Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Against Atheism, Chapter 1.5

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3. Many atheists have not even bothered to engage with theological scholarship and/or liturgical hermeneutics. This is especially true of subcultures that systematically misidentify the exoteric readings of scripture as somehow essential to religion, such as the gay press, for example. As a gay man, I certainly sympathize with their attacks on hatred emanating from certain religious groups, religious groups that usually emphasize exoteric, or literal, scriptural interpretation. But it is a false generalization to take this hate and turn it back on all manifestations of religion, rather than the specific groups that promote hate against queers. Hate has never been an appropriate response to hate very successfully. Dear gay press: such a thing as queer theology actually exists, and better than that, it is a fairly sophisticated and positive phenomenon.. Spiritual scriptures are not immune to the diversity of interpretation that characterizes all language. Furthermore, consciousness itself is historical; it does not remain static through time, and it is through consciousness that the act of interpretation occurs. Please, for the sake of peace on earth, and harmony amongst human beings, let us level our anger and vengeance against the people who promote hate, rather than hastily dismiss and vituperate against multi-leveled spiritual verse and narrative that has been utterly de-contextualized from its historical and cultural origins by both fundamentalists, who tend to take the bible literally, and some atheists, who likewise take it literally and condemn it on this literal interpretation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Against Atheism (Chapter 1)

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Reasons I hate atheism (from a former atheist)

1. 1. In atheist argumentation, the elevation of science to a good-in-itself, when it should never be a for-itself phenomenon, is profoundly disturbing. While the creationist’s evasion of evolution is bordering on delusional, many atheists who flog the dead evolutionary horse have a distorted view of science themselves. Science is not an ethos; it is a method. According to philosopher of science, Karl Popper, as a method science requires both verifiability and falsifiability. While I think verifiability itself is sufficient in many cases, Mr. Popper contends that falsifiability is of the essence of the method. As such, because evolution as a theory cannot be falsified in its macro-incarnations (the pop-sci dictum that we come from fishes), macroevolution evades the truth claim of the null hypothesis, and as such is not science according to Mr. Popper’s strict definition. It can, however, be verified and falsified in micro-incarnations, such as the famous moths in industrial English towns whose colour darkened and then lightened in a few generations, an adaptive camouflage according to the levels of pollution, which were sky-high by the end of the nineteenth centuries and substantially reduced through the seventies, following the cultural shift inaugurated in part by Rachel Carson’s environmental consciousness-raising classic Silent Spring. The way atheists wield distortions of evolutionary theory like weapons is distinctly unpalatable. The tendency of them to offer science as the appropriate substitute for religion is potentially dangerous in the sense that science unhampered by humanist values (which often find their origin in religion itself) has led to horrors such as the Nazi experiments, and the Japanese Manchurian human experiments, to say nothing of the atomic bomb itself.

2. 2. The stacked-deck fallacy is a structural characteristic of atheist arguments about the tendency of religion to generate conflict. That is, they point to religion as a root cause of war, which takes a very naïve view of history. That The Crusades, for example, were instigated by Christians against Muslims and vice versa is a popular bit of evidence they like to use, especially in the wake of 9/11 and the threat to the West represented by jihadist manifestations of Islam. Other motives for such conflicts, such as control over extremely strategic areas for global trade (such as Spain, Morocco, and the Middle East) are either summarily ignored or dismissed. Furthermore, the religious inspiration of figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has spent his life trying to heal the racial rift in South Africa and above all create peace and fellow-feeling, is conveniently ignored. That is, atheists often fail to take account of the religious inspiration taken by people who do great things for humanity, specifically with regards to creating peace rather than war. Their refusal to consider evidence that contradicts their argument is profoundly unscientific, a paradox considering their elevation of science as the appropriate replacement to religion.