Friday Roundup

Are human rights more than just legal conventions?  I think so.  The writer wants them to be, but I don’t think he quite gets there.  At least he recognizes the depth of the problem.

Can a scientist believe in the resurrection?  Yep and yep.

God and Darwin walk into a bar

Christians are also marching for science and they should…

The naming of “God” is very important, because “Idolatry, moreover, has everything to do with thinking that you know God’s name.”

Yes, many of those raised in the evangelical-fundamentalist world were already prepared to believe the “fake news” charges against the mainstream media.

This looks like an interesting book and one that probably confirms the view that adding the word “empirical” or “god” to an assertion can lead people to do and believe things that tend to shock us later on.

Is atheism simply the default religion of modernity?  This talk is a bit dry, long, and technical, but worth the watch.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Friday Roundup

  1. RonH says:

    It’s pretty sad that a law prof from King’s College can’t recognize that “well, ‘cuz human!” is an utterly ineffective basis for human rights. Contra your comment, I don’t think he does recognize the full depth of the problem. Otherwise, he’d recognize that he hasn’t proposed a solution at all. Perhaps I’m not being fair to him, going only from this article. I’ll read his paper and see if he makes a more compelling case there. My expectations are admittedly low, however.

    Voltaire was right when he said that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. Be it YHWH, Allah, Eros, Mammon, Demos, Reason…. whomever. We all have our gods, and all gods require sacrifice. Eventually, all gods require blood. As far as I’m aware, only Christianity admits the blood requirement, explains it, and satisfies it (c.f. Rene Girard).

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    • Ron,

      All good points. I was being very generous. I do give him credit however simply for noting this: “Only a deeper justification can explain why we are right to embody them in the law, or maintain a liberal democratic culture, in the first place.”

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  2. Burk says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    I enjoyed your link to William Desmond. Do you detect the condescension? He maunders on about the wonder of the idiocy of being, and then says that arguments of the new atheists are poor! More seriously, he dismisses the atheist position as “fools”, as without thought, taken for granted, not the outcome of intelligent search. Well, this is one way in which philosophy has (surprise, surprise!) made progress. Atheists are at their position for very good reasons, which we have pursued to the point that you recognize that the opposite is held by faith, not reason.

    Do atheists experience ontological wonder? Yes. Do they appreciate beauty? Yes. Do they recognize in sex a system (whether self-overcoming or self-expressing) that makes sense in their framework? Obviously. Etc. Etc. Is the framework taken for granted? Not after all this time of enlightenment and philosophy, including the ones Desmond mentions like Nietzsche and Kant, even if it has won the cultural and intellectual game, more or less. It has been thought through thoroughly, and the evidence is that the sense of wonder is an emotion, not a communication from outside. There are many and good reasons why religion is not very well thought of in typical philosophical small or large talk.

    So, how about his third way? His regurgitation of Anselm’s third argument doesn’t seem to me to plow any new ground. Nothing comes from nothing- who knows? We can not argue from philosophical axioms alone about a universe about which we know very little- including its philosophical or physical underpinnings. And for the zillionth time, to make out of all this unknown-ness a god so drenched in your (or Desmond’s) psychological / historical / theological fixations (the Catholicism of Louvain!) is proof positive that the two have no real connection- rather that this excursion into ontology is mere apologetics- an attempt to find evidence and logic where none exists.

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    • Burk,

      “Do you detect the condescension?”

      No, I did not. There are plenty of philosophers out there who are, he is not considered one of them. His tone is very measured and hardly condescending given his audience. You have a tin ear. I had to listen to the lecture one more time to make sure you were even talking about the same one. Incredible.

      “He maunders on about the wonder of the idiocy of being, and then says that arguments of the new atheists are poor!”

      They are poor. And, did you not understand his unpacking of “idiocy”? I guess not.

      “More seriously, he dismisses the atheist position as “fools”, as without thought, taken for granted, not the outcome of intelligent search.”

      He is not dismissing anything. He quotes a Scripture, quoted by Anselm, but goes to a deeper point and that is the fact that the question of God’s existence, the pondering of the question, is now seen as foolish. The fact that all you heard was a “dismissal” is telling.

      “Do atheists experience ontological wonder? Yes. Do they appreciate beauty? Yes. Do they recognize in sex a system (whether self-overcoming or self-expressing) that makes sense in their framework? Obviously.”

      Where did he say they do not? Again, you are not listening.

      “…and the evidence is that the sense of wonder is an emotion, not a communication from outside.”

      No, there is an interpretation of the evidence that a sense of wonder is “only” or “just” an emotion and nothing else.

      You have a hard time “hearing” Burk because you are so sure you know what the people you disagree with are saying, when you clearly do not. And that is why your arguments (and the new atheists) are so poor.

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