Dawkins fails to answer Boyd

From the Star Tribune:

Q Here are quotes about faith from two thoughtful Twin Cities clergy members. What is your response to each?

The Rev. Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood: “I thirst for water, and water exists. I hunger for food, and food exists. I hunger and thirst for God, so I concluded that God must exist.”

Dawkins: The fact that you hunger and thirst for something does not make it exist. A young man ravaged by lust might hunger for a woman he believes loves him back, but she just doesn’t, and he can’t make it so by longing for it. It’s silly to assume that wanting something means it exists.

Dawkins repeatedly demonstrates a weak grasp of analogy and logic, and he does so again here. There is a tremendous amount of empirical evidence that it is common for young men to, in fact, make it so by their hungry longing, indeed, that is the societal norm in romantic male-female relations.

Furthermore, his response is an evasion. Needs and desires are seldom, if ever, fixated on nonexistent things. The only logically correct way to attack Boyd’s argument is to a) deny that he hungers and thirsts for God, or, b) provide examples of genuine human longing for the nonexistent. The counterexample he provides is flawed because the woman’s love most likely exists, it merely isn’t directed in the young man’s direction.

Personally, I don’t think much of Boyd’s argument here myself, but that’s beside the point. I’m the last to question Greg’s belief in God; why he happens to believe is of no interest to me, I’m simply glad and grateful that he does.

The rats abandon the ship they hijacked

Vanity Fair talks to the neocons:

[Richard] Perle goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: “I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, ‘Should we go into Iraq?,’ I think now I probably would have said, ‘No, let’s consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.’….

Having spoken with Perle, I wonder: What do the rest of the pro-war neoconservatives think? If the much caricatured “Prince of Darkness” is now plagued with doubt, how do his comrades-in-arms feel? I am particularly interested in finding out because I interviewed many neocons before the invasion and, like many people, found much to admire in their vision of spreading democracy in the Middle East.

I expect to encounter disappointment. What I find instead is despair, and fury at the incompetence of the Bush administration the neoconservatives once saw as their brightest hope.

Well, it’s nice to see them stabbing Bush in the back, anyhow. The problem with their story is that it isn’t presidential incompetence that ruined anything, it’s that the democracy project was a hopelessly bad idea in the first place.

The embarrassing atheists

One doesn’t expect the average Internet commenter to rise to the level of published and popular authors such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, however low that might be. But this should adequately demonstrate how ineptly the average champions of reason wield that in which they believe:

“We atheists simply say, “There is yet no evidence for a god, so I do not believe in one.” – tcw.

Of course, there is as little evidence for any aspect of morality, so why does tcw believe in them? Where are the scientific experiments proving that lying to another individual is wrong? What is the empirical evidence for “right”.

“One idea I have is that causing unecessary suffering to another person is immoral. This is not something I gleened from the bible. So you are correct. This idea does sound good enough to me that I really spend very little time questioning it. What’s your point?” – anonymous

The point is that a) his notion of causing suffering being immoral has a less rational basis than a belief in God, b) no one whose beliefs are unquestioned and based only on what sounds good can claim to be a rational being.

I’ve yet to see any rational reason to believe there is a god. And tell me, what tools of science would I use to “learn about god”? – anonymous

If “this idea sounds good” is enough to provide the basis for his moral beliefs, one wonders why he requires science for a belief in God. And one must ask, what tools of science would anyone use to learn about right and wrong.

As Equus Pallidus demonstrated rather nicely, the reason the common atheist is always on the attack is that he simply has no defense for his own beliefs. They run from scientific and reasonable discussions of their own “moralities” even faster than illiterate Bible-thumping Creationists because they know there simply is no there there. So, instead of answering the simplest questions, they are always forced to point and say “yeah, well, what about dinosaurs?”.

This wouldn’t be so ridiculous if it weren’t a hypocritical betrayal of everything they claim to value. These atheists would do well to learn that talking incessantly about science and logic is not the same thing as actually putting them to work on one’s behalf. And it is foolish to attack the faith of others when one’s own beliefs are supported by a demonstrably shakier foundation.

One may well be dissatisfied when the question “why” is answered “because God said so in this here book”. But that is still a much more logically sound and universally applicable reply than “well, it sounds good to me”.