Boot out the dhummi

So, how do you impeach an archbishop anyway? Or does Queen Elizabeth merely mutter a few dark words within earshot of her courtiers?

The Archbishop of Canterbury today launched a desperate backtrack over his endorsement of sharia law as his own bishops lined up to attack him. Claiming he never called for the introduction of the Muslim system, Dr Rowan Williams claimed he wanted to “tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state”. In a statement on his website based on his controversial lecture in London last night, he added he had only used sharia as an example.

Dr Williams’ comments, however, are likely to do little to stem the rising tide of anger from senior clergy. As public condemnation of his speech grew, some of his own bishops were calling for his resignation. In an astonishing attack, one senior Church of England clergyman demanded he stepped down immediately and branded him “gullible”.

Remember, this is the sort of daunting intellect that Richard Dawkins is willing to debate… brave fellow.

Fighting crime with science

It looks like Richard Dawkins is well on the way to getting his wish for a criminal justice system based on science rather than eyewitnesses as expressed in A Devil’s Chaplain:

Police officers in Daytona Beach are swabbing the mouths of persons of interests during traffic stops with special DNA kits in the hunt for an elusive serial killer, sources close to the investigation told Local 6.

Hey, if we simply took DNA samples at birth, we could eliminate crime! Better yet, implant tracking devices with AV broadcast capabilities then too, so that everyone can be monitored at all times!

If you can’t understand how a justice system designed around scientific evidence rather than testimonial evidence is significantly inferior due to its intrinsicly authoritarian nature, perhaps this will help you. And, as always, when it turns into an authoritarian nightmare, scientists will throw up their hands and plead innocent. Either it was “bad science” or they only handed the bad, evil nasty people the gun, they didn’t actually pull any trigger… hey, look – vaccines and electronic toys!

After all, who could possibly have foreseen how the fruits of their wonderful discoveries could be misused? This myopic perspective goes to show that intelligence and wisdom are two entirely different things. And suddenly, I find myself wondering about the potential propaganda value of all those CSI variants that seem to make up about two-thirds of the American TV dramas currently airing.

You so crazy

Who could possibly argue against the ideological abuse of science by those who claim to speak for it:

[T]he authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power.

Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. . . There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties. . . We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions.

Jonah Goldberg wrote a book describing this. As it happens, so did I: “While the scientific method may lead invariably to a more accurate understanding of the material world, the same is not true of the scientists who pursue it. The profession of science is growing increasingly authoritarian and political, as can be seen by the treatment of those who fail to fall in line with the scientific consensus on subjects where the evidence is far from settled, such as global warming…. Religion does not threaten science so much as science threatens itself. By combining increasingly authoritarian arrogance with an encroachment upon intellectual spheres they are manifestly unprepared to invade, scientists and their thoughtless science fetishist followers risk starting a genuine war they cannot possibly hope to win.”
The Irrational Atheist p. 59.

And as I said in my interview with Joseph Farah, scientists are like philosophers, they always eventually come around to the idea of rule by scientist-king. I may not be a fan of universal representative democracy, but I’ll definitely take universal direct democracy over oligarchical rule by autocratic scientists.

More atheist reviews of TIA

Dominic Saltarelli will no doubt enrage the howling monkeys over at Dawkins.Net, writing: “this is in fact a good book. Entertaining, insightful, and well researched.” However, he also found it to be “Just as overhyped as the books it attacks”. I’ve posted both his Amazon review and my reply to it in the TIA forums, perhaps he will stop by here sometime to discuss them.

Ken Casner, on the other hand, continues his quixotic attempt to completely ignore 99.8 percent of the book in order to blatantly lie about the non-existence of the specific and detailed criticisms of the arguments of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Michel Onfray and Daniel Dennett contained within it. And as I’ve shown in this response to his third attempt to defend his indefensible review, I’m not the one misrepresenting Sam Harris’s views, Casner is wildly misrepresenting them in order to make a foolish attempt at a classic Fighting Withdrawal.

Casner’s argument is an almost flawless example of a poorly chosen Fighting Withdrawal, because the point to which he withdraws renders Harris’s argument completely irrelevant in every context. If Harris is only talking about killing people in legitimate self-defense, then what does his argument have to do with belief, faith or any other non-material concept? If there is material action of one sort or another to indicate a threat justifying a lethal response, then there’s no need for the subject of belief or faith to even enter into the conversation. Moreover, my position is supported by an email I received from Sam Harris last November confirming that it is in fact immaterial belief that is relevant to his argument, not any subsequent material actions inspired by that belief. I have no problem with self-defense, I am criticizing pre-emptive lethal self defense based on one individual’s beliefs about another individual’s future actions. It can only lead to a destructive circular logic, and as I’ve noted in the past, one might very reasonably justify the murder of Sam Harris through the application of his own argument here.

Jemison Thorsby is not an atheist, unsurprisingly, he liked the book rather better. He writes: “Vox chose to fight on atheists’ favorite grounds, and he does so in a way that shows the terrain–reason–actually favors the faithful, not the faithless.”

As for the German blogger Kamenin’s review, it’s clear that he didn’t read the chapter entitled “The Case Against Science” very closely, nor was he capable of grasping the logic of what he did read. It’s actually apparent that he must not have read very much of the book, since he reaches the mistaken conclusion that it’s just another attack on atheism via Hitler and Stalin. I’ll have a more detailed response to his review later.