“new recruits would not initially be expected to recognise the infallibility of Richard Dawkins”

If we can note a hostile take-over bid between groups of supernaturalists [and we can – Ed], we can certainly note “a gesture which dramatically parallels [it]” by a group of atheists [Is that a sceptic of atheists? – Ed] Possibly.. or a cynic.. As spotted by Will Crawley. From the New Humanist blog

New recruits to the [Rationalist Association] were given some reassurances. “We are,” said the spokesperson, “not at all averse to agnostics maintaining some traditional forms of speech, such as ‘You can’t help feeling that there is something up there’, but obviously they’ll be expected to gradually forsake their uncertainty about who made the world.” In a further gesture of conciliation, the spokesperson confirmed that new recruits would not initially be expected to recognise the infallibility of Richard Dawkins.

Heh.

, ,

  • McGrath

    Where does this “Rationalist Association” hold its services? And, is there a collection? Will I get kicked out if I dont attend every week?

  • Fabianus

    The Rationalist Association? Bunch of wimps.

    Everybody knows that true unbelievers do not join groups. Unlike supernaturalists—who feel lost without the safety and fellowship of numbers, poor dears—we don’t need to.

  • Seymour Major

    A few weeks ago, I read a report in the Daily Telegraph about scientific research which claims that Humans are “hard-wired” to believe in God or some similar supreme Deity. I can not find a copy of what I read but here is a Daily Mail version
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211511/Why-born-believe-God-Its-wired-brain-says-psychologist.html
    It did get me wondering what went wrong with my wiring when I crossed over into agnosticism.

    In all likelihood, a non-believer or an agnostic is somebody who has broken free of the dominant mindset of whatever prejudice and preconception accompanied their education, upbringing and environment.

    Having so unbounded themselves to think open mindedly and objectively, are those the sort of people who need the comfort-crutch of an institution to look after their belief system?

  • John O’Connell

    Not falling for my bait, Pete. It would have been interesting. Instead we have is waffle about there being no God. All the intellect in the world won’t change reality so these humanists would be better not trying to think God out of her existence.

    But it’s a pity you’re trying to censor the believers, Pete.

  • Fabianus

    Seymour

    are those the sort of people who need the comfort-crutch of an institution to look after their belief system?

    Surely you meant unbelief system. And further to the point if it’s unbelief it ain’t a system.

    The unbeliever, he who chooses to reject the rubbish bleated at him practically from birth, has no need of a system but on the contrary has escaped “the system”. He has learned to use his brain.

  • John O’Connell

    Fabianus

    So intelligence can rule out God?

    What about wisdom. Wisdom says that there is a God.

    Does God work at the level of intellect or wisdom?

  • smcgiff

    John, If Wisdom says there is a God, then there is surely a cruel mother out there with little sense at the time of naming her child.

  • Fabianus

    John

    Wisdom says that there is a God.

    He should stick to comedy. On second thoughts he’s was a crappy comedian too. Mind you, the Albanians seem to think he’s God.

  • Conor

    John,

    Are you the guy that convinced yourself Gerry Adams was the literal anti-Christ? And who’s wisdom when he’s at home?

  • Wilde Rover

    Conor,

    “And who’s wisdom when he’s at home?”

    I believe he is an English comedian.

  • Fabianus

    Wilde Rover

    English-Albanian actually.

  • Norman the Nit-Wit

    Mr Grimsdale, Mr. Grimsdale god wants an extra pint, Mr. Grimsdale.

  • Seimi

    Rarely have I seen the term ‘comedian’ stretched to such an extent. FFS, a man so un-funny, only Gary Wilmot (remember him?) could be arsed imitating him.

    ‘Wisdom says that there is a God.’ – Whose wisdom? Yours? Logic says that there isn’t a god. Faith says that there is. I reckon logic wins over faith any day…

  • Fabianus

    Seimi

    Logic says that there isn’t a god. Faith says that there is.

    Obviously I’m on your side but I see a flaw in this argument. Logic doesn’t say there are no gods. But rational inquiry tells us that the gods of the supernaturalists are fictions, invented for all sorts of reasons ranging from a fear of death to the subjugation of others. Anyone who tells you different is either a liar or a deluded person.

  • Brit

    ‘A speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability’ as Sidney Hook said.

  • Greenflag

    In the name of the Darwin , the Dawkins and the Holy Mendel I give you the answer to all your doubts and certainties . Alas I could’nt find the skit of Marty at the bustop standing in for God but standing in for an Anglican Bishop is close enough 😉

  • John O’Connell

    It is interesting that the wisest men in history believed that there is a God and yet some intellectuals ( = egotists) persist in believing that none exists. I’m with the wise because like them I know with a degree of certainty that others can never possess that God exists. You cannot intellectualise God out of existence. She simply doesn’t work at that level – the level of the tiny human intellect.

  • Greenflag

    ‘‘A speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability’ ‘

    Not to Marty 😉 Here Marty the irreverent and very observant Cockney Jew somewhat complicates the issue by introducing ‘God’ via his /her singular acts to the Government and the Insurance companies . About 1.50 in the song and dance routine starts following Marty’s wonderful epistle to skeptics , cynics , atheists , agnostics and believers everywhere . Even Churchill gets a mention in his sermon 😉

  • Fabianus

    Greenflag

    Lovely! Tom Lehrer has finally cleared up my burning question regarding Mary’s virgin birth: “Make a cross on your abdomen.” And there I was thinking Julius Caesar was behind it.

  • Fabianus

    Whoops, for “Julius” read “Augustus”.

  • smcgiff

    ‘It is interesting that the wisest men in history believed that there is a God’

    Yeah – such as when Galileo recanted his theory that the earth revolved around the sun, because the bible firmly tells us in Psalms & Ecclesiastes otherwise! 🙂

    The wisest men in history professed belief in god, because they were wise, and attached to their heads.

    BTW, just to confirm. You do believe the bible erred in this respect. Specifically…

    “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.”
    “the LORD set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”
    “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place”

  • Fabianus

    smcgiff

    Love your use of “professed”!

    That said, you’re wrong on three counts:

    “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.”

    It can, when you are the LORD.

    “the LORD set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”

    It can, when you are the LORD.

    “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place”

    Not if the LORD ordains otherwise.

    Surely an intellectual of your calibre must understand these o so simple truths.

  • smcgiff

    The ‘God is omipotent get out of jail card’ doesn’t work this time, Fabianus.

    The earth had been revolving around the sun for eons by the time the above passages were written in the bible.

    Whereas the earth not moving is the default setting (as per the bible), when we clearly know through modern science that the earth has been in motion for approx 5 billion years. Even someone of my limited intellect knows this.

    Of course the theory goes than an omnipotent God could stop or set in motion the earth, but by the time time the passages were written the earth was on its merry way. God had stepped back and let the scribes loose :->

  • DK

    One of my proudest moments as a father was when my daughter said that she didn’t believe in god.

    Now, she still beleives in Father Christmas (PBUH), but is agnostic about the tooth fairy.

    I think I should introduce the concept of multiple gods (beyond the three the Christian believe in) and see what happens.

  • smcgiff

    DK,

    I was thought by nuns in primary school and the seeds of my disbelief was down to one nun in particular, God love her! 🙂

    During one time when us kids were excitedly talking about an impending christmas she said Santa was sent by God! You can imagine the dodgy ground this was on when I’d already stopped believing in dear old santa.

    Second was her ascertain that God loved us more than our parents. Wasn’t having any of that! 🙂

    Congrats to your daughter.

  • John O’Connell

    smcgiff

    Your post has no relevance to the debate.

    Wise men believe in God. Galileo was a scientist, a believer in knowledge, and is iirelevant to the debate as such.

    Try thinking through your heart and you will all find God.

  • smcgiff

    John, it is sad you think science and wisdom are polar opposites.

    Try thinking with your mind, and you will find the truth.

  • Erasmus

    Teh Dawkins delusion;

  • smcgiff

    LOL – Erasmus.

    Richard Dawkins is a god!

  • Fabianus

    smcgiff

    May you be struck down!

    Richard Dawkins is NOT a god.
    He doesn’t even begin to approach the criteria necessary for divine status.

    Was he born of mortal woman? No!

    Did he write a book? No!

    Did he found a religion? No!

    Did he rape children? No!

    Is he invisible? No!

    Is his surname O’Connell? No!

    Ergo, you’re talking through your anus, mate.

    (I apologise if I’m unduly harsh on the wannabe gods.)

  • Comrade Stalin

    John,

    It is interesting that the wisest men in history believed that there is a God and yet some intellectuals ( = egotists) persist in believing that none exists.

    John, so essentially your case is that we should believe in God because other people, who are apparently very clever, believed in it ? How did those people determine that God existed ?

  • Brit

    Intelligence, cleverness and a high IQ are no barrier to believing in false things or in holding immoral positions. Particularly where the overwhelming weight of accepted truths and received wisdom, not to mention the invisible but powerful effect of social convention, points in such directions.

    Intellectual cowardice and indoctrination can also lead intelligent men and women up such a path.

    In my view so long as a believer doesnt rely on his belief to justify immoral rules and policies as having God’s sanction, or to try to restrict the religious/political freedom of consience of non-believers, then I have no strong urge to persuade them that they are wrong. There are many good people who fit into this category and their fundamental delusion (from my perspective) is an irrelevance.
    Many went along with a belief in God because it was socially unacceptable or harmful to go any other way. Many wise men, including pre-Christian Greeks, and many subsequently have not believed in God or have believed in God so very far from the traditional God of say Islam or Catholicism as a kind of metahpor for Good or Truth or Fate, that a different word should be used.

  • Rory Carr

    It sems to me that some people choose to accept the idea of divine force and some don’t. Those that do like to blame all the ills of the world on the wickedness of those that don’t and those that don’t would blame it on those that do.

    There certainly has been a lot of wrong done under the guise of religion or under the cover of it. We can think of the butchery of the Crusades which were no more than a pious cover story for plunder and aggrandisment or the Sword of Islam that offered Allah or death to those it encountered while on its sweep of imperial conquest. Bad things surely but no more nor less than has been done in the name of rationlism or scientific progress. Look how secular democracy has laid the world to waste in recent days and consider the hundreds of thousands butchered at the whim of Bush and Blair.

    Bush and Blair both interestingly avowed Christians but their war was not justified by Christian aims each reassuring all how they were decidedly not on a crusade against Islam but rather intent on offering a secular democracy no matter how many died in refusing that offer.

    Godwin’s Law prohibits us from mentioning the joys of Nazi scientific research as practised upon living humans or the great benefits brought to mankind by the nuclear propulsion of Japan from Bushido to karaoke in two small bangs but we can observe that rationalists do get a wee bit naughty sometimes too.

    So it is really no good the atheists and agnostics attempting to reassure themselves that they are all jolly decent chaps because they don’t believe in God and that consequently they would never bugger an infant as though sexual abuse of children was confined to those who professed religious belief and that atheists were somehow immune. We are all capable of the most horrendous acts and capable of justifying them in the name of God or science or progress just as it suits us.

    The professed atheists and agnostics would seem to need to group together for reassurance for it strikes me that they are very unsure of themselves so loudly do they insist upon the absence of divine power. They remind me somewhat of teenagers in a horror movie who, beginning to suspect that the recent deaths among their number have been caused by vampires, boldly insist that there’s no such thing as vampires just before jumping out of their skin as the wind blows out a candle.

    The rationalist believes that the swallow flies because it has wings whereas the divinely inspired know that the swallow has wings because it flies. Go figure.

  • John O’Connell

    SmcGiff

    Try thinking with your mind, and you will find the truth.

    Neutrality between good and evil is what you get when you think through your mind. Your heart gives you compassion.

    Conrade Stalin

    John, so essentially your case is that we should believe in God because other people, who are apparently very clever, believed in it ? How did those people determine that God existed ?

    Not very clever people, very wise people. Clever can be construed to mean intellectually superior, or in our sphere, having a very good memory. The wise determine the existence of God through still the mind through prayer and meditation and noting the unity achieved with a supreme being.

  • Fabianus

    Rory

    The rationalist believes that the swallow flies because it has wings whereas the divinely inspired know that the swallow has wings because it flies. Go figure.

    I’m trying to. Does this principle apply to Boeing 747s as well? And more to the point, do Al-Qaeda know this?

  • Brit

    It is of course obvious that non-religious, rationalist and secular and athiest forces have committed terrible crimes and evils, probably the large majority of the crimes of the 20th Century. Its also true that religious individuals and organisations have done very good things.

    But it is illogical to jump from saying both atheists and believers can be bad, to saying that everything is equal, so secularism is no better than theocracy, logic no better than faith, argument no better than God given book bound ‘truth’, and athiest arguments no better than montheistic ones.

    Either God exists or he doest. Either [insert favoured religion here] represent Gods truth and the answer or it doesnt. The fact that the secular Stalinists murdered millions of people doesnt have any bearing on the fact. Indeed a weighing up of the levels of good vs evil which can be blamed on the reglious v the irreligous is an irrelevance.

    And the Swallow has wings because it evolved in such a way in order to promote the survival of its genes.

  • Brit

    “Look how secular democracy has laid the world to waste in recent days and consider the hundreds of thousands butchered at the whim of Bush and Blair.

    Bush and Blair both interestingly avowed Christians but their war was not justified by Christian aims each reassuring all how they were decidedly not on a crusade against Islam but rather intent on offering a secular democracy no matter how many died in refusing that offer.”

    1. If Afghanistan and Iraq had been secular democracies no wars in those countries would have been fought.

    2. the principal aims and objectives in both wars, largely realised, did not include the creation of democracy.

    3. Democracy, of sorts, was embraced by the peoples in question. It was not forced on them and no one was killed by the allies because they wanted democracy (I think your thinking of the other chaps).

    4. The people were butchered in Iraq and to a lesser extent Afghanistan by violent Islamists, home grown and outsiders, by Ba’athist forces and sunni/shia sectarians. The same sort of butchery has been going on right now in Pakistan which was not invaded by Bush or Blair.

  • smcgiff

    Well said, Brit – you’ve more stamina than I.

    John, I’m limited to thinking with my mind. Silly I know.

  • Fabianus

    Brit

    It is of course obvious that non-religious, rationalist and secular and athiest forces have committed terrible crimes and evils, probably the large majority of the crimes of the 20th Century.

    Sorry mate but I’ve had enough of that kind of bollocks. It’s trotted out far too often for my liking. The reality is that atheists are and always have been a tiny minority. The like of Stalin and Mao lorded it over peoples who were as supernaturalist as 90% of human beings.

    Those oppressed people were simply keeping their heads down—wouldn’t you in the circumstances? Look what happened when the USSR crashed. There was a stampede back to the churches when the people judged it to be safe again. Something similar will happen when China reverts to the status quo ante.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The rationalist believes that the swallow flies because it has wings whereas the divinely inspired know that the swallow has wings because it flies. Go figure.’

    I did . Palaeontologists and evolutionary biologists tell us that swallows fly because some of their reptilian ancestors a long time ago in the late Jurassic learned that flying was one way to keep from becoming the lunch time menu for a hungry grounded predator .Seems a good enough reason to me .

    Atheists can no more prove there isn’t a God than believers can prove there is . But at least the former can provide numbers and facts based on established scientific methodology that explain most of what we see in the universe including ourselves and from where and whence we came .

    And no we are not the apex of evolution either . Just the outcome of being one stop ahead of the extinction posse as evolutionary doors closed shut and mass extinctions wiped out most species .

    Those who eventually became us drew the lottery ticket each time 😉

    Of course the fact that 99.9% of all species who ever existed up to now are extinct should imbue us all with the ‘faith ‘ that we are somehow going to be ‘different’ ?

    I was down at the sea a month or so back and there were a number people contemplating that wide grey expanse of salt water . I don’t know if anyone of them were ‘figuring ‘ that back in Devonian times their now extinct one time common ancestor emerged from the sea onto dry land to escape the super predator of the pangaean ocean i.e the shark . The shark of course still remains at the top of the oceanic food chain .

    On land ‘man ‘ has taken the shark’s place . No other species consumes as many or as much of other species as man does . In fact the planet is now so crowded with the human species that we are now consuming ourselves not quite in the literal sense just yet, but we do it with the help of our cultural artifacts . Religion being merely one . Others include political ideologies , war , famine , the worship of mammon etc .There is of course that old standby when we run out of ‘rational ‘ reasons our inbuilt ‘human nature’.

    After I returned home from the sea I contemplated for a brief second or two that perhaps the sea viewers were contemplating a return to the sea from whence their ancestors emerged . A subconcious desire to escape somehow from the ‘land sharks ‘ who now sit atop the world economy as ‘predatorius’ maximus ?

    .

    And then I thought not bloody likely . The sea is far too cold at this time of year and even if our bodies are made up of 65% salt water , we have become somewhat spoiled by the comforts of central heating 😉

    There’s no going back ye see . And in case the sharks are still there in the oceans and if they don’t get you hypothermia will .

    Good post above btw . But don’t think anybody was making any claims that ‘atheists’ or ‘agnostics’ are by definition ‘morally ‘ superior to say Ayatollah inspired lunatics or fundie’s jerking about speaking in tongues or medieval Catholics burning heretics at the stake or infant foreskin cutting Rabbis .

    Atheism is not a political ideology . Communism is/was and so was National Socialism . The fact that both leaders of the above ideologies were atheists proves nothing and certainly does’nt absolve ‘religion ‘ from it’s gory history across at least 6 continents – no war yet having broken out on Antartica .

    I was not surprised to read of the Church of Scientology being convicted of fraud by a French Court . But alas the ‘racket’ is allowed to continue in business because of some legal loophole. Lawters in France will no doubt be relieved that this shower of con men will be still able to provide the legal fraternity with opportunities to defendor prosecute them in future French court proceedings .

    No point in being a doctor if there are no patients eh ;(?

  • Brit

    “Sorry mate but I’ve had enough of that kind of bollocks. It’s trotted out far too often for my liking. The reality is that atheists are and always have been a tiny minority.”

    Well technically you are right in the sense that atheists, proper intellectually coherent philosophical athiests are / were a minority.

    The point is that the grave evils of the last Century, the genocides, the holocaust, the totalitarian structures of camps, mass murders and disapperances, aggressive wars were not, the main, undertaken by Churches, religious institutions/organisations, or individuals who were acting on the basis of religious imperatives.

    Furthermore religious organisations, institutions and individuals acting on the basis of their religious beliefs, have done moral, good and courageous acts.

    In any event none of these issues are relevant to whether there is a God. It is conceiveable that there is a God but religion as practised is a force for bad, or that there is no God but religion is good. That said I would hope and expect humanity, if it is able to keep on going for thousands and thousands of years will move away from religion and any superstitious thought and, much sooner, will move away from the kind of fundamentalist religion which is inconsistent with science and secular democracy. We’ve largely acheived this in the West.

  • Brit

    “is conceiveable that there is a God but religion as practised is a force for bad”

    That was clumsly expressed. It is not conceivable to me that there is a God of the monotheistic type.

    The point is that the God concept, as a philosophical/theological one is quite distinct and separate from the impact of a particular religions on society.

    Athiests like me, confident of our athiesm, should not leap to unfounded conclusions, or make baselss asumptions, on the impact of religion simply because it is based on a false premise. Acupuncture is almost certainly based on totally false premises (from ancient Chinese medicine) but it sometimes works.

  • John O’Connell

    SmcGiff

    John, I’m limited to thinking with my mind. Silly I know.

    Are you telling me that you have no empathy for other human beings? You could be dangerous.

    Indeed all the religious beliefs in the world matter not a jot if the person has no empathy for orther people. Empathy is the key, ie thinking through the heart. A sociopath thinks through the mind only.

  • Fabianus

    Brit

    The point is that the God concept, as a philosophical/theological one is quite distinct and separate from the impact of a particular religions on society.

    This is what I was trying to get across in my reply to Seimi’s comment. We can’t rule out the possibility of a divine being and by that I mean an entity with supernatural powers. We’re only just beginning to discover what the universe is really all about and every new discovery is mind-boggling. (The very size of the known universe almost beggars belief.)

    That said, religious notions of deities are childish in the extreme. They were okay in the Iron Age when we knew diddley squat but there’s no excuse for them in 2009. We might equally well believe in fairies.

    Oh wait…

  • smcgiff

    John,

    I simply refuse to use your silly concept of thinking with your heart.

    I certainly don’t shirk giving to charities and helping my fellow man. You’d be equally wrong to think that it is a prerequisite for man to have empathy with his fellow man only through the, frankly, bizarre teachings of religion. Simply not necessary.

    Now, look at those that profess Christian faith, i.e. George W Bush. Ye hah! Kill ’em all and let god sort them out.

  • John O’Connell

    SmcGiff

    I simply refuse to use your silly concept of thinking with your heart.

    It’s the basis of Christianity, not simply down to me. Jesus is its author, compassion, love, empathy, call it what you will, but that is the basis of authentic faith in God.

    George Bush doesn’t really believe in Jesus, but in the implied teachings of the Old Testament, a man made document.

    Atheists can of course be good at empathy, and so called Christians can be poor at it.

  • Gerry Mander

    Arthur Koestler shows what a dick head the ignoramus the tin god Galileo was. Many others show it by posting their anti religious venom here. The rationalists’ web site bemoans that more Irish did not die during the “Famine”. Dawkins belongs in an intellectual freak flimsy flyweight show

  • Rory Carr

    We can’t rule out the possibility of a divine being and by that I mean an entity with supernatural powers… That said, religious notions of deities are childish in the extreme…” – Fabianus

    Very good, Fabianus. may we now, please have your, no doubt much more adult, notion of the divine being? Perhaps you would care to draw us a picture. That’sa good idea – you could draw us a picture of Fabianus’s notion of God. It’s bound to be more accurate, more mature than any of those childish attempts by Caravaggio or Michaelangelo or Leonardo now that man has progressed so far in his march towards omniscience.

  • Brit

    Rory, cant speak for Fab but the kind of “God” that I could just about conceive of, although not believe it as things currently stand, is some sort of alien scientist who kicked off the big bang as an experiment, a kind of creator. Such a God would have lit the touchpaper but would not be all good or all knowing and certainly without power to intervene in events in the Universe.

    “Arthur Koestler shows what a dick head the ignoramus the tin god Galileo was. Many others show it by posting their anti religious venom here. The rationalists’ web site bemoans that more Irish did not die during the “Famine”. Dawkins belongs in an intellectual freak flimsy flyweight show”

    Gerry, your points are not particularly clear to me. Which rationalists are said that more Irish did not die in the Famine? And what is your problem with Dawkins views on science, evolution and God? Finally I hope that I’ve said nothing which could be construed as anti-religious and I think that you calling some gentle micky taking as ‘venom’ indicates a lack of reason and a special pleading for your beliefs and ideas to be afforded greater ‘respect’ than others.

  • Rory Carr

    Well, Brit, what can I say. Your notion of God is as good as the next fellow’s I suppose. Perhaps the next time you are praying to Him you might ask for some Divine inspiration in order to refresh your poor recall on the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the action of US and British forces, mostly via aerial bombing of populated areas, in Iraq. Or isn’t your Fellow helpful at all in that way?

  • Brit

    Firstly I dont believe in such a God there is no evidence and plenty of more compelling alternative explanations. However it is conceptually meaninful and coherent which cannot (in my view) be said for the kinds of God that the big three monotheistic religions and especially Christianity and Islam, go for.

    Second, the hundreds of thousands of deaths were not caused by aerial bombing of populated areas but by a sustained and vicious civil war/terrorist insurgency.

    My support for the Iraq war is totally immaterial to the arguments about the existence or otherwise of God(s) or the nature and impact of relgion.

  • Greenflag

    gerrymander

    ‘Arthur Koestler shows what a dick head the ignoramus the tin god Galileo was’

    How ? Galileo chose to survive and live to continue his study of the cosmos rather than be staked and burnt alive like his predecessor Bruno . The Popes of that time were not known for tolerating alternative views of man’s place in the cosmos. Think Ayatollah’s of the present day .

    Arthur Koestler wrote one very good semi autobiography titled ‘Darkness at Noon’ and several on trying to mesh political behaviours with an evolutionary biological underpinning .
    As a former communist who believed at least in tin ‘rationalism ‘ he then went on to investigate and try to explain the roots of the non rational in man by a pseudo scientific methodology which though interesting and popular among the intelligentsia of the time -has not stood the test of time .

    To account for what he saw as the ‘split’ in the human mind between rational thinking and the insanity of some human behaviours towards each , Koestler could only hope that the ‘split’ could be overcome by means of ‘drug ‘ therapy. He did not live long enough to see the advances that would be made in biology and genetic research such that nowadays researchers are honing on the genes or combination of genes or lack of said genes than seem to account for some types of behaviours . So in a way he was predictive of the future .

    Towards the end of his life he became disenchanted to such an extent that he was found dead in his chair having taken an overdose of barbiturates . His much younger wife was also found dead with him .

    Not one of nature’s gentlemen was Arthur Koestler
    brilliant though he was as any who are interested enough will discover if they care to read Arthur Koestler ‘The Homeless Mind’by David Cesarani .

    Galileo added more to man’s knowledge of the universe and his place in it than Arthur Koestler . I would’nt call either of them ‘dickheads’ but I’d give Galileo more credit for originality and Koestler more credit for assimilating knowledge from so many fields and trying to hang it all from one ‘unified ‘ tree of everything . Not surprisingly it did’nt work . Einstein later was to have the same ‘experience ‘.
    Richard Dawkins has brought the unified tree closer at least from an evolutionary biology perspective . In the world of physics ?

    Well having discarded or discredited string theory for the origin of the universe the new fad is the origin of not a universe but of universes plural . Membrane theory which conjures up the rubbing together at a critical point of two universes one against another at a specific point which then sparks off a ‘big bang ‘ and hey presto another universe is on it’s way.

    No mention is made of any God being involved . Of course the above postulate does nothing to explain how the very first ‘universe ‘ came into being for by definition of the above ‘creation’ there would have had to have been two of them ;).

    ‘Dawkins belongs in an intellectual freak flimsy flyweight show ‘

    Woeful comment . Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin are probably the two best bets to the claim that God must have been an Englishman ;). You could throw Isaac Newton in as well for good measure and Mendel but then he was Bohemian
    and thus would not qualify for Godship on the basis of ‘nationality ‘

  • Greenflag

    Brit ,

    ‘Such a God would have lit the touchpaper ‘

    So now we are reduced to a God who lights touchpaper ? Surely worshipping a Jewish Carpenter seems less surreal in comparison ?

    ‘but would not be all good or all knowing and certainly without power to intervene in events in the Universe.’

    Not according to legendary Cockney comic Marty Feldman in the skit I posted above where he makes it clear that Insurance Companies have no doubts whatsoever about God’s power to directly intervene in wars , earthquakes , floods etc etc .

    Such is the belief in God that people will rejoice at God’s personal intervention to save the life of one teenager brought out alive from under a collapsed building, ‘It’s a miracle ‘ etc. At the same time the same miracle worshippers will not accuse God of double standards or even hypocrisy or of being an accomplice to the wilful murder of the other 199 crushed to death in the same building by the same ‘heavenly ‘ intervenor ?

  • Rory Carr

    Second, the hundreds of thousands of deaths were not caused by aerial bombing of populated areas but by a sustained and vicious civil war/terrorist insurgency.

    Leaving aside that that which you so colourfully call “a sustained and vicious civil war/terrorist insurgency” is a direct consequence of the illegal invasion and continuing occupation, that is simply not true and I don’t for a moment accept that you can believe that it is and for you to continue to insist that it is true in order to defend your support for the moral degeneracy of Blair really is quite appalling. The civilian casualty figures caused by indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian centres prior to the invasion and the quite callous destruction of civilian life by the invading forces during the occupation offensive and throughout the occupation are horrendous, disgraceful and quite indefensible which, I presume is why you prefer to deny them. They do not suit your reliance upon the lies of “Iraqui Freedom” propaganda that you oh so uncritically parrot in thread after thread.

    “Why does he do it?”, I ask myself. “Is it in the hope that some little tinpot New Labour God like Ed Millibands might somehow spot what a good and faithful little chap he is and reward him with a pass to New Labour heaven in the form of being allowed to help arrange the seating at a conference where St Peter is to be the main speaker”. God help us all!

  • Brit

    GF dont get me wrong on this God “the mad alien scientist experiment” thing. I dont think its true or even plausible. It is a bizarre concept which I view in the same way as I view a belief in ghosts or lights in the sky being alien spacecraft or people having telepathic powers. But is one that is not self-evidently false and contradictory in the way that the all good/powerful/knowing God concept is.

  • Brit

    Rory I supported the Iraq War as a just war. That view was based on what was known and reasonably believed at the time and judged on that basis I dont change my views. I note your claim that the war was “illegal” as if its legal status has a relevance to the death toll.

    In my view it was a Just war with laudible aims, some of which were acheived (though there is a huge amount to criticise in the planning and follow through). The initial war of invasion against the Iraqi army and the Baathist regime was fairly short, and easy and not characterised by indiscriminate bombing or a particularly high death toll. I’ve set out my views on the causes of, and moral responsibility, for the deaths caused in the subsequent civil war and the actions of Ba’athists, sectarians, outisder Islamists, and those funded and inspired by Iran.

    Whilst I accept that my position is arguable and there is a difficult debate to be had I dont accept your refusal to even countenance that anyone supported the Iraq war in good faith for good progressive reasons. Norm Geras, David Arronavitch, Oliver Kamm and others set out that case clearly – although it is a debate which is over now.