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← Should We Rid The Mind of God? A Debate

Should We Rid The Mind of God? A Debate - Comments

plastictowel's Avatar Comment 1 by plastictowel

You guys put this up already!
Regardless, an amazing debate of serious intellectual rigor (atkins) and farting (mcgrath).

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:25:00 UTC | #188384

blasphemer's Avatar Comment 2 by blasphemer

Why do I torture myself listening to another McGrath debate!?
Atkins is so right when he points out that McGrath just wants there to be a god to provide meaning and comfort for his life. McGrath provides the evidence for this himself in his discourse.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:43:00 UTC | #188388

TranshumanAtheist's Avatar Comment 3 by TranshumanAtheist

How does a god solve the meaning-and-purpose problem, any way? A god could, without logical contradiction, have created human life without any meaning or purpose at all. For another scenario, consider:

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:58:00 UTC | #188391

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 4 by TeraBrat

This is disturbing. McGrath is a very good charismatic speaker while Atkins is a bit "blah" in his speech mode. I'm not saying McGrath is right, but, a lot of people are won over by charisma.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:06:00 UTC | #188392

Saerain's Avatar Comment 5 by Saerain

Is there a cough-free second in any of this? It sounds as if the room is being gassed.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:55:00 UTC | #188397

lhunt3's Avatar Comment 6 by lhunt3

"What is the meaning of life?" "Why are we here?"

What could possibly be a meaningful answer to this question other than one that invokes claims about the world, and thus becomes a matter for science? If it's simply a matter of value, then it is true that science cannot study it. But then again, it would be a question that has many different answers to depending on who you are.

And besides, religions do much more than give us values. They make claims about the world. When will people like McGrath finally get this. I can get values any where I want to, but believing in a sky daddy who has a son born of a virgin, etc... is not the best way.

Either way, I can't even think of a possible answer to the question of why we are here. It's not a real question.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:12:00 UTC | #188398

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 7 by TeraBrat


If you're religious it's easy. You're here to amuse and entertain god because even though he is so unbelievably all powerful and can create the most complex things with the snap of a finger, he's bored. In a nutshell you're gods' toy. And that's why we aren't immortal, all petulant children need to be able to break their toys and recieve new ones.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:19:00 UTC | #188399

Goldy's Avatar Comment 8 by Goldy


I'm not saying McGrath is right, but, a lot of people are won over by charisma.
Maybe, but then they'll read his book, or another fleabook, then maybe they'll stop to think ;-)
As it is, if you really believe, you'll never be swayed by anything. If you are wavering then it's either the "dark side" or another religion - my money's on another religion...probably Buddhism ;-). If you don't believe, then whatever McG's charisma, he is wrong and you know it.
Right, off home now. Must pick up fuel for fire - sodding cold today!

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:42:00 UTC | #188401

Inferno's Avatar Comment 9 by Inferno

I always thought McG had the charisma of a wet sock.

He had over an hour in the unedited interview for Root of All Evil to get his message across, but didn't say anything worth while.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:51:00 UTC | #188403

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

Forget pulling out fingernails, if you wanted to get any information out of me by force, all you would have to do is have McG start talking.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 21:26:00 UTC | #188407

crabsallover's Avatar Comment 11 by crabsallover

Peter Atkins advocates 'strong scientism'. Other than The Creation (1981) and Creation Revisited (1993) books does anyone know of any more recent writings by Peter Atkins on scientism?

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 22:52:00 UTC | #188412

DjSouthPaw's Avatar Comment 12 by DjSouthPaw

He makes a really good point in the first part though!.. the initial reason for doubting all theology for me. was people claiming there was a "why?" that applied to the existence of the universe , instead of just how

it's good pointing out that there is something childish and immature in the way we think that the universe owes us comfort

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 22:53:00 UTC | #188413

Thor'Ungal's Avatar Comment 13 by Thor'Ungal

I find it hard to see why believers feel they have any more "meaning of life" than we do. We are unbelievably happy that we are alive. They are unbelievably happy that they will be saved from their wretched, sinful existence, go to heaven and live FOREVER worshiping God.

Don't know about you but doesn't this beg the question "why" should this be concidered a meaning of life. It's almost like saying that the meaning of life for a dairy cow is to provide the farmer with milk. Externalising your meanings to life do not go about solving them.

On another point (previously made) I have trouble reconing why the idea of existing forever doesn't give more people the creeps. How many billions of years would it take before you went insane just for a bit of variety.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 23:55:00 UTC | #188419

freiversuch's Avatar Comment 14 by freiversuch

Boy, he really wiped the floor with McG. Lovely how these stupid arguments were destroyed in rapid speed.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 00:04:00 UTC | #188420

Johnny O's Avatar Comment 15 by Johnny O

Here's another Peter Atkins debate...

Thinking Critically

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 00:12:00 UTC | #188422

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 16 by clodhopper


When I was young I used to be an amateur astronomer and I used to look at the night sky and I knew just enough astronomy to know that the light from some of those stars wouldn't hit earth for hundreds of years

WTF. Am I missing something? I suspect he'll find that the light from the stars he's looking at must already have reached earth......der!

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 00:44:00 UTC | #188427

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 17 by gcdavis

Not a great debate and I was surprised at Atkins response to the faith in atheism question, instead of banging on about simplicity what he should have said is that atheism is simply an absence of faith, no more, no less. Perhaps what he meant was that atheism is the neutral state, before ideas of any type have been superimposed upon it. And this absence of faith is not restricted to belief in god but belief in anything. I stopped using the word believe about 40 years ago, preferring the phrase "it is reasonable to assume" and if my opinion on any matter is challenged I offer a rational explanation. Of course there are times when my opinion is confronted by another more convincing one and I have to change my mind.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 00:44:00 UTC | #188428

clatz's Avatar Comment 18 by clatz

clodhopper, that sentence is correct if he means the light the star is producing at the point in time he is gazing at it, not the light he is actually seeing.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 01:30:00 UTC | #188432

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 19 by clodhopper

clatz: You're right....just me being slow....but in that case he could've been a bit more generous and said millions of years.

As I was watching I noticed in the list of related videos is 'Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock' - Now that is tempting!

Peter Atkins:

"eating your grandmother might be a good thing to do"

Oh, I think not Peter...serious indegestion territory. But then the price of food is shocking.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 01:45:00 UTC | #188436

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 20 by rod-the-farmer

In the first section where McGrath speaks, he lost my vote. He says he had to "re-orientate" himself. No such word. Re-orient himself, certainly. A professor ? Bah.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 01:56:00 UTC | #188438

mr-zero's Avatar Comment 21 by mr-zero

McGrath has charisma? He makes my flesh crawl. The Uriah Heap of the religious community

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 02:25:00 UTC | #188440

Lemniscate's Avatar Comment 22 by Lemniscate

Whoever is won over by McGrath's charisma has a strange idea about charisma. Atkins has oodles more charisma than McGrath.

When asked a difficult question, McGrath physically squirms around while telling you how interesting and important the question is. That's the antithesis of charisma for an intellectual, in my opinion.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 03:24:00 UTC | #188446

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

Codswallop. I actually took the time to listen to it while counting the number of times McGrath says "It seems to me". I found about a dozen of them. This is perhaps just a phrase he is in the habit of using, and no more need be said about it, OR, an indication of how weak his arguments are, that he can only make a point based on his own thinking. Never mind the facts, this is how I think....

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 03:55:00 UTC | #188448

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 24 by bugaboo

"There is no why"-Yoda

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 04:47:00 UTC | #188456

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 25 by TeraBrat


Very few people want to think. Ignorance is bliss.


Very few people listen very carefully to both sides. McGrath is animated and flows while Atkins is somwhat dry and hesitant, especially in the Q& A portion. Public speaking is an art. McGrath is a natural, Atkins isn't.

I'm going to stress again, who is right usually doesn't matter because that tends to be subjective. Unless you are "on the fence" you are not going to be swayed either way. Most people are naturally drawn to the more charismatic speaker. American politicians win elections on this factor. It's very important.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:00:00 UTC | #188461

Logicel's Avatar Comment 26 by Logicel

I find McGrath mannerisms and voice so repelling that I would not be able to even listen to him if he made any sense, which he doesn't. His kind of 'charisma' is outdated.

As for the title, Mind of God? Sigh. Then where is his body?

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:18:00 UTC | #188467

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 27 by irate_atheist

25. Comment #198483 by TeraBrat -


Very few people want to think. Ignorance is bliss.
"Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so" - Bertrand Russell.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:20:00 UTC | #188468

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Comment 28 by Am I Evil?

A fly on the wall in the McGrath household:

MRS McGRATH: What would you like for dinner, dear?

MR McGRATH: Well, if I can just come back on that actually, I think you've raised a very interesting point, pivotal to the way this discussion should continue. This is certainly something that needs to be engaged with and explored further. It seems to me that there are areas we can push into here that can challenge us and I welcome that. When I was an atheist, these on-gonig philosophical subjects were subject to different interpretations and perspectives so, suffice to say, the Christian faith has fortified me and others to take all of these very very very interesting points into account and offer an explanation such as this: Egg and chips will be fine, love.

MRS McGRATH: I'm leaving you.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:28:00 UTC | #188474

Vaal's Avatar Comment 29 by Vaal

Egg and chips? McGrath strikes me more as a peas man :-)

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:40:00 UTC | #188478

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 30 by mixmastergaz

Alister McGrath is an anagram of "light act Mr Arse" which is probably insignificant but kept me amused for a minute.

Tue, 24 Jun 2008 05:57:00 UTC | #188483