Monday, 7 May 2007

Atheism Goes Global

From this. In Canada.

Well, it goes something like this: If you claim that something is true, I will examine the evidence which supports your claim; if you have no evidence, I will not accept that what you say is true and I will think you a foolish and gullible person for believing it so.
That's it. That's the whole, crazy, fanatical package.
When the Pope says that a few words and some hand-waving causes a cracker to transform into the flesh of a 2,000-year-old man, Dawkins and his fellow travellers say, well, prove it. It should be simple. Swab the Host and do a DNA analysis. If you don't, we will give your claim no more respect than we give to those who say they see the future in crystal balls or bend spoons with their minds or become werewolves at each full moon.
And for this, it is Dawkins, not the Pope, who is labelled the unreasonable fanatic on par with faith-saturated madmen who sacrifice children to an invisible spirit.
This is completely contrary to how we live the rest of our lives. We demand proof of even trivial claims ("John was the main creative force behind Sergeant Pepper") and we dismiss those who make such claims without proof. We are still more demanding when claims are made on matters that are at least temporarily important ("Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction" being a notorious example).
So isn't it odd that when claims are made about matters as important as the nature of existence and our place in it we suddenly drop all expectation of proof and we respect those who make and believe claims without the slightest evidence? Why is it perfectly reasonable to roll my eyes when someone makes the bald assertion that Ringo was the greatest Beatle but it is "fundamentalist" and "fanatical" to say that, absent evidence, it is absurd to believe Muhammad was not lying or hallucinating when he claimed to have long chats with God?
Of course I realize that by asking this question I may be contributing to mass depravity and a crisis of civilization. But I thought I'd risk it. That's just the kind of fanatic I am.
It should also be obvious from this that the supposed link between Dawkinsian atheism and Stalinist butchery is pure nonsense. Yes, Stalin did not believe in God. But he believed in History, Marxism, Leninism and all sorts of Hegelian mumbo-jumbo for which he had not the slightest evidence.
He was not a religious man, but he most certainly was a man of faith.

I think that this fits in very nicely with my previous posts Being Good Without God 1 & 2.

I am thinking of doing a follow up - Being Better With Evidence and Reason.

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