUGE Thank You! The last day of our fundraising drive

Alan Brain's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Alan Brain

That devastating article by Paula Kirby posted here yesterday (about the long-running and despicable abuse of children by the Catholic church in Ireland) has inspired me to kick in a hundred bucks to Richard's wonderful Foundation for Science and Reason. The more science, and the more reason, this world is exposed to, the less this kind of sick inversion of morality will be able to get away with it in the future.

Let's indeed all chip in a bit more then to make it to $150k, to mark the 150th anniversary of Darwin's great publication of science and reason.

Onward, Atheist Soldiers!

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 01:01:00 UTC | #426999

Go to: Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry vs. The Catholics

Alan Brain's Avatar Jump to comment 274 by Alan Brain

The religious apologist Karen Armstrong in her latest book "The Case for God" (Knopf, N.Y. 2009) states (p.xvi) "It is a pity that Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris... refuse, on principle, to dialogue with theologians who are more representative of mainstream tradition... Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians have insisted for centuries that God does not exist and that there is 'nothing' out there; in making these assertions... their aim was not to deny the reality of God but to safeguard God's transcendence."

This is an extraordinary claim. Hitchens here is clearly having a "dialogue" with a theologian (a Catholic Archbishop) who Armstrong (an ex-nun) can hardly deny is "representative of mainstream tradition". Similarly, in the same series of debates, on 29 November. Dawkins will be debating Richard Harris, former Bishop of Oxford (and he previously did an extensive filmed interview with him for the documentary "The Enemies of Reason"). This Bishop is presumably also indisputably "mainstream". So what evidence does Armstrong have that the three people she names "on principle" refuse such dialogues? I suspect that Hitch (never one to be able to resist temptation) would be delighted to trounce Armstrong in a public debate.

Her claim that so many of these theologians "have insisted for centuries that God does not exist" is dubious -- but leaving that aside, the last part of the quote above ("their aim was... to safeguard God's transcendence")is evasive mumbo-jumbo. It might be more appropriate to substitute on that last word "God's unfalsifiability" (or at least, that claims about the properties of any god are unfalsifiable). In other words, Armstrong is in effect saying: we theologians can make any claims we like about the Great Juju Who Lives Under The Sea, without anyone being able to prove us wrong, because the Juju has the quality of "sub-submarinence".

Sat, 14 Nov 2009 23:43:00 UTC | #413516

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