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Priapus's Avatar Comment 1 by Priapus

A frequent 'blue herring' pervades these debates...... namely...... the espoused inevitability of the manifest proliferation of religion, conceived as a fundamental 'side salad' to our human disposition, into the future.

But, what is this future they speak of...?
10 years....... 20 years........ 100 years....... 200 years.......... 1000 years....... 2000 years....... 10,000 years........... 20,000 years.......... 100,000 years........... 200,000 years......... indeed.... a million years..... two million years..... Heaven forbid....... a billion years........ or even two billion years.........!!! Lol out loud!!!


Would these temporally sophistic, 'dummy-sucking' 'apologists du jour' really wish to project such an ungainly vision onto our oh-so-evidently blighted future?!

Regards,

Priapus

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 19:30:00 UTC | #33714

roach's Avatar Comment 2 by roach

Cheers for Christopher Hitchens. If I had that voice I'd like to hear myself talk as well.

I simply cannot stand it when people (in this case Zachary Karabell and Jonathan Kirsch) agree that while relgion is often the source of nonsensical thinking and violent actions for many people, we shouldn't criticize it because irrationality and violence would exist anyway.

They also seem to be unable to make a distinction between criticizing beliefs and demonizing those who hold those beliefs. It is a most tiresome strawman. But they're not event doing it on purpose! It's as if they can't hear the words spoken or written by Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, et al. They all need to get themselves to a neurologist quick because something is obviously wrong with their visual and auditory wiring.

"To some degree!?" hahaha that was great.

There are other issues I have but I'll wait for more comments.

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 19:32:00 UTC | #33715

Coelacanth's Avatar Comment 3 by Coelacanth

Great eloquence on Hitchen's part! His point blank question to the other panelist (about God as author of the universe and his straight-faced quip on Aquinas flying around the nave of Notre Dame) are still resonating in my head.

What's the deal with the "crack-pot fascist?" I am kind of curious as to what he was wanting to ask . . .

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 19:49:00 UTC | #33718

Series of Tubes's Avatar Comment 4 by Series of Tubes

Very interesting panel. And yeah - what was the deal with the dude they had security haul out?

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 20:04:00 UTC | #33721

kkant's Avatar Comment 5 by kkant

Wow, this was a great video. I'm ranking this one "Excellent". Once again, Christopher Hitchens is a great guy to have in the atheist camp. He is an extremely eloquent speaker and debater.

That guy on the left, John Hirsch, was I believe the same guy who gave Sam Harris a hard time in that recent Harris/Aslan debate (posted here recently). This time around, Hitchens absolutely mops the floor with him. In fact, it's "everyone against Hitchens" here in this video, including the moderator. Yet he still kicks everyone's ass. He did so well that the other panelists were forced to backpedal on their position and admit that religion was in fact factually false and manmade. You can be sure that they wouldn't have admitted anything *remotely* like that in other circumstances. Well done!

Sam Harris is a really brilliant writer, as we've seen here on this site (especially in the Sullivan/Harris debate). But when he is speaking he is more hesitant, and when he is debating in real-time he seems to forget his best arguments (e.g. that Newsweek debate between Warren and Harris). RD is of course awesome on the science front (I found RD through Douglas Adams, when Adams recommended "Blind Watchmaker", which was an brilliantly eye-opening book for me). But contrary to all the ridiculously false accusations against RD (that he's rude or angry or cruel), in fact RD is extremely polite and soft-spoken in debates--and I feel many of his adversaries take advantage of that fact. With Hitchens in a debate you seldom have to worry about that sort of thing. Takes no prisoners, takes no shit.

I look forward to seeing more video/audio of Hitchens. Thanks for the post, and keep em coming!

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 20:17:00 UTC | #33724

Cyboman's Avatar Comment 6 by Cyboman

I saw this on Book TV last weekend. I don't know if the video clip had enough resolution but on TV you could see he was holding a sign and presenting it to the crowd. It wasn't clear what it said.

What was interesting was when Jonathan Kirsch explained to Hitchens that the problem with his critique was that he didn't understand the moderates half-believe their (apparent) faiths - as if that is the normative way to be religious. The thing is, of course, that it is true. Moderates do half-believe in their religions (religion being their explanation to the most important questions about the universe and ethics). But how is this not a problem (though actually believing fully would, of course, be much worse).

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 20:25:00 UTC | #33726

room101's Avatar Comment 7 by room101

First of all, congratulations to CH for becoming a US citizen on April 13th. Welcome to one of the most religious countries on the planet. We need you here.

I agree with kkant regarding Hitchens's eloquence and superior debating skills, even to the likes of Harris (I agree too that Harris' prose is much better than his debating skills - his writing is much more impatient, scathing and vitriolic than other populare rationalists and I liken his writing to Hitchen's verbal skills). If Harris can master CH's debating skills, that would be an 800 pound gorilla.

Nonetheless, CH clearly ruled this debate. He doesn't let the other moderates 'get away' with anything, which is nice to see. I love it when the others "fence sit" by ranting about how there are "dangerous extremists" in all religions, and how we must come to understand each other (blah, blah). Kirsch sites that "revelation created culture" and is always "progressing and evolving" to which CH replies: "Well, that implicitly proves my point: The less religion, the more civilization. As we improve and progress, we believe less in the absurd bronze age myths of the holy books. We're gradually outgrowing this barbaric impulse."

But by far my favorite moment is when Karabell espouses how we should "allow people to worship as they please...and that how they worship should be of no concern to us", to which CH replies (may not be word for word, but this is one of the best retorts to the moderate position that I've heard and had to share):

"Then they must stop teaching creationism to my children. Why can't they keep their beliefs to themselves? If you thought you had a God that made you and loved you, wouldn't it make you happy? Wouldn't it cheer you up? No! Noooo!

You're totally miserable until you get everyone else to believe it, too. This is why it's sinister. This is why it's always dangerous. If they could manage to contain themselves - but the definition of religion cannot do that. Its beliefs are to arrogant, too total, and too certain. It's the origin of totalitarianism, and it threatens those who don't take its offer with eternal torture for themselves and their children.

This is WICKEDNESS. There's no other word for it."



Amen, my new American brother.

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 21:07:00 UTC | #33733

krogercomplete's Avatar Comment 8 by krogercomplete

I loved all the talk about "mid-level" belief (as the moderator put it) as if this was a point in favor of keeping religion around. Apparently, everyone agrees that "full" belief is problematic and that as you move toward mid-level belief, things get better. The argument assumes that there is something wrong with religious belief and that we benefit to the degree we move away from it. Why not go all the way?

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 22:16:00 UTC | #33745

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 9 by Bonzai

The point is not whether "to keep religion around", as you cannot get rid of it.

I think the point that the other two speakers tried to get across with their sometimes rambling arguments is that for better or for worse religion is going to be with us, since religion appealed to believers on a visceral and cultural level it is impossible to eradicate(or perhaps undesirable)It is therefore more realistic and productive to try to channel it in some positive way than declaring all out war on it.

It actually makes a lot of evolutionary sense. Religion is the product of a long history of cultural evolution. You cannot make it disappear by fiat or rational arguments. Its root is more primal than logic. But you can encourage certain positive aspects of religion and retarding the destructive ones by creating the proper cultural selective pressure.

John K in particular might actually be in agreement with Hitchen on more points that he appeared. I don't get the impression that he was defending religion as belief systems. It would be a strange defence to argue that most religious people are not consistent in their beliefs hence the peril of literalism is overstated (But Hitchen 's response that half believers are the results of the advent of secularism was excellent) He made an important point that the bible is such a mismash of contradictions that most people today just cherry pick whatever they believe based on criteria from somewhere else(culture). It follows that religion is often just a cover for other ill articulated anxieties and neurosis. It would be like fighting shadows if we only concentrate on the religious manifestation and ignore the deeper causes for people's behaviour.

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 22:51:00 UTC | #33748

MelM's Avatar Comment 10 by MelM

Wow! Right now the Hitchens book is #5 on Amazon.com. Instock and shipping.

I'm really glad he mentioned the outrageous reaction of Western religious leaders to the cartoon jihad and to Salman Rushdie. One might have thought these folks would have learned, over the centuries, to love freedom of speech. Guess not. I still remember the shock I felt hearing a Vatican spokesman saying that they had hoped that Islam could be an aly against unbelief. This was in a news video at the time the Pope visited Turkey--and I've never been able to find the video again. Does the Pope hate the Enlightenment so bad that he'd team of with Islam to crush it? If anybody can find the video, it needs some publicity because it's so damned appalling. If Hitchens ever saw it, I think he'd explode.

Anyway, looks like Hitchens will hit the NYT bestseller list, and do it soon.

{Edited: Salman Rushdie inserted.)

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 22:57:00 UTC | #33751

Tavat's Avatar Comment 11 by Tavat

EVERYONE needs to hear this man speak about this issue. For the same reasons and in the same ways that a charismatic, intelligent, and unflinching premier or president is good for a nation, Christopher Hitchens is good for atheists and good for the camp of reason. It is his stoic and righteous--please excuse the philological implications of that term--presence that grants the ideas he imparts solid and certain access into the true marketplace of ideas which, because this marketplace is highly prone to populism, is not necessarily open to all ideas. That is why religion has pervaded despite all its obvious and total failures: its most successful champions are genuinely charismatic and in its case the message is merely incidental (perhaps). Our torch, meanwhile, has never been carried by such sturdy hands into the marketplace; our ideas have never seen the sweet light of public exposure so directly; never, that is, until now. Mr. Dennett, Mr. Grayling, Mr. Harris, Mr. Dawkins, and Mr. Hitchens (and all the bygone Mr. and Ms. heroes of free thought and rationality), we thank you for your service to the world.

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 23:19:00 UTC | #33753

MelM's Avatar Comment 12 by MelM

On the question: "Is there a way to teach fundamentalists...?"
I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Tue, 01 May 2007 00:45:00 UTC | #33780

davyB's Avatar Comment 13 by davyB

Wow. Hitchens has a fast brain. Extremely impressive.

Does anyone know what the guy who got tossed out was going on about? Hitchens seemed to know right away what he was up to. I couldn't hear.

Tue, 01 May 2007 01:28:00 UTC | #33795

eggplantbren's Avatar Comment 14 by eggplantbren

This is pretty good. What's with that guy slandering astronomers? What a nobber.

Tue, 01 May 2007 01:32:00 UTC | #33797

Liveliest Crib's Avatar Comment 15 by Liveliest Crib

Um, uh...who is this Jonathon Kirsch guy? I've heard many speakers that have enraged me, various that have satisfied me, plenty that have bored me and a cherished few that have inspired me. Seldom, however, has a speaker genuinely bewildered me. A marvelous amalgamation of triteness and dissonance, Kirsch, who appears about three steps behind in the current debate on religion, somehow won the honor of arguing with Hitchens, whose rapier wit is on the cutting edge.

He begins his stream of unconsciousness:

Every word I have written about the scriptures of Judaism or Christianity is based on the idea that we read these texts too selectively. Not critically enough and not discerningly enough.

Cool. I'm with ya so far, Mr. Kirsh.

And that's the reason why we often think things are in the Bible that are not, and are surprised when we find them.

Er...huh? Ok, ok, slip of the tongue, I can let that go.

Revelation, which is the favorite text of a great many believing Christians today is an outlier in Christian scripture, and is plainly contradictory to the message that Jesus teaches in the Gospels. All of my books, including my current book are meant as a corrective to these -- what I would argue are misreadings, misunderstandings.

Wait...what? What's a misunderstanding? That Revelation is an outlier? Which part are you correcting? Are you correcting Revelation itself? What's happening?

To get into it a little bit with Christopher, I think I have to have say that these texts are capable of inspiring elevated moral aspirations and conduct in human beings, demonstrably so, and to throw out religion altogether and to hold it in contempt and not in respect is to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

To get into it a little bit with Christopher? Demonstrably so? You mean, not just true in your head? Dude, orphanages probably taught a lot of children hard truths early on in life that helped fortify their survival skills, but some babies can be thrown out with the bathwater. And is this really the point you want to make to Hitchens? That religious stories can inspire some people to do good things? Like he's never heard that one before?

Having said that, there's just no question that the book of Revelation is the favorite text of religious violence -- at least in the Christian context -- and has moved men and women to do some terrible things, David Koresh being an ardent reader of Revelation, but only the most recent example of that phenomenon.

Really? David Koresh is the most recent example of a terrible thing being done based on a reading of the book of Revelation?

The bottom line is that these are potentially inspiring texts, and also potentially dangerous texts, and we have to be able to discern between those two uses of the same text.

Oh, I guess that is the point you really want to make to Hitchens. A six-year-old could figure that out. Any text is that way. Any thing is that way. Comet detergent is dandy as a toilet bowl cleaner; not so much as a salad dressing. Star Wars can be profoundly inspiring as long as you understand it didn't actually happen in a galaxy far, far away. Should I respect someone who earnestly tries to "use the force" to make him a better person?

And those are just his introductory remarks!

Christopher, having made a book about Revelation, I feel I have to pick up this gauntlet. A couple weeks ago, I was invited to speak at a Unitarian church here in Southern California, and on my way over, I passed a business establishment called the Alpha Omega Car Repair Shop. And I used that in my talk, and I'm going to use it today to make the point that although Revelation certainly paints a horrific view of the urgent, imminent end of the world, what Christianity was forced to come to terms with was the failure of that prophesy.

Ooooooooooo-kay. There's a car repair shop that is going to relate to the fact that this nutty book in the Bible was pretty much immediately proven WRONG!! I can't wait to here this!

There have been many disordered minds even unto our own days who have continued to believe that Revelation tells us the things [ ] which must soon come to pass, but the great majority of Christians have settled down and tried to do the work of what in Jewish tradition is called Tikkun Olam -- the repair of the Earth. And I think that to argue that religion in its major effect has just encouraged people to wait for the end ignores the fact that again and again we have examples of how it has moved to make the world a better place. The example that I use in my own book and that I'd like to mention is that although Revelation is used frequently by Evangelicals who predict the imminent end of the world, it is also used by Catholic Liberation theologians to recommend the improvement of the world.

How can this man take himself seriously? This is an argument for religion? For the Christian religion? The book was bonkers. It failed. It failed completely, and it failed immediately. (Phew!) So, the answer is to say, so let's read it as a command to repair the planet? How about just that our moral sense tells us to keep the earth hospitable for those of us living on it? Why desperately cling to and reinterpret a text loaded with nightmarish hysteria?

I don't want to ignore the events of the last thousand years of progress towards enlightenment, even within the handling of these texts. People of faith today in all of the organized religions are capable of entertaining the idea that these are, of course, books of human authorship. We can quibble about whether they are divinely inspired or not, but they are put into human context and put to human uses[.]

What? If you want to read the book as, um, well, a book, why the hell bother quibbling about divine inspiration? Is he listening to himself?

. . . and I think it's a specious argument to say that you either have to take it or leave it on the basis of medieval theology. Clearly, these texts can be used and understood in a modern context, and by most readers of these texts, they are understood in precisely that sense.

On the basis of medieval theology? Hitchens is attacking the concept of faith itself. He's invoking the Bible because as an example of something far too many people just accept on faith, knowing full well that it makes no sense and is morally repugnant. And he's using its own unambiguous terms. But somehow this is unacceptable to Kirsch, and he delights in cognitive dissonance. To wit....

The fundamentalists are a convenient straw man in a sense because they are so extreme in their beliefs [Hitchens interrupts: Because they believe it's true, yeah!] Yeah, but they are not the only readers or users of these texts. The reality is there's a whole literature of which my own book is a very tiny part that allows us to understand the human face, the human names, the human impulses of the human authors of these texts.

Look, if it's just literature, say so, and we can measure it against other literature. Imagine this guy saying all of this about Aesop's Fables: Sure, sure, there are some crazy people who think that a literal, intelligent fox, literally decided that some grapes were sour, because the great Aesop tells us so, but now most people understand the moral involved, and that Aesop was a human being telling morals. But those fundamentalist Aesopians are a red herring. It doesn't mean we shouldn't exalt these stories as sacred, and argue about whether Aesop was really a god telling literal truths, that might have sort of happened, if it's inspiring that way.

Ok, I'm tired. I have to go to sleep. This was just bewildering.

Tue, 01 May 2007 01:54:00 UTC | #33805

Logicel's Avatar Comment 16 by Logicel

Liveliest Crib, spot-on analysis of the obfuscation which Kirsh uses. In essence, Kirsh works very hard to say nothing of clarity and usefulness through his flailing efforts to fancy dress-up his thread-bare doggerel.

Tue, 01 May 2007 03:08:00 UTC | #33832

Logicel's Avatar Comment 17 by Logicel

Kirsh is wedded to the opinion that Religion must still be useful in a positive sense simply because it still is being used in the world. So is female infibulation and genital mutilation, and so is rape.

Moderates, it seems, are more emotionally/mentally invested in religious superstitions than the fundamentalists. Their nauseating and continuing refrain is that religion is familiar, been with us all through our recorded history, how can we possible do without it? I think the moderates are the true religious addicts, and the fundamentalists can learn a thing or two from them. Oops, they already are--belief in belief without evidence is good because, well, it is something us humans have been doing for so long, so it must be good.

Tue, 01 May 2007 03:17:00 UTC | #33833

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 18 by Russell Blackford

Liveliest Crib, did you transcribe all that? If so, I'm impressed. Or is there a transcript somewhere?

Tue, 01 May 2007 03:24:00 UTC | #33835

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 19 by Richard Dawkins

I was very impressed indeed by Christopher Hitchens. His eloquence is formidable, helped by a voice like Richard Burton's. The discussion seemed to come alive whenever he spoke, whereas the other two, and the chairman, though articulate and fluent, simply made me impatient for more Hitchens. What disappointed me, however, was that the audience seemed noticeably less sympathetic towards Hitchens than I would have expected for the attenders of a Literary Festival in a major metropolitan area during churchgoing hours. Even manifestly ridiculous remarks -- like Jonathan Kirsch's statement that (verbal) attacks on religion are as vandalistic as the Taliban (physically) blowing up the Bamiyan statues -- seemed to be sympathetically received. I hope I am wrong, but this is not the sort of reaction I became accustomed to from the audiences I encountered on my American book tour.

Richard

Tue, 01 May 2007 03:26:00 UTC | #33836

Liveliest Crib's Avatar Comment 20 by Liveliest Crib

The audience might be an anomaly, Dr. Dawkins, but if I had to hazard a guess, Hitchens' lukewarm reception might have something to do with the reputation that precedes him. At the moment, in the U.S., he is widely known for his support of the Bush Administration's foreign policy, which, rightly or wrongly, confuses America's skeptics and nontheists. Moreover, his demeanor can be unsettling and insulting (he recently made an obscene gesture to Bill Maher's audience when it voiced disagreement with him). American nontheists, particularly politically left-of-center American nontheists approach Hitchens with a certain hesitation, and are less likely to engage or applaud him than they are someone as charming and gentle as yourself.

Thanks for the wonderful website, by the way.

Tue, 01 May 2007 03:59:00 UTC | #33845

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 21 by BaronOchs

That argument about the problems with the Hubble Telescope was the most irrelevant thing I have ever heard.

Tue, 01 May 2007 04:14:00 UTC | #33850

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 22 by Russell Blackford

Hmmm, the observation by Professor Dawkins has me wondering.

I can easily imagine the sort of audience that we'd get at the annual writers' festival, here in Melbourne, might respond in the same way - partly because Hitchens is pretty much persona non grata with the literary community here, as a result of his position on Iraq, but also because there is a solicitous attitude to religion among such people, even if they have no supernaturalist beliefs of their own. As far as I can work out, that attitude seems to be connected with all the usual post-colonial anxiety about not undermining traditional belief systems, being "sensitive" to people's faith, especially if it's people from non-Western cultural backgrounds, etc.

Tue, 01 May 2007 04:20:00 UTC | #33854

Eureka Step's Avatar Comment 23 by Eureka Step

A truly barnstorming performance from Hitchens!

As for his position being binary: Explain to me how religion is not the most binary of systems!?!

More moderate, lets-try-not-to-upset-anyone, so-called intellectual cultural relatavism.

As for the point about the Hubble Space Telescope, not only was it completely irrelevant, BaaronOchs, they all got it wrong. The HST suffered from its mirror having a minute "spherical abherration" which was fixed by adding another mirror to the existing one.

What is Karabell's point? That Hitchins, or anyone for that matter, cannot question religion, any of its practices or hypothetical gods because of human error in producing a mirror for an orbitting telescope!!!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WTF!!!?!?

...and he looked so smug after saying it.

Tue, 01 May 2007 05:30:00 UTC | #33863

Laurence Boyce's Avatar Comment 24 by Laurence Boyce

Great stuff. Hitchens simply towered over the other two who were completely lame.

Tue, 01 May 2007 06:38:00 UTC | #33880

kkant's Avatar Comment 25 by kkant

Eureka Step writes:
What is Karabell's point? That Hitchins, or anyone for that matter, cannot question religion, any of its practices or hypothetical gods because of human error in producing a mirror for an orbitting telescope!!!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WTF!!!?!?
...and he looked so smug after saying it.

Indeed. This was one of several points during this video (including the one RD mentions equating religious criticism with the Taliban) where I was wringing my hands in amazement at what facile nonsense those other two authors were smugly saying and the cheap laughs they were drawing from the audience. I thought Hitchens handled this particular nonsense (about the Hubble comment) very well and with good humor. More than I could have done--I would have been saying "Yeah, we made a mistake you moron, does that mean the corrected images are not beautiful and awesome and inspiring? And when's the last time your all-knowing always-perfect God had the humility to admit to a mistake?"

Incidentally, "God is not Great" is #4 on amazon right now. :)

Tue, 01 May 2007 08:50:00 UTC | #33900

CanRow's Avatar Comment 26 by CanRow

Hitch hits the mark once more. He has the uncanny ability to summarize exactly the unsound portions of the opposition's argument by revealing the implications of their argument within a true context: Is god the author of the universe or is he not? Who really does oppose free speech when the chips are down? Who was seen flying around a cathedral? lol

And, as others have asked, what was the deal with the fascist crackpot?

Perhaps Hitchens had seen this man before (as his reaction was instantaneous and direct); the man certainly looked like he was attempting to deliver a protest-style message, not simply a question (despite his declared intentions).

And is it just me? Seems like every time Hitchens speaks in public, somebody starts shouting at him or protesting and gets thrown out. Sometimes things have even gotten a little rough. I always love how Hitchens wastes no time in dealing out his own volley of colourful language when faced with the same lol. The guy never backs down, and doesn't pretend to be 'above' this kind of discourse (although admittedly he might save some energy if he simply ignored such transgressions and moved on).

Tue, 01 May 2007 09:04:00 UTC | #33904

Munger's Avatar Comment 27 by Munger

Once again, we see a pro-religious group that is, in themselves, not truly religious. They don't believe in the divinity and absolute truth of the bible. Instead, they just find it comforting (after they ignore the particularly unpleasant parts). Hitchens (and Dawkins and Harris) are dead on the money when they say that a huge percentage of "believers" don't believe at all. They just can't let go of their security blanket.

Harris makes the point, over and over again, that religious moderates who don't actually believe or follow the teachings of their chosen book don't understand what it means to truly surrender your mind to a magic book. Their defense of religion is laughable. Or it would be if it weren't so ill-informed and misdirected.

Tue, 01 May 2007 09:42:00 UTC | #33921

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 28 by Steve Zara

I am glad that Hitchens is getting such a wide audience as a result of his new book. I have admired him for a long time. (Although not all of his views - but we so badly need gadflies like him). He has a formidable and independent intellect, as so amusingly demonstrated in this discussion. What was disappointing was how the other panelists seemed to simply ignore the questions he was asking.

On another matter, Kirch's statement about vandalism was simply outrageous. Questioning the religious belief of a culture through reasoned argument is equivalent to vandalism? He should be ashamed for making such a statement.

Tue, 01 May 2007 09:45:00 UTC | #33922

Ole's Avatar Comment 29 by Ole

"Jesus meek and mild" - that was the high point for me. The role of the new testament in other words, the "hell idea" etc.!

I really look forward to getting the book by CH!

Ole

Tue, 01 May 2007 09:56:00 UTC | #33925

MelM's Avatar Comment 30 by MelM

C-Span is an excellent gig. Perhaps this appearance helped push his book from #10 (amazon.com) at the time of the discussion to #5 last night (which is where it is now).

Kirch wants us to quote-mine the Bible to fight the fundies. This means keeping the Bible as our basic frame of reference instead of reality--which is accepting a basic premise of religion. I wouldn't consider doing that and I don't think it would work; the fundy holy men arn't hicks, they have some "aplogetics" that we'd better look at. I think that one other thing that needs to be done is to go after the irrationalism that keeps religion going. Most Americans really have no idea what the logical fallicies are and can't spot them being used by the holy men.

Christian apologetcs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_apologetics
Presuppositional apologetics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics

Anyway, this is where I'm going to be putting some effort; this seems to be the kind of stuff that even a wingnut like Ken Ham uses to support his faith and therefore his absurd views on science.

Tue, 01 May 2007 17:36:00 UTC | #34034