Another non-reading atheist reviewer

New Atheists certainly appear to be frightened little people. They keep trying to pretend they’ve read what they clearly have not:

Also, this guy can’t even step outside his religiosity enough to see that in the world of reason, where Atheist and their ilk tend to reside, there is not an “Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens”. Man, Christians love their trinities. There are, however, the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse,(you know, to reveal) with the 3 named “Unholies” and the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett. I can almost guess why he wasn’t included in the group though. Dawkins IS a bulldog (and a lovely, well mannered man who I had the pleasure of meeting once). Hitchens is ferocious in his indictment of religion (in a charming Dean Martin sort of way). Sam Harris is, well, dry and unassuming in his persona (he IS a SCIENTIST, you know), especially when he is making all those Brilliant points (backed up by said science) against Islam and Christianity (really Religion in general) and the people who surrender logic to take part in those religions that are on paths to domination and Human destruction. But… how do you attack Dan Dennett? It would be like attacking a kindly Grandfather. NO! It would be like attacking a smart, insightful, brilliant, Grandfather, who had the ability to explain the most mind-shattering truth’s and the most complex science in terms the simplest of us could understand. A man who is as kind , as he is Brilliant. Yeah… I could see not including in the attack one of the worlds foremost philosophers.

If I was an atheist, I would be deeply embarrassed at the lies that my fellow atheists are so willing to go out of their way to tell simply because they’re terrified of having their icons confronted and exposed. If this guy had read THE ENTIRE CHAPTER DEVOTED TO DANIEL DENNETT, then perhaps he might understand why Dennett wasn’t included. But perhaps not, anyone who can’t figure out the concept of reading a book before reviewing it can’t have too much going on upstairs.

And… doesn’t he mean the Four Horsemen of the Bukkakelypse?

The kiss of death

George Bush places a wet and sloppy one on John McCain:

John McCain is a “true conservative,” President Bush says, although the likely Republican presidential nominee may have to work harder to convince other conservatives that he is one of their own. McCain “is very strong on national defense,” Bush said in an interview taped for airing on “Fox News Sunday.” “He is tough fiscally. He believes the tax cuts ought to be permanent. He is pro-life. His principles are sound and solid as far as I’m concerned.”

But when asked about criticism of McCain by conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, the president said, “I think that if John is the nominee, he has got some convincing to do to convince people that he is a solid conservative and I’ll be glad to help him if he is the nominee.”

That sound you heard earlier today is millions of conservatives shifting in their chairs, turning their heads and trying to count the number of daggers in the backs bearing the White House seal. And then thinking, “yeah, right, like YOU, of all people, would know.”

Todd Seavey’s Book of the Month

Well, the second of four, anyhow. I was pleased to learn that Seavey, who happens to be an atheist, found The Irrational Atheist to be “a better book” than Michel Onfray’s Atheist Manifesto, which was the first book he reviewed in his “Month Without God”. It was interesting to see – interesting from a Voxcentric perspective, anyhow – that he also wrote a brief profile of me based on his reading of the book, which, unlike a surprising number of his fellow atheist critics, he actually troubled to read in its entirety:

One of the first things likely to strike an atheist reader is that Day sounds young, smart, hip, and funny, so one can’t simply dismiss him as a crusty old man repeating tired dogma instead of making thoughtful arguments. I think he gets into some unproductive semantic knots but scores many useful points, as I’ll explain tomorrow. Speaking of scoring points, though, it’s interesting how much Day’s background as a videogame designer — not a theologian — influences his philosophical arguments, usually in very positive ways.

As for Mr. Seavey’s lengthy review proper, I’ve posted it in the TIA forums and I’ll have my response to a few of his specific criticisms there later today.

If there’s nothing to atheism proper except an absence, why do these people have to go on about it so much? Day has decided to fight back. He is annoyed by, as he puts it (in words that I must confess have come almost verbatim out of my own mouth at times), Harris-style atheists’ claim “that Man is on the verge of vanishing in nuclear fire unless billions of idiots can be forcibly stripped of their belief in nonexistent sky fairies.”

After some initial insulting of atheists, Day makes some powerful, damning points about the stats on people murdered by atheists vs. people murdered by religion. One’s impression of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris — who rely on claims of religion’s murderous tendencies more than I realized — must be diminished….. Day does us all a service by exposing as false some of the glib slogans of atheism….

He makes the interesting point, for instance, that if the possibility of nuclear war with Iran (or nuclear terrorism) is one of the chief pieces of evidence that religion is dangerous, surely those dangers could be used as arguments against science as well. Religion has existed for thousands of years without destroying the planet, observes Day, yet science risks killing us all after a mere three centuries on the scene. (This argument is not so different from the concessions I make to cautious Luddites in my article on nanotech in the March issue of Reason.)

Mailvox: euthanizing Epicurus

Now that TIA has eviscerated the Euthyphro Dilemma once and for all, RL suggests that we have a look at dissecting Epicurus as well:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this:

The following was written by the Greek Philosopher Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Apparently Epicurus is trying to do a complete covering, using all four possibilities of the tautology, i.e.

a = will and b == power and c == eradicate evil and d == good

a + NOT b –> NOT b (nothing about d)
b + NOT a –> NOT d (assumes b)
a + b –> c, but NOT c in the world implies either a or b or both are wrong
NOT a + NOT b –> NOT d and (NOT a and NOT b)

I believe that Epicurus was trying to argue this way:

1. We see evil, but apparently God is not omnipotent enough to stop it

2. But if some object and say that God is omnipotent and can stop evil, then we rejoin and say, “okay , then God must be malevolent, because He won’t stop it then.”

3. if some object to that and say “well, God is able and willing to stop evil” then we say “well, then why is there all this evil in the world” ( why is God failing to act?) or is God is not able to stop evil nor willing to stop evil, then why even call Him (a good) God?

I think he was attempting to attack Chrisitianity (Jewry) with this argument that I’ve given above in a logic format, but here’s where I see the mistakes:

Not c does NOT imply NOT d, rather NOT c –> e (permission) e –> f (free will)

1. there is evil, but God is NOT stopping it.
2. this not stopping evil does NOT arise from lack of power but permission
3. does permitting evil mean that God is evil?

or does it rather mean that God has given us free will to do evil and that’s the real crux. I think the problem is in the subtle assertion that not c –> not d, i.e. evil implies not a good God, that the evil in the world is God’s fault, when it really is due to us, 100 percent.

To me, the entire argument has always been based on a category error, as based on the Biblical evidence, what God calls evil and what Man calls evil are only of superficial and occasional synchronicity. But I’ll take a closer look at the logic later, in the meantime, feel free to take a crack at it if you like.

Discuss amongst yourselves