Monday, July 06, 2009

The Strait answer to Richard Dawkins

"In January 2006 I presented a two-part television documentry on British Television (channel 4) called the Root of All Evil? From the start I didn't like this title. Religion is not the rood of all evil, for no one thing is the root of all anything. But I was delighted with the advertisement that Channel Four put in the national newspapers. It was a picture of the Manhattan skyline with the cation 'Imagine a world without religion.' What was the connection? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were conspicuously present.

Imagine, with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian Partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of the Jews as 'Christ-killers', no Northern Ireland 'troubles', no 'honor killings', no shiny suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money ('God wants you to give til it hurts'). Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it. Incidentally, my colleague Desmond Morris informs me that John Lennon's magnificent song is sometimes performed in America with the phrase 'and no religion too' expurgated. One version even has the effrontery to change it to 'and one religion too.' "

All in all, wouldn't it be wonderful when you no longer had to worry about how safe it is to board a flight going to the states, or stand in the customs lines while you get searched for said flight? Wouldn't it be beautiful not to worry everytime you step onto a bus or train in London? Or go to work in New York? Or even visit Bali?

My answer is once again the same. A little George Strait is the perfect answer to Lennon, or Dawkins.

if you'll buy that
I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
From my front porch you can see the sea
I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
If you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free

You think Christians are credulous???

I am linking to a YouTube video of the Richard Dawkins theme song.


Anonymous said...

I am puzzled by this. If it were possible to remove religion altogether from the world the result might be no better than what we have now. It might even be worse, I suppose. But it would certainly be different and all the things Dawkins lists, perhaps with the possible exception of suicide bombing, would be gone. In particular the twin towers would still be standing in New York.

Is that not so?


IlĂ­on said...

VR: "You think Christians are credulous???"

As with all assertions and "arguments" by Dawkins and his ilk, it all depends upon what seems likely to get traction right now.

I mean, what is one of the favorite "arguments" of Dawkins (and his disciples) against those who resist and/or scorn scientism: it is that they are not credulous enough!

Victor Reppert said...

If we remove religion from the world, then all sorts of things would be different. It is not clear even that New York would even exist, much less the Twin Towers. America was colonized largely by people seeking religious freedom, it would not exist as it now does if there had been no religion. Actually working out the counterfactuals here is just plain impossible.

The only way that you make any kind of argument that the removal of religion would make the world more violence-free overall would be to suggest that without religion there would be "nothing to kill or die for." But that, as I have argued, is nonsense. Human nature provides us plenty to kill or die for, religion or no religion. Believing that ideas have consequences, and Dawkins and I agree on this, gives us something to kill or die for. That's why these kinds of assertions are the equivalent of selling oceanfront property in Arizona.

Dawkins' own ideology provides a basis for persecuting religionists. At the present time he and those like him lack the political power to successfully persecute anyone, so the fact that he fails to advocate such persecution says nothing whatsoever about how atheism affects people.

Assertions like the ones I quoted from Dawkins strike me as either extremely naive or intellectually dishonest.

(There, I said it. Are you happy now, Ilion?).

Edward T. Babinski said...

Remove religion from the world?

By what means?


Or having religion slip off everyone's shoulders naturally like an overly worn coat?

What does Dawkins say about having personal beliefs, i.e., rather than "institutionalized religions" with holy books deemed to be the only inspired works of insight delivered to humans from some realm of divine perfection?

unkle e said...

Several studies have been done into the causes of suicide bombing and terrorism. e.g. this study by Pape and studies summarised in these articles by Zalman.

All agree that religion is NOT a major cause of terrorism in the modern world.

"The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world’s religions" Pape.

"Credible researchers agree that "religion" neither causes nor explains suicide terrorism." Zalman, who states that the main causes are social and political injustices.

It is interesting that Richard Dawkins and others, so prone to lambast religious believers for not basing their ideas on the facts, appears to have totally ignored the research facts here.

It's also interesting to note that this is the same criticism that David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist and fellow atheist, makes about Dawkins' views of religion. He says that there is much in evolutionary biological studies to show that religion serves a useful function, which is why the human race has been naturally selected to (generally) believe.

I don't agree that natural selection is the only cause of religion (I believe God started it), but it shows again that the strident criticisms of Dawkins et al are not based on the facts of his own profession. It appears he has ignored facts in favour of polemic.

Anonymous said...

'Nothing to kill or die for'. Yes of course that is nonsense. But that is Lennon, not Dswkins, and it is in a song. Dawkins may like the song but that does not mean that he agrees with everything in it.

As for the Twin Towers, let us agree that if religion had quietly vanished from the world at the beginning of 2001 they would be still be standing. I certainly don't buy the absurd idea that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. I believe what the terrorists themselves have to say. So does Dawkins.

Your suggestion that Dawkins might persecute people if he ever had the power to do so strikes me as shockingly unfair. Dawkins does not simply fail to advocate persecution, he has spoken in favour of tolerance and free speech.

Do you think it would be fair if I said that the bishops of the Church of England would probably start persecuting people if they ever again had the power?


Anonymous said...

Tolerance? Dawkins has actually spoken in favor of what amounts to willful distortion of the positions of those who oppose him. He supports "tolerance" of religion in the way the Daleys in Chicago support "tolerance" of those running against them. There's more than one way to be intolerant and intellectually corrupt, you know.

You "believe what the terrorists themselves" had to say? Putting aside the fact that terrorists are as much in the business of playing funny with the truth as any other politician, have you ever listened to their numerous, shockingly socio-political complaints as well? Don't be so damn credulous.

T'sinadree said...

It always amazes me to read the "Flea" thread on, as if the quantity of books in response to The God Delusion is proof of the quality of his thinking on religion.

Qua philosopher, Dawkins is like a William Hung trying to be Michael Jackson, whose "central argument" of The God Delusion would, if submitted to a major philosophy journal, give the editors a great laugh for the day.

South Park couldn't have said it better:
“Let us not forget the great Richard Dawkins who finally freed the world of religion long ago. Dawkins knew that logic and reason were the way of the future. But it wasn't until he met his beautiful wife that he learned using logic and reason isn't enough. You have to be a dick to everyone who doesn't think like you.”