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Skepticism is blind to itself | Wondering Fair

Yep:

The larger point here is not the fundraising methodology of an increasingly fringe personality. It is that no one – nil, not a single person – can escape religion. Even hardcore atheists end up with religious zeal. It is quite easy to avoid organized, official religion of course. Just don’t show up at church. But no one is able to not believe. Those who profess to be able to are just subscribing to an alternative set of beliefs. They are rejecting certain dogmas on the basis of their own unproven assumptions. They are deconstructing other people’s faith while remaining blind to their own faith.

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posted 9 / 8 / 2014
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What would be valuable, what would be appreciated, if it were not for death? Not time, not love, not anything. The true value of anything in life, and of life itself, is revealed most clearly by its absence, its death; for example: […] God: what difference does make whether there is a God or not? Read the great atheists like Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Beckett, and Bertrand Russell to find out. The silhouette drawn by God’s absence in such writers is sharper than the one drawn by His presence in most believers.(48-49)
— Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
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posted 8 / 12 / 2014
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A straw man can be a very convenient property, after all. I can see why a plenteously contented, drowsily complacent, temperamentally incurious atheist might find it comforting—even a little luxurious—to imagine that belief in God is no more than belief in some magical invisible friend who lives beyond the clouds, or in some ghostly cosmic mechanic invoked to explain gaps in current scientific knowledge. But I also like to think that the truly reflective atheist would prefer not to win all his or her rhetorical victories against childish caricatures. I suppose the success of the books of the ‘new atheists’—which are nothing but lurchingly spasmodic assaults on whole armies of straw men—might go some way toward proving the opposite. Certainly, none of them is an impressive or cogent treatise, and I doubt posterity will be particularly kind to any of them once the initial convulsions of celebrity have subsided. But they have definitely sold well. I doubt that one should make much of that, though. The new atheists’ texts are manifestoes, buoyantly coarse and intentionally simplistic, meant to fortify true unbelievers in their unbelief; their appeal is broad but certainly not deep; they are supposed to induce a mood, not encourage deep reflection; and at the end of the day they are probably only a passing fad in trade publishing, directed at a new niche market.

David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God. Reading Hart is such a … bracing thing. Sort of like knocking back a tumbler of white lightning. (via ayjay)

FTW.

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posted 7 / 10 / 2014
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Now it is true that an atheist can know certain things by means of this natural law, and he can be right about those things. But he is not right about the source of that knowledge, and he is not right about the context of his moral knowledge. If a natural law theorist wants to flatter this atheist, and act like his moral knowledge is a valid bit of knowing, even within his atheistic context, then that natural law theorist, in my view, has given away the store, not to mention the farm, and to switch metaphors a third time, is five thousand dollars down. In other words, nature does not just show us morality, suspended in midair. Natural law delivers the whole package, and the true Creator of it.
Douglas Wilson
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posted 1 / 15 / 2014
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Atheist Church Movement Shake Up: Ideological Battle Leads to Secular ‘Denominational’ Chasm | TheBlaze.com

hilker:

See, this is interesting. Atheist churches are finding that many of the problems they had with “religion” and “church” are actually human and community problems.

I’m battling hilarity and sadness. It’s amazing the pitiful but extravagant lengths people will go to deny the Truth but still try and squeeze out existential meaning from life—even such earnest yet shallow imitations as an atheist “church.” Wow.

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posted 1 / 6 / 2014
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Tim Hawkins - Atheist Camp Songs

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posted 9 / 23 / 2013
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A Conversation at the Atheist’s Car Garage
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Heh.

A Conversation at the Atheist’s Car Garage

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Heh.

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posted 5 / 21 / 2013
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[This] is our movement. We will not consider you a part of it, we will not work with you, we will not befriend you. We will heretofore denounce you as the irrational or immoral scum you are (if such you are). If you reject these values, then you are no longer one of us. And we will now say so, publicly and repeatedly. You are hereby disowned.

See, this is what I’ve been trying to explain to you: the unique power of religion to make people hate one another. Without religion to generate this exclusionary hatred, this loathing of everyone who does not agree 100% with the views of Our Crowd, people would finally be able to live at peace with one another!

Oh wait.

(via ayjay)

This is so hilariously golden.

"It took 700 years from Constantine renaming Byzantium in his own honour to papal legates circulating letters of anathema that split the Roman and Orthodox churches. Atheism, in its public, online life, has started exchanging internet anathemas – perhaps we should call them inathemas – in little more than a decade."

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posted 9 / 4 / 2012
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This is what always happens to rationalism. You begin with an absolute dedication to reason, and nothing but reason, and then find yourself as the night progresses doing a conga dance in the Festival of Unreason. And there is nothing more unsettling than the spectacle of our leading scientists throwing beads while flashing the laymen on the sidewalk.
Douglas Wilson on the latest Sam Harris book.
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posted 3 / 28 / 2012
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Harris is blaming conservatives for doing simply what the space/time continuum is making them do. If you have a right view of the cosmos, Harris has been arguing, you won’t blame individuals for doing things that are completely outside their control, and then he proceeds immediately to the edifying task of blaming those who don’t think this way.

If atoms in motion are responsible for inner city crime, then atoms in motion are also responsible for the conservatives in red state, fly-over country who object to it. Not only so, for this is a liberating game, atoms in motion are also responsible for Harris objecting to the conservatives objecting to the crime. This would be great fun, but Harris keeps forgetting to apply his dogmas to his dogmas.

One understands why he keeps forgetting to do this, of course. If he remembered, he would realize there is no such thing as remembering. He would realize that sawing off the branch you are sitting on is an activity with consequences, by which I mean consequences that might affect sales.
Douglas Wilson, blogging through the latest Sam Harris book.
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posted 3 / 28 / 2012
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I don’t fault Harris for arguing that, given his premises, we have no free will. I fault him for taking with his left hand what he has given with the right. I fault him for arguing against free will with an argument that presupposes it.
Douglas Wilson, blogging through the latest Sam Harris book.
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posted 3 / 27 / 2012
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Sam Harris, Moist Robot

Douglas Wilson is blogging through the chapters in Sam Harris’ latest book, demolishing each with wit and reason:

We are all just what Dilbert calls moist robots. We go as we have been programed. His whole argument depends on this materialistic reality.

"A moment or two of serious self-scrutiny, and you might observe that you no more decide the next thought you think than the next thought I write" (p. 6).

Self scrutiny? What’s that? Serious self-scrutiny? What’s that? Why, you rube, it is what these bundled chemicals that we are provisionally calling “Sam Harris” always do under these conditions and at this temperature. He’s not arguing any more than he is choosing. And you are not following his argument any more than you freely chose to pick the book up in the first place to buy it. If I cannot decide what I think, there is no such thing as “following an argument.” There is no such thing as “arguing.”

Alas, there are only chemicals steeping. And, since we modern deterministic rationalists know this to be true, we have no reason for believing our thoughts to be true … but this would have to include the true belief that our thoughts are chemicals steeping. Wait a minute. Playing chess alone, it is pretty hard to checkmate yourself, but I think they have managed it.

These high thinkers crack me up. They apply their worldview convictions to absolutely everything in the cosmos, with the one singular and miraculous exception of the mysterious processes that went into their statement of their thesis. That is being urged upon us because it is “true,” and some of the brighter sophomores in the back row are scratching their heads. The brightest of them have already dropped the class last week and have changed majors over to mechanical engineering.

Is Harris arguing against free will because he has chosen to conform his opinions to the external realities, or is he arguing against free will for the same reason the aroma of onions fills the house whenever the skillet gets to the right temperature? Now get this. He is assuming the former while he is arguing the latter. And he doesn’t even try to hide it. This kind of serenity is hard to come by.

If his book is just the smell of frying onions, then why did I buy it? If it is not just frying onions, then the thesis is entirely wrong-headed, and so why did I buy it? I’ll tell you why I bought it. I haven’t had any fun with deterministic atheism in a little while.

The book is dedicated to Christopher Hitchens — “For Hitch” — and after just one chapter I can already tell you that in terms of intellectual coherence, it will be a worthy monument.

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posted 3 / 27 / 2012
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On the Origin of Everything: A NYT Book Review

Lawrence M. Krauss, a well-known cosmologist and prolific popular-science writer, apparently means to announce to the world, in this new book, that the laws of quantum mechanics have in them the makings of a thoroughly scientific and adamantly secular explanation of why there is something rather than nothing. Period. Case closed. End of story. I kid you not. Look at the subtitle. Look at how Richard Dawkins sums it up in his afterword: “Even the last remaining trump card of the theologian, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?,’ shrivels up before your eyes as you read these pages. If ‘On the Origin of Species’ was biology’s deadliest blow to super­naturalism, we may come to see ‘A Universe From Nothing’ as the equivalent from cosmology. The title means exactly what it says. And what it says is ­devastating.” Well, let’s see.

Rather than new objections or new “proofs” of atheism, these guys just keep coming up with the same old ideas repackaged with new cover art. Solomon was right: there is nothing new under the sun….

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posted 3 / 24 / 2012
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Jennifer Fulwiler Explains Her Conversion From Atheism to Catholicism

becket:

An Excerpt: If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it’s all destined to be extinguished at death. And considering that the entire span of homo sapiens’ existence on earth wouldn’t even amount to a blip on the radar screen of a 5-billion-year-old universe, it seemed silly to pretend like the 60-odd-year life of some random organism on one of trillions of planets was something special. (I was a blast at parties.) By simply living my life, I felt like I was living a lie. I acknowledged the truth that life was meaningless, and yet I kept acting as if my own life had meaning, as if all the hope and love and joy I’d experienced was something real, something more than a mirage produced by the chemicals in my brain.

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posted 12 / 14 / 2011
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Atheism As an Epistemic Hoot

"On your [Sam Harris’] account I am one set of complex chemical reactions secreting something that I falsely believe to be arguments to another set of complex chemical reactions who falsely believes that he is reading them … if you apply reason and self-criticism to an atheistic examination of ethics, you should discover within ten minutes that there aren’t any … You are a hodge-podge of neuron-firings looking into an abyss which you only think you understand. You don’t really understand it because you are not thinking at all, but rather doing what chemicals always do under those conditions and at that temperature” (Letter From a Christian Citizen, pp. 98-99). - Douglas Wilson

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posted 12 / 6 / 2011
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