Tag: darwin

23Oct

Review: The Delusion of Disbelief

The Delusion of Disbelief
Why the New Atheism is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness
David Aikman

This book examines the four primary actors behind the new atheism, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. The first section of the book is rather polemic, working on the motives of each of these four men, and providing some background on why each one has an issue with Christianity specifically.

The author then turns to a more philosophical discussion of Darwinism, starting in chapter four, The Science Problem. In this chapter, Mr. Aikman discusses the supposed antipathy between science and belief in God, tearing down the arguments in this area. He does slip up here in a couple of places, most notably in stating Darwin started out as a Christian and “converted” to atheism. In reality, Darwin was demonstratively a lifelong atheist, raised in the confines of an atheistic family and circle of friends. He includes a number of quotes showing just how unhappy atheists are in their real lives in this section. For instance:

But for many years now I cannot endure to read a line of poetry … I have also lost any taste for pictures or music … My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts … -Darwin

But I cannot listen to music too often. It affects my moods and makes me want to say sweet nothings and stroke the heads of men who live in a dirty hell and can still create such beauty. But these days you cannot go around stroking people’s heads … You have to smash them over the head—smash them without mercy … -Lenin

Both of these quotes reminded me of this:

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:23

Maybe these atheist just need to listen to more music.

After discussing the science problem, Mr. Aikman discusses the problem of wicked atheist, including the likes of Mao, Che, Stalin, and Hitler. In this section he notes that people in Soviet Russia were not killed for their beliefs, but rather for teaching their children to believe in God. They were fine with people maintaining their beliefs, they just wanted to make certain the next generation didn’t carry those beliefs on. Hence the takeover of the schools first, just as we see in the US, and in many other areas of the world. The author quotes Lenin as saying:

After the implementation of the separation of church from state and school from church have taken effect, it is essential to strive for the separation of the people from religion and the church. -Lenin

It’s interesting to note, in this regard, the continuing push towards spirituality instead of religion. The author does a spectacular job of ripping Mao apart, using quotes from the margin notes he made in A System of Ethics, while he was a student at university. His section on Pol Pot is interesting; they killed all the “intelligent” people, or people with educations, to force the people to be “closer to nature.” In other words, to make them more like animals.

Overall, this is an interesting book, and well worth reading. Just be careful of the polemic tone overall.

25May

Evolutionary Origins

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Many people think evolution is a relatively new idea, invented by Charles Darwin, around 1850. Well, there is some argument over who actually invented the concept, since Mr. Darwin’s Grandfather was close to the same idea, and Darwin only published his first book once he received a letter explaining the entire scheme. In reality, the idea of evolution is very old. For instance, here is the Greek philosopher Lucretius Carus:

Certainly the atoms did not post themselves purposefully in due order by an act of intelligence, nor did they stipulate what movements each should perform. As they have been rushing everlastingly throughout all space in their myriads, undergoing myriad changes under the disturbing impact of collisions, they have experienced every variety of movement and conduction till they have fallen into the particular pattern by which this world of ours is constituted. This world has persisted many a long year, having once been set going in the appropriate motions. From these everything else follows. -Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe.

Here we find as clear a concept of evolution as any modern expression. Time plus chance plus pre-existing material equals our current world. But we can drive this entire idea back even farther, to the actual source of all false religion, Babylon. Here, Nimrod ruled, and the Tower of Babel could be seen over the horizon.

When above [Enuma elish] the heaven had not (yet) been named, (And) below the earth had not (yet) been called by a name, (When) Apsu primeval, their begetter, Mummu, (and) Tiamat, she who gave birth to them all, (Still) mingled their waters together, …. (At that time) were the gods created within them…. They lived many days, adding years (to days)….

Again we find the same pattern. There was a primeval soup, the great vast oceans of water. From this came the gods, and from the gods, humans. The entire process is chance plus time plus pre-existing materials, again and apt description of the evolutionary theory. So while we tend to think of evolution as an atheistic, science based system, it’s really based on a much older pagan system, and it’s just a religious as any form of special creation. Evolution is, in brief, just ancient panthiestic belief dressed up in a white lab coat.

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